Should christians obey the Old Testament Law?

Isn’t it a no-brainer? The Bible is inspired from beginning to end, and Jesus said that not even one tiny piece of the Law could pass away. Doesn’t that settle it?

Well, it’s not that simple actually – because no-one obeys it, or even attempts to! It is a pious fiction.

No-one obeys it because (1) much of it depends on the temple, which has been destroyed for 19 centuries, and (2) many of the laws are outdated, and no-one thinks we should follow them (e.g. Leviticus 20:10-16). But, even though the Bible says the law must be obeyed totally or not at all (e.g. Matthew 5:18), we somehow try to justify selective obedience.

You can check out a comprehensive Bible study on the topic in The Old Testament Law and Christians, which in summary shows that:

  • Jesus and Paul both taught that the Old Testament Law was part of the old covenant, and Jesus’ followers are now part of a new covenant where we are led by the Spirit rather than by written rules.
  • Jesus and the early church lived out this teaching in several ways.
  • This doesn’t give us freedom to do what we like, because Jesus sets us higher standards than the Law set, and if we love him, we will follow his teachings.
  • If we allow the Spirit to lead us, we will develop new godly characters and behaviours, and live in the ‘glorious freedom of the sons and daughters of God’.

Understanding these truths changes our lives. We will make decisions differently (more prayerfully, less by arbitrary rules or our own choices) and we will be freer to follow where the Spirit leads us.

Too good to be true? Check it out!

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