Old Testament Faith


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Old Testament Faith

I mentioned in below thread that the Old Testament teaches salvation by faith, to which some wanted me to expound upon.


Where to start, where to start?

Most Christians when regarding the OT come to think of it in terms of the Law of Moses and the sacrificial system under the Law. There is a stark contrast between this and the Grace through Faith as taught in the NT. And it appears that these two concepts are opposed to each other. In the mind of the Christian, the pivot to all this is found in Jesus Christ, who proclaimed that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not abolish it.

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." - Matthew 5:17-18

Evidently, heaven and earth has yet to pass away, so the question remains "Has the Law been fulfilled?" In Christ, yes. In us, no, not yet.

Before we delve into the Old Testament, we need to understand what the NT teaches about how Christ fulfilled the Law. For that, we go to Galatians 3:

"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

(This is the principal text I will use to contrast OT faith with NT faith)

Traditionally, it is thought that Christ's death, burial, and resurrection has an atoning effect on the believer. That Jesus took the sins of man so that we can be made meet for God. He became the curse so that we won't be cursed. But I think what Jesus did goes beyond the atoning sacrifice as the Lamb of God. Jesus taught us how to love God. And that teaching transcended the Jewish nation of Israel and into the world of the Gentiles.

What is curious about the above passage is that it talks about the Law, but the Gentiles are not people of the Law, for they are for the most part ignorant of it, yet in need of salvation. Yet Romans 2:14 says that the Gentiles have a law unto themselves:

"For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:"

In other words, there is something seriously wrong with the whole human race. And this wrongness trancends the Law.

Can I clue you into something? The Ten Commandments is not for the Gentiles. It was written for the Jews, specifically the wandering nation of Israel some 3,500 years ago. The whole Law was.

The reason Moses presented the Law to the people of Israel is because God was making a people for Himself for a specific purpose. The trouble is that coming out of Egypt the people had an Egyptian mindset. The Law was partly to get them out of that thinking. Partly to establish some form of government for the estimated 3 million nomads. But I will not get into that here. Suffice to say that God had to keep some kind of social order. But the point here is that the Law was a communal law. But I plan to make a full circle back to the Law later in the discussion.

But what did people do BEFORE the Law? Well, as I said, there has always been a sense of wrongness, sin if you will, as far back as man goes, whether or not you believe in a literal Adam and Eve. Why? Because it the Law is already written into our conscience, as I mention with the Gentiles in Galatians.

If there is a wrongness that implies that there is a rightness. An underlying moral fiber that pervade humanity. I won’t get into too much detail about that, but C.S. Lewis in his “Mere Christianity” discusses this in detail.

But to put it into simple terms, the rightness comes from the Source. God if you want to call it. The Scriptures teach that God is above reproach, holy in perfect Love. It is His nature. In fact, holiness IS perfect Love.

But for God to express that Love, there must be an object to that Love. Therefore He created. He created the universe, the world, all the creatures and life, and finally his greatest creation, man. Made in His image. How? Made with the capacity to love back. For love is a choice.

For that capacity of love to be realized, there had to be a choice, and with the choice, the possibility of love not being returned. And as I said, if God made Adam straight from the ground or allowed evolution run its course until the modern man had the capacity to love, Man failed in either case. The damage is done. Man learned to fail in loving God perfectly, and thereby failed to love his fellow man perfectly as well.

Why do I stress love? Because all sin is, is the failure to love perfectly. Sin is a distortion of right. Sin is saying that we have another way that seems right to us, but it is flawed. I view sin as an action rather than a noun. It is a direct contradiction of the kind of behavior God would have us do in order to love perfectly. I can’t be wrong in this because when Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, His reply was:

“…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40

(Now some of you know that the above is my life verses)

With the failure to love, and the fall of Man with the perfect communion with God, is the birth of Faith.

What is Faith? It is Man telling God, OK, Lord, we’ll go with Your way. This is the start of Old Testament faith, and it was demonstrated with Adam and Eve, when they took off their inadequate fig leaves in favor of adequate animal skins (provided by God) to cover their shame.

At this time, I'm going to pause and take a break and let you respond.