Learning from the mistakes of others

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Among Christians today there are 2 extreme attitudes concerning the Old Testament that should be avoided. Since Christians don’t live under the Old Testament, but are children of the New Testament, some almost throw the Old Testament away and hardly ever give it a glance. That is a pit that must be avoided. The other extreme which we must elude is drifting back to the Old Testament as an equal partner to the New Testament for Christians to live under. The book of Hebrews was written to warn Christians to avoid this dangerous false teaching.

Therefore, if it is wrong for Christians to ignore the Old Testament and dangerously wrong to try to live under it, then how are Christians to view the Old Testament?

First, the NT directs Christians to be instructed by the examples in the OT. Rom 4:22-24 tells us that the life of Abraham was: not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. Rom 15:4 instructs Christians: “whatever was written in former days (OT) was written for our instruction”. 1 Cor 9:8-10 affirms that the Law “was written for our sake”. 1 Cor. 10:1-11 speaks to Christians that the OT record “took place as examples for us,” and that “these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction”

Conclusion? It was not written for Christians to live under (book of Hebrews), but the OT was written and preserved for every Christian’s example and instruction. Learning from it, but NOT LIVING UNDER IT.

Second, the NT reveals why it is so important for Christians to learn from the OT. Rom 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Why do we need to be instructed by the OT scriptures? Without them we will lack some of the “endurance” and “encouragement” and “hope” that we need in this life. And according to 1 Cor. 10:1-11 we also need the instruction of the OT scriptures so that we will “not desire evil” and “not be idolaters” and “not indulge in sexual immorality” and “not grumble”.

Third, since the OT is part of God’s Word and since “All Scripture is inspired by God”: (2 Tim 2:16), then we must give it our attention.

Fourth, the OT answers our fundamental life questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? What happens when I die?

Fifth, the OT contains the only true account of the beginning of everything.

Sixth, the OT supplies us with our very first picture of who God is.

Seventh, the OT explains and opens up the background to the NT.

Eighth, the OT reveals why the Messiah in the NT was needed. (sin)

Ninth, the OT supplies the identifying marks of the true Messiah. (prophecies)

Tenth, the OT verifies the NT as the Word of God through fulfilled prophecies in the NT.

Eleventh, the OT is full of examples (good & bad) that Christians can learn from.

Therefore,

1- DO NOT IGNORE THE OT.

2- DO NOT TRY TO LIVE UNDER THE OT.

3- Learn how NOT TO BEHAVE from the bad examples in the OT.

4- Learn how to LIVE BY FAITH from the good examples in the OT.

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