Is the Old Testament Irrelevant?

May 24, 2014

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Being a grace blog, we often focus on promises of the New Testament and the New Covenant.

Does that make the Old Testament irrelevant?
Is the old in Old Testament representative of something that has no value in modern-day?
Was the God of the Old Testament different than the one we love and serve today?

The short answer is NO!

Keep reading and I will explain why.

Recently, while reading a book on grace, I observed the author go to great lengths to show the Old Covenant,  even Old Testament, has no value in our lives today.

While agreeing with many of his points and interpretations on the grace of God, I could not disagree more with his perspective on the Old Testament.

Here is a quote from the book.

“At the risk of sounding critical, it remains a sad reality that the Bible Society chose to combine the Old and New Testaments into one single book. This single decision has caused widespread confusion within the ranks of believers throughout the world. Many of the writings in the Bible before the cross portray God to be a harsh, cruel being, set on destroying and punishing people if they dared to disobey the set of moral standards represented by the 10 Commandments and the other laws.”

According to him these would be the conclusions I could draw:
1. God today is different than the God of the Old Testament. If so, how can we ascribe an unchanging nature to Him. In fact, how can we be confident He won’t change the “game” again, giving us a “newer” covenant. We could even go so far to say the writers of the Old Testament incorrectly “portray” God (his words not mine.)

2. The Old Testament only confuses. If so, how is it that some of our greatest examples of grace lived out come from the Old Testament heroes, that though fallible were faithful.

3. The Old Testament is sad and has no relevance, it should have been left out. If so, why should I even bother reading it? Why would we ever preach out of it other than to gain a “Whew, glad we don’t have to do that” response.

I would offer these perspectives on the Old Testament (Covenant):
1. Displays the same God from cover to cover. I actually see more grace in the Old Testament, not less. How many times does God bless people and immediately they go and act stupidly? His grace is not based on behavior. Just ask Noah, Abraham, Moses or David.

2. Helps us to see the big picture of God’s plan of redemption. The moment we broke the planet, God set about fixing it.

3. Displays all of history is centered around the cross. How else can Abraham be declared righteous by his faith, not his works.

4. The Ten Commandments or the Law reveal the holiness of God giving believers a standard to walk towards (not having to achieve this in perfection.)

5. The Law gives us wisdom for life. Understanding of germs brought in the Law has only been discovered by modern medicine in the 20th century. I could keep going with examples from science, food, government, and more.

I love the Old Testament. Sure, there are some difficult issues it raises which I plan on asking God about some day. But, my love of grace is fueled more when I see it found in the first part of the book.

I love those times where I say, “There it is again…..grace.”

What else would you add to this discussion? What do you love of the Old Testament?

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God