Which Laws Do We Keep?

Q. I’m confused about the law and which laws apply to us as Christians. In an answer to a previously asked question about the status of the law you answered that every detail of the law remains in force but that His death protects believers from the consequences of violating it.

I understand Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, but was he talking about all 613 laws or just the ten commandments or what? If all laws are still in force then am I sinning when I eat bacon or anything else that is not Kosher (Leviticus 11)? And why didn’t Acts 15 include that gentiles are to follow all 613 laws

I’m just really confused because I was taught that the majority of these old laws are no longer valid but wasn’t told why or when they stopped. Let me clarify that I am not trying to follow the law to attain righteousness or salvation but for an unbroken fellowship with God. Can you help me understand this matter? Are we still to follow all 613 laws and if not which ones went away and when?

A. One name for the Old Testament in Biblical times was “The Law and The Prophets” so when Jesus said He didn’t come to abolish them but fulfill them, He meant that He wasn’t making the Old Testament obsolete. In Mark 7:14-19 Jesus declared all foods clean, in effect canceling the so-called Kosher restrictions.

In Acts 15, the Jewish leadership of the Church released Gentile believers from responsibility under the Law except to abstain from eating food dedicated to idols, meat that hadn’t been butchered properly, drinking blood, and sexual immorality. This was done primarily to prevent putting Gentiles under the same sort of bondage that the Jews had placed themselves under. (Acts 15:10)

But through out the New Testament, Paul and others taught a standard of behavior that if obeyed would keep all believers in behavioral compliance with the 10 commandments as well as the “new” commandment Jesus gave us to love each other. In summary then, the Law hasn’t been abolished, but today we’re admonished to behave according to its standards as a demonstration of our gratitude for being saved, rather than in a misguided attempt to earn a righteousness of our own.

Of course, as Jesus said in Matt. 5-6 man’s real problem doesn’t lie in his ability to exhibit proper behavior but in his inability to maintain proper thoughts and attitudes. In other words, most of us don’t have a problem not murdering others. It’s our anger that condemns us, and that’s why we need a savior.

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