I often read on YT that Christians don’t follow all of the OT, so why do they follow any of it? Invariably if I suggest the death penalty (or that homosexuality is wrong) is in keeping with the principle of the OT, I get a response about shellfish. So here is an explanation about how the OT law fits with the teachings of Jesus.
The NT does ‘overrule’ the OT, but only in the sense that there is an old and a new covenant. In Jeremiah (OT), it is written:
(31:31) “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. (31:32) It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
Then when the time prophesied there came about, it is written in Matthew (NT):
(5:17) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (5:18) I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.’
So that later, Paul wrote in Colossians:
(2:16) Therefore, do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. (2:17) These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Although, I picked these particular verses because they provided the quickest synopsis of the topic. A full study would produce the same result. If I could fulfill the requirements of the law, it’s clear that’d be best, but since I cannot, in fact no one could except Jesus, I’ve been provided an easier way, a new covenant through Him.
The law of Moses does say I should not eat shellfish (and a whole host of other foods). But I am free from the law because God is merciful and sent Jesus to fulfill what I could not. As you can see, the prophets of the OT knew the time would come when the law would be fulfilled, replaced if you prefer, superceded might be a better word. It’s not a matter of picking and choosing.
As for the 10 commandments, Jesus ‘superceded’ those too, but by way of expounding on their foundations. This, I think is even a clearer understanding of the old versus the new covenant. The new undertakes to follow the spirit of the law, the old seeks to follow the letter of the law, but the law is still the law.
The quote from Jeremiah continues:
(31:33) “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
So it follows that in Matthew, when Jesus was questioned about this very topic, it is written:
(22:36) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
(22:37) Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (22:38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (22:39) And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (22:40) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
So, there are no principles that are past, only requirements of the law that are past. Jesus affirmed the OT principles, and the OT foretold the new covenant. If you’ve interpreted one to contradict the other, there is probably a flaw in your understanding.
Anytime you start pulling in quotes from scripture you run the risk of pulling things out of context. I don’t want to do that, so if you can tell me how I’m ‘picking and choosing’ here by finding contradictory scripture, I’m always happy to deepen my understanding.