Summary: Are Christians bound by the Law of Moses? As a result of misinterpretations of God's word, unsubstantiated allegations AND misperceptions that arise from misguided Biblical teachings, the church is MORE divided today than EVER.
“For it seemed good to the HOLY SPIRIT, AND to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you ABSTAIN from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
There are many people today who have departed from the true faith and became spiritually shipwrecked. They exposed themselves to deceptive teachings in which biblical truths are distorted or denied. “Gentile Christians AND Jewish Christians are NOT under the Law of Moses” is a VERY sensitive issue that has been discussed, and OFTEN misunderstood over MANY centuries. The Christian church are divided, OFTEN because they IGNORE Biblical contexts, MISINTERPRETING the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments AND the teachings of Jesus Christ; THIS leads to ignorance. Hopefully with THIS article we can clear up SOME misunderstandings.
The Law of Moses was a temporary ceremonial law that regulated the priesthood, sacrifices, rituals and meat and drink offerings. THIS law would ONLY be valid until Christ was crucified.(Galatians 3:16-3:19). The ritual and ceremony of Moses' law pointed forward to THAT day that Christ would be sacrificed on the cross as a once-off offering which would be acceptable unto God. When He died, THIS law became fulfilled…complete, but the Ten Commandments (GOD’S law) "stand fast for ever and ever." (Psalm 111:7-111:8).
The Law of Moses was NOT written for Christians, but for the Jews who continuously broke the law. The Ten Commandments on the other hand was written by God, that’s why it’s called GOD’S Law, and MUST be obeyed until the END of time, by both Jews AND Christians alike. Everything GOD ordered AND instituted MUST be kept sacred.
To understand WHY Paul made the statement that Christians are NOT under the Law of Moses, but under grace, let’s review the circumstances that INFLUENCED the context of his statement. The Law of Moses said that men were to be circumcised. The Jewish Christian believers of the time DEMANDED that converted gentiles should become Jews FIRST and be circumcised, if they were to be part of the body of Christ. Paul responded by saying that Jesus instituted a NEW covenant…the covenant of faith, love, mercy and forgiveness. THIS implied that Jewish believers were God’s people NOT because they were Jewish, but because they were believers. Furthermore Paul made the statement that ALL food are clean for consumption:” As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. (ROMANS 14:14). However, he quickly followed his statement up with the following: “13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will NEVER eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. (1 Corinthians 8:13). This became SUCH a serious matter, that the apostles and the elders met in Jerusalem to get clarity on these issues (Acts 15:6).
Yet another example of poor interpretation of the word of God is found in Acts 10:11-15 “11 He (Peter) saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” MANY Christians interpret the Apostle Peter’s vision as an instruction from God that ALL food is clean and can be eaten. NOTHING can be further from the truth, because Acts 10: 28 provide the context that led to God’s instruction to Peter, that had NOTHING to do with food consumption: “28 He (Peter) said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile (People who was seen by the Jews as unclean and impure). But God has shown me (In the vision he had) that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.”
The Jerusalem assembly approached the issue from a totally DIFFERENT perspective. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us (circumcised Jews) and them (uncircumcised Gentiles), for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we NOR our ancestors have been able to bear?” (Acts15:7-10).