There are certain parts of scripture which seem to say, on first reading, that certain parts of the Law have been abolished, rendering them obsolete, no longer binding or relevant for us today.
For example, when Paul says, “let no man judge you in food, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath” (Co 2:16-17), it’s very easy to conclude he’s giving us freedom to ignore some of these old Jewish laws. Is this because we’re already inclined to think this way? Are we imposing our view on the text? or is the text actually saying this?
Let’s consider it carefully: What does “let no man judge you” have to do with our own, personal moral responsibility before God? or with what God Himself expects of us? or with our own obligation to obey His Law?
Nothing, actually: this is about how others assess how we’re obeying certain parts of Torah, how they think we’re supposed to observe God’s dietary laws, festivals, holy days and sabbaths.
When others accuse us of not doing it right, trying to impose their man-made traditions on us (Co 2:20-22), we shouldn’t be intimidated into trying to appease them. We should only be concerned with what God says, not the customs, traditions and commandments of men. (Co 2:8)
This is how Paul lives generally, not placing much stock in how others judge and evaluate his earnest walk with God (1Co 4:3), and this is how he encourages us: search out truth for ourselves (Ac 17:11) and obey it all as well as we can, as unto God. (Ro 14:4)
So, how is a text which has absolutely nothing to do with our personal responsibility to keep Torah so easily misread as permission to break it? Our presuppositions can easily blind us to what the Word actually says; they are much more powerful than we might think. (Ro 8:7)
When error is common, taught us right from the start of our spiritual journey, it may take the special intervention of God to set us free (2Ti 2:25-26), even when He’s laid it all out there right in front of us. Our teachers probably mean well, but at times we all regurgitate what we’re taught, failing to think it through and discern the truth for ourselves. (Ps 119:99)
So, what does Christ Himself say about the continuity of Torah, and about our responsibility to keep it today? First, He says we’re not to think He came to abolish any part of Torah; He came to fulfill it: to honor it, obey it perfectly and complete all the prophesies related to His first coming. (Mt 5:17)
He then confirms that all of Torah, every single law, will be relevant as long as Heaven and Earth stand — until all be fulfilled: Torah is God’s standard of holiness until every single prophecy in the Bible has come true. (18)
Then He says, in no uncertain terms, that we’re all to be delighting in, respecting, keeping, observing, obeying and doing all of Torah that we can, including what we might consider the least of His commands, and teaching others to do the same. He even affirms that our obedience to Torah defines how we’ll each be esteemed and rewarded in His kingdom. (19)
That’s about as plain as it gets. How could He say this any more clearly, simply and directly?