Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Learning The Old Testament

Romans 15:14, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

I am glad you have an interest in learning the Bible. It is truly a fascinating Book in so many ways. I wrote this crash course on the Old Testament, which should be a bit helpful.

The way to learn the Bible is just like you'd solve a puzzle. My Mom loved solving puzzles when I was a boy, and we'd work together on them. You look for the outside pieces first, flat on one side, which are the most recognizable. Then you work toward the less obvious pieces and compare one piece with another. The Bible is the same. First learn what each book is about. For example: Genesis is a book of beginnings. Exodus is from the word "exit," about the Israelites exiting from Egypt. Leviticus is about the priestly tribe of "Levi." And so forth. Then you compare Scripture with Scripture to learn the Bible. For example: Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 that no every one who says “Lord, Lord” shall enter into the Kingdom of God, but he that doeth the "will of the Father." I was reading John 6:40 one day and Jesus said that the "will of the Father" is to believe on the Son, so now I always explain Matthew 7:21-23 with John 6:40. 

I like the saying—The Old Testament CONCEALS the New Testament; the New Testament REVEALS the Old Testament. God has already made two great divisions in His Word of LAW and GRACE, or LAW (the Old Testament) and CHRIST (the New Testament). The LAW shows us that we are guilty sinners (Romans 3:19); and brings us to CHRIST to be saved by grace in the New Testament (Galatians 3:24-26). So when we view the Bible, in the most basic sense we should see LAW and CHRIST (or GRACE). The Old Testament shows us our NEED, our sinnership; but the New Testament shows us the REMEDY, which is salvation by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ. 


Understanding The Old Testament Refutes Lordship Salvation

Having said that, there is a lot of junk theology being taught in the churches today by preachers who don't understand the truths I just shared with you. Particularly the heresy of “Lordship Salvation” (which is Calvinism repackaged). This heresy says a person cannot be saved by faith alone but rather, they say a person must also be willing to turn away from their sins (which they erroneously mistake to mean repentance). Lordship Salvation says you must repent AND believe (two steps to salvation). They say if a person doesn't reform (by forsaking their sinful ways), then even though they have faith in Jesus Christ, they are still not saved. That thinking is of the Devil. 

In sharp contrast, the true plan of salvation is “The Gospel, which says we are saved by faith alone. We repent TO believe (one step to be saved). We don't repent AND believe; we repent TO believe. Repentance is simply a change of mind from WRONG THINKING to believing the 'GOOD NEWS' ('Gospel) that Christ DIED on the cross for our sins, He was BURIED and He RESURRECTED after three days for our justification (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). In the true Gospel, we are saved solely by what Jesus did to pay for our sins, and it has absolutely nothing to do with turning away from sins (which is reformation). In Lordship Salvation, the object of repentance is to forsake sinful behavior; but in true salvation, the object of repentance is to simply to believe the Gospel. Turning from sins is a matter of Christian discipleship, as we grow in the grace of God, having our mind renewed day by day by the Word of God (Romans 12:1-2). 

What Lordship Salvation proponents are actually doing, is requiring people to keep the LAW, as a prerequisite to saving faith. That is a false gospel which cannot produce the new birth in Christ Jesus. That is exactly what happened to the church at Galatia in the Bible. They had adopted a false doctrine of partial faith in Christ plus works. Galatians 3:1-2, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Paul wanted to know how they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit (i.e., how did they get saved), by keeping the works of the LAW, or by simple FAITH in the Gospel they had heard preached? I love that passage of Scripture, because it shows the simplicity that is in Christ, which is The Gospel. 
“To me, there's not anything that'll put iron in your spiritual blood like the Old Testament!” —Evangelist Lester Roloff, a quote from the awesome needful sermon, “The Devil's Decoys!” (or, “What's Fooling You?”) | MP3

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