Bear with me, I don't have an extensive foundation of Christian or Judaic teaching.

Oftentimes Christians will cite the Old Testament as evidence that a particular thing is bad, such as homosexuality. (I understand that such people may not be official representatives of Christianity, such as a clergyperson). The a critic will point out that the Old Testament forbids things such as tattoos, garments of mixed fabric, and tattoos. It's not clear to an outsider what in the Bible the Christian must be held account to.

One thing that is clear: the admonition against unclean foods is abrogated in Mark 7:14-19, and later confirmed in Acts 10:10-15 and 1 Corinthians 10:25-27. I'm not aware of other versus where other Mosaic laws are 'repealed'.

I know that many, if not all, churches uphold the Ten Commandments, but none of them, as far as I know, require circumcision, keeping plants of separate kinds in separate fields, etc. So what, out of the Old Testament, are Christians held responsible for, and what is the basis for what is kept and what is left? Was there a blanket repealing of the Mosaic law, aside from the Ten Commandments?


Jesus Himself gave the answer to this question:

Deuteronomy 6:5 (RSV)

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

Leviticus 19:18 (RSV)

... You shall love your neighbor as yourself

The Gospel teaching is perfectly clear:

Matthew 22:34–40 (RSV)

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

(see also Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:25-28)

Lest, however, the Jews interpreted the second commandment to love only other Jews (as do many Jews today), He added the lesson of the Good Samaritan, to show that foreigners are also to be considered neighbors (Luke 29:37).

In other words, it is not necessary to create some Pharisaical checklist of which Mosaic Laws to follow and which not. Christianity dwells on a higher spiritual plain than Judaism. This is the meaning of Jeremiah's prophesy:

Jeremiah 31:31–33 (RSV)

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,

Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD.

But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

  • So is homosexuality, whether practiced or just in someone's heart, a sin? How about wearing garments of two different fabrics? God said it was an abomination; would it be loving towards Him if I wore such a shirt? – user1359 Aug 20 '16 at 19:08
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    Western Christianity understands "sin" to be some act of commission. Eastern Christianity, on the other hand, understands "sin" to be an act of omission, something that separates us from God - not in the juridical sense but in the sense that we choose to indulge our own particular passions rather than direct our love towards God, per the first great commandment. Whenever we are not loving God with our whole being or loving our neighbor, we are in a state of sin. – user22553 Aug 20 '16 at 19:18

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