MUST WE KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS?
Question: "If a person goes to church on Sunday rather than Saturday or eats pork which is supposed to be unclean, is it true that he doesn't keep the commandments and will go to hell, as some say?"
Answer: This question raises the issue of whether mankind today is under the Old Testament law of Moses which was given to the nation of Israel, or under the New Testament law of Christ which is universal. And the answer is found in Colossians 2.14-16 where Paul wrote of Jesus, "Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.... Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths."
Paul says plainly that Jesus took the Old Testament law of Moses out of the way by nailing it to the cross and thus wiped out its requirements. In this same context, Paul then refers to the two items specifically mentioned in the question--observing the sabbath and forbidding certain meats. These are things which many people strive to bind today from the Old Testament but which Paul says are not to be the basis for making judgments as to our service to God.
It is true that under the Old Testament law of Moses, the people of Israel were to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy (Exodus 28.8-11). The Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week, which we call Saturday. But since the Old Testament law of Moses has been nailed to the cross and taken out of the way, we need to determine what day of worship is authorized in the New Testament will of Christ for all people today.
And we read in Acts 20.7, "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight." Nowhere in the New Testament are Christians, or anyone esle, ever taught to worship on the sabbath, but we do have this approved example of disciples assembling on the first day of the week, which we call Sunday, to break bread or observe the Lord's supper. Thus, God will not judge us as to whether we keep the sabbath or not, and we should not judge others on that basis.
It is also true that under the Old Testament law of Moses, certain meats such as pork were unclean and not to be eaten (Leviticus 11.1-8). But since the requirements of the Old Testament law of Moses have been wiped out, we need to learn what the New Testament will or Christ has to say about this matter of eating meats. And the New Testament gives us no dietary regulations whatever. In 1 Timothy 4.1-4 Paul talked about those who would depart from the faith. He said that they would be "commanding to abstain from certain foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth." The apostle then added, "For every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving." Thus, we will not be judged as to whether we eat certain meats or not, and again we should not judge others on that basis.
Certainly God demands that we keep His commandments for us today (John 14.15 and 15.14, 1 John 5.3, Revelation 22.14). However, His commandments for us today are not necessarily the same as those which He gave to the people of Israel in the Old Testament law of Moses. Rather, His will for us today is revealed in the New Testament law of Christ (Hebrews 8.7-13). It may be that some of the commandments in the New Testament are the same as some of those in the Old Testament, but that does not mean that we are to obey all the commandments of the Old Testament. Rather, it is by the will of Christ, not the Old Testament law of Moses, that we are sanctified (Hebrews 10.9-10). [From "Search for Truth," Feb. 7, 1999.] Brotherly, Wayne S. Walker
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