Tattoos, Bacon, Beer | Christianity & the Law
As New Testament believers, how do we apply the Law to our lives? Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not abolish it. The Law exposes our sinful desires and tendencies.
The Law was given at the beginning of the nation of Israel; which laws are we supposed to follow today? In this episode, Brody walks through how we live between the tension of the law, legalism, and our freedom as believers.
Jesus cares about your heart. Scripture has called us to be obedient to Jesus. Don’t live legalistically. Christianity is not about following a dress code in church. Let’s extend grace to each other and give God glory in everything we do.
- Matthew 5
- Romans 10:4
- Romans 6-7
- Romans 14
Hey, today, I’m gonna talk about something that I think is misunderstood by a lot of Christians. We’re gonna talk about the Christian’s relationship to the Law. The Christ follower, what does the Old Testament Law mean for me? Before Jesus came into the world 2000 years ago, the ancient nation of Israel was governed by a set of rules and laws that God had given them a couple of thousand years before the time of Christ, not a couple of thousand years, but close to that, before… Well, over a thousand years before the time of Christ. So for well over a thousand years, between 1000 and 2000 years, somewhere in there, they had lived by a certain set of rules and governances, and they followed Jesus by following Yahweh. The God of the Old Testament revealed as Yahweh, who we know Jesus was the second person of the trinity from before the existence of humanity. And so when Jesus came into the world, he said, “I didn’t come to say that the Law is wrong.” David, the Psalmist wrote, “The Law is good. It’s like honey. It’s good, it’s joyful. It’s delightful.” But as Christians, we can become frustrated, how do we know what laws to follow, and how do we know what we’re set free from, and what’s our relationship to the Law supposed to look like? That’s what we’re going to get into today. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being here. Welcome to No Sanity Required.
So I had something that happened to me not long ago, where I had a person ask me, “What is the rule on a Christian getting a tattoo?” And that’s a common conversation, I think. And that comes from… I think that comes from, a lot of times, it comes from a heart that desires to please the Lord, like okay, there’s this Law in the Old Testament that says don’t mark your body. And so how is it that so many Christians have tattoos? What do we make of that? And then there are people who will look at certain Old Testament laws and say, “Well, those don’t apply to us.” So for instance, the Law that you can’t eat pork, regardless of what your dietary opinions are, maybe you’re a vegetarian or… I don’t think we have a lot of vegetarian that listen to this podcast, but probably some, hopefully some. I want people from all walks and opinions to listen, but let’s say that somebody has a… They don’t eat pork for dietary purposes, but it’s not a religious thing, that we’re no longer bound by certain laws, but there are other laws… So okay, how can Christians get tattoos and how can Christians eat pork? And how can Christians… How is it that we don’t have to worship the exact same way they did in the Old Testament? What do we make of the Law now as New Testament Christians?
And then you go back, you go back to the Old Testament and there are certain laws that we know we would still wanna follow, like thou shalt not murder in the King James, “Don’t murder, don’t commit murder, don’t commit adultery.” So why do we have to obey those laws and not some other laws? And what do we make of all this? And so what I wanna do is a shallow dive that I think will be a very practical dive into, as New Testament Christians after the resurrection of Jesus, what do we… How do we apply the Law to our live, when the Law goes back to the time before Christ? A couple of key verses in the New Testament and thoughts, one is, Jesus said in Matthew 5, “I did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. I did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.” And then Paul says in Romans, Chapter 10, verse 4, that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law. So it’s, Jesus says, “I’ve come to do this thing that I’m in the middle of doing.” And then Paul says, “Jesus came along and did the thing. He did it, He completed, he fulfilled the Law.” So then as Christians, what does the Law mean for us? Because you’ll also see, like Paul says in Romans, Chapter 7… If you look at Romans 6 and 7, Paul really addresses the Law, he addresses it some in Romans 4 too, but in Romans 6 and 7, he addresses the Law.
