Old Testament & New Testament – How they Fit Together
2 Timothy 2:15 (Historical Highway) Study and be diligent to present yourself approved unto Theos, the Triune God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The two testaments are much like a book with two chapters. Chapter One and Chapter Two. The two testaments are Testament One and Testament Two or as we know them, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament is authored by God and as such it is filled with grace and truth. It is given to the nation of Israel as a national law for all to live by as citizens in Israel. In a word, it is very encouraging. But today by focusing on the Law out of context without the sacrifices for sin, the Old Testament laws, commands, judgments and the penalty for breaking the law, God is seen as harsh. The love of God is overlooked in the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifices, and obedience was not complete because the sacrifices had to be continually offered.
The one word that sums up the Old Testament when viewed this way is to “obey”. When focusing too heavily on “obeying the Law”, we can be drawn to the idea of “obeying” to please God outwardly instead of a heart to heart relationship inwardly. All too often, obeying is used to evaluate each other rather than checking one's own obedience and the tendency is towards accusing others of disobeying instead of loving and praying for them and accepting them.
The New Testament is also authored by God, and Jesus is seen as loving because love has been demonstrated by the giving of His own life for all on the Cross. The New Testament is written to the Gentiles, or people of all nations, and He fulfilled or “filled up” the Law of the Old Testament to meet its just requirements. He is the God of the Old Testament having come in the flesh as the man Christ Jesus to die for the sins of the world, as the sacrifices foreshadowed in the Old Testament sacrificial system.
Because of the differences in the Old and New Testaments, there is a tendency to either focus too much on the Old Testament and stress obeying, or just to neglect the reading of it altogether, which is all too common today. We need to read all of Scripture in context, to understand the New Testament in view of the Old Testament, not returning to it or over emphasizing it. On the other hand, all the promises are not given to the Church, leaving Israel with only the curses. The Old Testament lays the foundation for understanding the New Testament and they need to be understood together.
One word that sums up the New Testament is to “believe”. When looking at the New Testament we are drawn to the idea of love because of Jesus’ sacrifice, and our response to Him is to “believe” Examples of the need to believe can be found in the following verses.
1 John 1:9 (Historical Highway) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (To do this you must believe)
Romans 10:9 (Historical Highway) … that if you confess with your mouth Kyrios Iesous, the Lord Jesus, the Sovereign Authority, and believe in your heart that Theos, the Triune God, has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Again, to do this requires believers to read the scriptures so they “know what to believe”.
The New Testament Triune God having come in the flesh, has fulfilled or “filled up” the requirements of the Law which no man could do. Then as a substitute sacrifice Jesus died for the consequences of sin in man’s place thus freeing him from the requirements of the law, not to be free from the law; but free to obey the law in the Spirit . Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to indwell us and makin us able to obey Him from the heart, not just with an outward demonstration of obedience. Therefore, when we think of Jesus, we think of Love demonstrated by God sending His own Son to die in our place and believing, or having faith in Him, is the obedience that is required and joyfully given.