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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Proper Use of the Old Testament

By Ron Cosby
      The proper way to use the Old Testament is as our example (Rom. 15:1-4; 1 Cor. 11:1-13). Thus, we must first determine what the New Testament teaches on the subject. This is accomplished by proper consideration of the New Testament itself. Then, one may seek to find Old Testament illustrations on the subject.
      For instance, the New Testament teaches that covetousness is idolatry (Col. 3:5). When Bible students search the Old Testament, several excellent examples illustrate God's abhorrence of covetousness. King Ahab coveted Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kin. 21:1ff). Because of Israel's inheritance law, Naboth would not sell the vineyard. Greedy Ahab killed Naboth and took his land. Thus, by this event, we see the wickedness of covetousness.
      Now, consider how we might misuse this same event. Suppose I contend that it is sin for “brother Smith” to sell his land. To prove my contention, I quote the words of Naboth: “Jehovah forbid ... that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee” (1 Kin. 21:3). Is this a proper use of the Old Testament? Don’t think so. I must first determine by the law of Christ, not the law of Moses, whether or not it is sinful to sell property. Where is the New Testament teaching that forbids a Christian to sell his inheritance? There is none. Thus, for me to conclude that the Lord forbid “brother Smith” from selling the inheritance of his fathers is an erroneous conclusion.
      Consider the following perversions of Old Testament concepts.
1) Since David married several wives, some conclude that polygamy is not sin.
2) The use of mechanical instruments of music is acceptable in Christian worship because David played a harp when he worshiped God.
3) The ceremonial priesthood for Christian service and worship is right in God’ s sight because priests mediated David's worship.
      Shall we pick and choose which one of these we want? For those who desire to worship as Heaven said in “spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), all such erroneous practices will be strenuously avoided. However, the religious world has failed to properly divide Old Testament doctrine from the Law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). They seek to follow the saints of old instead of Christ. Some practice polygamy. Many use the mechanical instrument of music in Christian worship. Others have their priesthoods. According to the teaching of the New Testament, such practices should be cast aside.
      For the cults, the denominations or the church to seek justification by practicing Old Testament law displeases God (Acts 15:10; Gal. 5:1, 6).

- Ron Cosby; - via the
Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere Church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org 

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