And at one point, he says, “What am I saying? Am I saying that the Law is sin?” And then he says, “No, may it never be. Absolutely not, it is absolutely not sinful. The Law is not sin, the Law is good.” And then he gives some clarity to that, he says, “I wouldn’t have known what sin was apart from the Law.” So the Law exposes in me sinful desire. In other words, to further that application, he says, “I wouldn’t have known it was sinful to covet if the Law hadn’t said don’t covet.” In other words, there are some things that we need some clarity to know that they’re even wrong. Like why is it wrong for me to desire to have a sexual relationship with another person? Why is it wrong for me to desire someone else’s possession? “Well, this guy’s got a truck, and man, I really like that truck, and I want it for myself. I want something like that.” It doesn’t mean we can’t… It’s funny, I’m in the process of buying a family vehicle right now, and I’m looking at stuff, and it’s just that rabbit hole you can go down, and there’s things I’d like to have, but then there’s things that are not necessary and how nice of a vehicle do I need and how much money do I need to spend and to be wise?
And so it’s not, you can’t desire things. I’d like to have… There are certain things I’d like to have, but to not be… To not be controlled or ruled by that desire, not to desire something that God has blessed someone else with, to desire that for yourself. It’s a fine line, so how do we take those ideas and find clarity? What is coveting? What’s the difference in coveting and thinking, well, I’d like to have a house to raise my kids in. We’re renting an apartment now, but I really wanna buy a house. And my friends have houses and they’re raising their families in homes, and I’d like to have one too. Is that coveting? No, that’s maybe goal-setting, to better myself, to be a good steward. So what we do is we take a broader approach to scripture to apply that scripture to an idea. So is it, so I wanna have a new house or I wanna have a new vehicle, new to me vehicle, maybe it’s used, but I need a better vehicle, how is that not coveting? Well, I need to set a goal to better my situation and to be a good steward. So if I apply the biblical principles of stewardship, then I can go, okay, I’m given X amount of dollars, I’m spending $1000 a month in rent, I’m getting nothing back in the long run, there’s no investment there, it’s just a month-to-month payment to give me a roof over my head. What if I could spend that money investing in something, in a mortgage, and then 10 years from now, I’ve built some equity and it’s been an investment?
So that’s not covetousness, that’s stewardship. I wanna get into a better situation. I’m driving a vehicle that’s worn out and beat up, and I really need to get something a little nicer, it’s stewardship to say, yeah, I need to think what can I afford that will meet the need and be safe for my family to travel around in? Stewardship. Okay, so what do we do with all of this? What do we do with the application of the Law? Paul says, “What am I saying? Is the Law bad? No, I wouldn’t have known what it was to covet if it wasn’t for the Law.” Okay, so how do I apply the Law then? Do I look at the Law that says, thou shalt not covet. Okay, don’t covet. It’s a sin. Well, I need to do a deep dive as a Christian and say, what does it mean to covet and understand it? And then why do I need to obey that Law when there are other laws I don’t need to obey? So if you go through the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, oh my goodness, and even Numbers, there’s a bunch of laws. There’s almost… There’s over 600 laws. So which ones do I follow? How do I know what to follow? Can I get a tattoo? Can I not? Can I get a nose piercing? Can I not? Can I have an open marriage where I have sexual union and relationships with other people? Can I not? Can I eat bacon? Can I not? Can I… And it’s like, okay, some of it seems obvious, right? Well, no, you can’t have an open marriage, you wanna be faithful to your wife or your husband.
Well, then how do I apply other laws to my life and just that aren’t as obvious? So let’s do a little bit of a… Let’s give some clarity to this, let’s just have a conversation about the Law and legalism, and love, and liberty and freedom in Christ, and how do we know what we’re free to do? How is it that I can say, “Well, I’m free to have an alcoholic beverage, but I’m not free to have four and get intoxicated. Okay, where is the line? How do I draw lines? How do I know what’s right, what’s wrong?” And I wanna… Keep in mind, this is not a sermon exposition, this is not… I’m not preaching a sermon here, so this is just a conversation, because the Bible addresses, in the Old Testament, certain things that it then addresses in the New Testament, and how do we correlate Old Testament Law with New Testament life? And there’s even been recently… I mean, there’s… What’s that cat in Atlanta? Andy Stanley, Andy Stanley, who, by the way, his dad, Charles Stanley recently died, and I loved that man. That man was so… He was such an encouragement to me as a Christian, but Andy Stanley, that guy’s a knucklehead. He’s a complete knucklehead. He’s a brilliant communicator. Brilliant. I mean like it’s amazing how that man communicates and the way he speaks and the way people respond, the way he writes.
