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Does the Old Testament Apply Today?

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
—Romans 15:4

What does the Bible say about the most common myths regarding homosexuality? The first myth is this: the only prohibitions against homosexuality are in the Old Testament and therefore not applicable today. Have you heard that before?

The pro-homosexual argument goes like this. “Yes, Leviticus 18:22 says it’s an abomination for a man to lie with another man. But why do you single out that one verse from Leviticus? What about Leviticus 7:21, which says if you touch an unclean animal, you shall be cut off from your people? That means every time you watch a football game, you are sinning against God because they are touching a pigskin. Why don’t you apply that verse? Or what about Leviticus 19:19, which says, it is a sin to wear a garment that is made of two different kinds of material? So if you wear a wool and cotton blend, that is a sin according to Leviticus. Why do you pick and choose verses out of the Old Testament and ignore other verses?”

Now here’s the answer to that. We shouldn’t pick out any verses from the Old Testament to live under. The Old Testament was not written for us; it was written for Israel. The Old Testament was God’s law for Israel, not for us. In God’s law, there were moral laws, civil laws, and ceremonial laws. The purpose of the law was for Israel to live differently than all the other nations. Now some of those laws dealt with moral issues, such as no murder, no lying, no adultery, and no homosexuality. But some of the things God told Israel to do weren’t inherently evil–things like don’t tattoo your body, don’t shave around your ears or around your temples, don’t eat this kind of meat or that kind of meat. These laws were to show that Israel was different from all the other nations.

The only parts of the Old Testament that apply to us today are the parts that are repeated in the New Testament. We don’t live under the Old Testament; we live under the New Testament. The word “testament” means agreement or arrangement. Interestingly, Jesus picked nine of the Ten Commandments and repeated them in the New Testament. You know the only law He didn’t repeat? Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Why didn’t He repeat it? Had He forgotten about it? No, it’s because it doesn’t apply to us. We don’t worship on Saturday. We don’t keep those regulations. We live under the New Testament.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Why Gay Is Not Okay” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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