Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Even though Christians believe that all of Scripture is authoritative, the coming of Christ fulfilled many of the Old Testament laws in such a way that they no longer bear on believers directly.  One clear example of this is how the New Testament tells believers to regard the "ceremonial" laws of Moses.  The numerous "clean laws" of Israel touching diet, dress, and other forms of ceremonial purity, as well as the entire sacrificial system and temple worship ordinances, are no longer considered binding on Christians, because Christ came and fulfilled them.  In the New Testament book of Hebrews, we are told that Jesus is the final Sacrifice and the ultimate Priest, and so believers must no longer offer up animal sacrifices.  Nor, as Jesus taught (Mark 7:17-23), do Christans have to obey the clean laws that determined if a worshipper was ceremonially clean and qualified for worship.  Why not?  It was because Christ's atoning sacrifice brings us the reality to which the sacrifices pointed, and in Christ believers are permanently made "clean" and acceptable in God's sight. 

Nevertheless, as Biblical scholar Craig Blomberg points out, 'Ever command [from the Old Testament] reflects principles at some level that are binding on Christians (2 Timothy 3:16).'  That is, even the parts of the Old Testament that are now fulfilled in Christ still have some abinding validity.  For example, the principle of offering God sacrifices stills remains in force, though changed by Christ's work.  We are now required to offer God our entire lives as sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2), as well as the sacrifices of worship to God and the sharing of our resources with others (Hebrews 13:5). 

And consider the book of Leviticus with all its clean laws and ceremonial regulations.  These laws are not directly binding on Christians, but when Paul makes his case that Christians should lead holy lives, sharply distinct from those of the nonbelieving culture around them, he quotes Leviticus 26:12. (See 2 Corinthians 6:16-17) 
Keller, Timothy.  Generous Justice.  New York:  Penguin Group.  pp.19-21.  2010.