UNDERSTANDING THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS
Updated: Sep 5, 2020
Hebrews 9: 16- 17 says,"For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth".
The inability of some people to differentiate between the Old Testament and the New Testament has resulted in the abundance of confusion and wrong doctrines right in the church.
In our bibles, the Old Testament books are grouped as Genesis to Malachi and the New Testament books are grouped as Matthew to Revelation. These groupings are very misleading.
The New Covenant does not begin with the book of Matthew.The truth is that, the New Testament started after the death of Jesus. The shed blood of Jesus ushered in the New Testament. Therefore, the New Testament did not start at the birth of Jesus in the book of Matthew chapter one but after his death.
The Old Testament also did not start from the book of Genesis and ended in the book of Malachi but it started in the book of Exodus when the Israelites left Egypt, around that time when God established the old covenant with them and it ended when Christ died on the cross.
So, until his death upon the cross, Jesus himself lived under the Old covenant and ushered in the new Testament after his death and resurrection. Testaments or covenants are more than books. They are the relationship God had with men. God’s plan for man has always been in Christ or based on the New Testament.
The Old Covenant was an interruption of the perfect relationship God was having with man in the book of Genesis. We must, therefore, study our bibles with the knowledge of these dispensations.
The New Covenant can be distinguished from the Old Covenant in that it is a covenant of grace. In the old law-based covenant you reaped what you sowed, but in the new we reap what Christ has sown. In the old you did something in order to get something, but in the new we get because Christ has done it all. This is grace and grace declares that all is a gift. Every spiritual blessing is ours in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3). Under the old it was do, do, do, but in the new it is done, done, done. The new covenant is also a faith covenant. Faith is a rest, not a work. Only when we rest in the finished work of Calvary can God begin his good work in and through us. And as his grace abounds, good works abound (2 Cor 9:8). Good works don’t produce faith, but faith produces good works. The old covenant was characterized by ceaseless effort in the pursuit of holy demands that could never be met, but the new covenant is a covenant of rest and peace in the Holy Spirit. One of the things the bible tells us to do under the new covenant is to: labor to enter His rest (Heb 4:10-11). The main and final clause of the new covenant is captured in (Hebrews 8:12)- “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more".
If you don’t believe the main and final clause, you are rejecting the new covenant and negating the finished work of Jesus. If you do not believe the main clause of the new covenant, you are living in disobedience. The problem with the church today is wrong believing. Under the new covenant of grace, we are justified not by our right behavior or good morals, but by our right believing in Jesus Christ.