11 June 2013

How does the Old Testament apply to Christians today?

From "Now - That's a Good Question!" from RC Sproul:

One of the great weaknesses of today's church is a tendency to denigrate and neglect the Old Testament. It's a much more sizable piece of literature than the New Testament, and it covers an enormous period of history, the history of redemption from the creation of the world until the appearance of the Messiah. All of that is a revelation of God's activity on this planet, and I believe it was inspired by the Holy Spirit and given to the church for the church's instruction and for the church's edification.

I also think that one of the great problems in today's church is an abysmal ignorance of God the Father. We relate to Jesus. He's our Redeemer. He's God in the flesh, so we have a way in which we can understand Jesus. It is more difficult when we look at God the Father and also the Holy Spirit. The history of the Old Testament certainly calls forth something of the Messiah who is to come, but it is constantly revealing the character of God the Father, the one who sends Jesus into this world, the one whom Jesus calls Father, the one from whom Jesus says he has been sent, that person to whom we are being reconciled and redeemed. So how can we possibly justify neglecting such an enormous body of literature that communicates to us the character, nature, and will of our Creator and the one who has sent our Redeemer to this planet?

Saint Augustine is the one who said that the New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is revealed by the New Testament. In fact, about three-fourths of the material of the New Testament is either a quotation from or allusion to what went before it. I don't think we can really understand the New Testament until we have made a very serious study of the Old Testament.

Obviously there are things in the Old Testament that do not apply to the Christian in our day. For example, we are not to continue the ceremonies that were required of the Jewish people; those ceremonies were "types" that anticipated the once-for-all fulfillment of them in the work of Christ. So for us to offer animals as sacrifices would be an insult to the completion of Jesus' work on the cross. That doesn't mean that since that part of the Old Testament is fulfilled we are to neglect it altogether. The Old Testament is a treasure-house of knowledge for the Christian who will seek to investigate it.


PioneerPreppy said...

How many times have I heard so called educated, trained and "ordained" ministers say that Gentile Christians are not bound by the Old Testament?

Rev. Paul said...

Too often, I suspect. They're basing that on Jesus' statement that he came to "fulfill the law." Yes, it's true that the old covenant's rituals are passe', but God's commandments are eternal.

Ask those ministers if that means the 10 Commandments are null & void ... and watch 'em backpedal furiously.

OldAFSarge said...

Great explanation Rev! Even us grumpy old retired noncoms can understand that!

Matt said...

His commandments are eternal as are his views on certain subjects.

I would ask those in ministry positions that allow homosexuality or marry those that practice such this question:

If it was explicitly called an abomination in the Old Testament (Leviticus 18:22) why would his view on this be any different under the New Testament. That word, "abomination" , is one of the worst labels that could be applied to anyone's actions and carried serious consequences if not repented of.

Hosea 4:6 and Romans 15:4 are passages that have direct bearing on this subject of the Old T verses the New T.

Great Post!

Rev. Paul said...

Thanks, Sarge; that was my goal.

Matt, great point. Our opinions about the matter are irrelevant. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 16:25)

ProudHillbilly said...

It's an interlaced whole. But I think one of the reasons people shy away from the Old Testament is that it interferes with the "Jesus my buddy" concept that allows people to do what they want because ones buddy doesn't judge.

Rev. Paul said...

PH, that's EXACTLY it - well done, my friend!

CottonLady said...

Rev. Paul, we have been discussing this very thing in Bible Class! We are studying Exodus at this time and realizing how much of it is also in the NT. The Commandments are repeated in the NT in Mark 10, so the ones that think they are only OT are wrong. I agree with Matt, also!
Great post! Blessings!

Rev. Paul said...

Lady, that's good to hear. Thank you!