Do the Laws of God through Moses and the Old Testament still apply to Christians today?
The simple answer is No, they do not. However, that does not mean we can abandon them! Or as the Apostle Paul says on this in Romans 6:15“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Law, but under grace? Let it not be!”
God gave His laws for a particular reason, for without them, there can be no sin: i.e. If you don’t have any rules – you can’t break them. The purpose of God’s laws was to point out sin (or potential sin). This allowed His people to understand the proper way of dealing with sin as God sees it. In Judea-Christian society we find the Ten Commandments. They are the very heart of God’s law and are no less applicable today than when God dictated them to Moses millennia ago, as they prescribe a lifestyle endorsed by God. Other than the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue – or the ’10 Words’ in Hebrew), God also provided hundreds of other laws for His people, all of which served a particular Godly purpose in their time, place, culture and circumstances. Though these laws no longer apply to Christians today, the timeless truths and principles behind them do still apply. Paul confirmed this for us in Second Timothy 3:16-17 saying:
“All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.”
While Christians do not practice animal sacrifice, nor are called to do so, the principles of the forgiveness of sin and thankfulness to God which are the Godly principles behind the Old Testament laws, are still applicable for Christians today. In essence, the animal sacrifices point toward the ultimate sacrifice which the Lord Jesus Christ made for us. For as Jesus says in Matthew 5:17,
“Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled.”
Thus, as Jesus hung on the cross of Calvary and cried out “It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up the spirit,” and was then resurrected after three days, the Old Testament laws were fulfilled. Paul explains the reality of this in Romans 8:2 saying “the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” In other words, if we try to live by the letter of the Old Testament laws, that will only bring us death. Whereas if we live in accordance with the spirit behind the laws, we will have life: the word brings death; the Spirit life. The Old Testament laws are there to help us recognise our sins and wrongdoings, though it is Jesus who took away our sin and who forgives us our sins. The Lord Jesus Christ is the primary example for all Christians to follow, for He alone both obeyed the law and modelled its true intention.
What this means in practice is that all Christians will comply with the Ten Commandments, because they are the will of God which Jesus upheld.
Pastor John Piper has a wonderful 4 minute teaching on this topic: