THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW COMPARED TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW
Here is an example of the letter of the Law from Moses:
“You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain."
(Deuteronomy 25:4 NKJV)
Paul shows us the spirit of this same law. It means you should not prevent a worker from eating." In other words, when someone is working, they are to enjoy the fruits of their labor and buy food with what they are given.
Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.
(1 Corinthians 9:7-10 NKJV)
The Watchtower Society tell the Jehovah's Witnesses that refusing to give blood and refraining from blood transfusions is following the spirit of the commands of scripture such as these:
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
(Genesis 9:3-4 NKJV)
From the apostle Paul,
Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.
The Jews take this to mean that animals should not be eaten alive or with the blood still in it and that all blood should be drained from the animal before cooking. So it appears to me that abstaining from blood in the way the Watchtower explains it is not obeying the spirit or the letter of the law.
Jesus indicated that there are weighter issues that must not be ignored in the law.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith."
The Watchtower Society seems to be like the Pharisees by neglecting mercy in preventing those that need blood transfusions as a life saving method from getting it. The JWs are not permitted to show such mercy.
(Matthew 23:23 NKJV)
Here is an example of the letter of the Law of God given to Moses:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
(Exodus 20:8-10 NKJV)
And here is an example ot the spirit of that Law:
Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.
(Luke 13:10-17 NKJV)
Jesus also said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."
(Mark 2:27 NKJV)
Jesus gave at least ten reasons for "apparently" breaking the Sabbath law.
1. Pulling an ox out of a ditch on the Sabbath was permitted.
2. Circumcision is permitted on the Sabbath.
3. It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
4. Priests work on the Sabbath and are blameless.
5. The ministry of the Messiah is greater than the ministry of the Temple.
6. God desires mercy from His people and not sacrifice.
7. The son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.
8. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
9. It is lawful to lead animals to water on the Sabbath.
10. The Father works on the Sabbath.
Here is what Jesus said about the commandments in the Law:
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:35-40 NKJV)
And the apostle Paul said:
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
(Galatians 5:13-14 NKJV)