Are The Old Testament Laws Applicable Today?

If we examine the laws of the Old Testament we are struck by their peculiar nature. The question is: are people who receive Jesus as their Savior, bound to the laws of the Old Testament?

  • Exodus 31:14.: Death for working on the Sabbath
  • Exodus 23:19:  Cook a goat in its mother’s milk
  • Exodus 21:17, Deuteronomy 21:20-21: Cursing parents, rebellious teens stoned to death.
  • Leviticus 19:27: Cutting hair on the sides of the head.
  • Leviticus 19:28: Obtaining a Tattoo
  • Leviticus: 19:19: Mixing fabrics
  • Numbers 5:11-31: The test of unfaithfulness for a wife.
  • Numbers 9:13: Excommunication for not observing Passover

If we no longer have to keep these strange laws from the Old Testament, then are we also bound to keep the laws which regulate the sexual behavior or persons who believe in Jesus as their Savior?

See AlsoOld Testament Law: A Lesson In God’s Nature Not Understood Today

Believers Are No Longer Under All Of The Old Testament Laws

The laws that we read above were given by God, to Moses, for the Children of Israel, not to the whole world, and not to those who believe in Jesus Christ and become a part of His church. For example: Worship for the Children of Israel was strictly on the Sabbath (Saturday), why does the Christian Church worship on Sunday? At the giving of the New Covenant by Jesus death for our sins on the cross, the law was changed. No longer are those who receive Jesus as the Messiah bound to the Sabbath. Jesus said that He is “Lord of the Sabbath.” The book of Hebrews is very specific that Jesus perfectly fulfilled all of the laws of the Old Testament and those who believe in Him are not bound to these strange laws. We see that in the New Testament, having come into a new relationship with God by the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, believers began to worship God on the first day of the week, Sunday. This was the day that Jesus rose from the dead.

The question is: can a believer still worship God on Saturday? Of course. In fact, believers should worship God every day of the week. Sunday is a day set aside for all believers to gather together to worship God corporately. Each believer is to worship God themselves, every day of the week. In the Old Testament a person was considered righteous by the keeping of the law. When the law was broken a sacrifice for sins was made. By the shedding of blood, sins were covered, but not removed.

When Jesus died as the Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, the Old Testament type of continuous sacrifices for sins, was annulled. Now, any person who comes to God based upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has all of their sins fully removed, forever.

The primary point of the Book of Hebrews is that Jesus has fulfilled all the laws of the Old Testament and done aways with the continual sacrifices for sin. By His one sacrifice for sin, Jesus has removed all sins, forever. He now remains as our Great High Priest who intercedes for us continually in heaven.

However, we see that in the New Testament, God still requires all those who will receive salvation from Jesus Christ, to keep the Old Testament laws concerning proper sexual relationships. All of the following laws are still applicable to those who believe in Jesus today:

Old Testament Laws Regarding Sex That Are Still Applicable Today:

  • Sex with your mother: Leviticus 18:7
  • Sex with your fathers’s wife (stepmother): Leviticus 18:8
  • Sex with your sister: Leviticus 18:9
  • Sex with your granddaughter: Leviticus 18:10
  • Sex with your half-sister: Leviticus 18:11
  • Sex with your biological aunt: Leviticus 18:12-13
  • Sex with your uncle’s wife: Leviticus 18:14
  • Sex with your daughter-in-law: Leviticus 18:15
  • Sex with your sister-in-law: Leviticus 18:16
  • Sex with a woman and her daughter or granddaughter: Leviticus 18:17
  • Sex with your wife’s sister: Leviticus 18:18
  • Sex with your neighbor’s wife: Leviticus 18:20
  • Sex between two men: Leviticus 18:22
  • Sex with an animal: Leviticus 18:23

How Do We Know This Is True?