I’ve read a little bit of, not a lot, but I’ve read a little bit of a couple of his books. And he’s such a dynamic and good communicator, but he’s a knucklehead, ’cause he’s like, “Ahh… ” And I’m paraphrasing here, “We don’t need the Old Testament. That’s obsolete.” But it’s not all obsolete, it’s not all dead, it’s not all… Like it’s fulfilled in Christ, but some of it is still applied in our lives, right? So what do I make of all of that? How do I apply the New Testament? So recently… So we’re going through the Book of Hebrews and at church, and recently I was having a conversation in a sermon, in the middle of an exposition, and we got into this a little bit. We got into, what does the Law mean for a Christian? How do you apply the Law? And we explained some things. And I had some people come to me and say, “Man, that was really helpful. I really appreciate it. It brought some clarity to me.” So I thought, let’s have that conversation here. So last week, we listened to the conversation from the prior month podcast, but over the last few weeks, we’ve addressed some things like the discipline of the Lord in the life of a believer was a couple weeks ago, a couple episodes back, so how do I take the discipline of the Lord, the conviction that comes from scripture and know what’s right and what’s wrong?
Man, I’m telling you, legalism is something that… Which, let me define some things. When I say legalism, I mean following laws and rules to be self-righteous or to be self-governed. If I can obey the right laws and be religious enough, then I’m a good Christian. And the scripture has called us to be obedient to Jesus. But on the other end of that spectrum, you’ll have people say, “It’s not religion, it’s a relationship. And so I’m not just called to follow a bunch of rules, I’m called into a relationship with Jesus.” Yeah, but you can also go too far with that, where you’re like, “Well, the Law doesn’t matter to me. I have Christian liberty, I can live however I wanna live.” And what we’re called into is a relationship with Jesus. And in that relationship, we worship, adore, exalt and obey Jesus. We pattern our lives after Jesus. So it’s, yes, it’s a relationship, but he’s not your buddy or your homeboy, or your boyfriend or your husband or… He is your Lord and your Savior. He’s my Lord and my Savior, so I worship Him as my king, I exalt Him as my savior, I thank Him as my Lord, I worship Him as God. I walk in obedience to him as my master, I follow after Him as my example, I try to adhere my life to his example as the ultimate person who ever lived.
So the relationship… Yes, yes, it’s not a religion, it’s a relationship. But it’s not that simple, ’cause I have a relationship with my dog, Roxy. She’s awesome, I love Roxy. Love me some Roxy. Roxy, she’s the keeper of the house, she’s the keeper of the front door, she’s the gatekeeper. She’s good. I love Roxy. I have a relationship with Roxy, and in that relationship, I give her things like chicken bones and scratches on the head. That’s a relationship. I have a relationship with my sons and daughters, and I have a relationship with my wife. Those are the deepest, most intimate earthly relationships. And then I have a relationship with the postmaster in town. I swing by the post office and I have a conversation. I have a relationship with the guy that drives the propane truck that delivers gas. Like Kenny Clark, he’s a good friend of mine, I have a relationship. Like it’s stupid to say, “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.” ‘Cause relationships have such broad dynamics, but it’s also stupid to live legalistically to say, “If I can follow the Law, then I’m gonna be a good Christian. If I can follow the rules, then I can be a good Christian. If I follow the right dress code, if I follow the right church, dress code at church, especially, then I’m good. If I apply certain things and principles to the Christian life, then I’m good.”
