Christians have been accused of picking and choosing which Old Testament laws they want to follow. For example, Christians believe in the Ten Commandments and other moral and ethical provisions in The Law, yet they don’t keep Kosher. So what’s going on here? Are they playing fast and loose with God’s law? Are they discarding some laws and keeping others? To complicate matters, we have Jesus saying The Law will never disappear (Matthew 5:17-20 and Luke 16:16-20), and the Apostle Paul saying that we are no longer under The Law (Romans 7 and others). I’ll try to clarify all this, and explain why Christians don’t keep Kosher and follow other Jewish practices.
II. Different Kinds of Laws
First of all let’s define “the Law”, which can refer to three things.
1. The Law
a. The Pentateuch
First, we occasionally read something that refers to “The Law of Moses.” This usually means the first five books of the Bible, called the Torah or the Pentateuch, traditionally attributed to Moses. It may occasionally refer to one or both of the next two means of The Law.
b. Sacrificial System of Atonement
Second, “The Law” can refer to the Old Testament sacrificial system. Christians no longer have to sacrifice animals to atone for sins, because Jesus took care of that requirement of The Law once for all time. We read in Hebrews 10:9b-10:
God ends the first system of sacrifices so he can set up the new system. And because of this, we are made holy through the sacrifice Christ made in his body once and for all time. NCV
c. Rules and Regulations
Third, “The Law” can refer to keeping the various rules and regulations spelled out in the Torah. Devout Jews were (and are) supposed to keep hundreds of these various rules and observances to gain favor with God.
More on this topic in a future post.