You Asked For It // Bacon, Sabbath and Sacrifices: What Do We Do With Old Testament Law?
[Associate Pastor, Greg Miller, ECC Covington Campus]
The heart of this question is, “Why do we adhere to some of the OT laws today, but not all of them?”
” ‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands…
” ‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. (Leviticus 26:3, 9-12 NIV)
God is establishing a relationship with His people in this verse. The law was to help guide the Israelites and reveal their sin, so that they would then give a blood sacrifice to cleanse them of their lawlessness and sin.
This law was not meant to save. The law was a gift of grace in establishing a relationship of man with the Most Holy God.
Paul later writes about the law in the New Testament:
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4 NLT)
A: Establish relationship and reveal sin.
Q: How does the New Covenant work?
But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Galatians 2:17-21 NLT)
We die to the law. Following the rules is not the most important thing. Submission to Jesus is the most important thing.
Everyone living on this side of the cross and the resurrection is the FREEDOM generation.
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven! (Matthew 5:17-20 NLT)
Jesus follows this passage with a series of, “you have heard it said..but now I tell you..”
..law says adultery is sin..but I say if you look at someone and list then you have broken the law..
..law says don’t commit murder..but I say if you have anger against a brother then you have broken the law..
A: Grace through faith.
Q: Why don’t we get it?
Read Galatians 3
So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (Galatians 3:11 NLT)
Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:21, 22 NLT)
Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. (Galatians 3:24, 25 NLT)
A: We like law. We like works. Grace is challenging to us.
You cannot find freedom in Christ by following a set of rules. We must be led by complete submission to the Spirit.
This is not a license to sin.
But so often we get mired up in religion, and religious rules, and self-righteousness, that we forget the work is finished through Jesus on the cross. And now God cares about the condition of our heart. Our actions will follow.
Behavior modification will never save us.
Let’s not diminish the work of Jesus on the cross by creating a set of rules and regulations that we deem necessary to abide by in order to live a “Christian” life.
Dying to self and submitting to a new life in Jesus is the only way to be saved.
Bottom Line: Jesus fulfilled the law so we can follow in freedom.