The OT Law here referring to all the laws and commands given to Israel in the Old Testament, not just the ten commandments.
For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
Christian should not try to obey the old testament laws as a means of obtaining right standing with God. Man is not able to obey the law fully, and if he offends in one area he is guilty of all. The law shows man his weakness, and inability to please God, and that he needs a savior that could please God in his stead. Jesus was the only man who kept the law perfectly, and passed the benefits on to us freely. Jesus kept the law for us, and gave us His righteousness. Jesus was able to keep God's law perfectly because Jesus was God in the flesh. Amen
Do we have to keep the (Law of God) OT laws?
No, you don't, if you have no love of God then you aren't required to keep His laws. You can be of the "lawless one", the anti-christ, that is what he taught.
But if you have love for God then you will keep the OT Laws of God...
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
The Old Testament has 613 laws from the Jews and Christianity has just 10 so the answer is NO if the old testermemt what Christians should do then there would have been no need for Jesus or the New Testament. Christianity is never about what people MUST do but what they SHOULD do. They should love thier neighbour. Not they must love.
Some of the Ten Commandments has crept into our country's legal system, making it not just immoral to disobey, but also illegal. Murder and stealing are illegal, and the culprit will receive strict punishment from the State if caught.
The Ten Commandments are the basis of all laws; always have been always will be; it is not the other way round!
Absolutly! Jesus said himself in matt 5:18 that heaven and earth will pass away before even one comma disappears from the law. But the law can not save you only the blood of jesus can do that, so why do you follow the law then, or maybe the better question is why do you take the garbage out when your spouse asks you...do you do it in order to stay married...no...you do it because you love your spouse and you were asked too. If you desire more understanding I recommend listening to passionforlife.com
As I understand, the laws pointed towards Christ. If the Israelites studied them they would be able to recognized him as the Messiah. He was the fulfillment of the law. Matthew 5:17-20 Will give you your answer. If I could just highlight v. 19." Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called last in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus DID fulfill the Law -- the Greek word according to the Lexicon implies obedience. He obeyed -- thereby fulfilling -- God's "holy just and good law" (Romans 7:12). But HE is our Example that we should walk in His steps (I Peter 2;21).
TWO THINGS to understand: Salvation (that's free under grace) and Reward: that requires "works of the law" -- and those who obey get greater rewards than those who assume the Law of God is "done away." (see Matthew 5:18-19).
Every response I've read so far misses the point and prospective entirely of the Torah. The Commadments, all 613, where given the the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai, to them and no other nation.
Jesus, a faithful practicing Jew, even said in Matthew 5:17-19 " I have not come to abolish the Torah but to fulfill it....".
I've read other comments speaking on the Greek words and what they mean from the Greek lexicon, but Jesus was a Jewish rabbi speaking in Jewish idioms like all teachers did in that time period.
So to answer the question, Yes. Christians should obey the commandments that are applicable to them.
My comments here don't even scratch the surface. But I am a Jew speaking from a Messanic Jewish perspective.
The belief that The Commadments, all 613, where given to the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai, to them and no other nation betrays an ignorance of the Torah. for there we read in Exodus 12:49 that the SAME laws God gave to Israel applied to the strangers -- so both Israelite AND Gentile -- all who wished to follow the God of Abraham -- had to obey the same Laws! As Christians, we profess to follow the God of Abraham. Also now Gentiles HAVE BEEN GRAFTED INTO the family of Abraham (see Romans 11 and Galatians 3:28-29).
Then other scriptures proving even the "stranger" must obey the same laws are given in other scriptures such as Numbers 15:15 and Leviticus 25:16 and especially verse 22.
and finally, if we nonJews are not obligated to obey the Law, then what would keep us from committing adultery, lying, and stealing? The Law of God is a PACKAGE deal -- all of it. Not just the "moral" precepts or just the parts "we like."
Think about it.
Keith Slough, minister
The passage in Exodus 12:49 refers to the Passover sacrifice and how the native Israelite and the sojourner relate to that specific sacrifice. The sages regard the sojourner or stranger as a Ger Toshav, a non Jew who dwelt among the nation of Israel. So to say that all 613 commandments were also applicable to the "stranger" is false. Not all of the Commadments were applicable to everyone of Israel. There were different commandments for the priests only, for men only, for women only, for the Temple only etc.
