Monday, January 6, 2014

Continuing debate between Justin and Trypho: OT rituals

I think that in the new year I will resolve to move faster through the writings of Justin Martyr so that I can move on to other ancients.  The retail Christmas is over, the liturgical Christmas is over as of today, and I have less hours at LifeWay in which I can read more Justin.  It would also be good to pray for God to direct my paths as I decide to stay with the Atlanta LifeWay, move to the Conyers LifeWay, or seek another job in the law.  I also want to have more time for missions.

We now reach sections 41-50 of Justin's debate with the Jew Trypho who won't convert to Christ because Christians don't practice the Old Testament rituals.  Just has just finished explaining how many of the rituals point to Christ and are now fulfilled in him so that we no longer have to follow them.  We must follow Him instead.

The offering of fine flour given as a peace offering foreshadows the Eucharist.  It was a method of fellowship with God.  Eucharist means "thanksgiving", and we are always thankful that God created the world, delivered us from its evil, and has overthrown principalities and powers.  This is true for both Old and New Testament.

The bells on the priest's robe pointed to Christ's apostles.  I still think this is a stretch, but it is interesting that the high priest in the Old Covenant wore 12 bells on his robe that made music and sang God's praises for all the world to hear.  Jesus, the eternal High Priest, started with 12 apostles who took his message to the world and whose disciples still make the same music.

Mostly, the Jews pride themselves in being circumcised and believe that Christians need to still keep that ritual.  However, circumcision was a sign to Abraham and his children that he should be killed for his sin.  Instead of killing Abraham, God chose to bless him and those who believe with him by only cutting the male part.  When Jesus came, he was completely killed.  In his prefect life, he completed the ultimate penance for humanity's sin.  Now his believers are not required to be physically cut.  Their baptism in the Holy Spirit circumcises their souls, which is more important. 

The Jewish people enjoy their circumcision so much that they imagine that it is still effective to save them from eternal separation from God.  It is not.  Jesus completed that ritual.  Circumcision and the law only pointed to him and showed that there can be no salvation apart from Jesus Christ.

Trypho asked an interesting question.  Can people who believe in Jesus also still continue in the Jewish rituals and still be saved?  Justin says yes.  There are Christians who still get circumcised, some who celebrate Passover, and some who follow the kosher laws.  However, these people should not insist on such laws for other people in order to be saved.  They are saved only by faith in Christ.  Even those who insist on the Jewish rituals who do persuade others to follow them, they can still be saved if they truly believe in Jesus, but they will be judged more harshly and are likely to lead many into legalism.

No, believers must not insist on people refraining from shrimp or tattoos or insist on celebrating old feasts.  They can do so, but Jesus completed that.  In the Church Era, we need to follow Jesus, and thus we will be saved and grow in his holiness.

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