Chris: I’ve really enjoyed meeting you, but there are a few things I don’t understand. Since you are in Christ, your actions and your belief in keeping the law seem unnecessary and a hindrance to faith.
Jude: I don’t understand what you think is incompatible about my Jewish lifestyle.
Chris: Well, I know you now and I know that your practice of the Sabbath and dietary law is not just cultural. You feel you are obligated to do them. If they were just cultural and you felt them optional, I could understand. I understand African-Americans and their customs, Chinese Christians, and so on, but you Messianic Jews see yourselves as obeying God when you keep these customs.
Jude: Well, God did command them.
Chris: But the New Testament says you are under grace and not under the law.
Jude: What do you think it means that we are not under law?
Chris: The law was temporary. It was not the best way, but a part of the plan leading to something better, to what we have in Christ. The law was then, now we have the law of Christ.
Jude: Can you give me an example of a really important law of Christ?
Chris: Of course, to love God and to love neighbor.
Jude: But that’s in the law before Christ, in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
Jude: Why do you think the law was temporary and needed to be replaced by something new, by the way of Christ?
Chris: Well, the law was carnal. It was about external ceremonies and not inner faith and devotion. It was a first step along the way of showing people how to live. But the way of Christ is pure, spiritual, better.
Jude: So the law is unspiritual?
Chris: Yes, to follow it now is legalism, to be in bondage to rules about touch this and don’t touch that. That is not the way of Christ.
Jude: So God gave bad and unhelpful scriptures to reveal himself to people?
Chris: Well . . .
Jude: And then God stuck people he loved with this bad system of carnal and legalistic rules for more than a thousand years?
Chris: Well, that doesn’t sound right.
Jude: So, could it be that the law was good and spiritual? Maybe it wasn’t temporary.
Chris: I see what you’re saying and I don’t have an answer. I don’t think God would give people something bad, harmful, or inferior. But I know the law is temporary. I know that Christ replaced the law. I just don’t know how to explain it.
Jude: Maybe you’re missing something.
Chris: I probably am. Let’s keep talking.