So yes, the commandments were only given to Israel, the covenant at Sonai was made with Israel only along with all the other biblical covenants including the new covenant. Tosay that they weren't is to say that G-d did not set Israel apart as a chosen people. This is not to say that those who are not Jewish would not receive blessing for following the commandments.
The sages of Israel also looked at the "stranger" that dwelt among them to be obligated to the 7 Noachide Laws.
Yes gentile believers in Messiah Yeshua are "grafted in" and now are a part of the commonwealth of Israel.
As to the rest of the scripture Mr. Slough posted, all I can say is you have to view those through a Jewish perspective or you'll miss the real intended meaning.
Jesus commands us to "keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17, where He clearly quotes from the Torah) and His brother James writes that if we offend in only one law, we are "guilty of all" (James 2:10). Further, Jesus brings an OT commandment into the New when He quotes the commandment that says that Man is to "live by every Word of God" (Luke 4:4). Paul said ALL scripture (including the Torah) is profitable for doctrine, to correct, reprove and instruct
(II Timothy 3:16).
Michael Boxerman commented that: "Not all of the Commandments were applicable to everyone of Israel. There were different commandments for the priests only, for men only, for women only, for the Temple only etc."
Absolutely. The NT commands husbands to love their wives -- but that is not a commandment single men can obey. But where God spoke to the WHOLE nation then that was for the common man. Strangers were indeed required to keep Passover and the other God-given Festivals. These will be observed by ALL nations (gentiles included) in the Kingdom Age (Zech. 14:16-19).
Mr. Boxerman writes: "So yes, the commandments were only given to Israel ... The sages of Israel also looked at the "stranger" that dwelt among them to be obligated to the 7 Noachide Laws."
That could be. But the question before us is, how did God look at it? All the world will keep ALL the laws of God (that were given to the common man in Israel) when Christ returns to set up His kingdom. So why not obey God now?
I ask the same question why not start now, and yes all the world will be under the subjugation of Messiah when he returns.
But please keep in mind that in Scriptures quoted that Yeshua was speaking to His Jewish disciples.
Jesus said we are to love one another as he loved us. He set an example for us to follow. That example, as the Master, included obedience to the Ten Commandments. Jesus asked why those who chose not to do what He told them to do were calling Him "Lord". Beware!
Surely Ps. 19:7-13, as well as the entire chapter of 119, is speaking favorably of the Torah of Moshe—the Law of God. Paul coined the phrases “Law of the Spirit of life,” and “law of sin” in Romans. He also coined the phrase “Law of Christ” in 1 Cor. 9:21, and again in Gal. 6:2. In Yeshua, Paul calls the Torah holy, righteous, good, and spiritual (Rom. 7:12, 14) and considered himself to be in agreement with and a servant of the Law of God with his mind (Rom. 7:22, 25). Moreover, Paul also speaks of love being the “fulfillment of the Law” in Rom. 13:10, and James (Jacob) speaks of the “Perfect Law of Liberty” in 1:25 of his letter to believers. With these data in mind, where then should the Law of Moses fit within the NT theology for the believer in Messiah? Firstly, we must affirm that according to the Bible, only the circumcised heart can have the Law of God written upon it. Also, recall that when the NT was being written, the ONLY righteous Law given of God that Isra'el knew of was the Law of Moses—the very same Law that Yeshua stated in Matt. 5 would not pass away—even down to the smallest jot or tittle—until all is fulfilled. Therefore, the NT writers could not have been speaking of anything other than the Law of God that would be written in our hearts as believers. The proof that the Law written on our heart is the very Law of Moses is made evident when we go back and continue to read about this “internal” heart law from the pages of the Old Testament itself.
Ariel HaNaviy, what essentially, yes, in essence, are you alluding to as the "Law of God"?
I don't think there is any allusion here. Ariel can only be referring to the mitzvot (commandments) of HaShem. These are the Laws of G-d.
