But the Bible is not a law book, it's a story. Among other things, it contains:
- History and civil laws for the O.T. nation of Israel.
- Temporary O.T. sacrificial and dietary laws foreshadowing Christ's redemption.(2)
- O.T. laws containing permanent principles that have the same or different application(3) for us today.
"Is the law repeated in the New Testament as a command (not simply a reference to an Old Testament law)?" If it is, it applies to us.It's God place, not ours, to decide which laws are permanent. God doesn't hate shrimp. He hates behavior that damages our souls.
(1) There is an Old Testament command against eating shrimp (Leviticus 11:9-12). For New Testament laws against sexual immorality, see Sex, Truth, Love
(2) Sacrificial and cleansing laws ended with Jesus: Hebrews 10:1-22. Dietary laws also ended with Jesus: Acts 10:9-15; Matthew 15:10-11, 17-20 For more details, see Bite Size Bible Study: Old Testament Laws
(3) Some sins were punished more severely under Israel's civil laws in the Old Testament, and these punishments are not re-commanded even though the behavior is prohibited.
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It is an unfolding revelation of Christ. The Old Testament, as part of that revelation, contains some principles that are eternal but many laws and practices that are not.
1. What does the following passage tell us about Old Testament law?
Galatians 3:23-25: Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
2. Does that mean we aren't responsible to live holy lives?
1 Corinthians 9:19-21: Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
Note that Paul says he's not "under the law" but he's "under Christ's law." Do you know what this means?
For a fuller understanding of this concept: Romans 7, Romans 10:4, Ephesians 2:14-16, and Galatians 2:16.
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted
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