Teaching Truth: Old Testament Versus New Testament
We are commanded throughout the Bible to share the truth. Throughout Scripture we are told to speak of God’s lovingkindness. power, holiness, and coming judgment to the nations. Does it make a difference if we prefer to teach just the New Testament? Does it make a difference if we are teaching a believer versus an unbeliever?
In Exodus and Deuteronomy, we are told to teach God’s commands to our children and our grandchildren. In the gospels, the disciples were told to go into all the world and teach the commands the Lord had given them. We know that without faith it is impossible to please God, Hebrews 11:6. We would not know God’s holiness and how far we fall short of it without the law, Romans 7:7. We also know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, Romans 10:17 The law is our tutor, our guide, our guardian to bring us to faith Gal. 3:24 Irregardless, of whether a person is a believer or an unbeliever, we all need the entire Bible, not just the new Testament, to teach us who God is and who we are before Him.
It is however essential in our teaching, of children especially, to make sure that we let the believer and the unbeliever each know how that truth applies to them. Too many times we teach the unbeliever to obey God’s Word when in fact God teaches us that apart from His Holy Spirit indwelling us, we cannot. We may do this or that act of righteousness, but it is as filthy rags before the Lord, Isaiah 64:6. The last thing in the world we want to do is raise our children to be little Pharisees whose lives are like whitewashed tombs, Matthew 23:27.
The believing child needs to hear that through the power of the Holy Spirit living in them they can learn to obey God. God will change them from the inside out as they seek to honor and do His will; but it is a process. They will try and sometimes fail. The more they seek God’s power and His ways the more they will succeed. They must be taught that no one can become like Jesus and obey God’s Word apart from the power of the Holy Spirit.
The unbelieving child should hear this truth with an application of how to receive God’s forgiveness and the saving power of His Holy Spirit so that they too might grow to become more like Christ. It is harmful to just teach our children how to be good. Teaching them right from wrong is essential. But, how sad for the child who is not taught that God is not surprised or dismayed by their failures. He expects us all to fail at times. This is what is so amazing about grace. There is saving grace for the unsaved child and sanctifying grace for the saved child. Teaching them both kinds of grace can make all the difference in the world.
The entire Old Testament is filled with people who were trying to be good on their own power. They got it right sometimes but were constantly turning from the true God to idols. Why? Because they weren’t attracted to the holiness of God. When we learn of God’s lovingkindness and His grace, we are drawn to know Him and as we come to know Him, we begin to see the beauty of His holiness. Apart from grace, holiness is terrifying, Exodus 20:18-19.
The entire New Testament reveals how the holiness of God was met in the sacrifice of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection. Old and New Testaments together give us the full picture of our amazing God. Holy and high above us, He reaches down in love to draw us near, Romans 2:4.