Alfonso, Michael Boxerman is correct: I refer to the Law of God as the mitzvot (commandments of HaShem). To be sure, isn't this how Paul would have understood the commandments of God when he wrote 1 Cor. 7:19? Also, isn't Paul alluding to the mitzvot when he states in Rom. 2:13 that the doers of the Law are justified? Paul is not saying that merely doing the commandments will save you. What he is saying (like James) is that faith saves, but actions vindicate. Thus, Christian law-keeping is proof of our salvation, proof that the Law is written on our heart, and it is the evidence that we truly love Yeshua (if you love me you will keep my commandments, i.e., the ones he received from his Father and modeled for his followers).
I believe that Jesus came to fulfill the Law in His prophetic capacity, but Jesus also practiced keeping the Feasts and demonstrating His life through living out His Jewish beliefs according to the Torah.
The Word says that the Word will be written on our hearts and we'll "know" it and have no need of anyone to teach us.
So I believe in studying the Torah that alot of it is so ingrained in my common sense that the Spirit of the Living God in me by the Councilor, Holy Spirit, that I do live out so much of the Law in my beliefs.
I don't traditionally practice the legal parts of dress and washing etc., but the "Law" is written on my heart.
But the Torah has not been written on the hearts of all. The completion of and enactment of the New Covenant will come at the time of the Messianic Era i.e. The Kingdom of G-d. To fulfill the "Law" is a Jewish idiom also, so when taken out of context it makes no sense. The biggest thing people need to remember about the Torah is how much of it is actually applicable during this time of exile. There are mitzvot that you can't keep without the Temple, there are mitzvot you can't keep outside of Israel, so on and so forth.
But what about Romans 2-4, Romans 14, Galatians 2, and I Timothy 4? Don't these verses distinguish between the Ten Commandments (which people who love God will obey/want to obey with the power of the Holy Spirit) and the OT laws? If not, I'm very confused as to why they don't. Can someone explain why or why not?
Judaism has always counted the Ten Commandments (TC) as a part of the Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy). To be sure, the TC show up in both Ex 20:1-17 and in Deut 5:6-21 (which is a recall of the Exodus list with some minor variations). Some feel the TC basically represent the totality of the entire Torah in concept and purpose, without listing every single commandment.
When we read the NT, it is probably best to understand that when Paul says Law, and the Torah proper is the context, then the TC would also be included. Paul even calls the entire Torah, or parts of it, “the commandment” in Rom. 7:8-13. It seems to be vogue in Christian circles to try and make a marked distinction between the Torah and the TC, but this seems to be more of a reading into the text, even though for the most part it is essentially harmless.
When God writes the Law on the heart of a New Covenant person (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10) it surely must be the complete Torah, not merely the TC. If it were only the TC, then some very important commandments get left out (like loving God with all you're your heart, soul, mind, and your neighbor as yourself: Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18 quoted by Yeshua in Matt 22:36-40). My point is, if the TC are supposedly “elevated above” the rest of Torah, then why does Yeshua agree with the Judaisms of his day that the "two greatest” commandments are two not even lifted directly from the TC? And yet, you can in fact deduce the "two greatest" from the TC.
Ariel, your closing statement "And yet, you can in fact deduce the "two greatest" from the TC" seems to undermine your thesis that the complete Torah is the Law that God writes on the heart of a New Covenant person. Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18, quoted in Matt 22:36-40, articulate the essence of the divine principles of relationship outlined and listed in the TC. Evidently, the focus of the discussion to which Matt 22:36-40 allude was on the essence, or spirit, of what constitute the ideal of genuine intimacy, harmony, and communion of interpersonal oneness. More specifically, we are talking about interpersonal oneness of humanity with God and with one another, in Christ.
More important than the letter of the Torah is the spirit and message of the document. Paul, the apostle, makes it clear that the letter kills but the spirit gives life. Jesus called attention to the vital importance of the spirit of one's response to God's requirements. For example, adultery is more than a physical and overt act. Even the covert mental act of lust is a violation of the TC.
So many rites of the Torah are no longer required of true followers of Christ. Animal sacrifices are no longer required. Christ is our eternal Sacrifice to which such ceremonies pointed. They have served their purpose. Even circumcision is not a requirement of Christianity. Paul, the apostle, is clear about that. In short, Scripture does not support the view of the complete Torah as the Law God writes on one's heart.
