Does Following Jesus Mean We Can Ignore the Old Testament Laws?

While doing research for our most recent discussion on homosexuality, I stumbled upon an article that stated that the law was obsolete. In plainer terms, the author implied that everything the Old Testament says, primarily in the first five books, Genesis through Deuteronomy, no longer applies to Christians today.

I have to say, their argument is quite compelling. When we think about what Christ did on the cross, and considering His last words, “It is finished”. Not only that, but they back their argument with very solid verses.

For example, the author uses Romans 10:4, which states, “…Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given”. (NLT)

If Christ has fulfilled the law, or, as the NLT says, “accomplished the purpose” of the law, than why should we follow the law in any of it’s aspects?

A compelling argument. Paul faced the same dilemma when arguing with the Roman Christians and Jewish converts, as well as sections of his other letters, and he directed the argument quite nicely.

Elsewhere in the book of Romans, Paul tells them that it is necessary to obey the law, not by following the word of the law, but by obeying it “in the new was of living in the Spirit” (7:6). He tells them that ignoring the law is a terrible thing to do, because by disobeying the law, we become slaves of sin (6:15-16).

Another argument that the author of the other article states is taken from Hebrews 8:13, which says that in Christ there is a new covenant, making the first one obsolete. But we must ask, what was the first covenant?

We know what the new one is: it is the covenant God made with us through Christ, that if we obey Christ and follow Him, we will have eternal life.

What was the old, or first, covenant?

Many argue that it is the law. But that is not the covenant to which the author of Hebrews refers. Note in verse 10 that the author quotes from Jeremiah, stating that God will “‘put [His] laws in their minds and [He] will write them on their hearts.'”

If God planned on making the law obsolete, why would He have Jeremiah prophesy that the law would be written on the hearts and minds of humanity?

No, the “covenant” of which the author of Hebrews speaks is the covenant of bringing sacrifices to the temple for the forgiveness of sins.

Finally, Christ Himself stated that His coming into the world did not mean the law was done for. Rather, His coming into the world was to fulfill every aspect of the law so that the strict following of it would be done away with (Matthew 5:17-20). But the law still applies and we must pay the price of disobedience if we do not follow Jesus.

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