Why We Don’t Follow the Old Testament
Text: Romans 7:1-6
I. Our Bibles are composed of two major parts: an Old Testament and a New Testament
A. Why are they called “testaments”?
1. A testament is a legal document declaring a person’s wishes.
2. Thus, calling the Bible a testament is to say these are the commands (the legal requirements) that God wishes man to follow.
B. The Old Testimony
1. The tablets with the Ten Commandments were called the tablets of the Testimony - Exodus 31:18
2. They were placed in the ark, which was called the ark of the Testimony - Exodus 40:20; Numbers 4:5
3. And the tabernacle was called the tabernacle of the Testimony - Numbers 1:53
4. When God expressed his desire it was called a testimony - Acts 13:22
C. The New Testimony
1. Paul taught God’s testimony - I Corinthians 2:1
2. The testimony is what the disciples believed - II Thessalonians 1:10
3. The law of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ - Revelation 1:9
D. Testament is just a form of the word testimony. Paul speaks of an Old Testament - II Corinthians 3:14
1. Because one is called “old,” this means there are at least two testaments.
E. We still use the word today in the same way. We speak of a person’s last will and testament. This is what a person wishes to be done after his death - Hebrews 9:15-17
1. Notice that covenant (a formal contract) and testament are used interchangeably.
II. The Change in Testaments
A. A major theme of the book of Hebrews is the change in covenants - Hebrews 1:1-2
B. This change was foretold - Jeremiah 31:31-34
1. Notice that God said the new covenant would be different from the older covenant
2. It makes sense, why introduce a new testament if the things desired remain the same?
C. So did God change His mind?
1. No, rather the change in covenants was planned from the beginning.
2. Before the world began, God planned to send His Son to save mankind
a. We were redeemed by the blood of Christ - I Peter 1:18-20
b. Not ashamed of the testimony which saves us - II Timothy 1:8-10
(1) Notice that the “testimony” and the “gospel” are used interchangeable.
c. Chosen through belief in the gospel - II Thessalonians 2:13-14
D. What changed?
1. A change in the priesthood
a. The author of Hebrews proves that Jesus is our High Priest - Hebrews 5:1-10
b. But Jesus was not a descendant of Aaron. He was not even of the tribe of Levi.
(1) But the order of Aaron was not meant to be permanent - Hebrews 7:11
(2) It could not bring salvation because it was formed of flawed men. - Hebrews 7:28
(3) Hebrews 7:12-17 - A change in priesthood requires a change in the covenant that defined the priesthood
c. This is as God said would happen - Psalm 110:4
d. Suppose we said the Law of Moses was still in effect.
(1) Then we must say that Jesus violated the law when he became our High priest.
(2) But Jesus did no sin - II Corinthians 5:21
(3) Therefore, the old covenant must no longer be in effect
2. A change in the covenant
a. There was a problem with the Old Covenant – people did not keep it - Hebrews 7:18-19
b. The old covenant was not flawed, but it did create a dilemma - Romans 7:7-13
(1) The law defined sin, but it brought no relief from sin
(2) It only offered a future hope of salvation
c. The Law bound sin to men, but Christ freed us from sin - Galatians 4:21-5:4
(1) Attempting to retain the old covenant means keeping the bondage of sin and rejecting salvation.
3. A change in sacrifices
a. Instituted with a different and better sacrifice - Hebrews 9:18-21
b. Uses a permanent sacrifice - Hebrews 9:23-10:9
c. But such a change required removing the first in order to have a new sacrifice authorized.
III. The Old Covenant has been fulfilled
A. Jesus came to bring the law to its completion - Matthew 5:17-18
B. And this he did - Romans 10:4
C. Before Jesus no one kept the law perfectly, but Jesus proved that it was possible to keep the law.
D. Thus, Jesus proved that the Law was good and that it was man who was flawed.
E. When did the change take place?
1. The law was nailed to the cross - Colossians 2:13-14
2. Jesus abolished the separation or the enmity in his flesh - Ephesians 2:14-16
3. Testaments come into effect upon a death - Hebrews 9:15-18
IV. Can’t we follow both?
A. Does it make a difference which law we turn to since both laws come from God?
B. To follow both is to ignore God
1. God said He took away the first - Hebrews 10:9
2. We have become dead to the law - Romans 7:4-6
3. It is the same situation as a wife whose husband has died.
a. While her husband lives, she cannot be joined to another man - Romans 7:1-4
b. But after her husband dies, she is free to join to another man
4. In the same manner Jews could not join to a new Law until the first Law was taken away.
a. If they had done so, they would have committed spiritual adultery
C. We cannot keep a portion of the Old Law
1. First, which portion would a person chose to keep.
2. Worse, is it God or man who is deciding which portion to keep or discard?
3. We are inadequate to make such a decision - Jeremiah 10:23
4. Besides, it would not work. To justify ourselves by one part obligates us to the rest - Galatians 5:3-4
5. This is why Paul argued so strongly against those attempting to cause Christians to do this very thing - Acts 15:1-2
V. Why do we still have the Old Testament in our Bibles?
A. It is there for our learning - Romans 15:4
1. Much of the New Testament could not be comprehended without knowledge of the Old
B. Much of the proof of the New is found in the Old - Galatians 3:23-25
C. It contains examples so we can learn from the mistakes of others - I Corinthians 10:1-12
D. Thus we establish, first, what we must do from the New Testament and then can go to the Old Testament to understand why, and how this is to be accomplished.