I’ve had several conversations recently with people about dress code at church, “Well, we dress this way to go to this event, and we dress this way to go to this event. We take our hat off when they sing the national anthem, and I wear business casual to work and so should I not honor the Lord the same way?” No, we don’t apply cultural reverences and cultural rules and cultural courtesies to the way that we worship God. Jesus said, “I’m concerned about the condition of your heart.” No one has ever been more ornamental in their worship than the Pharisees were, than the Old Testament priests were, but we don’t do that. Jesus said, “The greatest human that ever lived was John the Baptist.” That dude, people thought he was crazy just ’cause of his physical appearance. He wore animal skins, he had matted dreadlocks I’m assuming, he had long hair and a beard, and people were like, “This guy’s crazy.” Jesus’ like, “I know his heart, he’s the greatest human that ever lived.” And He said that while looking at the same guys that would take their hat off in modern context when they come in church, or that would dress in robes of ornamental service and the priestly garments, but Jesus looked at ’em and said, “But you’re white-washed tombs. You look one way on the outside, beautiful and ornamental, but on the inside, your heart’s wrong.”
Jesus, keep in mind, he didn’t say, “I’ve come to strike down the Law.” Jesus is the one that put the ornamental dress of the priests in order. So it’s, we just have to be careful that we don’t take man-made rules and man-made courtesies and cultural courtesies. Like for instance, when the national anthem is played, I put my hand over my heart. Why don’t I put my hand over my heart when we sing Amazing Grace in church? Well, because when we sing the national anthem, we take our hat off, we put our hand over our heart, we’re doing that to honor fallen veterans. I do not honor those men… And not just fallen veterans, but veterans that never even saw combat, but that were willing to go and people that built this country of democracy, a democratic republican, whatever, in that rabbit hole of why don’t we… We stand for the flag and we take our hat off and we put our hand over our heart when the national anthem is played. And why do we do that? Well, we do that to honor the people within a cultural context, but I’m not gonna take the way that we honor people in a cultural context and then apply that to the way that I worship God. It’s much bigger than that. I worship the Lord in spirit and truth.
I worship him with my heart, mind, soul and body. And I wanna be careful that I don’t create legalistic laws and rules that say, “I have to dress a certain way, walk a certain way, talk a certain way.” Jesus says, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” So my speech should be driven from a heart of worship and obedience to the Lord, not, “Do I say certain prayers and speeches and… ” You know what I mean? Like it’s the condition of the heart. Now, I wanna be careful that I guard against legalism, I also wanna be careful that I guard against expressing liberty too fully, like, “Well, I’m a… Man, I’m a New Testament believer. I’ve got freedom in Christ.” Paul wrote to the Galatians Church and said, “It’s for freedom that Christ has set you free, stand firm therefore, brothers, and don’t be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Throw off the… ” We would say, “Throw off the yoke of slavery and express your freedom.” I remember a good friend of mine, Tim Burnette, Timmy Burnette is a pastor over in Asheville, North Carolina, his daughter Emma works here on staff at Snowbird. Incredible family, an awesome brother in Christ, a co-laborer for the gospel. We’ve had him speak and preach at different events here.
We had him speak at Be Strong, and we also have had him preach at Red Oak on numerous occasions, and then I’ve had the opportunity to speak for him at a men’s conference a couple of years ago. Timmy was at this wedding and this couple had gotten married and afterwards there was alcohol being served, and I’m fine with that. That happens a lot. Well, I would say far more weddings that I’ve officiated or been at… Not far more, probably more have had alcohol served than have not.
And if not more, it’s 50-50 or 60-40 one way or the other. Just, the point I’m making is there’s often alcohol being served, but it always concerns me. And Timmy was expressing this. He made the comment, “Man, there’s a lot of snowbird folks. Boy, they were really expressing their liberty.” And he kind of chuckled. And then he was then explaining that there was just a lot of excessive consumption of alcohol. Now, don’t get me wrong, we’ve addressed this. We had an episode on this a couple years ago. Maybe we’ll come back to it. As a Christian, I do not see anything fundamentally wrong with having a glass of wine, with having a bourbon, with having a beer, maybe with having two, if we’re you’re spread out and you’re on a full belly, or whatever.
