Have you ever heard this argument concerning homosexuality: “If you are going to condemn homosexuality because the Bible condemns homosexuality, then you also must condemn eating pork and shellfish because the Bible also condemns that. Then they add to their argument: “The Bible also commands that adulterers be stoned, so why don’t you do that?” Now of course, what they are actually advocating is for society to ignore biblical teachings which condemns their favorite sin. What they are ignorant of is the difference between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ, and as to which one is still in effect and which one has ended.
The Bible certainly does contain prohibitions on the eating of certain kinds of foods, including pork, catfish, shellfish, and other food items (Lev 11:1-23). And the Bible clearly commands that adulterers, as well as a host of other sexually immoral persons, including a man who lies (has sexual intercourse) with a male as he lies with a woman, are to be stoned to death (Lev 20:8-21). However, what is overlooked by those who cite these biblical injunctions is that all of them are part of the Law of Moses that governed the Hebrew people, the Israelites or commonly known as the Jews, before the coming of Christ and the inauguration of the New Testament (covenant).
The Law of Moses was given to Israel (Deut 5:1-3). It was never binding upon Gentiles except as Gentiles voluntarily became proselytes to the Jewish faith. With the ministry of Christ and His death on the cross, the Old Covenant was abolished and the gospel, the law of Christ, became effective. Christ fulfilled the Old Testament law (Matt 5:17) and took it out of the way, “having nailed it to His cross” (Col 2:14). “Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Col 2:16-17). “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes“ (Rom 10:4).
Christians do not observe the sabbath, celebrate the Old Testament feasts or festivals, observe the dietary laws of Judaism, or stone adulterers and homosexuals. In the past, God spoke to the Hebrew fathers by the prophets, but “in these last days (the Christian age), [He] has spoken to us by His Son” (Heb 1:1-2). The gospel of Christ is for every person in all nations, both Jews and Gentiles (Matt 28:18-20 f; Mk 16:15-16). The gospel of Christ, not the Law of Moses, is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom 1:16 cf; 3:20).
The gospel (the law of Christ, the New Testament) places no restrictions on certain foods. Rather, all foods have been created by God “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:3-4).
At the same time, the gospel (the law of Christ, the New Testament) makes it clear that adultery, fornication, and homosexuality, etc are still wrong and are still as severely condemned as they were under the Old Testament. (Rom 1:26-32 ff; 1 Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; Rev 21:8). The difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament with reference to these and other kinds of sexual sins is that God (not man) is the final Judge and Executioner (Rom 1:32; 2:16 ff; 2 Cor 5:10-11; Rev 20:12). In the meantime, while man is not the judge and executioner in such matters, Christians are to have no fellowship with members of the church who persist in a sinful and disobedient lifestyle (1 Cor 5).
Thus, before one begins to make uninformed charges about “cherry-picking biblical laws,” it would be beneficial for one to become informed about the different religious covenants set forth in the Bible, and to determine to whom the various laws were given and how long those laws continued in force.
“Be diligent (study) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing (handling accurately) the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).