The Law of Moses allowed divorce, which Yeshua told us was because of the hardness of men’s hearts. Differing opinions within Judaism allowed husbands to divorce their wives for almost any reason. Yeshua allowed divorce for one reason only – sexual unfaithfulness.
The Law of Moses commanded Israelis to love their neighbors as themselves. Other religious codes do the same, such as Islam; however Islam’s meaning of that is much different than the Law that YHVH gave to Israel. Yeshua commands us not only to love our fellowman as ourselves, but also our enemies. And above all that, He gives His disciples a new commandment, that we are to love one another as He has loved us. The royal law to love one another as we love ourselves is already a high bar for most human beings; the new commandment raises this standard to the level of God’s love. The Father has redeemed us to become conformed to the image of His beloved Son, who is the express image of the invisible God. What love He has bestowed upon us to call us the children of God!
The Law of Moses teaches us that God forgives sins, and provides a substitutionary sacrifice for us to receive His forgiveness. The Law of Messiah teaches and commands us to also forgive sins. When Yeshua forgave the paralyzed man, the religious berated Him, since only God can forgive sins. But the Lord said that the Son of Man also has authority to forgive people their sins. Jesus tells us that if we do not forgive sins of others against us, then neither will our heavenly Father forgive us. If we, who have been forgiven so much by God through the sacrifice of His Son, do not forgive our fellows for the far less debt they may owe us, then the Lord will take back His mercy shown us and require us to pay back the full amount! (Mt 6:14-15; 18:21-35)
Joseph is the best example we have from the Tanach of someone who forgave grievous sins and betrayal. He lived before the giving of the Law of Moses, but, by Joseph’s fear of the LORD and his faith, the Holy Spirit and grace of God enabled Joseph to overcome those very difficult circumstances that he suffered; and he also saw how God worked all things to together for good for him, who loved the LORD and was called according to His purpose.
As believers and disciples of Yeshua, we do not want to return to the lower standard of the former covenant – a standard which the Apostle Peter said was a yoke that they nor our fathers could bear — but to go on to full maturity in the liberty and exceeding glory of the blood of the New Covenant of the Lord and Messiah. (Acts 15:9-11)
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phlp 3:12-14)
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, January 26, 2019, and reposted with permission.