I know the scripture’s clear. Don’t be drunk with wine. The scripture also says in the proverbs, Hey, wine gladdens the heart and makes merry. And so I think for a Christian to drink alcohol is a very fine line, and there’s a very careful line that needs to be walked. But drunkenness is not okay. Intoxication is not okay. And then public perception is very important. As a Christian, if I’m in the public arena and I begin to consume alcohol, there may be a younger weaker Christian there that says, oh, look, Brody’s drinking, I can drink. It’s all good. And then that person may have a genuine problem with alcohol, and I may aid in leading that person down a very destructive path of alcoholism. I have to be very aware of that.
So Timmy and I were talking and he said, yeah, it’s just, I was uncomfortable with how much alcohol was being passed around and how much alcohol was being consumed. So liberty, the opposite of legalism, is something that we also have to guard against. I’m no more spiritual for wearing a tie and a suit coat to church, that doesn’t make me any more spiritual. In fact, I could be an unbeliever and dress that way. I could be a whitewashed tomb who’s religious on the outside and darkened on the inside. At the same time. A person could come to church in the John the Baptist vein, guy comes to church straight from the logging camp, and he’s wearing loggers and double knit Duluth logging pants. And he is got a dirty greasy shirt and hat with a chainsaw, grease and gas and oil.
And he just gets off work and makes it to church on a Sunday afternoon or evening. What’s it matter? That dude comes in ready to worship, what’s it matter? And it’s not about the outward appearance. So wanna be careful of legalism. And that’s just one example of legalism. We could down a bunch more examples, but I’m using that one. But also, someone says, well, I’m free to dress how I want to, to come to church. And then that person shows up immodestly. Now, that seems to be a problem in the other direction. Or, a person shows up to a wedding party and says, I do not drink. It is sinful. And they have an attitude of condescension or judgmentalism, when the Lord is like, no, you don’t look at somebody else with condescension or judgmentalism in your heart, but then another person shows up and they abuse alcohol.
“How do we live between the tension of the Law, and legalism, and liberty, and discipline?“
So it’s Christian freedom, and they get drunk. And that’s a problem. Then again, that’s just a couple of examples, but how do we live between the tension of the Law, and legalism, and liberty, and discipline? What do we make of all of this? So in the rest of this episode, what I wanna do is break down the Law and its application for the New Testament believer. And you can disagree. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you think I’m outta line on anything I’ve said so far. I love good conversation about this. It’s funny, things tend to go in waves. I’ve had multiple conversations about wearing hats in church lately. One from an older member who’s a retired pastor who I love and appreciate, he and his wife very much.
And he said, I know this is… It was in a text conversation, but he said, I know this is just kind of a personal, a strong personal opinion I hold. I appreciated his spirit in the way he said, I just I… It conflicts me to see men wearing hats in worship. And I can appreciate the way this man approached that. And so I know that, for some people, we gotta wade through what’s opinion and what’s biblical orthodoxy and truth, and what’s a non-negotiable? So let me hear if you disagree with something I’m saying, and unless… And then maybe we wrestle through as it’s just we have two different opinions, or it’s like, no one of us is biblically out of line here. I think those are healthy conversations.
I think it’s important when we have these conversations that we have the right spirit, the right attitude. Paul said, I’ll quit eating meat, quit drinking alcohol, whatever. I’d lay anything aside if it’ll help my brother, I’ll take my hat off and not wear it in church if it’ll help my brother to more… Like that brother who’s older than me and who I respect, who sits behind me in church, if my hat being on my head is gonna vex him in the worship, then, Paul would say, God forbid, may it never be. I’ll take my hat off. It’s not that big of a deal for me. Why would I hold to that? So that’s an easy one. If there’s someone that I know they are gonna be conflicted to see me drink alcohol, why would I drink alcohol in front of that person?
Why would I say to him, I’ve got freedom to drink alcohol. You need to get over it. No, man, let’s just love each other. And so I think it’s important that we don’t… Let me try to condense this into one or two sentences or a short paragraph. So here we go. It’s important that I don’t hold to the Law or legalism in such a way that I’m condescending towards others, that I’m judgmental of others, or that I’m self-righteous in my own ability to fulfill the laws of God in the Old Testament or the laws that I’ve created. Likewise, it’s important that I don’t hold onto my quote unquote “Christian liberty or freedom” to the point that I don’t love others and I become combative or argumentative, or that I might lead others down a path of destruction. So what I wanna do is let love govern my actions, let love for others and love for God be what sort of guides me.
