God's Law In New Testament Moral Judgments

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by JBeukema, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. JBeukema
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    Christians oft claim that the Old Testament law does not apply. They cite this, for instance, when confronted with a young rape victim, a disobedient child, unbelievers, or other Old Testament laws where their personal morality conflicts with God's word. However, Jesus spoke on the Authority of the Moseanic law and drew his teachings from it, oft referring (unknown to most Christians) to Moseanic texts when issuing his 'new law'.

    Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law.
    John 7:19

    ...the Scripture cannot be broken
    John 10:35

    And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
    Luke 16:17

    18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    Matthew 5:18

    16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
    2 timothy 3:16

    9And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!... 13thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."
    Mark 7


    Even Jesus' 'turn the other cheek'- a direct contradiction of the 'eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' is taken from Leviticus 19:18. Remember that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9-14). The same sentiment is expressed in Psalm 15.

    This continues throughout the NT. The railings against sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 5 is based upon the teachings of Deuteronomy 22 and Leviticus 18.

    The laws regarding testimony of witnesses described in Deuteronomy17:6 are cited in John 8:17-18 and Matthew 18:16

    John 7:23 raises the interesting point that circumcision (an Old Testament law based around the Old Covenant) is apparently recognized, yet the Sabbath is not. Matthew 12:5 attempts to reconcile this by- you guessed it- referring to the laws given to Moses.

    Jesus' two laws 'on which the laws of the prophets rest' is not a new teaching at all, but merely an emphasis on what is said in Micah 6:8 and Deut 6:4-5.

    In Matthew 19:16-30, Jesus is quoted as citing the Moseanic law yet again abd sayiong that we are not excused from following the Law of God, but rather that he adds to it. This is also one of the passages in which he renounces materialism and commands all true believers to live as traveling prophets, rejecting material wealth in favor of the riches of the kingdom of heaven
    21Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."...
    28Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother[c] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

    Well, this should serve as a brief introduction to get ya thinking...

    -The Reverend James Teunis Beukema

    I also recommend seeing the page below

    God's Law In New Testament Moral Judgments
     
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  2. The Illusion
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    Biblical guidelines

    The Old Testament - the millennium before Jesus

    As the Old Testament is a much misunderstood book and as all the moral principles that are found in the New Testament find their beginnings in the Old, I will start there.

    1. The Compassion of God

    The Old Testament gives us the story of God's dealings with the human race from the beginning of human history till the fifth century BCE. Particularly, it tells how God progressively made himself known to one man, Abraham, and then his descendants, the Israelites, in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. His usual method of communicating with his people was through inspired prophets. This God they had come to know was faithful (Jeremiah), just (Amos), loving (Hosea), holy (Isaiah) and merciful (Micah). Drawing these characteristics together, the Old Testament writers presented this God as, above all, compassionate. It was right at the beginning of their relationship with God as his chosen people that he revealed himself to Moses as "the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness"(Exodus 34:6). The declaration that God abounds with love and is filled with compassion is found repeatedly throughout the Old Testament*, being as it were its central theological statement. Concerning this, Williston Walker, in an article in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, concluded:

    Nothing therefore is more prominent in the Old Testament than the ascription of compassion, pity, mercy, etc. to God. The people may be said to have gloried in it.

    *For example, Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 111:4; 116:5; 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Isaiah 54:10.

    2. Grace

    The idea of grace is also prominent at the beginning of the Old Testament story. The declaration "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" repeatedly serves to introduce commands as to how God's people were to live in the covenant community (e.g. Exodus 20:2). God had taken the initiative (as he always does) to rescue the people from their predicament and to bring them into a special covenant relationship with himself, a covenant based on his own love and faithfulness towards them. Now that they are in that relationship, which is all of his doing, he expects them to behave in a certain kind of way. Because he is holy, they are to be holy. "You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own" (Leviticus 20:26). Holiness involved obedience to the covenanting God as motivated by love and gratitude (Deuteronomy 6:5, 20-25). The purpose of the covenant was to build a personal relationship, built on love and trust. As Walter Kaiser notes in Toward Old Testament Ethics:

    The covenant aims to establish a personal relationship, not a code of conduct in the abstract.

