The Whole Truth And Nothing But (ATP)
How do I respond when someone insists that, aside from pointing to Jesus, the Old Testament is obsolete?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
This statement is one of the major Christian fallacies and is really just one from people who don’t understand. Has God ever lied? Has God made mistakes? If the answer to these is no, which it is, then His Word is still good. It’s funny, but you will often find people who believe that the Old Testament doesn’t apply anymore quoting from the Psalms and Proverbs. They love to hear, “the Lord is my shepherd…” even though that is found in Psalm 23, in the Old Testament. They also often embrace the 10 commandments which are also found in the Old Testament.
Let’s first look at some common sense arguments against this. Jesus and the apostles had no New Testament. That’s right! They all preached the Gospel and Paul wrote more than half of the New Testament, giving practical instruction from what was written in the Old Testament. They all quoted it, referred to it, and even embraced it. We read in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” People often look at scriptures like this and say, “See, we are not under the law anymore.” That is also a false statement because if you continue reading we come to this, Romans 8:4. It says, “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us WHO DO NOT WALK ACCORDING TO THE FLESH but according to the Spirit.” In others words, believers not living according to the spirit are still under the requirement of the law which again, is in the Old Testament.
In Matthew 5:17 & 18 Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Jesus was the fulfillment of the things that the Old Testament pointed toward. Believers walking by the spirit are likewise. In other words Jesus was the Messiah, saving us to do what God had for us to do. He didn’t throw away the Law, but He explained it and gave us light on why and what God was really saying. In fact, until Jesus, the Old Testament couldn’t be fully walked out. Yes, He gave us a new covenant but that new covenant didn’t erase everything from before. If you graduate from college, that doesn’t mean what you learned in elementary school didn’t matter. That’s where knowledge was first established in you, but now you just have greater light on things.
Now, let’s look to some other scriptures. Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I do not change…” But Pastor Jeff, that’s Old Testament! Ok, how about Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Sounds the same to me. The simple truth is, God has not changed nor will He ever. He adapts His plan at times but His heart is always the same. When Jesus was asked if it was lawful (according to the law) to divorce He answered beautifully like this: Matthew 19:8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Notice, God adapted some things but His intent was always the same. He didn’t throw out what came before. He was saying that they just didn’t really understand it. If you place an order on Amazon, it might take some time to fulfill. When it is fulfilled, you don’t then throw it out claiming it’s now not needed. You waited for it to be fulfilled, now it’s time to utilize it!
We get wonderful instruction in the Old Testament but we also have wonderful promises. If we casually throw all that out, how will we know what God has given to us. Galatians 3:29 says, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” How are we supposed to know what is promised if we simply throw out what was written before. The Bible isn’t just about the Messiah, but our relationship to and ultimate redemption by God. It is the path of humanity to Him, and it is the path of life to every believer! If we just toss it away we only have part of what God has provided for us. He gave us Jesus so we could walk out what He established from the beginning! I fail to understand why believers can be such deconstructionists, constantly trying to tear apart what God wants to build!
Now some people will still argue that the Old Testament has passed away and I have to tell you, you won’t change their minds. In such cases, let sleeping dogs lie. If they want to resist the truth then you won’t change their minds anyway. These past seven years I have found that a person will only believe what they allow themselves to believe, regardless of what the truth is. I will also make a statement that may shock you. I can just about predict that the person or persons that believe such a way are ones that have been believers for quite some time and probably have strong denominational roots. I don’t say that to attack but it is an observation I have made. Many times people hold to their religion even above the Word of God. But Jesus also spoke about this.
When I started learning the truth, I got anxious to start sharing it with everyone and anyone. I soon learned that not everyone was as excited about what I was saying as I was. Sometimes it’s better to just know what you know and know it to yourself. Let His Spirit guide you on who to share what with. Then you won’t waste your time or become frustrated. I always found the following scripture to be quite a blessing and guidance to me. Romans 14:22 says, “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” It is not saying to not share your faith but encouraging us to do so skillfully. Follow God, know the truth, trust in Him, and He will give the perfect platform in the perfect timing! He will lead you to those who will listen and even sometimes to be a witness to some who won’t.