Meditating on the Commands of Christ (33): Did Jesus Nullify the Old Testament Law?

Many people—even Christians—seem to think that the Old Testament code of ethics is no longer valid for today. After all, Jesus kept the Old Testament law perfectly, died for our sins (including all the ways in which we’ve failed to keep the Law), and now all we have to do is believe in Jesus and not worry about the Law, right?

Wrong! In Matthew 5:17, Jesus explained, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” His goal was not to make the Old Testament instructions null and void, but rather to prove—once and for all—that the Law is good, that it is possible for humans to keep the Law, and that God gave his laws to us for our good, so that by keeping them we can experience a life of righteousness, peace, and blessing.

Which laws are we still supposed to keep? Well, there are various opinions on the subject, but the New Testament is clear that for non-Jewish people who believe in Christ, there are a few basic rules to keep: “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood” (Acts 15:19-20). That’s a pretty short list, but it includes idolatry, fornication, and drinking blood. If you’re still having a problem with worshiping yourself (which comes out as doing “that which is right in your own eyes” rather than obeying the teachings of the New Testament), or with sexual immorality, then you’re still sitting at the starting line and haven’t really taken off on the path toward holiness.

But, what about all the Old Testament laws? Are they no longer valuable as guides for daily life? I believe they are, but not as “We’ll be damned if we don’t” but as guides to healthy, happy living. Many of them are moot issues today. We don’t make clothing out of linen and wool, and we don’t seethe kids in their mother’s milk. We don’t (usually) forage for birds eggs, and those of us who keep laying hens don’t kill the hens who are producing the eggs . . . for obvious reasons!

What about keeping the Sabbath Day holy? What’s not to love about a day of rest? Why fight it? Why not make space in our lives for worship, for fellowship . . . for that “margin” everybody talks about not having but desperately needing?! I’m convinced that all the regulations God gives us, both those He gave to the Jews in the Old Testament, and the many instructions we’re given in the New Testament, are there to teach us the way of wisdom and truth. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). All that God has given us in the way of laws and instructions are for our own good, to teach us what is right and good, to protect us from harm, and to help us experience an abundant, blessed life!

What about the Ten Commandments? Jews, Christians, and most non-believers around the world still believe in the goodness of not lying, not killing, not stealing, not cheating on your partner, honoring your parents, and not pining for what belongs to someone else. Right? Various religions fight over who the true God is, but they all believe in worshiping God. Even though these laws were commanded in the Old Testament, they are all verified again in the New Testament, even the Sabbath, where Jesus points out that “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). That doesn’t mean having a sabbath rest is no longer good for us; it means just the opposite! We don’t have to keep the sabbath, but a sabbath rest is good for us. We don’t have to keep the Ten Commandments to enter heaven, but we should keep them because they’re good for us—and for everyone else! And, if we don’t learn how to live morally upright lives, sooner or later we’re going to run into problems with our friends, our neighbors, and even the police!!

Let’s be good Christ followers, keeping the way of wisdom as set out for us in the New Testament! Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly, not to destroy it, but to prove its inherent goodness and value.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). That’s “ALL!”

The beautiful illustrations above are used by permission of Yongsung Kim. His website and gallery of paintings can be found here: http://Havenlight.com

The Wisdom of The Time Changer

The Time Changer MovieI was talking to a girlfriend not long ago about the changes in our society, and she recommended and lent me the movie called The Time Changer. It was produced in 2002, so you may have already seen it, and the acting is not stellar, so if you haven’t seen it, I have to warn you that neither the pace nor portrayals are mesmerizing. In fact, I had to wait until Mother’s Day to get any takers to join me in persevering through it, but the basic message of this sci-fi drama did ring true in my heart, and so I want to recommend it, especially if you have young kids in your home. 30-9-330 The Time Changer is a worthy 95-minute, PG-rated movie that might produce some profitable discussion, especially if flavored with a bowl of popcorn.  🙂  The Time Changer The plot and point are simple: A Bible professor from 1890 is transported to the future (present day modern America) and is aghast at what he finds. The biblical principles of morality (on which our country were founded) had been separated from their authority (God) and eventually considered invalid. I’ve lived through the truth of this movie. Although the name Madalyn Murray O’Hair may mean little to those of you born after 1970, she was a notorious atheist and dissident who had a primary role in eliminating Bible reading and prayer from our public schools. I was born in 1950, and we used to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the Lord’s Prayer every morning at the beginning of our school day. (Yes, in the public schools.) Praying together and any official reading of the Bible ended in 1962-3—my junior high years, and the time when I became a believer. The changes in our school system since that time have been profound, so much so that I went from loving public schools to home schooling my children just to protect them from the degeneration of the public system, not only morally, but academically and socially as well. Since America went off the gold standard, it’s been floundering in a morass of rule by public opinion that’s as unstable and changeable as quicksand. Where there is no God, there is no foundation for moral law. Our country desperately needs a return to godly wisdom.loadimage

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).