Out With The Old? - Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Out With The Old?”

Categories: OLD TESTAMENT
How relevant is the Old Testament today?  I mean, I know thou shall not kill, and thou shall not commit adultery, but what about things like slavery? Didn't it exist in the New Testament also?

Sincerely,
Contemporary Concerns

Dear Contemporary Concerns,

The laws and commandments of the Old Testament are no longer binding.  When Jesus died on the cross, He blotted out the ordinances of the Old Testament that condemned us (Col 2:14).  The New Testament has surpassed and replaced the Old Contract written on tablets of stone (2 Cor 3:3-8).  The Old Testament was designed to lead mankind to Christ, but now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the Old Covenant (Gal 3:24-25).

That does not mean that the Old Testament has no relevance.  The Old Testament is the history of God’s interaction with mankind over the centuries.  The laws and lives of those people are given to us as an example and a written lesson of how to live (1 Cor 10:11).  The prophets’ lives are examples of perseverance and suffering (Jas 5:10).  Israel is given to us as an example of disobedience (1 Cor 10:6-10).  Hebrews chapter eleven is an entire chapter devoted to the faithfulness of people who lived during the Old Testament times.  The Old Testament has immense depths of wisdom to be plumbed.

The Old Testament also provides the background to Jesus’ life.  Jesus was born a Jew, and He lived under the Jewish Old Testament law.  When we understand that law, we have a deeper understanding of Christ’s life.  The Old Testament also contains hundreds of prophecies about Jesus’ life.  Isa 53:1-7 is just one example of an Old Testament verse that gives details about Jesus’ life and sacrifice.

As far as slavery in the Old Testament… the New Testament had slavery, too.  In fact, there are parts of our world today that include slavery.  The world changes, but ultimately, people don’t.  There is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9).  People have always struggled with greed, hatred, lust, and fear.  It has always been hard to be faithful, hard to forgive, and hard to be compassionate.  The times and places change, but the heart of man still struggles with the same issues.