Authorities usually assign rules, or what we call "laws," and God is no different. Our Creator decided to create a huge variety of things to give Him glory but He uniquely created us. God decided to give us a soul, free will, self-realization and other unique attributes. We are vastly diferent than animals, angels, or anything else God created. God made us like a temple so He could live inside of us (in the form of the Holy Spirit) and collectively, those who are converted make up a spiritual temple. We each have unique gifts and abilities, and God takes a remarkable interest in each and every one of us. God not only reveals Himself to all of us, He also has a plan for our lives and desires that we would live with Him for eternity. Perhaps the most remarkable is that He came to this earth, was knowingly tortured, and suffered and died for us. It only makes sense that would ask us to do something for Him, although it's remarkable that these things only stand to benefit each and every one of us, like obeying a car owner manual telling you to change the oil every 3,000 miles.
God's law has similarities and differences from man's law. Often we may break God's law without breaking man's Law. Man's law is incomplete and changes often. Because God's Law is higher than man's law, sometimes we must break man's law to obey God's Law. Many examples of this are found in both the Old and New Testament of the Bible.
Now it may seem like God's law is a simple issue, and perhaps a boring one, but if we are to look at what Christ and the New Testament say about God's Law, we will quickly see that the issue is quite complex. However, it is very clear if you take the time to understand it. You see, before Christ, God's Law was given to the Jews (and converts) and it is known as the Law of Moses or the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. Even today, Judaism asserts that these Laws apply only to Jews (and converts), with the exception of the Seven Laws of Noah which is widely believed by the Jewish leaders (Rabbis) to apply to everyone. These seven laws, as well as the Ten Commandments, are part of the 613 Mitzvot or 613 commandments that make up a summary of God's Law to the Jews from the Torah.1 This list of 613 was made by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, a.k.a. Maimonides, a.k.a. the Rambam (1135-1204 A.D.) and is the traditional and most respected list, although it has a lot of problems.2 Some Christians even think we are required to obey these 613 commandments and use Scripture to defend this position. Jesus Himself said, "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... Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:17, 19). Jesus also said later, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees site in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach" (Mathew 23:2-3). So it would appear that we are to obey (and even teach) these laws. However, this was before Jesus died and ultimately became the fulfillment of the Law (Read Matthew 5:17b, Romans 10:4, Galatians 3:23-25, 6:2, Ephesians 2:15). There is also a difference between a law that would apply only to Jews or a moral law (e.g. do not commit adultery) which could apply to everyone. We clearly couldn't obey the 613 laws because we are not Jews and many of them only apply to Jews, Nazarites, etc. Many of them apply to the sacrificial system that the Jews were required to perform when they had a temple in Jerusalem. Now it is not possible because they do not have a temple and cannot perform the sacrifices. As Christians, we know that Jesus Christ was the final sacrifice and the fulfillment of these laws (Read Matthew 5:17b, Romans 10:4, Galatians 3:23-25, 6:2, Ephesians 2:15, Hebrews 8:1-10). Even as far as the Ten Commandments are concerned, which were essentially a summary of the 613 Mitzvot (commandments), Christ became our Sabbath or "rest" (Mt. 11:28-30, Heb. 4:1-11) and we are not obligated to keep the Jewish Old Testament practice of keeping the Sabbath. The rest of the Ten Commandments pertain to "moral laws" which we are required to obey, whereas other Jewish laws were specific to them and concerned Jewish rituals, sacrifices for sins, food and clothing (to make them distinct), etc.
Go to my page on the Ten Commandments for more information on them.FOOTNOTES:
1. An interesting analysis of the 613 Mitzvot can be found at http://www.kenpowerbooks.com/the-owners-manual/pdf-download
2. "In light of what we’ve discovered by paying close attention to the Torah, a quick survey of Maimonides’ list reveals that it contains nowhere near 613 unique points of agreement with Yahweh’s instructions. By my count, there are 86 pointless duplicates or corollaries which clearly don’t deserve to be listed separately, 70 misstatements, twisted quotes, or outright perversions of the Torah’s text, 78 significant omissions, misinterpretations, or unwarranted extrapolations, and 74 blatant instances of missed or ignored significance (and I was extremely generous here—the evidence of rabbinical cluelessness is ubiquitous). In other words, Maimonides dropped the ball in half the precepts he covered." Power, Ken. The Owner’s Manual, pg 509
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