What was the purpose of the Levitical Law?


Clarify Share Report Asked October 03 2014 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
There is often confusion about the role of the Old Testament Law and how it relates to Christians today. Some say the Levitical laws were just for the Jewish people, while others say they apply to ...

October 03 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Ari Ariel HaNaviy Messianic Jew and Torah Teacher with Messianic Congregation 'The Harvest'
What was the purpose of the Levitical Law? Before he came to Messiah, Paul says in Romans that he would not have known what sin was except by the details spelled out in the Law:

Rom. 7:1-12
“What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.”

So a good portion of the Law defines sin and what it means to “fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). This is in agreement with what John teaches in his letter:

1 Jn 3:4
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”

But, in my understanding of scripture, even though the Law can showcase sin, it cannot convict a person of it. That is the job of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). For indeed the Bible explicitly teaches us this elsewhere:

John 16:8-11
“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

Moreover, the letter of the Law without the Spirit cannot regenerate man. It will only kill him:

2 Corinthians 3:6
“…who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

The Law is God’s standard of what is sin and what is not sin. However, God knew that the Law, as “good” as it was (Rom. 7:12), it was actually weakened by the flesh (Rom. 8:3) because it could not convict of sin. This is why God sent his Son to do what the Law could not do:

Rom. 8:3-4
“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Atonement exists on two levels: temporal and eternal. That is why much of Levitical Law pointed out sin and provided a means for “sanctification for the purification of the flesh,” as one approached the Holy Sanctum, but only the Spirit of God through the blood of Jesus could “purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” We can see these two levels of atonement in Hebrews 9:13, 14.

Since Paul has now come to be made like Yeshua by the fullness of the Spirit within him, concerning the Law, he can now declare:

Rom 7:22, 25; Rom 8:1, 2
"For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being... Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death."

September 14 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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