Why do Christians follow some Biblical laws,
but not others?
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This is a common and reasonable question. Why do Christians uphold the ten commandments, but don't follow other practices like cleansing the house with the blood of a bird? (Leviticus 14:51-52
) As you read through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, you will notice three different types of laws.
These are laws directed at Israel alone, and specifically designed for the government of rule for the Lord's chosen people.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them...
The rest of the world is not expected to follow these commandments, but rather, the nation of Israel. For example:
Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
In other words, don't torture the animal just because your mad at what happened.
God makes civil law for the children of Israel, so they know how to behave themselves, despite yearnings of the flesh. Christians do not act in accordance with these laws because they were not intended for the Gentiles, and though there are many good lessons still to be learned from God's civil laws, we are not bound to them.
Some laws are put in place to direct Israel's worship, interaction, and atonement to God. The scripture in Leviticus 14, for example, describes how to cleanse a house from disease to prevent it from spreading. In this "law of leprosy" (v57
), the priest is given a commandment:
...dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times: And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water
These ceremonial sacrifices, and other events such as appointed feasts and holidays, were given by God, and made to please the Lord and atone for sin. These ceremonial laws are no longer applicable to Christians because Christ fulfilled the law on the cross.
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
This is the type of law the scoffers and scorners are mixing up with the rest of the law. The ten commandments are an example of moral law. This is law that describes God's character, and is still applicable to Christians today. In fact, Christ not only taught these principles, but also added more specifics.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:
Here, Christ is telling us that now it's not just "Thou shalt not kill," but rather, thou shalt not hate thy brother. The moral laws are still standards under Christ's salvation, and demonstrate to us the nature and character of God. Christ paid the ultimate price, and made the ultimate sacrifice, so that mankind would not have to continue to atone for his sin day after day.
Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
We should all kneel before God in humility, for he is a just and merciful Lord that was willing to do this great feat out of his love for us.
(To learn how you can accept Christ's free gift of Salvation, Click Here)
Sometimes, these laws have extremely strict punishments. The scoffers will typically claim that God is cruel based on his punishment of criminal actions, but they are judging what is "cruel" or "evil" based on their standards of moral judgement, and a false belief that they themselves are "good." God's standard of right and wrong are the only certainty mankind can achieve in morality, since morality requires an unchanging standard that mankind cannot achieve on his own. Arguments against God's standards all come from either logically fallacious appeals to emotion, or majority opinions, and have no solid foundation.
(For more details on the debate of morality, read "The Spectacular World of Atheism," here at creationliberty.com)