One of the most misunderstood and misused applications of the Bible is mixing up the Old Law with the New Law resulting in confusion, many different denominations and out-right misuse of scripture. I have often had Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and others come to my door and try to justify their beliefs using the Old Testament or Old Covenant as a source of authority in why they do certain things. Don’t get me wrong, the Old Law had its purpose and can still provide valuable lessons in how to respect God and the history of God’s eternal plan for the church.
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
The law was designed to be an introduction to Christ. The sacrifices and offerings were designed to shadow forth the Messiah, and to introduce him to the world. It had a purpose and its purpose was fulfilled as prophesied by Isaiah and others when Christ died, was buried and resurrected.
Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
We see further in Hebrews 9 that the New Covenant was much better than the old. It was perfect as established and confirmed by the blood of Christ. When we look to the Bible as a source of authority, we need to remember that the Old Law was given to the Israelites and had its purpose. The New Law is given to all mankind…both Jew and Gentile, and allows us all to become Christians and have the hope of eternal life.
Probably the most visible and misunderstood concept is that of the 10 Commandments. These commandments were given to the people of Israel not to the Gentiles or Christians of today. I once had a man say, "Oh so we can murder or commit adultery if we want?" Of course not…that’s just the silliness that seems to appear in a discussion of religion. We find that nine of the Ten Commandments are actually reaffirmed under the law of Christ. We follow these laws because Christ has told us to follow them.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We find that if we have the proper attitude and love God first, our neighbors second, and ourselves last, we will have no problem following the word of God and obeying His commandments. We won’t be trying to find loop-holes and trying to rationalize our actions in worshipping God the way we want rather than the way God wants. We will search out the New Testament for what we can cannot do and never allow God’s silence on a subject to justify doing whatever we want. My next blog, I will start looking at specific rules or approaches in how we establish authority. I welcome your comments and look forward to the next entry.