The eight chapters of Deuteronomy 19-26 contain over 60 diverse and detailed laws. How do we decide which ones are relevant today? Pastor David gave eight main guidelines.
1. The law was not given as a way of salvation. It was given to the already redeemed people of God. It was not a path to becoming rescued, but how to live as God’s treasured possession. The passage Deuteronomy 26:16-19 was read:
2. The law revealed what God required at a particular time and in a particular context, to serve a specific role in God’s redemptive purposes. We who live after Jesus need to discover the law in the New Testament.
3. As Jesus Himself said, He did not come to abolish the law. And Paul said that all Scripture was God-breathed, referring to the Old Testament.
4. The law in the New Testament embodies and promotes love in action. Jesus identified the greatest commandments as to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbour as yourself. He then said that all the law and the prophets hang on these two commands, therefore they are not to be dismissed.
5. The law pointed ahead to Jesus. After the resurrection, to two disheartened disciples on the road to Emmaus,
6. The law was fulfilled by Jesus. He said:
Jesus has fulfilled the law; therefore it is no longer relevant to us in the same way it was relevant to the people of Israel. Because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we are the redeemed people of God. It is not about anything we do; it is simply the grace of God.
7. Therefore, Christians do not live under the law.
Yet the law still provides guidance on how to live. It still has principles to apply and is not totally redundant.
8. The laws in these eight chapters of Deuteronomy provide principles for holiness. In both Old and New Testaments, God’s treasured people are called to live differently from their neighbours, being devoted to God.
For the Israelites this was possible because of God’s saving grace via the exodus. For us, it is possible because of God’s saving grace via Jesus. The law reflected the character of God. Today Christians can read the laws such as those in Deuteronomy 19-26 to discover how we can reflect the holiness of God by our behaviour. We should long to do this because the law has now been written on our hearts (through Jesus’ astonishing love for us). Without Jesus the law will never make sense. But for those who live for Him, every aspect of Scripture, including the law, becomes a guiding light towards our Promised Land.