I think that’s important. So with all of that, I don’t know if you’re still hanging in there and you’re still listening. I feel like I’ve just rambled for 20 minutes but maybe you’re still with me, and let’s look at what do we do with the Law as Christian? So here’s some thoughts on the Law. Old Testament Law. So in the Old Testament, we have what’s called the Law, capital L Law. The Law is condensed is the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments summarized the Law into 10 basic rules for life that would govern the Israelite society. Most modern governments are built off of those same 10 laws.
Approaching the Law as a Christian…
So let’s break this down. The Law was given at the beginning of the nation of Israel’s autonomy as a people, as a nation. And it was given to Moses by God. So think of this in terms of their history as a nation, the ancient Israelite people, the Law of God was given to them at a specific time and place. And that would be the equivalent of what we celebrate on July the 4th as a nation independence, autonomy, establishment of a country. Now, that’s not a perfect parallel be because we declared independence on July 4th, actually July 2nd I believe, but July 4th, 1776. And then we fought a war for independence over the next five years. For Israel, God gave them the Law at Mount Sinai and Moses was the man God gave that to.
He was the first prophet priest king figure in Israelite national history. And from there forward, think of the Law as being… The 10 Commandments as being the summary of the Law that God would then build on that those were the foundational commandments, that God would build that nation on. And then from those, He would build civil laws and ceremonial laws and compassion laws and criminal laws. And he would build a legal system that would be complete with judges, a court proceeding, an operation for how to execute punishment for breaking those laws. It was a whole governance system, a whole legal system, a whole punitive system, a whole judicial system that applied specifically to the nation of Israel. But then also if we zoom out, the Law of God given to Israel is a Law… Those 10 commandments are laws that would apply to all people in all places for all times.
So specifically, they’re given to Israel at a time and place, but they would apply to people everywhere. Then God began to unpack some detail in those laws, and that’s where it can get confusing. So how does it apply to us? What does it mean for us? So let me break this down. The Law that God gave Israel addressed several areas of life. Let me give you five… Let’s see, five areas of life. The laws were, some laws were civil, or addressed civil life, some laws were ceremonial or addressed ceremonial life. That would be corporate worship, the Sabbath worship for us, it’d be like church on Sunday or whatever.
Civil, Ceremonial, Family, Moral, and Criminal Laws…
It governed how they worshiped. There were laws that governed family, that were applied to family or the home. So civil, ceremonial, home life, or family life, moral or morality, laws of morality, and then criminal, laws of criminality. So there were civil laws, ceremonial laws, family laws, moral laws and criminal laws. In addition to these five, there was a sort of a sixth subcategory of what we would call compassion laws. There were compassion laws. So let’s unpack this and think about what each of these applied to. And then that’s gonna be the first thing we do. And then the second thing we’re gonna do is look at how do we then… How do we know what we keep? What laws do we still follow?
1. Civil Law
Okay, so civil laws would be… Would have to do with like non-premeditated fights, disputes about property. There’s a Law where if you’re… If your ox gores somebody, the ox had to be put to death, put down in a certain manner. This is a civil Law. Modern terminology would be, or modern civil laws would be traffic laws, pedestrian laws, things like that.
2. Ceremonial Laws
Next, there was ceremonial laws. This had to do with corporate worship, behavior on the Sabbath day, how they sacrificed animals, who would lead in a priestly role. The ceremonial laws had to do with how they came together and worshiped.
3. Family Laws
Family laws had to do with things like inheritance, marriage and sexuality within marriage, rebellious children, how to parent, how to lead children, how to deal with rebellious children, things like that.
4. Moral Laws
Moral laws had to do with things like adultery, theft covetousness, so laws of morality. And then criminal laws would be laws like murder. Again, you could tie theft into that. There’s multiple, Jesus would kinda lump them together and say, adultery is one thing, but to lust after a woman is something that’s more of a condition of the heart.
