Deuteronomy 21-23 Psalm 60

Miscellaneous laws. These can be… troublesome. Antagonists will use them to challenge the entire Bible. Fundamentalists will… pick and choose which they consider still relevant. (While there may be some congregations that follow the planting and clothing restrictions, it’s usually not the ones making a fuss over other issues.)

I think the problem is that we forget what the law was for. It wasn’t a delineation of God’s will. That was the teaching of Christ. Specifically Christ. Jesus explained that the two laws beneath everything else are simple: Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.

The Old Testament, the Old Covenant, also served the purposes of setting Israel apart from the other nation, driving home the point of God’s holiness and humanity’s need of a savior, and protecting the nation, both from disease and corruption. Some of it was structured around the existing beliefs of the people, and some of it was structured around the beliefs of neighboring peoples. Most of it was centered on the concept of ritual purity rather than moral purity.

If you want to eat shrimp or bacon, you have to accept that some of the laws were contextual. If you accept that Christ is the fulfillment of the law, and that our observance of the law today is to be based on loving God, loving others, and offering ourselves as living sacrifices to the indwelling of the Spirit, you are freed from the need to sift through the old laws, trying to sort out which were ritualistic, which were scientific, and which were moral. They were spoken to a different people with a different understanding of everything, an understanding we cannot trust our ability to reconstruct, even if its historical tradition is extremely helpful.

I’m not saying the old law is irrelevant. We study it for a reason. We study it and continually seek to understand it because any understanding we can cultivate does deepen our understanding of God. We study it because it does still have applicable value. One of those values, however, is to illustrate how we are no longer bound within it.

I repeat:

Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Present yourself a living sacrifice to the indwelling of the Holy Spirity.

And buy clothes of the highest quality that fits your budget. Maybe consider material content, but I reckon that where it was made is more important than the fibers it’s made of.

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