Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Jan 04, 2011 | Comments (1)

Reading The Old Testament With New Testament Grace

Luke 16:19-31 In this familiar parable there was a rich man who feasted sumptuously inside his gate and the poor man Lazarus who was starving outside his gate. Lazarus, who had nothing, went to Heaven by the grace of God. The rich man, who had everything, went to Hades because he did not have the grace of God.

What is this story about? It is not about Lazarus and the rich man. This is the story of salvation. It can only be understood from the position of grace.
The difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament is that one is legalism and the other is grace.

The dialogue between Abraham and the rich man is most telling. He pleaded for Abraham to send Lazarus to his bothers so they would not come to this place of torment. Abraham replied that they have Moses and the prophets, they should listen to them. He responds that if someone goes to them from the dead they will repent. Abraham’s last words were that if they did not listen to Moses and the prophets neither will they be convinced, even if someone rises from then dead. The point is about how one should listen to the Law and the Prophets. If they listen legalistically they could not understand grace. If they listen gracefully they will understand resurrection.

We must understand the meaning of the dialogue that "they have Moses and the prophets, listen to them." Moses represents the Old Testament Law and The Prophets represent the rest of the laws found in Scripture. This only makes sense in the light of what Jesus meant by grace in the New Testament rather than what legalism means in the Old Testament. This is because Jesus changed the Old Testament of legalism into the New Testament of Grace.

What part of grace was the rich man missing? In Luke 10:25 Jesus is asked by a lawyer what must I do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replies: What is written in the Law? How do you read it? The lawyer’s reply was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength and your neighbor as your self. Jesus answered, “You are right, do this and you shall live.”

What this means is anyone who are willing to minister in love to others who are in need ministers to Jesus. They are the ones who are counted to enter the Kingdom. Matthew 25:40.

Abraham’s response to the rich man was that those who listen legalistically to the Law (Moses) and the prophets will probably not believe even if one comes back from the dead. Those who listen to the Law and the prophets in a graceful way will do the loving things and those are the ones that will saved.

The significance of this story is that it leads back to the primary teaching of Jesus. We are saved by grace. Legalism says we do what the Bible says to follow God so we can get God’s blessing. This is the legalistic approach to the Bible. It says the Bible is the Word of God therefore everything in it is true and must be followed.

The problem here is, it is not true. The Bible does not say it is the Word of God. The Bible does say Jesus is the Word of God. John 1:1 Therefore everything Jesus says is the Word of God. He is the final authority. If there are differences between Scripture and what Jesus says, then He is the authority we need go by. He tells us on the two Love Commandments, hang all the Law and the Prophets. Grace says we get God’s blessing so we can do things in terms of how the Bible us to follow God. That means for us to do the loving thing. All Old Testament Scriptures has been changed. No matter what it says, it now means for us to do the loving thing.

The question is do we read the New Testament through the eyes of the Old Testament or do we read the Old Testament though the eyes of the New Testament? That is why they call it the Old and the New Testament.

Comments (1)

  1. Josh McDowell :
    Jul 31, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    I agree... When and how did you come to see that Jesus not the bible is the Word of God. It seems rare that I see Older men who come to this conclusion. I stumbled onto this blog entry today as I was looking to see if there was anyone else using the title "Old Testament through New Testament Eyes." Your title here is close. I'm book marking your blog to read more latter. I love finding people who understand who the Word of God is!


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