We read in the text of the New Testament that when the Apostles met in the early Christian church, they determined that believers in Jesus only had to keep four laws that originated from the Old Testament:

“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them 1. to abstain from eating food offered to idols, 2. from sexual immorality, 3. from eating the meat of strangled animals, and 4. from consuming blood.  ~Acts 15:19-20 (NLT)

Why are the laws regarding sexual relationships still in affect, while the others are excluded? When a person comes into a new relationship with Jesus, He comes to live inside that person. Paul wrote that our bodies are now the “Temple of the Holy Spirit.”

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.  ~1 Corinthians 6:18-20

This means that it is extremely important that we use our bodies only in ways that bring glory to God. Using our body for sexual sin, or where two men or two women engage in sex together, defiles the temple of our body. God made a man and woman for each other, not men for men and women for women. This is obvious by their biological functions and the fact that men are clearly not made for sex with another men, nor are women, for women. Sex between persons who are not united in marriage is in conflict with God’s purpose for marriage since God created marriage as between a man and a woman as the only acceptable union that permits sex to occur.

The reason: Commitment. Without the commitment of marriage we see what sex has become today. Men father a child and leave to father other children by other women. We live in a day when many children have no father in the home because the commitment of marriage was not made before a sexual relationship began. Certainly marriage does not guarantee that the union will last, but it should. If we would do what we promise and preserve our marriages the entire world would be a much better place. Again, God’s idea about sex and marriage is still the best plan.

In Ephesians 5, God describes the mystery of unity that takes place in the union of marriage where a man and woman become one by their sexual relationship. In this union God is illustrating the oneness that takes place between Jesus and His Bride, the church. For this reason, only a man and woman who are united in a sexual relationship by marriage can become One. There is no oneness of the spirit that occurs when two men or two women have sex. For this reason, these relationships can never achieve what God intended.

We see that from the beginning God only intended that a man and a woman would be married. Jesus later confirms this in the New Testament.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  ~Genesis 2:24

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”  ~Matthew 19:4-6

Notice the emphasis by Jesus that God specifically created human beings as male and female and only a man can marry a woman and become “one flesh.”

Outside of marriage and between same-sex couples, no unity of persons can occur and these unions are unnatural and a perversion of the intention of God in marriage.

For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. —Ephesians 5:30-32

Since God is Creator of all that exists, it is His exclusive right to determine what is right and what is wrong. God created marriage for one man and one woman, to be united together for life. It is only under this union that a sexual relationship should occur. Of course, there is always forgiveness and reconciliation between God and those who have violated God’s law. All that is required is a sincere sorrow for the sin’s committed and a willingness to turn from those sins. God will forgive and restore any person who has committed sexual sin. There must first be an agreement that the past behavior was sin and that the persons involved must cease from this activity or be married.

Men who struggle wth sexual temptation towards other men or women with women, are no different from sexual temptation between men towards women or women towards men. For thousands of years people have been fighting sexual temptation. There is no exclusivity for same-sex persons in their sexual temptation. They must fight their temptations just as heterosexual persons must. All people, if they will come under the sacrifice of Jesus’ death for their sins, must cease sin if they truly want to be forgiven and be reconciled to God.

Anyone who claims that Christians today are not under the laws for sexual sin that were given in the Old Testament, are wrong and not telling the truth. We see from the Bible that God expects all person who will believe in Jesus for their salvation to not conduct themselves in a sexual relationships, except in marriage, and only a man and a woman together.

Those who continue in a sexual relationship outside marriage or as a same sex-couple will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.  ~1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Christians in the Corinthian church, 2,000 years ago, asked these same questions then that are being asked today. Sexual sin is not under any special classification of evil from any other sin. All sin will keep a person from obtaining salvation in Jesus Christ, if is is not repented of. Any person who has sinned, can be forgiven and receive heaven as their eternal home. Paul finishes the above paragraph to the Corinthian church by reminded them that “such were some of you…” There were Homosexuals, Lesbians, Fornicators, and Adulterers in this church, but they turned from their sins and obtained salvation in Jesus Christ.

See: Same-Sex Relationships

Categories: Forgiveness of Sin, Gay marriage, Gay Marriage and Same-Sex, Gender Identity, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation through Jesus, The gay lifestyle, True Repentance

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