5. Criminal Laws
So some of the moral and criminal laws sort of overlapped. So moral laws would be adultery, covetousness, criminal laws would be theft, murder, things like that. Those would be the big ones. Rape, obviously there’s a moral component, but the application of the Law had to do with the… Like a criminal Law. So moral laws had to do more with issues of morality, like sexuality, adultery, same-sex relationships were prohibited. Moral laws, sexually would… There’s even, in the Old Testament Law, they addressed, laws of sex with animals, pedophilia, things like that. So morality. Then criminal laws, theft, murder, land seizure, things like that. And then there’s gonna naturally be some overlap with some of these. So, civil, moral, criminal, you could say, yeah, there’s a lot of overlap there, right?
“There is a lot of overlap between civil, moral, and criminal laws…”
0:32:56.0 S1: But to keep things in clean categories, civil, ceremonial, family, moral and criminal. And then compassion laws were laws that were put in place to provide for the welfare of widows or impoverished people. Maybe there’s someone from another country, it’s an alien or an immigrant. So compassion laws were to care for the needy, the poor and needy. And these were laws… The compassion laws were laws that Israel broke. And a couple of different prophets addressed this. Isaiah addressed it. And then Amos, the little bitty prophetic book of Amos in the Old Testament, that he’s basically saying, Hey, you people are abusing the poor. And you’re mistreating them. So what do we do as New Testament Christians with these laws? Well, when the Bible says… When Jesus says, I didn’t come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.
Jesus said he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it, so what we do next as believers?
And then when Paul writes, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, how do we know what laws we are to still keep? And what laws don’t apply to us? Like again, we said tattoo laws. Why can’t Christians have tattoos now? Why can’t Christians have piercings or can they? Is that allowed? Can they? There was a Law that prohibited wearing cloth that was blended, two different materials. So you couldn’t wear… Like that would mean you can’t wear a spandex cotton blend if you’re gonna follow that Law. You couldn’t take polyester and cotton blend them together and wear that. You couldn’t take an 85% Merino wool top that’s blended with something poly-based so that it doesn’t shrink. And then that, like, I I’ll wear stuff like that. Well, I couldn’t wear that according to the Old Testament Law. So do I have to follow that Law?
You can’t plant mixed grass seed. I just over-seeded my yard. I threw fescue down, but there’s a bunch of clover out there. There’s a bunch of Kentucky bluegrass out there, like Kentucky 31. What? I got blended seed in my yard. Am I breaking that Law? What do we do with tattoos? And what do we do with grass seed? And what do we do with cotton and polyester blends? What do we have to follow? Clearly, we don’t wanna abolish the Law of murder. It’s not okay to murder somebody, right? So what do we do with it? Well, let me give you four things that Jesus does in terms of the relationship of the Law of the Old Testament, the time before Jesus, Jesus comes along, fulfills the Law, and then the effect of that fulfillment, what that means for us.
1. Some Laws were anulled by Christ…
So what’s your relationship to the Law supposed to look like? In our last 10 minutes here let’s do this. Number one, some of the laws were fulfilled by Jesus, and were thus annulled. They were annulled. So when Jesus fulfilled some of those laws, He annulled them. Examples would be dietary laws. In Acts 10, the Lord tells Peter, Hey, you can eat whatever you want to. You wanna eat pork, eat pork. Nothing’s unclean. There were these laws that prohibited, like, certain type of shellfish or certain types of insects or certain type… You can’t eat pork. And then Peter has this vision in Acts where it’s like, Nope that’s no more, Jesus annulled that. You can eat whatever you want to. In Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law, some laws were annulled. Number two, some laws were hardened, or we would say intensified.
2. Some Laws were intensified…
Example would be murder and adultery. Jesus says, don’t even lust after a person, or don’t even hate and have hateful thoughts towards a person. So the Law said, don’t commit adultery. The Law said don’t murder. Jesus said, don’t… The Law says don’t murder. But if you have… There’s a way you can treat somebody or look at somebody and you can have murder in your heart. And so Jesus intensified or galvanized or hardened those laws. So he annulled some, he intensified some.
