The Covenant Context


One of the biggest misunderstandings outside and inside the church is that of the covenant relation to the context. We should ask ourselves when reading a passage of scripture, “Is this in the Old Testament or in the New?” Even within the gospel accounts (Matthew-John), we are still looking at the time of the Old Covenant. Jesus speaks of when a new covenant will be established but not until his death, burial, and resurrection.

The Old Testament lead people to Christ (Galatians 3:24-27). It was also nailed to the cross (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8:6-7). There is no law in the Old Testament that is binding on the Christian today. All that man needs to do to be found as righteous can is found in the New Testament alone.

Christians do not keep the Sabbath, but rather the Lord’s day (1 Corinthians 16:2; Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10). We do no offer animal sacrifices. Christ’s once and for all sacrifice supplanted the Old Testament sacrificial system (Hebrews 9-10). Christians do not use instruments in worship though they were used in the Old Testament (Psalm 150:3). No command was ever given to the New Testament church to use instruments but rather we are to make melody in our hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). These are but a few differences among the covenants.

The Old Testament is not binding on us today but it was given for our learning (Romans 15:4). We can look back at types that are fulfilled at the antitype in the New Testament (as we have noticed for the past several Sunday nights). We can examine the prophecies concerning the Christ and His life. For the Christian, the Old Testament serves as a reminder for faithfully living and warnings (Hebrews 11; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13).