Friday, August 10, 2007


As I was about to go to sleep an idea was going through my head, so instead of sleeping here I sit typing.

I was thinking about the unchanging God - how Christianity boldy declairs God to be the same yesterday, today and forever. This has proven to be difficult for some people because of the differences between the Old and New testaments. It's almost as if the God of the old testament is one of wrath and the God of the new testament is one of love.

How do we reconcile this, how do we make it fit?

In the Old Testament the "holy life" was governed by law. There were the laws written in the Torah (the Jewish holy book) and then there were the teachings of those who studied and interpreted the law. For example, the Torah would say not to work on the Sabbath. The teachings would define what work was (no more than x number of steps away from home for example), and when the Sabbath began and ended. So these two forms of "law" and a whole lot of time meant for a whole lot of rules. These rules were impolssible to follow all the time, and so sacrifices were set up to sort of "fill the gap". Depending on what law was broken a different offering or form of repentance was laid out to cover that.

Then there's the new testament where the sacrifices and the laws seem to go out the window. What happened? Did God change His mind? Did He give up on us and lower the standards?

No. We changed. Or rather, our circumstances changed.

Think of it this way - in the Old Testament there were different rules for those who were "clean" than for those who were "unclean". There was a general understanding that "unclean" was a temporary state and so none of those laws were lifelong.

Humanity was in a state of "unclean" without method of changing that state. The Laws given in the OT were laws given with the understanding that they would be temporary. There was a better way coming, they just had to wait.

That's why things like not wearing blended fabrics, or not eating certain foods, or staying outside of town for certain things aren't important anymore - they only applied temporarily, only until the final sacrifice of Christ.

So does that mean none of the laws apply?

Hebrews 10 is a wonderful chapter. Starting at verse 8
8First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The intent of the sacrifices (the requirements of the law) was to set our hearts on the will of God, not the will of man. It is God's will to save us, to woo us, to love us and for us to grow in that love and show it to all we know. When our will is focussed on God then none of the law is needed - it's purpose is already being fulfilled.

When one is fully focussed on God, on living a holy life (which first requires the belief that it is possible to live such a life) then the law becomes obsolete. It only exists because of the circumstance we find ourselves in.

So God never changes - His pourpose is eternal. We are the ones who change, through His power, so that we no longer need the law and are truly free to live our lives in Him. That isn't to say that nothing is a sin when a person is devoted to God - no one can "get away with murder" so to speak. It just means that a person totally devoted to God wouldn't do those things, and so it's not an issue.


Weavers said...

I think a lot of what your talking about falls under the banner of entire Sanctification...daun daun daun~!!! :)

Elizabeth said...

How about this thought:

-God created us for a love relationship with Him.
-We failed.
-God established the Law to show us His standard...perfection.
-We realize we can't achieve perfection.
-God says, "Finally you get CAN'T"

-We realize our need for a Savior.

God's sets a new standard... not the Law, but grace...the acceptance of God's covenant with us.

Grace sets an even higher standard than the Law did...where the Law said "Do not commit adultery", grace says, "Don't even lust."

Where the Law said "Do not murder", grace says "Don't even hate."

I don't think that Christians under grace are absolved from the law, or that we just "don't need the law and are truly free to live our lives in Him". That statement seems to imply a life of easy holiness. (We all know from experience that this is not the case). I've heard many a flippant believer say that they're "covered by grace", as if it's OK to sin because of our knowledge of the work of the cross. It's as if there is a belief that we're no longer under the Law, so all of our sin is swept under the rug of the blood.

In fact, the Christian's standard is much higher and more difficult to achieve than that of the Law.

But we have an Advocate. And we don't have to "achieve" that standard of covenant grace without Him.

...Just a thought.

Steph said...

humm...maybe I didn't express myself as well as I thought I did (that can happen at 1 am...)

I was talking more along the lines of the "little" things - Christians are not held to not walking more than 50 paces from their home on the Sabbath, or being circumsized, or not wearing poly/cotton blends etc. Those things have all faded away. It isn't that God no longer cares about our purity etc (as those things were usually to remind us of our purity), but that since our circumstances, our situation and relationship to God, they are not longer an issue.