Are we still bound to obey Levitical law today? What did Christ mean by saying he hadn’t come to do away with it? Have you ever wondered that? It’s often puzzled me.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them, (Matthew 5:17).
I mean, I understand the implications of it. God gave the law to show that wrongdoing is a moral offense. To show our moral bankruptcy, and help us see our sinful actions and tendencies. Which has always puzzled me even more!
Why would anyone need laws to see their own sinfulness?
All it takes for me is one day spent inside my head. My thoughts are not always the most charitable. Yet, I know we hate admitting wrong. The story of fruit-eating in the garden proved that, didn’t it?
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate,’ (Genesis 3:9-13).
Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. People, in denial of their wrong-doing, have been blame-passing a long time! So with the law God was saying: “Ok, you do wrong (sin) all the time. And look, here’s the proof. Now, what are we going to do about it?”
And then, he offered a temporary solution.
The animal sacrifices which gave man a way of erasing the slate. Temporarily. Because man kept marring his slate again. And that was the law’s purpose. It served to show his wrong. And make him see he needed a remedy.
And that’s where Christ comes in. (Aren’t you glad?)
His life, death, and resurrection brought the remedy. The lasting remedy. At last, man could throw that dirty old eraser out, having his slate wiped totally clean. Once and for all. And in a certain sense, he could even throw the chalk out too!
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross, (Colossians 2:13-14).
Our sin is taken care of. Not that we stop sinning. (I only wish!) But we no longer need the law to cancel it. Christ took our sins (trespasses), and wiped them away!
So… I’ve often wondered: do we have to keep the law, or should we just pretty much ignore the law books?
And this is the conclusion I’ve come to. The law says, “Your heart is evil, and you keep doing wrong. So the solution is to follow all these rules.”
But Christ says, “You won’t need to worry about keeping rules, because I’ll give you a new heart. One that wants to do right.”
And when we read the law with that new, clean heart, we still find a lot of good teaching and common sense. And we even discover that we already keep it, in many ways, without realizing it!
So I started looking for some common sense teaching in the law.
- Don’t refuse to testify in court about something you saw or know happened.
- Don’t touch dead bodies of unclean animals. (Who wants to, anyway?)
- Avoid touching human waste. (They needed a law for this?)
- Don’t make hasty promises.
- Don’t rob or cheat anyone.
- Give back money or valuables left in your care.
- If you find something, don’t keep it and pretend you don’t have it. (Extra change at the check-out counter?)
And all that common sense from only three chapters of Leviticus (chapters 4-6)!
No, Christ did not do away with the law. But he drew a new picture on the canvas of our life.
As a painter laying fresh colours upon an old picture, (Hacket).
Let’s thank God today for the fresh clean painting he makes of our lives!
Fresh painting that creates within us a heart that says, “No, I don’t HAVE to do right. But I WANT to, because I want to please Christ!”