For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes (Romans 10:4)
The Old Testament is primarily a prophetical book, not a set of moral instructions. The overriding purpose of the Old Testament is to bear witness of the coming Christ (John 5:39). The Old Testament does indeed contain sound moral precepts: but these are preliminary shadows of the Spirit-empowered morality to be found in Christ.
Consider the commandment: “Honor your father and mother, so that you will live long in the land the Lord has given you.” (Exodus 20:12) Under the New Covenant, the spiritual application of this law supercedes the literal. Jesus told one prospective disciple that following Him overrode his filial duty to attend his own father’s funeral (Luke 9:59-60). In Christ we have a new father and mother– our Father is God, our mother is the Church indwelt by His Spirit (Matthew 12:48-50). Under Jesus’ recasting of the Law, We must honor our spiritual Father and mother so that we may live eternally in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Similarly, the New Covenant’s spiritual Sabbath supercedes the literal Sabbath. Through faith in Christ we have a perpetual Sabbath (Hebrews 4:4-11), and we worship and serve Him continually in His temple, namely, our bodies. A one-day-a-week Sabbath is no longer sufficient. “Sunday Christians” are no Christians at all.
Some of the commandments of the Old Testament are included within the spiritual commands which they prefigure. Consider, “You shall not murder”, which in Jesus’ teaching becomes, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart” (Matthew 5:21-22, 1 John 3:15). The literal, outward commandment is a consequence of its spiritual embodiment, for murder springs from hatred. Similarly, “You shall not commit adultery” follows from, “you shall not look with lust upon a woman” (Matthew 5:28).
The New Covenant is
not new, it is merely the full unveiling of the Old. The Old does
not pass away when the New comes. The New is the spiritual
metamorphosis of the Old, as the butterfly is the metamorphosis of the
caterpillar. The spiritual commands of the New Covenant are written
on our hearts when we walk in the spirit by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans
Prayer: Lord, help us to see your Word as a Book of Life, not a book of rules.
Copyright © 1998 CrossPollen
Last Revised: June 7, 2002
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