Modern-day readers are often shocked by the brutality of the Mosaic Law. We read of stonings and sacrifices coupled with regulations that even dictated clothing and hair styles. If God became president of the United States, we would quickly vote Him out of office unless congress managed to impeach Him first. Were we present during Israel’s rebellions, we would certainly be among the rioters. Aside from a few crazies, nobody today seriously wants to live under the Mosaic Law in its entirety. Even Orthodox Jews would presumably take issue with a government that stoned their unruly children to death for disobedience.
When Christians read the Mosaic Law, they tend to skim and smirk. They skim so they can check the chapters off their reading plan and smirk at the distasteful commands thankfully now expired. While many Christians attest to the value of every word of Scripture, few find more than marginal worth in the Mosaic Law. Even the most conservative branches of Christendom tend to approach the Law with unspoken disdain, usually expressed in joyful relief concerning our very different covenant or dispensation. Although Jesus Christ came to fulfill (not destroy) the Mosaic Law, our take-home truths tend to center around our joy over the fact that it is no longer in effect.
Christians can easily foster a spirit of rebelliousness in their approach to the Mosaic Law. Believers cannot afford to approach any portion of Scripture being unwilling to obey. No, I’m not arguing that we should try to re-institute the theocracy of the Old Testament. However, we must not read the Old Testament thinking, “I’m glad this stuff no longer applies because I would rather be stoned.” Although Christians today need not obey the Mosaic Law, they still must submit to every word with the faith of Abraham.
Abraham submitted to the ultimate abhorrent command: Go and sacrifice your only child. As Abraham lifted the knife contemplating how to give Isaac a clean death, Abraham proved his faith in his willingness to do whatever God required. In this instance, God required submission rather than obedience, and Isaac (and Abraham) was spared.
Like Abraham, Christians today have page after page of commands that God does not expect us to obey, but this is not to say that we can be unwilling to obey those commands. The Mosaic Law was once the only way for people to approach God, and God was wonderfully gracious for providing His people a means for pleasing Him. Christians now enjoy much more freedom under the law of liberty. However, Christians must approach the Mosaic Law in Abrahamic faith, being willing to obey had the Messiah not yet come. Christians today must submit to the Mosaic Law in spirit even though they are not bound to obey it in action.