Moral Law vs. Ceremonial Law

Something that has been made clear throughout the Scriptures is the distinction between the MORAL LAW and the CEREMONIAL LAW.

The MORAL LAW is the stuff found in the Ten Commandments– things like you shall have no other gods, don’t worship idols, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t bear false witness, and don’t commit adultery, etc.

The CEREMONIAL LAW, on the other hand, is the stuff found primarily in The Book of Leviticus that the ISRAELITE people were required to observe–Things like don’t eat pork or shellfish, don’t shave the sides of your beard, don’t get tattoos, don’t wear clothing mixed with different fabrics, and don’t engage in homosexual acts.

The Bible also teaches that the moral law and the ceremonial law have two very different purposes.

So according to Romans 5 for example, the purpose of the MORAL LAW is to show us our sins so that we can see our need for Christ and his forgiveness. And because all of us are sinners who need to have our sins set before us, in order to see our need for Christ, then the moral law still applies to us today.

Nonetheless, according to Exodus 19 for example, things within the ceremonial law are quite different. So the purpose of the CEREMONIAL LAW was to mark the Israelites as the people from whom the Messiah was going to come. In other words, when the ceremonial law formed the way that the Israelites worshipped, dressed, ate, worked, and practiced justice, this was God’s way of reminding the Israelites that the savior of the world would come from them. And so, when that savior finally came in the person of Jesus, the purpose of ceremonial law was then fulfilled. So in the same way that you don’t need to hang up flyers for a concert once the concert is over, after Jesus died and rose again it was no longer necessary to follow the ceremonial law.

This is why in the book of Acts chapter 10, God tells Peter that all animals are now considered clean and that the Gentiles who didn’t follow the ceremonial law were now welcomed into the Christian faith. So, the reason why Christians can eat pork and shellfish, and wear clothing mixed with different fabrics, and go to the barber shop, etc., isn’t because we don’t take our faith seriously. It’s because we take our faith so seriously that we actually read the Bible, and the Bible very clearly tells us that we are now free to do these things.

Some people in the Church Age question, though, that if the ceremonial law is no longer in effect, and if we are now justified to participate in the things that the ceremonial law once forbade, then what about homosexual behavior? Shouldn’t homosexuality be legalized too?

To answer that question, let us imagine a venn diagram for a moment. On one side is the moral law. On the other side is the ceremonial law. You’ll notice in the middle, that a bunch of the stuff forbidden by the ceremonial law is also forbidden by the moral law, and because of that, when the ceremonial law was fulfilled, we were no longer required to punish this stuff according to the ceremonial law, but the stuff itself remains sinful because the moral law remains, and the practice of homosexuality is included in this stuff, which is made very clear when the Apostle Paul tells Christians in Acts 15 that while they are now excused from circumcision of the flesh and are free to eat pork and shellfish, if they so desire, they are nonetheless forbidden from taking part in sexual immorality, including but not limited to homosexual acts.

-Inspired by @thelutheransatire on YouTube

For the video on moral law vs ceremonial law:

Questions. Comments. Concerns.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s