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Q&A: Cancellation of the Law?

Question:

This question comes from Ramoane:

"I have some hermeneutics questions concerning how we apply Jesus' cancellation of the mosaic law. This is for a particular section in Leviticus about unlawful sexual relations (Lev 18), and more specifically verse 19. This came about because I've felt unsettled and am unsure of what the biblical stance should be on it... sex during the monthly period.
As Christians do we have the freedom to be intimate during the monthly period? If so, what about the other sexual situations in the Leviticus passage?
I think a majority of people would not argue that all of those situations outside of Verse 19 are still viewed as "detestable" things to do. However, from the people I've talked to since I started trying to study it out, there doesn't seem to be a problem with sex during the period. Why? Does God no longer view sex during the monthly period as detestable?."


ANSWER:

This is a great question, as it strikes at the heart of a Christian's view of the Old Testament and it's binding nature on their life.  

I would start by stating that Jesus did not cancel the law, but rather fulfilled it (Mat 5:17).  This may seem like semantics, but I think it is more than that.  The law, which was God's code for conduct for his people in order that they may be set apart and holy (notice the motif in Lev 18 about being different from the other peoples in the land) was completely and totally fulfilled in Christ, so that now in him we maybe be complete law abiders if we are found in him (c.f. Col 2:16-17; Phl 3:9; etc.).  So this would allow for us to engage sexually in regards to the monthly period (which could have had much to do with cultural realities such as health concerns without modern antibacterial technologies, plumbing etc., as well as perhaps the heart behind withholding children from a woman in a society where that was her primary function - c.f. the Lord's view of Onan in Gen 38).

The question would then lie as to why the other prohibitions in Lev 18 would not now be allowed under the fulfilled law of Christ?  In this regard I would say that many of these prohibitions and principles are outlined in various ways throughout the New Testament (c.f. Rom 1; Gal 5; Eph 5; 1 Cr 5, 7; etc.) as still prohibited to the Christian.

In short, as a Christian it would not be wrong to withhold sexual relations during your wife's monthly period, but I'm not sure the argument is very strong that it would be wrong to not do so either, while I believe that other passages in the New Testament do outline the prohibitions for Christians in regards to other sexual relationships discussed in Lev 18.

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