Evangelism and Missions

How to Know Which Old Testament Laws Still Apply


There is value in the laws of God because they bring life to us and honour to Christ. But which ones apply and which ones don't?

The books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy line up for believers a list of thousands of laws that God prescribed for the Israelites to follow. We still have to follow many of the laws listed in these three books, but there are also some that we don't have to follow.

We know for a fact that stealing, lying and coveting—as spelled out in the Ten Commandments—are still as wrong today as they were during Moses' time.

But stoning, excommunicating children and staying away from certain foods are no longer commanded.

How do we know which laws still apply today and which don't?


Know the Purpose

God never gave laws just because He wanted to. There is a purpose to every law. Dietary laws were meant to protect the health of a nomadic Israel with no hospitals. Civil laws existed to rule and govern the people. When looking at God's laws, let us ask why God gave them and if the context that they were built upon still exists today.

We know for a fact that the Bible doesn't say anything about pornography. But because it tells us how sexual immorality ruins our bodies and relationships and how the law to avoid it protect us, we know pornography is wrong.

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Look Through the Lens of the Cross

There is a major difference between the Old Testament and New Testament—Jesus Christ. While people of the Old Testament were saved by adherence to the law and faith in it, we are saved through faith in Christ which then empowers us to adhere to the law.

That said, some parts of the Old Testament have been abolished, more specifically the laws pertaining to sacrifice for atonement. Because Jesus is now our ultimate atonement, there is now no need to earn the forgiveness of sins.

Be Led By Relationship

Our relationship with God is less to be treated like a contract with terms and agreements, but like a friendship that is ruled by love and compelled to preserve it. The ultimate law Jesus gives us is to love God and love others (Mark 12:29-30). That's because God is relational and His laws are relational in nature.

What are some things that we can do to preserve and grow more in our relationship with God and others? Those laws championed in the Old Testament that do that still are those that we can walk in still.

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