Have you ever wondered how Old Testament Law matters today? Have well-meant teachings dissuaded you from believing that God continues to have a purpose for it? Then join us below as we learn how God’s Law continues to serve a purpose, one tied to the greatest commandment… love.
How Jesus Backs Old Testament Truths:
Some Believers today often view Old Testament scriptures as being useful, but largely irrelevant. This stems from a number of places, and, if we are wholly honest, numerous untruths…
Some of these include:
- A belief that Jesus somehow negated Old Testament Law, with the exception of the Ten Commandments.
- That the God of the Old Testament differs from the God of today, being mean and unyielding compared to His New Testament persona.
- A view of Old Testament Law and scripture as being largely “Jewish” and therefore irrelevant.
- That Jesus, through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, somehow not only canceled the blessings and covenants made with the Jewish people but that He transferred them all irrevocably to Gentile Believers.
Obviously, this is a small list of the many misconceptions surrounding Old Testament scripture and Law. And yet, in this short list, we find a repeated truth… that every misconception can be easily disputed with scripture. With God’s truth.
In Jesus Himself, we witness the truth of the Old Testament, which prophesied of Jesus and laid the foundations for His teachings. Not only that, but Jesus quoted Old Testament scripture. He taught it. He obeyed Old Testament Law.
“Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’”—Mark 12:29-31
Additionally, New Testament scripture repeatedly tells us that not only does the Old Testament remain valuable for Believers, but that it provides other important truths. That God did not reject the Jewish people as some might wish to believe. That they form the foundational root of our faith.
By living, dying, being raised from the dead, and ultimately ascending into Heaven, Jesus proclaimed the importance of the scriptures and the Jewish people. He welcomed us into that promise and blessing. He showed Himself to be the living example of God’s Love in the type and shadow of the Law—He became our Passover Lamb—and by the shedding of His blood, He provided salvation and right standing with God through faith in Him.
No doubt exists that Jesus—our Lord and our God—changed the world. Through His love, we are never to be the same. Yet, it is important that we realize that God Himself does not change. His Old Testament Law serves as an act of love. It provided and, to this day, gives us ways and access to God we otherwise would be without. It provides us timing and seasons to meet with God in special ways. And it turns our hearts toward His if we let it…
It serves as God’s language of love.
The Law: Legalism or Love?
The Law itself is an act of love from our Father, pure and simple. However, when misused by people, it can grow into a snare of legalism that does the opposite of what God desires.
God’s Law is meant to build up. To provide us with blueprints of who He is, who we are in Him, and what we are meant to do and be. This can be uplifting and game-changing when utilized as God crafted it to be. After all, it details what purposes and times we ought to maintain awareness for. It puts us in sync with His timing. Then ultimately creates a playbook in which we never have to guess what is right or wrong.
“He responded, ‘Every scholar of the Scriptures, who is instructed in the ways of heaven’s kingdom realm, is like a wealthy homeowner with his house filled with treasures both new and old. And he knows how and when to bring them out to show others.’”—Matthew 13:52 (TPT)
Now, this is not to say that by knowing the Law, we will never stray. Nor is it saying that Jesus did not change things. He did. And thankfully, through His sacrifice, He has brought us into a new and living way, sprinkling us with His blood for the cleansing of our sins. Leading us to salvation through repentance and faith in Him, and the circumcision of our hearts by His Holy Spirit.
Yet, God’s Law still holds untold ways and wonders of His majesty. They are a testimony of God’s love and perfection. A source of freedom and trust. But when we accept the lies of the enemy in tandem with the truth of the Law, legalism rears its ugly head.
Jesus walked through life, bearing no issue with God’s Law, because, being God, Jesus knew it was perfect. Further, God cannot be contrary to Himself. He cannot be as a house divided, for such a house cannot stand (see Mark 3:25). It was the legalism, man-made laws, and mixture with which Jesus took offense…
“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
and honor Me with their lips,
but their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
It was the misguiding doctrines of men, who wished more for personal comforts, accolades, and welfare, than a relationship with God and proper teaching of His people, that Jesus condemned.
The precious Law of His Father, Jesus loved. He taught it. And obeyed.
Even the prophecies of the Old Testament, given to man by His Father, Jesus followed to the letter. Baptized to prepare. Speaking with wisdom. Being all He needed to be, before allowing injustices and pain to be laid upon Him that drive into the soul… until ultimately coming back to life and ascending to Heaven. Answering the whole of prophecy, teaching, scripture, and Law. Redeeming and restoring with such love; love found throughout God’s Word and Law if we but have eyes to see.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”—Matthew 5:17-18
Before the foundations of the World. God was. Is. And will always be. Love.
When we know God intimately, this truth is undeniable…
As such, His Law, coming from Him, must therefore be as He is. It must be love. More so when we consider this, that the Word—which includes the Law—became flesh and dwelt amongst us.
Jesus, our Word made flesh, did dwell among us—and will one day again do so. He, love embodied, was the truth and love of the Word. Of the Law and all God was, is, and will be…
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”—John 1:14
All that God desires is found in His Word, His Holy Spirit, His Son, and all that He is. In it, we find the answer to the question, “Is God’s Law legalism, or love?”
Since we know God is love, and that Jesus, our God, was the Word made flesh, we know that God’s Law is love. And yet, another question comes from our answer…
“Since God’s Law is love, how do we respond?”
We can accept that God’s Law is love and then continue as we always have.
We can struggle by believing the lie that God’s Law is legalism.
Or, we can accept that God’s Law is love and then follow it, not out of legalism or a desire to somehow earn the acceptance of God. But out of love. Echoing the very love that gave us His Law. Accepting with great joy the grace of God that causes us to not be subject to the burden of the Law—the Holy Spirit making it smooth and sure—but allowing us to be blessed by it.
When we accept the Law as a gift of love to be treasured. When we realize that God does not expect us to adhere to those things Jesus died to shed for our sakes. When we allow the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to lead us to God’s will, then God’s yoke, His Law… becomes light (see Matthew 11:30). It becomes a reminder of the love that we can echo back to God. Jesus removed the chains, pain, and unattainable nature of salvation by His Law, through His Blood, and the power of the Holy Spirit…
Through Holy Spirit teaching, we can find the love in His Law, though we are no longer under the Law (see Galatians 3:24-26). Ask Him to remove the legalism and teach you through God’s Word the truth of His love from Genesis to Revelation! Let Him write His Law upon the tablets of your heart so that it becomes a part of who you are—just as it is a part of who God is! Let a love for it permeate your soul…
“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.”—Psalm 119:165
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