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Parts of the Law

Have you ever noticed the way the law works here in the US? (I suspect similar in other countries as well )
We have something called civil law. We also have something called criminal law. We also have a moral "code" so to speak.

For example....
If I accidentally crash my car into yours and people get hurt. I may get be sued. But I probably won't
go to jail. It's possible my insurance company will cover it all.
Speeding is a civil offense, no one goes to jail for speeding (except maybe in Ohio :) )
J-walking is a civil offense. No one goes to jail for j-walking.

But we also have criminal law. If I kill shoot someone with a gun with intent to murder them, that's
a criminal offense. If I break into your house and steal things, that's a criminal offense.
If I crash my car into yours on purpose with the intent of hurting people, that's a criminal offense.

It's interesting how the "intent" affects whether something is a criminal offense or something is a civil offense. (as in the examples of the car crashing into the other above).

I also find it interesting that much of our criminal law... is based upon what is called the 10 commandments in the Bible. (Exodus 20:3-17; )
For example, do not murder, do not steal and do not bear false witness are some of the 10 commandments.
Murder is a criminal offense virtually everywhere.
Stealing is a criminal offense in most places.
Being a false witness is called "perjury" and you can be thrown into jail for this as well.

Now of course, the phrases "civil law" and "criminal law" aren't in the Bible anywhere.
However in the old testament, there were laws like, if your ox escapes and goes someone to death,
the ox had to be put to death. However the man who owned the ox was not punished. ( Exod 21:28; )
This is much like civil law, there are consequences, (the ox has to die) but no one goes to jail.

In fact the vast majority of the old testament "law" was mostly what we would call "civil law" today.
There were over 600 of these laws.

There were actually more than 10 moral laws. Some moral laws can be found in places other than Exodus 20. For example... "love your neighbor as yourself" ( Lev 19:18; ) isn't one of the "TEN" commandments, but
it is a moral commandment of the old testament.

I also find it somewhat amazing how some laws have changed during my lifetime. When I was a young man, abortion was against the law. Men and women using bathrooms of the opposite sex was against the law. Two men getting married was against the law. But of course these things are legal now. (at least to men, if not God).

It's somewhat the same in the Bible. In the old testament, Jews had to be circumcised. The had to sacrifice animals in order to be forgiven of their sins, they had to confess their sins to priests to be forgiven.
These things were called the "ceremonial law". These things went away when the new covenant came.
Jesus is our high priest, He is our sacrifice, He is our "circumcision" in a manner of speaking. ( Rom 2:26-27; )
So some of the laws in the Bible have changed as well.

But have they all changed? It seems they have not. The moral law (what we would call "criminal law")
does not appear to have changed. In fact we are told over a dozen times in the New testament, to keep the commandments. ( Matt 5:19; Matt 19:17; John 14:15; John 14:21; John 15:10; 1 Cor 7:19; 1 Jn 2:3-4; 1 jn 3:22; 1 Jn 3:24; 1 Jn 5:3; Rev 14:12; etc.. )

But we are not under the law? Well the new testament does say circumcision is of no value now, it does say we have new high priest now, and it does say the ultimate sacrifice happened "once for all".

But the new testament also says do not kill, do not steal, do not commit adultery, love your neighbor, love God, etc...

To those who say the moral law doesn't apply anymore... I would ask, which one of these morals are you against? Do you want to kill? Steal? Commit adultery? Which one do you think we shouldn't do anymore?

The Bible says the reason the law exists, is so that we will know what sin is. Without the law, there is no sin. Without the law, there is nothing to define what sin is. ... and yet, almost all Christians will say we can still sin. The word sin simply means "missing the mark". The picture is a bullseye target with several rings around a center spot. Across the street from my office is a junior high school, there is an archery team there. (talk about trust, junior high schoolers with bows and arrows!! :) )
Sometimes I watch them, sometimes they hit the center spot, sometimes they hit one of the rings around the center spot (this is called a "sin") and sometimes, they miss the entire target all together. So what IS the center spot? What defines what the center spot is? The law is what defines this.
I have also noticed.. the more they practice, the better they get at hitting the target.
The Bible talks about practicing righteousness. (2 Pet 1:10; 1 Jn 2:29; 1 Jn 3:4; 1 Jn 3:7; Rev 22:11; etc.. )
It's much the same way, the more we practice righteousness, the better we are at "hitting the target".

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