Disconnect the Old Testament
Is the Old Testament Relevant Today?
Many would say that the Old Testament is hard to understand. That it is confusing and in many cases troubling because of the violence held within the text. Many believers and some pastors say that the Old Testament is not relevant and should be unhinged from the rest of the Bible.
The argument goes that Jesus is in the New Testament and not the old. Many of the covenants and laws do not apply to us today. Jesus is the new covenant. Grace and faith are not in the Old Testament and is paramount for salvation. Jesus taught something new and replaced the law (Something new – fulfilled it – end it- replaced it). My favorite, the Old and New Testament cannot be reconciled together.
Old Covenants and OT laws do not apply
To understand we have to realize who the laws were given to and why. The Old Testament laws were given to the Israelites and for specific purposes in living and how to obey God (Ten Commandments). Some laws were to set Israel apart from other countries (laws on clothing and food). Then other laws were on how to worship God and atone for sin (sacrificial laws). Some would claim that the laws are not binding to Christians, but I do not hold that belief. The laws specific to Israel are for them but there are laws that do pertain to us and how to live (Ten Commandments).
Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:17–18 the difference between abolish and fulfill. He didn’t abolish but fulfill the law and the prophecies in their fullest expression or extent. Jesus set the standards for living and how to obey God, as well as the way to live, being set apart. The blood shed on the cross was the ultimate atonement for our sin, and we are made righteous through Christ before God.
“Have we been freed from the curse and burden of the Mosaic law just to be burdened down with a more radical law of Christ? No. The difference is that Moses gave us a law but could not change our hearts so that we would freely obey. Our pride and rebellion was not conquered by Moses. But when Christ summons us to obey his law of love, he offers us himself to slay the dragon of our pride, change our hearts, empower us by his Spirit, and fulfill his law.” John Piper.
Jesus is the new Covenant
Luke 22:20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Jesus work, death, and resurrection shows the promise of our new life in Christ. That through grace and mercy our sins are buried, covered and cleansed by the sacrifice of Christ blood. The one pure lamb, whose blood is perfect, who required by God to be born under the law so to be able to fulfill the law.
Christ is not only the Head of the covenant but also the Surety of the covenant of redemption, Heb. 7:22 (This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.). Christ took the place of the sinner, to bear the penalty of sin and to meet the demands of the law for His people. By so doing He became the last Adam, a life-giving spirit,
1 Cor. 15:45 (Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.). For Christ, this covenant was a covenant of works, in which He met the requirements of the original covenant, but for us, it is the eternal foundation of the covenant of grace. Its benefits are limited to the elect. They only obtain the redemption and inherit the glory which Christ merited for sinners.
So does this new covenant do away with the old law and introduce a law? Not in so many words. Jesus in the sermon on the mount (Mat 5, 6,& 7) lays out what many claims to be new teachings. But they are not new, but clarifications of the old testament. Jesus teachings on the greatest commandments in Matthew 22 is not anything new because He is citing Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18
Matthew 22:36–40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Chapters 5, 6 and 7 have a solid base in the Ten Commandments, as well as the Beatitudes having a foundation through other teachings in the Old Testament as Isaiah and Psalms. Jesus teaches that it is not just the act but the heart where sin grows. The law can do nothing to change a heart, only Jesus Christ has that ability.
We Are Under Grace, not the law
Romans 6:14–15 For sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
Grace is not a license to sin. Just because we are no longer under many of the requirements that are in the Old Testament, we can’t go and do as we please. We are going to follow someone, either Christ or sin. Under the covenant of Grace, we do have requirements to fulfill. Under the law, it was works and legalism. Under grace we have two requirements 1) that we accept Christ, the covenant and the promises under the new covenant on faith (alone) and 2) being born into a new life, that we give ourselves completely to God in obedience
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Grace removed the oppressive requirements of the Mosaic law. Mankind could not even begin to live up to those standards. The law actually shows the need for a savior because we can’t follow it completely. The original question was “is the Old Testament relevant today?” Yes, because it shows the foundational need for a savior. It has foundational truths that still applies in our daily living. However, and to me most important, it teaches us and gives us a complete look at who God is and His attributes. If we are committing to being obedient, should we not have a complete picture of Him?