Old Testament Laws: Christians Obey God
1. What did Jesus tell his disciples to preach? Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47.
Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel throughout the world. This gospel focuses on repentance, forgiveness of sins and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Those who believe the gospel turn toward God in faith, their sins are forgiven and they will be saved.
Belief and repentance go together, because people who believe also change their attitudes toward God, and this results in changes in the way they live. The belief or faith is the internal state of mind; repentance shows the results.
Those who believe the gospel have faith in Jesus Christ. They not only believe he exists and is the Son of God, they also believe he died on the cross to pay for their sins. They trust him for their salvation, and they willingly serve him throughout their lives.
Those who believe the gospel should be baptized, and as Matthew 28 indicates, they should be taught to obey everything Jesus commanded.
2. How did Jesus emphasize the importance of obeying him as Lord and Master? Matthew 7:24; Luke 6:46-48; John 14:23; 15:14.
Jesus insists that we must put his words into practice. If we call him “Lord,” we ought to obey him, because a “Lord” is not only a protector, but is also someone who has the authority to tell us what to do. If we love him, we will do what he tells us. We trust that his instructions are for our own good.
3. Which commandment did Jesus emphasize most? Matthew 22:36-40; John 13:34-35; 15:17; 1 John 3:21-24. But does love do away with the need to obey our Savior? John 14:15; 1 John 3:18; 5:2-3; 2 John 6.
Love summarizes the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14). Everything the Bible says about good behavior is built on that foundation. Even our love for God is expressed largely by the way we treat one another (Matthew 25:37-40; Hebrews 6:10; 1 John 4:11-12, 20-21). But love is not an excuse to ignore the other commands that our Lord has given us. Rather, it is a reason to more eagerly strive to obey him.
Our obedience cannot save us. Even if it could, we never obey perfectly. We all fall short, and we rely entirely on the mercy of our Savior (1 John 1:8-2:4). We love him and obey him not to earn salvation, but because he freely saved us — as a gift — by grace (Ephesians 2:8-10).
4. Does grace do away with the need to avoid sin? Romans 6:1-2. Does grace teach us to live holy lives? Titus 2:11-12.
Jesus paid a tremendous price to redeem us from sin. From his sacrifice, we realize what a serious enemy sin is — an enemy of our Savior, an enemy of salvation, and an enemy to our life with God. Jesus paid a tremendous price to give us the gift of forgiveness. We do not take the gift lightly, but we realize how profoundly it urges us to obey the One who gave himself for us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). The better we understand God’s grace, the more we learn to say “no” to all sin, and the more we want to serve and honor our Lord and Master by the way we live.
5. Does faith work with obedience? Romans 1:5; 3:31; 16:26; James 2:14-24.
Paul wrote about the obedience that comes as a result of faith. He preached the gospel so people might not only believe in Jesus Christ, but also follow him.
Faith does not do away with God’s law. Rather, it works with the law, since those who believe that Jesus is Lord will also want to obey him. A faith that doesn’t come with obedience is not a biblical faith. Faith and actions work together, reinforcing each other — the faith leading to obedience, and the resulting actions giving visible evidence that the faith is real.
6.Did the apostles preach repentance and forgiveness? Acts 3:19; 5:29, 31; 17:30; 20:21. Are Christians supposed to live righteously? Romans 6:12-19. Should they obey God’s commandments? 1 Corinthians 7:19; Revelation 12:17; 14:12.
We cannot logically ask God to forgive us while we deliberately continue in the behaviors that resulted in our Savior’s death! Faith, repentance and salvation are linked throughout the Bible. Jesus, Peter and Paul preached the same message. Christians are God’s servants, doing his will, striving to live in the way he has revealed to us in the Scriptures.
As Peter said, we should obey God. He said it in the context of God’s command to preach the gospel, but the principle is true in all aspects of life. The saints not only have faith in Jesus Christ but also obey God.
But exactly which commandments should we keep? It will take quite a bit of study to answer this question. There are some Old Testament laws we do not need to keep; there are others we should. That’s the topic of this series.
Throughout our study, we approach the Scriptures from the standpoint of faith and obedience. We want to do what God says. We want to understand which of his commands apply to us today, and which do not. The reason for our study is that we want to obey. If we didn’t want to obey, if we didn’t believe the Scriptures, there would be no need for this study at all! Faith and obedience work together, and that is the foundation for the rest of this study. We can now begin to get more specific.
Here are the other studies in this series:
- Old Testament Laws Before Moses
- Moses and the Old Covenant
- Jesus and the New Covenant
- The Early Church and the Law of Moses
- Paul and the Old Covenant
- A Few Examples of Obsolete Laws
- Seven Annual Sabbaths
- Dietary Laws and Uncleanness
- Jesus and the Old Covenant Laws
- The Weekly Sabbath — Jesus’ Example
- The Sabbath in Acts and the Epistles
- New Covenant Commands
- Salvation by Grace
Author: Michael Morrison