One of the most used excuses for modern day Christians to disregard the commandments of God is that they were given to the Israelites. They further seal the fate of the laws of God with the claim that Christ nailed them on the cross at Calvary and we are now saved by ‘grace’ and are no longer ‘under’ the laws of God.
Let us refute the first claim. Is it true that the commandments of God were issued to the Israelites and as such not binding to Christians?
When I first got my job, my boss did what he called an orientation. In that, he explained to me the core values of the company, what would be required of me as an employee etc. Yes it were an official job, but since he was setting a precedent, he went through every item with me (I was the first employee) and thereafter, every new employee would go through the same.
Among the things he would state were, work starts at 8 am till 5pm. One can work beyond 5pm to clear whatever work is on your desk (not compulsory), but since we all had targets to achieve, it was if you will to. But the condition was, even if you worked till 9pm, that would not be an excuse to come to work the following day at 9am. Dress code was official. Professionalism was required. No stealing etc.
As a trained professional, these are things you would expect in any office setting, but he took his time for each and every employee to explain it to them. Why? Because, should you loose your job for habitually getting to work late, you would not say you didn’t know.
Before the laws of God were given to the Israelites (actually more of Moses doing the first official record keeping), there were two instances that the sins of the world really grieved God that he destroyed the world (in Noah’s time) and the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
But we do not see an account of the laws being written anywhere. In my ‘boss’ situation, the assumption is, either they didn’t know what they were doing was wrong-which makes God an unjust tyrant, or they knew and chose not to obey.
But the entire bible is proof of the righteousness and mercies of God.
Exo 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Psa_9:8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.
So if God destroyed the world during Noah’s time, the only reason is that they had the laws but chose not to obey the laws.
Before Moses was asked to write the laws of God, these laws were being taught to the people by word of mouth. And just as is today, not all parents were careful to teach their children the laws of God. Here are instances where the laws of God were binding way before Exodus 20 where they are officially recorded on the tablets of stone.
After Cain killing his brother, God came to rebuke and punish him;
Gen 4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
Gen 4:11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
When Isaac was called by God, he was reminded why his Father Abraham had a special relationship with God.
Gen 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Commandments, statutes and laws. By keeping all three, Abraham had a special relationship with God and he is recognized as the father of faith.
Isaac, while staying in Gerar lied that Rebekah was his sister and not his wife. One morning Abimelech, the King of the Philistines looked though his window and saw Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. Gen 26:8. Sporting is a ‘mature’ word for romance between the husband and the wife. Abimelech then condemned Isaac saying;
Gen 26:10 And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.
He, a Philistine, knew that taking another man’s wife was a sin. Way before Israelites.
When Joseph was approached by the Porter’s wife, this was his response;
Gen 39:9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
Joseph was sort of made the head of the house but still, he knew there were certain limits to where his authority extended. One of such, he would not commit adultery.
Exo 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Lev 18:20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.
When God started giving the Israelites Manna, he reminded them of the Sabbbath Commandment. On the sixth day, tehy would gather twice as much and it would not get spoilt as no one as to leave their tents on The Sabbath.
Exo 16:23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. Exo 16:24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
Exo 16:25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
Exo 16:26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
But still some people went out seeking Manna on the Sabbath,
Exo 16:27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
Exo 16:28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
Now Moses was leading 600,000 men (women and Children were not counted in Exodus). So we can estimate slightly over a million people. Those are millions of disputes and fights. Moses would sit and sort to resolve this issues and after which, Moses would start teaching them the laws of God.
Exo 18:16 When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
God did not just wake up in Exodus and decide to give the Israelites the laws. Just like every company has it’s own set of rules and regulations, so does God.
Jesus made this very clear;
Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Mat 5:18 For 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.
As you read the bible you realize that the laws of God, His statues and commandments are as binding today as when the world was first created.
1Jn_3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
The people who were destroyed by the floods transgressed the laws of God. They sinned.
Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
The people that lived in the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah too transgressed the laws of God. They sinned.
Gen 18:20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
In Leviticus, God’s message is very clear. Billions of people have existed before us and they were rejected for transgressing the laws of God.
Lev 18:24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
Lev 18:25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
Lev 18:26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
Lev 18:27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)
The death of Christ does not make it ‘legal’ to break the laws of God. It is by transgressing the laws of God that Christ came to save us. But He did not die that we live in sin.
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
We cannot live in sin because we are saved by grace, but we must start walking in the newness of life.
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil” (Isaiah 1:16).
Please share this and bless someone too! Happy Sabbath.