    3. The social nature of the moral code

    A third noteworthy emphasis of the Old Testament is the strong social nature of moral code. "Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbour no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man...who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent" (Psalm 15). The commands to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbour as ourselves are both Old Testament commands (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18). The first four of the ten commandments deal with our relationship with God, but the last six deal with our relationships with others.

    4. God's people as an example

    God wanted his people to be seen as a people who exhibited something of his own character, who could be an example to the rest of the nations. "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5, 6). However, in their concern for one another, the stranger and the foreigner were not to be excluded (e.g. Deuteronomy 5:13-15). It is noteworthy also from this last reference that the care of animals was also part of their responsibility, as in Proverbs 12:10: "A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal."

    This strong emphasis on community, which Kaiser calls "corporate solidarity" means that God's covenant people do not find their true being just as individuals but as members of the community. Thomas Ogletree draws out the implications of this in The Use of the Bible in Christian Ethics:

    Our wholeness as moral beings cannot be abstracted from the moral soundness of the community to which we belong.

    The inward nature of morality

    A fifth point that, as we have seen, Jesus underlined in his teaching, is the inward nature of morality. "Do not hate your brother in your heart" (Leviticus 19:17). "Surely you desire truth in the inner parts" (Psalm 51:6). "If I had cherished sin in my heart the Lord would not have listened" (Psalm 66:18).

    Justice for the poor

    Sixthly, there is a very strong emphasis on the justice of God and his bias towards the poor and oppressed. This comes through especially in the teaching of the prophets, though it has its roots in the earlier books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy that tell the story of the Israelites' delivery from slavery in Egypt and the lessons they were to learn from that. A typical example is the eighth century BC prophet, Amos, who spared no words in warning of God's judgement on those who rule without regard to justice for those who are at the bottom of the social scale. "This is what the Lord says: 'For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed'" (Amos 2:6, 7). Their religious observances are hateful to God while they allow such practices to continue. "I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings I will not accept them (5:21, 22). Instead they are to "let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" (5:24). Such teaching by the prophets is graphically illustrated in the stories of the Old Testament, such as Nathan's rebuke of David for his adultery and murder (2 Samuel 12) and Elijah's rebuke of King Ahab for his murder of Naboth (1 Kings 21). God's love for his people in the Old Testament is clearly balanced by his passion for justice and righteousness.

    This theme was taken up by Jesus at the very beginning of his ministry when, reading from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, he declared in the synagogue, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour" (Luke 4:18, 19). His ministry that followed wonderfully demonstrated those words. His heart was for the poor and disadvantaged.

    7. Hope

    A seventh emphasis, that comes through very strongly in the later prophets, is that their present moral concerns were very much related to their future hope. The prophets directed their hope towards the dawning of the reign of the sovereign God over all the earth and the role of his people in that reign. The day would come when "the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9), and "His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth" (Zechariah 9:10). This hope, which focused on the coming of the Messiah, provided a future perspective on their present behaviour. The hope of future participation in God's kingdom had serious moral implications. Moral decisions carried consequences for the future. Only the righteous could look foreward to sharing in the messianic era. "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3). Though there is not a strong emphasis on life after death in the Old Testament, the hints are there. It was recognised that many of the "good" would not be rewarded in this life, but the prophets held out the hope that God would surely act on behalf of his covenant people at the end of the age.

    8. Wisdom

    Another point worth mentioning is the importance of "wisdom" in the Old Testament. For the Israelites, true wisdom began with a proper reverence for God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline" (Proverbs 1:7). But wisdom did not stop there, it extended to every aspect of day to day living. The Book of Proverbs, particularly, is packed with wisdom for character building and sorting out one's priorities in life. (It is a great book for teenagers!) All this is important for being a member of God's covenant community.

