The Law Christians Keep.
My wife always tells me that different people ‘see' things from different points of view even when faced with the same information. So it can be useful to handle articles with this in mind and use different ways to introduce subjects. Thus in this case I’d like to introduce an analogy which I hope many will find helpful.
In England we drive on the left. There are laws on the statute books covering this and giving all the details about signs, and etiquette, etc. These are good laws.
Now let's say you leave London and leave the Old Country and move to France and live in Paris permanently. If you were to continue to drive on the left, sooner perhaps rather that later, you are likely to have an accident and someone may be killed. As, in this scenario, you were deliberately driving on the left, the authorities may consider it murder. So the very law, (good though it was in it's own context), which was meant to provide safety on the road, when you keep it in another country, can bring harm.
Now apply this analogy to the Old and New Covenants and let’s see what we may find out.
There is, as you probably can see, an obvious parallel between that analogy and the change from the Old to the New Covenant. When people realize that Jesus brought a completely new way to live and that the two covenants are like English law and French law so to speak, then they change completely from one to the other. They do not keep any part of the Old Covenant (OC) but switch totally to keeping those commands they find in the New Covenant. There are over 1000 commands in the New Testament some say. That ought to be enough to cover all God wants as the Old Covenant is said to only have 613 commands!
So imagine you are now living in a new country called the New Covenant, which is a unilateral covenant made between Father God and Jesus. You have moved here because it is significantly different to the Old. For a start we Christians did not have to agree to any written code like the Israelites did with the OC, before it was sprinkled with blood to ratify it. Our covenant is like the Abrahamic covenant which was also unilateral. It was not dependent on Abraham's performance for him to get the blessings, just like our New Covenant is not dependent on our performance. It's all by faith in Jesus. The human 'participants' in Jesus' day did not have to agree to any conditions or list of laws.
Abraham was asleep when God made the covenant ‘with him’, and only God walked through the cut animals. Two people - Torch and Oven!
“ Gen 15:12 & 17-18 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.
it came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and
behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch
which passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a
covenant with Abram, saying,
So also, on the cross God was in Christ reconciling us to Himself. Just the two of them.
2 Cor 5:19 ...namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world
to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has
committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
All the laws Christians are to follow are in this new covenant only. For newby Christians who do not yet hear God in them, there are those 1000 commands in the new testament as I have mentioned before! There may even be some with similar wording to some in the OC. But, just as when living in France we obey the laws on the French statute books, so we obey those similar laws because they are on the New Covenant statute books, where we now live.
Once you learn to hear God though; to be guided by the Holy Spirit in you, and Jesus in you and Father God in you, then you can really start renewing your mind to be like Jesus'.
As we renew our minds, and let Jesus live His life through us, we take on the mind of Christ. Now we get closer and closer to keeping naturally the real commandment we are called to keep, "TO LOVE AS JESUS LOVES". This is the command Jesus gave to us in John 13:34.
“ Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you should love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
Now some may ask, "Don't you have to keep both of the covenants, the Old and the New?
Well, Paul covered this point when he wrote in Romans 7:1-6 that the Old Covenant was a marriage covenant and "Jehovah God", the "I AM", the "Aleph and the Tal" was a husband to Israel. We actually can see that God saw himself as Israel's husband by looking at Jeremiah 31:32 for instance...
“ Jer 31:32 It (the New Covenant) will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; —a covenant they broke, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. ”
Notice that God says the New Covenant will not be like the Old Covenant made at Sinai, and He says He was a husband to them. And then in Romans, Chapter 7, verses 1-6, Paul reminds us that when the husband in a marriage dies the marriage is over and the wife is not bound by the laws associated with that marriage. If a spouse dies the marriage contract is recinded. The law has authority on a person only as long as the person lives!
Rom 7:1-6 Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know
the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a
married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband
dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called
an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if
her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she
is not an adulteress.
We should see the connections to what Paul says above about the death of
a spouse. "Jehovah God" , the "Aleph and the Tal", "The Alpha and the Omega",
"The First and the Last who was dead and is alive", "Jesus the Messiah"
(Rev 1:17-18), was that husband!
Laws like “Thou shalt not murder” or “Thou shalt not steal” from the OC are at the level of “Do no harm” but unfortunately they also put the thoughts of those sins into your mind as you meditate on them. Perhaps that is one reason why Paul says in 1 Cor 15:56…
“ 1 Cor 15:56 Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.”
Surely though, as we develop the mind of Christ and concentrate on loving God and others as Christ loved, more and more we would not think of doing wrong!
When the people of Israel burned their children to Molech, God said about this abomination that it never entered his mind that they would do such a thing! This is stated in two places, one of them being Jeremiah chapter 32, verse 35...
“ Jer 32:35 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”
That is where we as
Christians are heading; to the measure of the stature of the fullness
of Christ, where we do not use a written code to illustrate to us
what sins to avoid and thus bring those sins to the forefront of our minds.
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in
the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a
perfect man (or woman), to the measure of the stature of the fullness of
And, under this New covenant, as we grow in Christ, since we are holy and righteous and are the temple of the living God, we are holy and righteous 24/7. If the ground around a bush where God was present was holy, how much more are Christians who have God present in us all the time.
God's New Covenant temple is always holy; always loving and growing to be like Jesus.
Best wishes for grace and the peace of Jesus.