Alfonso, this makes sense to me. Thank you. I have a question for you (or anyone thinking along your lines :) ). What would you say to someone who wants to impose rules and judgments on others similar to OT laws under the guise of NT verses about "taking care of the body" and "stewardship"? Examples--saying to other people it is a sin for them to eat certain foods because "it's not healthy" and a sin to not care for mold/mildew the way the OT says because that is "not good stewardship and not glorifying to God." My husband and I agree with them that generally God wants us to practice good health & stewardship, but we think it is wrong to tell someone else exactly what this should mean in their life and dangerous to call things sin that God does not say are sin. They are not doing this to us, but to someone else, but it seems wrong. Would be grateful for any thoughts.
The Torah is eternal and everlasting, a copy of the The heavenly Torah. Let us understand and be clear so there is no confusion. The Torah was given to the Jewish people and not to the Gentile nations. So to say that true followers of Christ are no longer obligated to certain "rites" of the Torah is false.
To a Jew we are still obligated to keep the commandments that are applicable in our current time and situation. Christ's sacrifice for our sin cannot be compared to the animal sacrifices because there was no animal sacrifice that forgave the partaker forgiveness for intentional sin, only repentance and God could do that. Furthering that, most of the sacrifices were thanksgiving or free will sacrifices not pertaining to sin at all.
The sin offering or chatah in Hebrew was for unintentional sin, but that would still fall under a guilt offering. The sin offering was more like a purification sacrifice. For example after a woman had her period and she washed herself aka baptized, she would bring a sin offering to the Temple.
Many laws were specifically for Jews that only applied inside the land of Israel.
More study and simplification is required for most of these comments. In conclusion the law is good but not required to the letter.
God does not change...what he said yesterday is good for today and forever. If one says that the old testament is only for the Jews, then we need to understand that all believers are covered by the promises because there is neither Jew nor Gentile once we accept Jesus and are born again. We become a part of his chosen people. We don't replace Jews, we are grafted into the tree of his chosen ones. The back of the Bible is as relevant as the front of the Book... it is our history lesson of how God deals with those who choose to obey him and keep his commandments.!
Amen brother June! I agree with most of what you stated. Be blessed in your walk with Messiah!
Paul said if you are under the law you have fallen from grace. If you have fallen from grace you have no hope. Galatians 2:21 If obedience to the law could save you, then Jesus died in vain. All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. First John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. We are saved by our faith in the Grace of God that He sent His only Son to die in our place and rose again that we might have life in Him.
Ariel, what specifically did June say that you question or disagree with?
James Kraft, Scripture does teach that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. An explanation of how a true believer, and follower of Christ, shows and confirms the faith he/she claims to have might be helpful to the understanding of readers.
June stated, " If one says that the old testament is only for the Jews, then we need to understand that all believers are covered by the promises because there is neither Jew nor Gentile once we accept Jesus and are born again.." I do not interpret Paul's teaching here in Gal 3:28 to be saying that our ethnic distinctions disappear in Messiah. To be sure, Paul also says "there is neither male, nor female, slave nor free" in the same verse. Surely we still have male and female, right?
I think what June was trying to imply was that the Torah is for all of us (something I affirm), which is why I did not initially say anything specific. Sorry to confuse.
Christianity affirms--as do I--that in Messiah, neither Jew nor Gentile status is advantageous with regards to either salvation or blessings from God. Both are equal sinners in need of Yeshua's forgiveness, and both are precious in God's sight.
There is equality in our diversity. Alfonso, does that answer your question?
June, did I understand you correctly?
Galatians 5:22 says; But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. 5:23 Meekness, self-control;against such there is no law. The bible says; by their fruit you shall know them. We only look at the outward things though and cannot see a persons heart.
Only God knows our hearts. He knows when we do good things to try to make ourselves righteous, and when we do good things because we love Him and others. As we grow in Christ we will begin to see Him working in us. We have no righteousness of our own and it all has to come from Him.
