Under Law or Under Grace? YES! (OT Interpretation #5)

Engraved on Stone

Deuteronomy 4:11-14 establishes that the Old Covenant is made up of the 10 Commandments as well as the commandments related through Moses to the people of Israel in the Sinai Desert. Deuteronomy 5:1-6 teaches that this covenant was not given to the patriarchs of Israel like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but only to the generation that came out of Egypt under Moses. And Exodus 20-24 reveals that the Law of Moses was given as one holistic law, it was not divided into a ceremonial, civil and moral law. Though we can see that the individual commands are applied to different areas of life, they are each interconnected and make up one law known as the Law of Moses and referred to as the Old Covenant by the New Testament writers.

Now we must ask, do Christians still need to obey the Old Covenant commands? Are we under the authority of the 10 Commandments?

4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

In 2 Corinthians chapter 3 Paul is writing to the Corinthians and defending his ministry as a minister of the New Covenant. He declares that he, and his co-laborers are sufficient ministers, but not in themselves, only by the grace of God’s Spirit. In verse 6 he begins to address some differences between the Old and New Covenants. In this verse he begins to teach that the New Covenant is of the Spirit, not mere letters, and that it brings life, not death.

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A National Covenant (OT Interpretation #2)

In the last post we discussed the difficulty of harmonizing the Old and New Testaments in the Bible. We mentioned that throughout history there have been a few main ways to attempt to reconcile these two sections of the Bible which seem to be at odds on many points. Basically there is the Jewish way, the Gnostic way and the Christian way. The Jewish way says that Jesus was a teacher of the Law of Moses. The Gnostic way says that the Old Testament was written by an inferior god. And the Christian way which says that Jesus fulfills the Old Testament Scriptures.

The heart of the Old Testament is the Law of Moses. So in order to understand how the Old and the New Covenants can be reconciled we should start with an understanding of the nature of that Law. In this post we will discuss some various ways of looking at the Torah (i.e. first 5 books of the Bible).

The Constitution of Israel

1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

– Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV

In Genesis 12 God promises Abraham that he would make his descendants into a great nation. And He was going to use that nation to be a blessing to all the nations of the world. The first aspect of this promise points to the creation of the nation of Israel. The second aspect points to the coming of the Messiah and the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom of God to all nations.

Continue reading “A National Covenant (OT Interpretation #2)”