Thursday, November 01, 2007

Facebook apologetics

This is my response to a question posed on facebook: 'if all of scripture if God breathed, why don't we still obey the commands in Leviticus?' It was partucularly in reference to Lev 20:13, Lev 20:18 and Deut 22:23-29... i don't think it's perfect, but it's a start:

I think there are four points i’d like to make:

1) Jesus, after his ressurection told His disciples that all the Old Testament was about Him. All the law points to Him, and he fulfills is all. That includes Leviticus, which you quoted from. So somehow the laws that you pointed out were fulfilled in Christ, and point towards Christ.

2) The law was given to Israel to communicate to them the holiness of their God (our God, THE God) and to show them and help them to live distinctive lives as a nation. Indeed it was their failure to be distinct that meant that God judged them and took them into exile in babylon. Circumcision that you mention is a particularly good example of this, as it was intituted as a mark of the covenant that God made with Abraham. We no longer need to cirucmsize our children on the eigth day because Christians how have the Holy Spirit working in them as a mark and deposit of our faith. In the same sense this is what we need to know the holiness of our God, and be distinct (hopefully) as a people. The old agreement written on stone has passed away, the new agreement is written on our hearts and will last forever.

3) At the sermon on the mount Jesus sums up the law in two commands: love God, and love your neighbour. Jesus cuts down the hundreds of laws and commands in the Old testament to just two. But the question arises ‘how can God claim to be consistent and then change these things?’ Firstly, because the plan ALL ALONG was to have Jesus crucified to fulfill the law, glorify God and bring people into relationship with Him. The obediance of Christ in fulfilling all the law has now been imputed into Christians, so that they are counted in Him to have fulfilled the law. Which makes sense of the commands of the sermon on the mount to love God and your could we not given all that Christ has done for us?!

4) Paul says in his letter to the Roman church that the reason Israel failed to fulfill the law was because they persued it as though it were by works, by what they could do to impress God, rather than by faith, that is by wholehearted, humbling reliance on God. So it is not that God is unjust in giving the law, or that no one in the old testmant was saved, because many were as they persued it by faith...but that Israel got it wrong. They got God wrong, and His law wrong. Christ got both of those right, He is faithful where we are not, He is our substitute.
I was once told that we need to read the OT through the lense of Christ. Thats what i’ve tried to do here, i hope it’s been helpful…

No comments: