For the last couple months, the associate pastor of my church and I have been reading a chapter a day from the Bible and then posting to social media a verse, observation, etc. from what we read that day. We did Proverbs, 1 and 2 Corinthians, “30 Days of Paul,” and now we are spending October going through 1 Samuel (#OTOct).
While our posts have had the usually predictable things -thumbs up, hearts, etc.- something else interesting happened this week. I had a friend who I met through the Burning Hearts Chrysalis/Emmaus Community message me the following:
“I just have a couple of questions for you…I ran across your feed this morning and I thought it would be good to get some insight from you….I have been talking to this guy at my work. He is very into the Word and doing what it says…so here’s what we have been talking about…nowhere in the Bible does it say that the laws of the Old Testament do not exist to this day. So why do people not do these things any more. If we are to walk as Jesus walked, then how do we do this if Jesus was not only a Jew but he was without sin. And he followed the laws of the Old Testament. So if we are not living by all of the laws of the Word are we then living in sin? Some of these things would include celebrating our holy day on Sunday instead of Saturday…celebrating holidays that are not of God but holidays that man has made about God…such as Easter and Christmas which both are pagan holidays…wearing tzitzit on the four corners of our garments…and so on. I have been looking into this a lot lately and I think it would help to get a view from someone. Thanks!”
That was an unexpected side effect of my social media activities. So I did what every wise Christian should do when encountering something like this: I started watching cat videos on YouTube.
But after that, I started processing a the question. Where do we as Gentiles fit into this larger arc of Law and Grace? If you want a basic idea, check out what John Piper has to say on the subject. While I don’t agree with everything he teaches, this response does a good job of getting at the main idea.
In Romans, Paul writes that the only value the Law has is to emphasize how impossible it is for people to keep it. A person guilty of not keeping a fraction of it is guilty of breaking all of it. In Acts, the Jerusalem Council, upon learning that Gentiles are receiving salvation, decide that these new believers should not be compelled to be circumcised. Circumcision was the sign of the Old Covenant (Genesis 17). There is not enough time or space to go into detail on the implications of that here, but at its foundation is that if the Jerusalem Council and the Apostles decided that it was not necessary to practice one of the central tenets of the Mosaic Tradition, then how does the logic of a Christian being expected to follow Old Testament law hold up?
Feel free to push back on my thinking and study on the topic. I am sure that in providing a condensed idea I may have over-simplified or missed something.