3. Some Laws are continued by Christ…
Number three, Jesus continues. There’s a continuation of the Old Testament Law. So he didn’t really change the application. So he had an Old Testament Law. The application wasn’t changed. So like with adultery and murder, it was intensified. But with honoring your parents or with stealing, it was left the same. Fidelity to God alone in worship left the same, we would say. So there’s some laws that just they stay the same. Jesus just continues those laws.
4. Some Laws were Transformed…
Number four, some laws were transformed and transformed in a good way. For instance, an example of this would be the Sabbath, the laws concerning the Sabbath. How were they transformed? Well, the instruction about the Sabbath was, on the Sabbath day, on the seventh day, you’re to rest, and here’s what that looks like. And it was, you’re not to go to work, don’t make a living on the Sabbath day. That’s for worship and for family and for rest. And what Jesus does is he transforms it and he says, we’re given rest in every aspect of life. So now I can have rest within my work. I can have rest knowing that I’ve been set free from the dominion of sin. I can have a relationship with God that gives me peace and comfort and rest.
And then, the Christian life is sort of referred to in this way, in these terms. And then there’s also an intensified rest that awaits the believer when we enter into eternal peace and rest with the Lord. So he transforms some of those laws. He transforms them in a good way. So in conclusion, as a Christian, when you consider the Law, and you go, okay, what about tattoos? Well, Jesus doesn’t speak to them, but when you drill into a deeper study on that section of laws, what you’re probably gonna find is that they had a cultural application that was no longer necessary after Jesus. Dietary laws are specifically addressed. So we know that those have changed because we’re told we can eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul says in Romans 14, some people are fine eating meat that’s been sacrificed to idols.
I’m fine with that, but it’s a point of personal conviction. And that would go back to, can you wear a hat in church? I don’t know. It’d be culturally sensitive. Is that accepted in your church? If it’s not, then don’t just be rebellious just to be contrary. At our church, we don’t care if people wear hats. Got guys all through the church wearing ballcaps. I don’t really care. I don’t care. It’s a condition of the heart. It’s not the national anthem. We’re worshiping Jesus. And that’s a heart issue. Now, if somebody’s wearing a hat to be rebellious, that’s a heart issue, right? So it’s always, it’s about the heart. And so there are certain things that are addressed in the New Testament that speak to what was said in the Old Testament. But like, there’s this one Law in the Old Testament that says, don’t boil a baby…
Don’t boil a baby goat in its mother’s milk for consumption. And I always wondered, what in the world does that mean? And I finally found one explanation in a commentary that made a little bit of sense, where the guy was like, you don’t take something that gives life and mix it with some… And mix it with death. That was the way he sort of addressed that. So sometimes there’s clarity that can be found, but like today, I’m wearing blended cloth. So am I breaking the Law? Well, no, that was a civil Law that had a specific purpose in ancient Israel That Jesus… I believe Jesus annulled. I think He annulled that. What about can I have an open marriage where my wife and I practice open sexuality with others? Absolutely not. Jesus said that adultery is intensified in terms of what constitutes adultery.
And then Paul addresses sexual fidelity in the New Testament. In Ephesians 5, a man leaves his mother and father and holds fast to his wife, and the two become one. And then, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, 1st Corinthians, he addresses sexuality in 1st Corinthians 7, sexuality within a marriage of fidelity. So some things are addressed, some things are not. We just need to do a deep dive and don’t paint with broad strokes. And then the other thing I’d say is let’s extend each other a lot of grace. Let’s be kind and gracious towards one another. Don’t be judgmental, just don’t get your panties in a wad ’cause somebody’s doing something that you don’t totally agree with, but that they don’t have real evidence or proof of being rooted in biblical truth. Let’s live and let live and be gracious and extend grace and be kind.
But let’s live with personal conviction. Let’s think about how do I worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, how do I give him glory in everything that I do? If I’m gonna experience and express some Christian freedom and liberty, how do I do that in love? If I’m gonna hold to some deep convictions that are personal, how do I do that in love? And then what do I follow in obedience to our Lord’s instruction and scripture? I need to be thoughtful and think that through. So some things to think about this week. Hope you will. Ya’ll have a great week
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