Christians and the Law: answering the objections, part 18

Tiger: “If you claim to follow Jesus, then the Law of Moses is a must; for he kept the Law of Moses”

Statement 26: How’s that? Just because Jesus followed those Laws, how does that mean that we need to? -Northern Observer

Paul wrote,

1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

If Paul said that the Corinthians (and we can assume all other believers) should emulate him and he emulated Yeshua, then wouldn’t we be emulating Yeshua when we emulate Paul?

It’s possible that Paul didn’t mean that we should emulate him in his specific behaviors but only in the way that he put the needs of others before his own needs as he described in the previous few verses (1 Corinthians 10:32-33). However, there are other scriptures that say the same thing:

1 Peter 1:13-16 Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (14) as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance: (15) but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; (16) because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.

Yeshua is “he who called you”, so you are to be holy as Yeshua was holy. As evidence, Peter quoted Leviticus 11:44, in which God told the Israelites that they are not to eat unclean animals:

Leviticus 11:43-45  Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. (44) For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (45) For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

If Peter believed that being holy meant–in part–not eating unclean animals, it follows that when he warned his audience against the former lusts they followed in their ignorance, that he–at least in part–referred to that same sin. “Be holy in all manner of living,” he wrote. (The KJV says “conversation”, but in modern English this would be “behavior”.)

Paul also wrote:

Ephesians 4:11-15 And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: (13) till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (14) that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; (15) but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;

We are to continue learning to walk according to God’s ways, to continue being perfected in our manners of life and relationship until we have matured to be like him. How can we be like him if we refuse to behave as he did?

Being holy and being perfect are always defined by Scripture in one of two ways: atonement by God’s grace or keeping God’s Law. Usually the latter. Since the readership of each of the letters I quoted above had already received atonement, then keeping God’s Law is the only reasonable understanding of these expressions.

part 16part 17, part 18, part 19part 20

Vox’s original article: Christians and the Law.

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