Throughout the history of the Christian church, believers have asked what their attitude should be toward the commandments of God revealed in the Old Testament. A large variety of positions have been taken regarding God’s law—stretching all the way from saying that there have been no changes in how the law should be observed (so that, for instance, animal sacrifices would be continued) to saying that everything has been changed because of the change of dispensation (so that the Christian ethic is totally restricted to the New Testament). Between the two extreme poles numerous other positions or attitudes (some pro-nomian, some antinomian) can be found, with subtle variations distinguishing one school of thought from another in many cases.
God’s special revelation—His written word—is necessary as the objective standard of morality for God’s people. Over against the autonomous ethical philosophies of men, where good and evil are defined by sinful speculation, the Christian ethic gains its character and direction from the revealed word of God, a revelation which harmonizes with the general revelation made of God’s standards through the created order and man’s conscience.
When we explore what the Bible teaches about the character of God, the salvation accomplished by Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit in making us holy in heart and conduct, or the nature of God’s covenantal dealings with men, we see why the believer should take a positive attitude toward the commandments of God, even as revealed in the Old Testament. Indeed, the Bible teaches that we should presume continuity between the ethical standards of the New Testament and those of the Old, rather than abbreviating the validity of God’s, law according to some preconceived and artificial limit.
By This Standard
God’s Law is Christianity’s tool of dominion. This is where any discussion of God’s law ultimately arrives: the issue of dominion. Ask yourself: Who is to rule on earth, Christ or Satan? Whose followers have the ethically acceptable tool of dominion, Christ’s or Satan’s? What is this tool of dominion, the Biblically revealed law of God, or the law of self-proclaimed autonomous man? Whose word is sovereign, God’s or man’s?