Which Old Testament laws and principles still apply to Christians?


#1

Greetings to all,
I am hoping you can clarify something for me that has me a bit confused. I’d like to hear the Catholic perspective on it because I often find it helpful to me in discerning the truth.

Question: How do we know what Old Testament laws and principles are still pertinent in modern Chistianity?

For example, I still believe it is right to obey the Ten Commandments because they came from God to His people through Moses and nothing in the New Testament contradicts them.

However, we obviously don’t do animal sacrifices and certain other things anymore like they did in the Old Testament. I assume this is because Christ is our supreme atonmement who came to fulfill the law.

Reason for my question: The issue of whether or not to Tithe.

A little background:
It is not a requirement to tithe at my AOG local church but it is highly encouraged. Verses cited in favor of it are mostly from the Old Testament, like Malachi 3:8-10 and Proverbs 3:9-10.

I am currently a tither and have been for several years, although some of my tithe is given to other ministries besides my local congregation at my discretion. I would consider myself to be a “cheerful giver” and I do it because I believe it right for me to do it. Although I do not consider myself to be wealthy, the Lord has taken care of my needs financially over the years.

However, some of my friends (both Catholic and Protestant) tell me that tithing was an Old Testament law/rule that did not carry over to the New Testament so we are not under any obligation to do it in modern times.

Therein lies my confusion as to the bigger picture as to how do we know which Old Testament laws/principles carried over to modern Christans and which didn’t? Any insights would be appreciated, especially from the Catholic perspective. Your help is much appreciated.


#2

Only the 10 Commandments apply to Christians. No other Old Testament laws or rituals apply.


#3

Thanks, Thistle. Your answer is clear and to the point.


#4

Well…Tommy…you got me thinking. I think there will be varied opinion.

But did some searching and I found this about tithing from the Archdioces of St. Louis:

archstl.org/stewardship/page/faqs-about-tithing

And this one:

catholicherald.com/stories/Straight-Answers-Are-We-Required-to-Tithe,6707

In the United States, churches have relied on the voluntary contributions of the faithful. Prior to Independence, a different situation existed. During the early colonial period in those areas governed by France and Spain a mandatory “tithing” was sometimes imposed which supported the Catholic Church. In the same way, in the English colonies tax revenue was used to support the Church of England.

Although we may not have a rule of tithing, we do have the duty to support the needs of the Church, whether at the international, diocesan or parish level. Each of us should evaluate what we do “give back to God” through our support of the Church and charitable organization. For example, we should ask, “Do I give to God each week at least what I spend on entertainment, such as movies? Do I give to God d least one hour’s worth of my 40 hour pay check?” St. Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians (8:1-7) praised the generosity of the faithful in Macedonia: "In the midst of severe trial their overflowing joy and deep poverty have produced an abundant generosity According to their means – indeed I can testify even beyond their means-- and voluntarily, they begged us insistently for the favor of sharing in this service to members of the church. "Each of us should be more of a “tither” than a “tipper” in returning a portion of our bounty back to God.
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#5

I think the New Testament says something like “God loves a cheerful giver”. People get way too distracted by that 10% thing. I like to view it this way…100% of it belongs to God and I just use what I need and he leads me in where the rest is needed. About the “law”…before Christ, the keeping of the law was the means by which a person could obtain “life” with God. However, we know that no one could do that. Since Christ’s passion, it is not the keeping of God’s commands that reconciles us. After reconciliation thru Christ’s sacrifice, our command is to live our lives as Christ did…he kept the commands, so we should strive to do that with the help of the Spirit to the best of our ability. Christ bridged the gap in our inability to “perfectly” keep the laws, but, that in no way means we should not strive to keep them. Christ replaces all of the sacrificial laws. We are still expected to keep the moral law. After all, part of our process for claiming the salvation that Christ paid for is “repentance”. Psalms says “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet to God’s ways”…we are not perfect in our own selves, but we strive every day with God’s help.


#6

We can know with some specificity that some laws no longer apply. Dietary laws were rescinded by Jesus himself, as were the rules about divorce.

The Church in Jerusalem took up this exact issue at the first council in Acts 15. Gentile Christians in Syrian Antioch were being told by Jewish Christians that they still had to obey the laws of Moses to be saved. The Church decided that Gentiles only had to obey four laws from the old testament and these were the laws that allowed Gentiles to live among the Jews in Israel before Christ; no meat sacrificed to idols, no strangled meat, no blood and no unchastity.

