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Christians, please explain to me how these NT verses fit in with the belief of not having to follow OT laws

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place." (Matthew 5:17 NAB)

For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV)

"It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid." (Luke 16:17 NAB)


Asked by IhartU at 9:28 AM on Feb. 12, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 27 (31,412 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • The problem with this question is that as long as the Christians can't agree on one answer, it can't be answered.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 10:13 AM on Feb. 13, 2011

  • I believe its important to understand many of the laws (especially in Leviticus) were in regard to Jewish ritual and purity. While Christianity started by branching out of Judaism, and thus being initially composed of mostly Jews, it quickly became a religion of Gentiles/nonJews, and Jews typically believe that the laws aren't meant to be followed by Gentiles. We see in the NT the argument over whether one must, basically, become a Jew to be a Christian (whether one must be circumcised, etc). I believe the function of the law, the purpose of the practice, is important in understanding why they did it and whether we need to apply it to our own faith and practice. Christianity and Judaism, while related, are now two distinct religions, and I don't believe we, as Christians, are bound by the rituals of the Jewish faith.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 10:02 AM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • I'm not a Christian anymore, but I'll throw my two cents in here anyway since I was raised Christian and still study it along with other religions. I don't think Jesus ever intended to start a new religion. I think he mean to 'awaken' Jews within Judaism. I do think some of his teachings can be applied to anyone's life, but I think his LIFE and TEACHINGS and his example of COMPASSION, love, forgiveness, etc. and living your life following his example are probably more important than believing in the resurrection. I think the teachings of Jesus were combined with some ideas of pagan faiths in the area by Paul and others. I know this view isn't popular with some, but it's how I see it and there are many NT scholars who see it this way as well. Obviously, others may interpret things differently though--which is why there are so many denominations and perspectives within Christianity.

    Answer by pam19 at 10:31 AM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • Following the OT law is not required to gain salvation anymore (Christ fulfilled the law), but that does NOT mean it is irrelevant to our lives. It is a way of life that is still pleasing to God for his children to follow (not abolished), maybe even more so now than in OT since we don't "have" to follow it anymore.

    Answer by asmcbride at 11:22 AM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • I encourage you to do indepth studies on what those passages in context are saying and what it means when heaven and earth pass away.
    Here is a little help from a different version....
    Don't suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures— either God's Law or the Prophets. I'm not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God's Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God's Law will be alive and working.
    "Trivialize even the smallest item in God's Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won't know the first thing about entering the kingdom. Matt 5:17-20


    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 11:37 AM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • Pam, that is very interesting, this would make a good question.


    I actually have a couple questions in mind related to this topic. I'm in the middle of reading Living Buddha, Living Christ and it's making me think of a lot of questions. I might go ahead and ask one that I was thinking of earlier this morning when I answered this and a couple other questions.

    Answer by pam19 at 3:32 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • I actually have a couple questions in mind related to this topic. I'm in the middle of reading Living Buddha, Living Christ and it's making me think of a lot of questions. I might go ahead and ask one that I was thinking of earlier this morning when I answered this and a couple other questions.

    :) I like it.

    Answer by 2tinyhineys at 4:29 PM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • Please explain which OT laws you are referring to...and yes, it does make a difference for the answer.

    Answer by ladymomtraveler at 9:31 AM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • When the Pharisees, a money-obsessed bunch, heard him say these things, they rolled their eyes, dismissing him as hopelessly out of touch. So Jesus spoke to them: "You are masters at making yourselves look good in front of others, but God knows what's behind the appearance.

    What society sees and calls monumental,
    God sees through and calls monstrous.
    God's Law and the Prophets climaxed in John;
    Now it's all kingdom of God—the glad news
    and compelling invitation to every man and woman.
    The sky will disintegrate and the earth dissolve
    before a single letter of God's Law wears out.
    Using the legalities of divorce
    as a cover for lust is adultery;
    Using the legalities of marriage
    as a cover for lust is adultery. Luke 16:14-18

    This will help give you a better perspective of the passages. Remember God's Law is Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 11:39 AM on Feb. 12, 2011

  • I think the law Jesus is refering to is the commandments as his law (God's official Law. these never change, as God never changes) those we still have to keep until His return. because he died and rose again, his blood covers all of our sins, unlike in the OT they had to shed animals blood for a temperary covering of their sins.

    the bible lets us know how important blood is. sacrificial blood from animals was able to temporary cover their sins, but some sins were so bad (i'm assuming) and disgraceful to God, that the guilty had to pay by using their own blood and dying. (not really a self sacrifice, as anyone in their right mind wouldn't go for it. so God made it a law that others punished them, normally it was stoning.)

    THESE laws have changed because God died for us, he was born of a virgin so his blood was innocent, he didn't have the sin curse on him that comes with the blood of man. his blood isn't a temporary fix

    Answer by armywife43 at 9:19 PM on Feb. 12, 2011