Blessings of the Old Testament

In yesterday’s Easter sermon, Genesis 22:1-4 A Father’s Love, I discussed the primary purpose of the Old Testament: leading us to Christ. Paul said, “The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ” (Gal 3:24). After we’ve come to Christ, the New Testament contains a number of verses discussing the new relationship believers have to the Law. We are “free from the Law” (Rom 7:3), “dead to the Law” (Rom 7:4 & Gal 2:19), “delivered from the Law” (Rom 7:6) and “no longer under the Law” (Gal 3:25 & 5:18). In Romans 10:4 Paul said, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” and in Galatians 3:19 he said the Law was only “until the Seed (Jesus) should come.

The Old Testament primarily accomplishes this two ways. First, there were prophecies of Christ. Second, there are clear pictures and types of Him.

You could read all these verses and wonder what this means for us as believers: “What should we think of the Old Testament? What should be our relationship to it as New Testament believers? Is the Old Testament as beneficial as the New Testament?”

Considering how much I’ve taught from the Old Testament, I’d like to hope it’s obvious to my congregation how much I love it, value it, and recognize its equality with the New Testament. The fact is, Scripture nowhere presents any books or verses – say nothing about Testaments – as being superior to another. The blessings God’s Word afford are afforded from anywhere in Scripture. Every verse accomplishes the following blessings…

  • Equips: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16, 17).
  • Cleanses: Christ…cleanses [the church] with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:26, 27).
  • Convicts: For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12).
  • Sanctifies: Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth (John 17:17).
  • Imparts faith: Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).

One of the other blessings of the Old Testament is it provides examples for us to learn from:

  • Romans 15:4—For whatever things were written before [referring to the Old Testament] were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:11—Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

The Old Testament provides a backdrop for New Testament instruction. Certain accounts and individuals in the Old Testament help us make practical application of New Testament commands. Sometimes the individuals will serve as positive examples through their obedience, while other times they will serve as negative examples through their disobedience.

7 thoughts on “Blessings of the Old Testament

  1. That which is revealed; appropriately, the sacred truths which God has communicated to man for his instruction and direction. The revelations of God are contained in the Old and New Testament. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

    Martin Luther once observed that no sooner does someone fall off a horse on the right side, than they get back on and proceed to fall off on the left side. The Torah-observant groups are in part a reaction against negative views of the Law found in some Christian circles. It is the unfortunate case that in much of evangelical Christianity the Old Testament is hardly taught, rarely preached on and little understood by the average congregant. Where the Law is mentioned, it is often portrayed as merely a burden from which Christians are now free.

    It is, however, equally important to note that the recognition that we are not intended to keep the Law of Moses today does not mean that Christians believe in lawlessness! The specific commands of the Law of Moses each reflected something of the nature of God, and behind each commandment is a principle. Those principles, reflecting God Himself, are still incumbent on all Christians today.

    Even though there is no longer a temple for ritual/cult sacrifice making it impossible to keep the 613 laws since the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE— 369 commandments remain, of which 26 are applicable only in the Land of Israel.

    There are many teachings or interpretations of Torah from the Sages, Prophets, etc., documented from ancient, to medieval to modern times interpreting how we in any given period may apply the law to strive to holiness, care for individuals, poor, the community, health, application of legalism, our home the planet Earth… I am often in a place where the more that is studied, the more I feel eternity is required to understand the nature of God (Hashem) as it relates to God’s will for man (maturity that of a child) to the end of the age.

    Today a teacher, through a simple teaching imparted a revelation, humbling a student who will always be grateful for the blessing of the old/new testaments, as presented by the teacher. Modeh Ani (ּמודה אני)

    1. Hi Adrian,
      Thanks for reading and offering these thoughts!

      That’s a great analogy from Martin Luther. I agree that we tend to swing too far to one side and then correct by swinging too far to the other side. I love the Old Testament and have enjoyed preaching from it. My first two years at Woodland Christian Church were spent teaching verse-by-verse through 1 and 2 Samuel.

      Yes, not being under the Mosaic Law, or another way I’d say it is being under the New Covenant versus the Old Covenant, doesn’t mean the Old Testament is not beneficial. There’s no distinction between the testaments when Paul says all Scripture is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

    1. Hi Erma,
      I just made the change. Sorry it took so long :).

      Hope you’re doing well!

  2. For far too long I ignored the meat that is the Old Testament and I missed out on the rich treasure that can be found in abundance on every page. As Christians it is so easy to steer clear of reading it as it is a lot harder to digest and come to terms with, however when we have a change in heart as God gave me, we find that it is in fact with a little perseverance – invaluable. God is our exceedingly great reward and the most tangible form of God we have must be – His complete Word. Jesus always says it best:

    Matthew 5:17 & 18: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    We simply cannot afford to right off the Old Testament because we think that it speaks of a different God or a God of wrath. Under closer observation we find He is true to His Word and has never changed – Yesterday, today and tomorrow the same. Our beloved Father is Love, everything He has ever done was for Love. And God disciplines those He loves, when we choose to accept it we stand up in Him and become men/women of God and then He is able to bless us more richly. Sometimes we just need some encouragement. Thank you and God bless

    1. Greetings Shane,
      Thanks for the comment, and wonderful thoughts!

      Yes, regarding the “different God of the Old Testament” two of God’s most gracious acts in Scripture might be in the Old Testament:
      1. His forgiveness (and restoration) of Manasseh, one of the wickedest men in the Old Testament.
      2. His forgiveness of the Ninevites (in Jonah) some of the wickedest people in the Old Testament.

      May the Lord bless you too!

Do you have a question or thought? If so, please share!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.