“And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you,” Leviticus 11:10. Are Christians hypocrites with Leviticus? Do we really pick and choose what we obey in the Old Testament? Is it wrong to preach against sin on Sunday after eating a bountiful bacon breakfast and crab cakes for lunch? If I enter the book of Leviticus as evidence, then I must be either a legalist or a hypocrite. Well, no actually, but I’m afraid many Christians have a hard time with answering why that is, or themselves give up the fight and say we shouldn’t concern ourselves at all with the Old Testament. I have heard this brought up many times when people are debating the Christian and the Sabbath, tattoos, or appropriate clothing for men and women.
The antinomian (which means against the law) says, “It’s all grace, and the law is for the Old Testament — we are not under the law,” and quickly dismisses any use of the law for the Christian. The proof-texter flies hither and yon, cherry picking verses from Dan unto Beersheba to prove his traditionalist position, but by using this method without taking the Bible as a whole, he can provide chapter and verse but does not have a category for shellfish and polyester laws. When he’s accused of hypocrisy, what can he say? He gives chapter and verse, but cannot answer why one verse in Leviticus applies while the other one doesn’t, and now possibly in the position of being both wrong and hypocritical.
The short answer is not all the laws in the Bible were issued to every person on earth at all times. A good God gave these laws and God has different uses and ends for the law (1 Timothy 3:8) Reading the Bible carefully, you can see different purposes of the law and sometimes different laws for different people. There was the civil use of the law given to the nation of Israel for the citizens within her borders. There is the exposing and condemning use of the law, showing all people, at all times, we are sinners and condemns us before a holy God. And there is the teaching and guiding use of the law that instructs the Christian how we are to live under grace, the law being the rule of life for the believer. Some laws were to keep Israel separate from the nations in the Old Covenant, but put away, unnecessary in the New Covenant. God’s moral laws are eternal and always have been the standard and always will be. God uses the law in different ways and Christians must use the law, lawfully with the Bible, not our preferences, as our guide.