Jesus; the last Word!!
Last night at our Bible study we commenced the first of a two part study on how the Christian is to understand the law of God which had been given through Moses. You may remember that in the third month after God had rescued his people out of Egypt he led them to Mount Sinai. It was there that God gave his people his precious law which went into quite a bit of detail as to how the people were to live. The question for us today is what should we make of this law today? Should we try to obey it? If so, then which parts should we keep and how would you know? This is a very big subject and Christians have come up with different answers over the years thus I didn’t have any illusions about setting the world alight with my study!
In understanding how we interpret the Old Testament law I have come up with three headings. The first of which is-
1) The law before Christ
One of the big reasons that God gave his law to the people on Mount Sinai was to prepare them for the coming of Christ. The sacrifices were a key component in this, as when people sinned by breaking a law, they were to bring a lamb to the Temple and sacrifice it. The point being made here is that the animal died in the place of the sinning person, so that they could go free. In this way God was showing what Jesus Christ would ultimately do on the Cross as ‘the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’.
2) Christ above the law
Even on a first reading of the New Testament it becomes clear that, whereas Christ was the one man who fully kept God’s Law to the letter, he did change the law of God given through Moses. Indeed this is one of the amazing things about Jesus which must have shocked many Jews- to change God’s law meant nothing less than that he was God himself!
One powerful example of this is concerning the clean/unclean distinction which all God’s people had to observe throughout the Old Testament era. What this meant was the Jews could eat certain foods but not others. However, with the coming of Christ, all foods were pronounced as ‘clean’ so thankfully we can all enjoy our full Irish breakfasts!
So what does this mean for us today? Can we just forget about God’s law and do whatever we want? I am glad you asked, as this brings us to-
3) The law through Christ
As we have already begun to see Jesus did chop and change the Old Testament law. Some parts of it he abrogated, other parts he confirmed, while other parts he strengthened in meaning. What does all of this mean for us today? In simply English all of God’s previous revelations got filtered through Jesus. It is Jesus who is God’s last Word, and the Word that explains all other words of God.
So if you want to know what God’s will is for your life then Jesus is the God-man that you need to see!