As we die to ourselves and our own righteousness, we get more of Him. We must decrease so that He can increase. When we are living out of ourselves which is our old nature, we are not living out of Him. Until our old nature is made weak, we cannot be strong in the Lord.
Some believe that we can make ourselves righteous by obeying laws and rules. But that is still our old nature. We are still living out of our selves. Jesus did not come to change our old nature but to give us His nature which is nothing of ourselves.
Over time we learn that the law cannot save us even if we think we can obey it. Jesus gave us His perfect righteousness when we first believed. As we die to self we will see more of His righteousness in us. We are still sinners saved by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone. We give Him all the Glory instead of giving the glory to us. We have to loose our selfrighteousness.
Paul said that anyone that puts us under the law should be accursed. Obedience to laws and rules gives us pride and selfrighteousness. It makes us proud that we can obey God. But, it is a lie. When we obey laws and rules we are not obeying Christ. We are living in the flesh and not trusting Christ.
All of us are born with a dead spirit and under the control of the flesh and satan. When through our faith in Chirst we are raised from the dead to new life in Christ, He joines His Spirit to our dead spirit and makes us alive again. We are no longer under the curse of the law. Jesus is the curse for us. Now we live out of Him like Adam did before the fall. He is now our life. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the unGodly.
The only way for us to learn this is to go through trials and tribulation to where we have lost all faith in ourselves. When we have no answers to our situation, we have to lean on Christ alone by faith. Nothing we can come up with makes any sense as to why we are going through this. We absoulutely come to the end of ourselves and have to wholy lean on Christ alone by faith. It is our unbelief that God wants to remove from us, and only He knows how to do it.
Sinners though we are, He will lead us into paths of righteousness for His Name. Only He can do it. We cannot save ourselves by obedience to laws or rules. If we could Jesus died in vain.
Disclaimer; I am still a learner of Him. Just a sinner saved by grace through faith without works.
James, as you point out, an integral and essential component of the fruit of the Spirit is 'faith'. The Spirit that bears and exercises that component through believers is the same Spirit that led Jesus on earth. The manifestation of that faith by Jesus was obvious to His followers and to others who were willing to believe and who chose to believe. Would the Holy Spirit lead believers today to respond to God's Moral Law, or Standard, of Love in a way that conflicts with how Jesus was led while on earth?
I think there is a broader point to be made here when using Paul's letters as your base, and that is context context context. Galatians was written to the Gentile God fearers. They were Gentiles not having the same obligations to the commandments as Jews. The "Law" that Paul speaks of here in this letter is not the whole of the Torah but the sign commandments that mark Jewish identity i.e. Circumcision, Tzitzit, mezuzah etc. The whole issue in Galatians was prosolyte Jews telling the Gentiles that they needed to convert and become Jewish in order to be saved. So with this context you can now apply it to the text and it will give a whole different meaning than what is traditionally taught in modern Christian churches.
I don't believe so. But strict obedience to the law may not be Gods will. Sometimes one law overides another law. I gave an example on another thread like this. What if a mans family is starving? Under the letter of the law he cannot steal. But a greater law is that a man that does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel. So the man would be justified by stealing a loaf of bread. He broke a lesser law in order to save his family.
The law of love and compassion toward his family is greater than the letter of the law. The bible says love is even greater than faith.
We can obey Gods laws to the letter to make ourselves righteous, or we can obey God's laws out of love for God and love for our neighbor. Love always wins. But all love comes from God. So we still live out from Him and what He has given us. That is why we cannot boast in ourselves. All righteousness comes from god and we would not have it without Him giving it to us to start with. We have nothing to claim. We have no righteousness in us. It has to come from God. As we trust Him, He will provide us with what ever we need both spiritually and materially.
We have motives in our lives that we are blind to. Only Jesus through the Spirit can open our Spiritual eyes to the truth. That is why we are His workmanship to mold us and make us what He wants us to be.
Just tell the Lord to do what ever it takes to bring you to the place He wants you to be. It may be scary at first, but in the end it will be worth it.
I also believe that the law was done away with, for believers, so that we could not use it as a crutch to establish our own righteousness though obedience to the law. We are saved by grace whereby we do the things in the law by following Jesus. It is so easy to believe that through obedience to the law is what saves us.
