(3) In the law, kosher eating habits are part of the norm (and still are) – how come Christians can break thesw laws and yet still hold to the 10 commandments? Isn’t it hypocritical to hold to one law and not the others?
“Christians are not under the law, but under grace (John 1:17; Romans 6:14). “The law” specifically refers to the Mosaic law, which includes certain specific things we do not need to hold to anymore. Fleshly ordinances are gone (Hebrews 9:10). Christ is our sacrifice (Hebrews 7:27), our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), our atonement (1 John 2:2), and our Sabbath (Hebrews 4:9-10).
And, the Son of God has authority over the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8), and He likewise had the authority to declare all foods to be clean (Mark 7:18). Christians do keep the law, but all the law is fulfilled in Christ (Matthew 5:17), by walking in the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Romains 8:4).” (Joshua)
One thing Christ does not say is – he is our law (although word of God is close). I am actually hard pressed to find a place outside Paul where we are actually excluded from keeping the law. And even within Paul it is rather funny a scenario – the law is to be kept – his few exceptions are for the sake of the Gentiles (which Acts 15 is also about). Jesus does not condemn the law – he is thankful for it and realizes its importance (Matt 5:17-20) – even how important keeping commandments are.
Compare these sentences – someone tell me if they are opposite in nature:
“The law” specifically refers to the Mosaic law, which includes certain specific things we do not need to hold to anymore” (Joshua)
“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven” (Jesus)
It’s actually rather funny – we do not see Jesus annuling any commandments of God – none at all. Rather he goes into the idea of fulfillment of them – which is very simply:
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 7:12)
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt 22:37-40)
What more does one really need to know about the fulfillment of the law – that isn’t being said in those 2 passages?
As for grace, grace is very big and always has been – because it comes from God. The boldest grace I declare about God is that He was even willing to participate in the human drama/comedy. God breaks through into various scenes from Abraham to Joseph – and then gives something concrete – the Law unto Moses for the benefit of the community. That’s unmerited grace at it’s core!
Now Jesus comes – and John and Matthew both use Mosaic symbology to relate the mission and message of Jesus. But essentially, they are comparing Jesus to Moses – Matthew in the sermon analogy (a mini-Sinai moment) and John compares Jesus to that great moment from Sinai when the Law was passed onto the people (the word of God made flesh). But Jesus is just another moment of God’s revelation in a line of them already existing (from Abe to Micah) – which is all unmerited grace – we were always at the whims of God in the regards of God revealing Himself.
It makes no sense to talk about God’s unmerited grace with regards to it being a new ‘revelation’ to Paul – no – Paul knew this idea from his Jewish roots in the Law/Prophets. God’s grace was always there or favor – one just need read Jeremiah 31:1-3, Genesis 6:8, Exodus 11:3, etc. Everytime something good happens to someone – or they are asked to do something – they always find grace/favor with God. This concept was not foreign to the Jewish people – it was built directly into their earliest scriptures. Jesus was another aspect of that grace – and even he – ascribes to the scribal process and upholding/fulfilling it.
To me the law is very simple as I have explained – and Jesus laid this out in his teachings over and over – we just need to learn to love one another as we love ourselves – for this is pleasing in God’s site.