Liberty in Christ or Cherry Picking the Old Testament
Liberty in Christ, this should be the desire of every New Testament believer. Let me start this article by stating that I believe the word of God in its entirety. I don’t think everything written in the bible is always going to be applicable to our time, however I still believe the bible. I dare say that most professing Christians would say they believe the bible as well. Let’s not be the kind of Christian though who picks and chooses what to believe and ignores what we don’t want to believe. In my experience picking and choosing what one wants to believe occurs more often than not with the Old Testament.
Old Testament is Good
I will be the first to admit that the Old Testament has its place in our churches. It tells of man’s relationship with God, it gives us beautiful poetry and worship in the Psalms. It gives us applicable wisdom in the Proverbs, and it provides insight into future events in the prophets. Although we turn to its pages often, the Old Testament law is no longer binding for today’s believer. The law is no longer obligatory because we have been given something far better.
We Have Liberty in Christ Jesus
We have liberty in Christ. Paul tells the church at Galatia, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”(italics mine) Galatians 3:24-25 Let me get theological for a moment and tell you what “no longer” means; it means exactly what it says!
No Longer are we Dependent on the Law
No longer do we have to depend on our works to please God. Galatians 2:16 I no longer have to offer daily sacrifices for my sins. Hebrews 10:10 No longer do we have to be bound by the power of sin and the devil. Romans 8:2 I am no longer dependent on men interceding for me to be in right standing with God. I Timothy 2:5 No longer are we under the tutelage of a schoolmaster; we have been made free! Galatians 3:25 If we’re going to follow the Old Testament, we must follow it all, not just part of it. Those who follow the Old Testament Law are under the curse! Galatians 3:10-12
Having it Both Ways?
We can’t have it both ways. Let’s not teach that if a man doesn’t give God his tithes Malachi 3:8 he’s wrong, and yet wouldn’t believe that we must keep the Sabbath. Exodus 31:14 I cannot teach that it’s an abomination for women to wear men’s apparel or for a man to wear women’s apparel Deuteronomy 22:5 and yet not believe that we should put homosexuals, adulterers, disobedient children, wizards, blasphemers, Sabbath breakers, strangers who come near our churches, and false prophets to death. You get the point. Picking and choosing what we want to believe out of the Old Testament is not spiritually healthy.
New Wine in New Bottles
Jesus said in Matthew 9:17 “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runs out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.” I believe the best way to preserve the Old Testament and New Testament is to keep them in their proper context. When we pick and choose out of the Old Testament we do the gospel of Jesus Christ a disservice.
Free from the Law of Sin and Death
Christ preached his sermon on the mount and around six times changed an Old Testament teaching into a deeper New Testament experience. Romans 8:2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” The plan of God was to ultimately give humanity liberty in Christ! We are free from the rigors of legalistic practices; free from the bondage of sin. I am set free from nonbiblical demands of religious zealots trying to bring me under their yokes.
Jesus Christ is Enough
My core biblical beliefs are derived from the New Testament. Beliefs like the deity of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity, financial giving, modest living, relationships with humanity, and so on. Honestly, the single most important belief we should have is that we endeavor to pattern our lives after Jesus Christ. Paul said,“For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” I Corinthians 2:2 Liberty in Christ!
The World needs Jesus
The life of Jesus Christ has given us a better covenant which is established upon better promises. Hebrews 8:6 So why do we feel the need to put new wine into old bottles and ruin them both? Why mix the Old Testament law with New Testament spiritually liberty? I have found my liberty in Christ Jesus and do not intend on serving lost humanity new wine in old bottles! The world deserves a pure gospel, let’s give it to them in the purest way possible.