Faith without works is dead, but works without faith is just as dead. Many unsaved people believe they should go to heaven as they are just as good under the law as others. But Jesus said He is the only way the truth and the life, and no one comes to the father but through Him.
The "badges" you referenced are a thoroughly James D.G. Dunn concept. I perceive that you, like myself, do not hold to the traditional "Lutheran" stereotype of Judaism caricatured by merit theology when reading Paul.
To be sure, I maintain that the prevailing Christian view of Judaism as a religion in which one is “saved by works” carries with it several other misconceptions about Judaism. Of most significance, it denies the important role of grace and repentance in Judaism. In a word, I believe Paul would support the notion that the doing of good works is not the opposite of having faith.
Your last sentence was spot-on: "The whole issue in Galatians was prosolyte Jews telling the Gentiles that they needed to convert and become Jewish in order to be saved. So with this context you can now apply it to the text and it will give a whole different meaning than what is traditionally taught in modern Christian churches."
This is EXACTLY how I read the book of Galatians.
James, Jesus has indicated in no uncertain terms that without Him, that is, without God, we cannot carry out the will of our Heavenly Father [John 15:5]. It is humanly impossible to obey God in a way that pleases Him, without Christ.
Philippians 4:13 states very clearly that we can "do all things through Christ who strengthens me." In other words, we can do what God tells us to do, through the enabling presence and power of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Paul tells us that it is impossible to please, or satisfy, God's expectations of humanity without faith [Hebrews 11:6]. The spiritual implication of this reference and divine truth is vitally instructive. The reality and virtue of 'faith' is indisputably being linked to some other reality. What might that reality be? Well, without pertinent 'works' [the productive exercise and fruit, or evidence, of faith], faith is dead or virtually non-existent. Of course, without faith, our works are spiritually barren, meaningless and unhelpful. Despite our human opinions, the position of Scripture is that the faith that pleases God is a spiritually dynamic reality inextricably linked to some form of active manifestation and evidence of its real existence!
As our Spirit-led Example, the living testimony of Jesus was a life-long, overt expression of a powerful, covert faith-rich connection with our Heavenly Father. His earthly life, even without words, spoke volumes of His faith in the invisible Spirit and the invisible Father.
Jesus repeatedly called attention to the measure of faith being exercised by His followers. "Oh ye of little faith" was more about the exercise of faith than about the size of one's faith. Jesus taught and highlighted the efficacy of dynamic 'faith' the size of a tiny mustard seed. Though small in size, the exercise of such a small measure of faith can effectively cope with mountains of difficulties and challenges.
The exercise of faith is no less important than the size of one's faith. What is the exercise of faith? The answer in one word is 'work'. We are divinely endowed with a measure of faith. It is a divine gift. Buried like a talent, it becomes unused, unexercised , and virtually dead. Use it or lose it! Invested in faith-driven activity, it becomes used, exercised, alive, and increased in measure. Like invested talents, faith can increase and double in size. To exercise it is to work it.
The fruit of obedience is the evidence of faith in God. Such obedience is the work of God who dwells within the heart of the believer [John 14:10]. On their own, no human can ever obey God. Yes! Our work cannot save us. Neither can our work ever please God. Yes! We are saved by faith, faith in the 'work' that God through Jesus has done to save us. We show that faith when we let our light so shine [Matthew 5:16] that others can see God who dwells in us working through us.
In conclusion, Scripture reminds us that faith without works is dead. Faith in isolation seems to be fantasy.
As a Christian it is trite that one loves the Lord.
It follows that all one’s faith is placed in his LOVING hands.
We have been given the worlds most beautiful guide book that gives us all the answers to God's love and to the results of our faith.
As a result of our faith our devotion and love for God grows and matures.
As a rule of this it transpires naturally that we do not HAVE to obey God's law we WANT to obey his law. WANTING is very different in concept from HAVING to do something.
His is a law of love and when we slip up (as we all do all the time) He is there to take us by the hand and lovingly forgive us.
What a magnificent relationship! You won’t find anything similar anywhere.
God bless to all my brothers and sisters!