    9.Teaching through story telling

    A final matter of importance is that many of the moral and spiritual principles of Old Testament are found in the stories of God's dealings with real people that are found there. Telling stories is one of the most effective ways of teaching moral principles, particularly for children, and at this the Old Testament excels. It is the world's greatest storybook, as well as being the one that gives the most accurate picture of this world of humans as it really is.


    **************************

    One cannot obey the laws of the NT without obeying the laws of the OT. The bible is the bible one and whole. I do not think that Christians understand the full depth of being Christian. Hell, some of us Non Christians can cite the bible better than they can. I am not saying that I disrespect all Christians, but I do not think that most of them understand the depth of what they are getting into. They like to pick and choose what parts of the bible that they are going to accept simply because they want to fashion their faith around being all good when in right, the Christian religion is anything but. There is deception, murder, mass killing, torture...etc going on in the Christian Religion. Most Christians dont realize that.

    Now, with that said, I would say its safe to assume there is what I would call "Neo-Christians" where they have spun the teachings of the bible around to suit what they want. These are not necessarily "Christians". They want the religion to be all about love and virtue, when in reality, the real Christianity is the WHOLE of Christianity.. the mass murders.. the killings..the stonings...etc.

    For example: In the OT it says that you cant wear different fabric clothing lest you be an abomination. Toeva (spelling is bad) means "ritually unclean" btw. It says that you shall not eat shell fish.. etc. Neo Christians do not follow this because they have spun the tradition to suit them.. and they are not serving the Judeo-Christian God in a right sense.

    The only thing that Neo-Christians are concerned with is sinning, repenting at will, having Jesus in their hearts, and hopefully going to heaven.

    Jamie
     
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  3. JBeukema
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    Matthew 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
    (from the sermon on the Mount. Remember that righteousness is obedience of the law [given to Moses] out of love of the LORD)
     
  4. The Illusion
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    Do you suppose that a person who has it in their heart to kill homosexuals because it is an "abomination" will goto heaven if they repent and had good intent in their heart as to why they killed the person in the name of Christianity? With respect to the NT of course. In the OT, I think homosexuality is a different matter.

    Jamie
     
  5. mattskramer
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  6. JBeukema
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    Well, seeing as (despite Jesus' incorrect implication to the contrary) only 144,000 go to heaven and most inherent New Earth and New Jeru-salem...

    You can argue that they go to the lake of fire or that they'll be rewarded in the heaven they don't go to. Scripture could be cited for either case. it's plenty contradictory when it comes to things like that- and in general.
     
  7. The Illusion
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    Can you elaborate a bit more on the underlined bold that I put? I dont know a lot of Christianity, but I know enough. Ive never been Christian nor will I ever be OR Neo Christian...so Id like your views on this since I am agreeing with you on this issue. Its kinda a take off of the absolute morality in the other thread, but what the hell.. why not ask anyway, right?

    Jamie
     
  8. Smartt33
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    A true hearted study reveals that Jesus always taught the principles of the law of Moses. He never discussed the punishment, except to say "Turn the other cheek" and that was about others' violations of the law.

    He clearly took the punishment for the law violations, with the exception of the Jews and others who did not receive His offer of salvation.

    When he discussed the law of Moses to the Jews about how they myst follow all of them, it was because if they were perfect, and did follow all of them perfectly, they would go to heaven. However, they did not and could not do so. They did not even have any intention of following all the law. They watered it down.

    Jesus did not remove the law, He fulfilled it. For it is in the violations of the law itself, not the requirement for puniishments placed on those laws, that Jesus addressed.
     
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  9. JBeukema
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    Jesus speaks of the rewards in heaven. This is incorrect, as only the 1442,000 male virgin Semetic Jews (12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Isra-El) will enter into heaven to sing songs and whatnot. Everyone else is actually trying to get into New Jeru-salem, which is a cube-like city of crystal and whatnot that will rest on New Earth after the Final Judgment (post Lucifer's release and later throwing into the lake of fire after the Thousand Year Rein of Christ)
     
  10. The Illusion
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    Sounds rewarding to me :cuckoo:

    Jamie
     

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