The following still apply. There are others.

*and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

**"You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. **(Deuteronomy 6:16)

**you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. *(Leviticus 19:18)

Above all the law of love applies. Love contains all of the old law. Put yourself last. Consider yourself least of all and do everything for the love of God and each other.

-Tim-


#7

In short, it’s the moral law and not ritual laws. The 10 commandments is a good rule of thumb, although the Sabbath can be confusing depending on whether one recognizes Sunday as the “new” Sabbath or not. Here’s an article I find useful.

See: Why We Are Not Bound by Everything in the Old Law


#8

Thanks for your inisights and clarifications, my friend Pablope. I agree with what you are saying wholehearedly. I was mainly curious as to which Old Testament laws/guidelines carried over to our times and which didn’t, especially as it relates to tithing, but not just tithing. Thanks again.


#9

I like your perspective, rwright36515, and find it useful. Thanks!


#10

Thanks a lot, TimothyH. I sense you are wise in the Lord and have the “big picture prespective” in mind and at heart. We shouldn’t get too tied up in legalism to where we focus on the law too much and miss the point of why it was created in the first place. At least that is how I interpret your comment. Thanks! .


#11

I disagree. We have indulgences and praying to the deceased which came from the OT.


#12

Only the moral laws still apply to Christians, because they, due to the way in which they govern how we relate to God (and since God is unchanging and eternal), are unchanging and eternal. However, the old ceremonial, ritualistic, sacrififical, and dietary laws from the Old Testament and the Old Law, which were only meant to be temporary, have been completely thrown out, done away with, and have completely passed away in favor of the New Law and Catholic Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


#13

Thanks for the article, MarcoPolo. I will view it. With a name like yours, I suspect you’ve probably been around the block a few times and traveled a bit in your day. :).


#14

Thanks, Richard. What you say makes a lot of sense.

**A follow up question to you and others, if you don’t mind:
**

Regarding the old dietary laws, like no pork, etc.
Are some of those rules benefificial to follow even if we as Christians aren’t required to do them anymore?

For example:
I love a good pulled pork sandwich every now and then but wonder if my health would be better off without it. In other words, would the dietary laws still be helpful even if they aren’t required anymore? Just wondering. However, I don’t want to replace the subject of the thread with this. It is just “Food for Thought” (Pun intended).


#15

Or at least to China. :stuck_out_tongue:


#16

Thank you, MarcoPolo for the link. Very helpful indeed. This is the info I was looking for:

catholic.com/magazine/articles/why-we-are-not-bound-by-everything-in-the-old-law

As far as tithing itself is concerned, based on the article from the St Louis diocese referenced by Pablope, my understanding is that tithing is not required but highly recommended whenever possible to help each parish to pay its bills and financially cover its expenses and to help those in need. The article by the St Lous diocese contains a section that mentions the benefits of tithing, or “giving back to God”, as they refer to it.

For whatever it is worth, I can personally attest to those benefits in my life after I made the decision to tithe, even though we are no longer required to do so like those who were under the Old Testament law did.

I hope I did not misunderstand anything. Thanks to all who replied for your helpful comments and insights. :thumbsup:

I am very grateful to Catholic Answers forum for allowing me to participate and receive answers that really help me. May God bless all of you!


#17

Thank you for your kind words.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14-14)

That about sum it up for me.

-Tim-


#18

Actually, I should thank you also, for this thread. It made me think of where do I spend my extra money? I should be thinking of giving back to God more, as a form of thanks for the many blessings He has given. :thumbsup:


#19

As long as you do NOT expect this following of Old Law dietary laws (which have completely passed away) to aid in your salvation in any way, then I don’t think it would necessarily bad for STRICTLY health reasons. But, I would be careful about it.

May God bless you abundantly! :slight_smile:

P.S. Have you ever thought about converting to the Truths of Catholicism?


#20

I appreciate you very much, Pablope. You have provided great insights on my various threads since I came to CAF to learn more about the Catholic faith and today is no different . :slight_smile:

Even though I am now convinced that I should not be tithing out of obligation, I intend to continue to do so *because I want to do it * as a “cheerful giver” and to support the Lord’s work. God has taught me to become more financially wise since I started doing it and I want to thank Him for it.


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