Why You Don’t Have to Obey All the Rules in the Bible

Even Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish the Law (Matt. 5:17), so it has got to be important, right?​

The laws in Scripture are a beautiful reflection of the holy God we worship. I have found however that many believers are confused about the role of the rules – especially those Old Testament laws we find in places like Leviticus, that seem so foreign to us. The hundreds of exhortations in Scripture might lead one to believe that Christianity is a religion of moralism, but it isn’t. Let me try and summarize the three types of laws found in the Bible, and show how ultimately, they lead us to Jesus. ​

 

If you asked most people outside of the church what Christianity is about, chances are they’d point you to rule keeping. I’ve heard it over and over again: “Christianity? It’s about being a good person, and loving your neighbor.” Or “It’s about following Jesus, living like Jesus!”

We shouldn’t be surprised that the average non-Christian assumes this about Christianity. The fact is, many of us within the church were raised to believe this. After all, the Bible is filled with laws. Commandments that tell us how to live, and what not to do. Even Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish the Law (Matt. 5:17), so it has got to be important, right?​

The laws in Scripture are a beautiful reflection of the holy God we worship. I have found however that many believers are confused about the role of the rules – especially those Old Testament laws we find in places like Leviticus, that seem so foreign to us. The hundreds of exhortations in Scripture might lead one to believe that Christianity is a religion of moralism, but it isn’t. Let me try and summarize the three types of laws found in the Bible, and show how ultimately, they lead us to Jesus. ​

Moral Laws

In the Bible, we find what’s sometimes referred to as the Moral Law. This Law is summarized in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17), but it’s also written on our hearts (Rom. 2:15). All of us have an innate sense of right and wrong. This “natural knowledge” of justice was expounded upon by C.S. Lewis, “…human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it…” Lewis goes on to describe how we’re also masters at breaking this Law (Mere Christianity ch.1). ​

We know the Law is good, and our conscience testifies to us about right and wrong, but we still inevitably do things contrary to the Moral Law. This Law, according to Jesus, is ultimately fulfilled in the command to love God, and our neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40). According to the Bible, all of us have fallen short of God’s Moral Law (Js. 2:10), and only Jesus, the blameless Son of God, perfectly loved the Father, and his neighbors (Heb. 4:15). ​

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