Reading the Bible with the right glasses

Bible&GlassesI have found that many Christians, even respected Bible teachers, seem to read the Bible indiscriminately. What do I mean by this? They don’t read it with their Jesus glasses on. Especially, when reading the Old Testament.

And when we do this, it leads to powerless  Christian living and all kinds of confusion and religious bondage.

Am I against reading the Old Testament? Absolutely not. I love the Old Testament and it’s very relevant, as long as we remember that much of the covenantal aspects represent types and shadows of the real thing (Heb.8:4-6). In other words, when the real comes, the types and shadows are no longer needed.

The foolish Galatians forgot this and tried to put the proverbial new wine in an old wineskin (Matt.9:17). I wrote about it here and here

Likewise, whenever you hear someone pronouncing judgment on people or nations, they almost invariably use the Old Testament passages to make their claim.

And when you try to relate to God based on behavior modification and sin-management, you can be sure you have the wrong glasses on.

Here’s an interesting point to ponder. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus would say, “You have heard it said, but I say…” (Matt.5:43-44). Okay, where did they hear it said? Of course, in the Mosaic Law! But Jesus changed all that around.

In fact, Jesus changed just about everything about the Old Covenant. Here are just a few examples…

The Mosaic Law had all kinds of behavioral requirements and sacrifices to deal with our sins. But under the New Covenant (NC), Jesus behaved for us and paid for all our sins–past, present and future (Heb.10:12). Which means, we can’t do anything to pay for them except believe.

Under the Old Covenant (OC), you had to confess every sin before they were forgiven, under the NC, we confess that our sins are already forgiven in Christ (Col.2:13).

Under the OC, you were managed by the Law; under the NC, you are managed by the Holy Spirit by faith (Rom.8:4, 14; Gal.3:11).

Under the OC, curses would come upon us if we disobeyed; but Jesus removed the curse of the Law and left us with the blessings (Gal.3:13-14).

The OC had to be kept by obeying laws; the NC was kept by Christ and our part is believing promises (Gal.3:15-18).

Under the OC, the Ten Commandments were for the righteous; under the NC, they are for the unrighteous (1 Tim.1:7-9).

Under the Mosaic Law, our sins separated us from God; under the NC, He’s no longer counting our sins against us (Heb.10:17-18; 2 Cor.5:19).

The OC condemned sinners; the NC saves them (John 3:17).

Under the Mosaic Law, we had to have clean hands and a pure heart before we could come to God (Psalm 15:1-5); but in Christ we come confidently to God because of His clean hands and His pure heart (Heb.10:19-23).

Under the OC, righteousness was attained by obedience, under the NC, it’s obtained as a free gift (Rom.5:17).

Under the Mosaic Law, God would curse the land and withhold rain on the disobedient; but now His rain falls on the just and unjust (Matt.5:45).

Under the OC, if you touched a leper you were unclean; under the NC, believers will touch a leper and make them clean (Matt.10:7-8; Mark 16:17-18).

On the day the Mosaic Law was given, 3,000 people perished for disobedience (Exod.32); when the Spirit was given on Pentecost, 3000 people were saved in spite of their disobedience (Acts 2:41).

Under the OC, we lived from earth to heaven. God was up in heaven and we were down on earth (Eccl.5:2); under the NC, we live from heaven to earth (Phil.3:20; Heb.12:22).

Under the OC, they waited to go to heaven after they died; under the NC, we died with Christ and are seated with Him in heaven right now (Eph.2:6; Col.3:1-3).

Under the OC, we waited for God’s kingdom to come; under the NC, His kingdom is within us (Luke 17:20-21).

Before Jesus, we prayed begging prayers–we begged God to come down, to rend the heavens, to visit us. But now, God has made His home in us and we live under an open heaven in Christ (John 1:51; 14:23).

Under the OC, we built temples with human hands; under the NC, God built His temple in humans (1 Cor.3:16; 6:19)

Under the OC, we sought to dwell in God’s house (Psalm 27:4); under the NC, God seeks to dwell in our house (Acts 7:48-49; 1 Cor.3:9; Heb.3:6).

Before Christ, Job was powerless to stop the devil from destroying His life. He could only say, “The Lord gives and takes away.” But now we’re seated with Christ, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and everything that is named” (Eph.1:18-23; 2:6), and we have authority over “all the power of the enemy” in our lives (Luke 10:18-19).

I could give you dozens of other examples, but you get the idea.

Beloved, we have a far better covenant and all the requirements of the Law–every jot and tittle–were fulfilled in Christ. Don’t let anyone cheat you out of your inheritance, which is in Christ–you are complete in Him (Col.2:8, 10).

So when you read your Bible, put your Jesus glasses on. It’s really good news!

Image found here

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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10 Responses to Reading the Bible with the right glasses

  1. Mel, you are SO good at simply and clearly explaining this. I just want to create a nice, little table of all the comparative stuff you’ve written, shrink it down, and carry it in my wallet. 🙂

  2. Very encouraging! THANKYOU

  3. Awesome stuff. It is always good to lay out the contrasts side by side so that the differences are clear. You have made it easy to identify and correct wrong thinking. Indeed the old was about obedience and the new is all about Grace. How wonderful is that!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks. Much appreciated. Yes, I think contrasts are sometimes the best way to clarify something. And I think that’s what God is doing with us now–clarifying and untangling all the crazy Old Covenant mixture that has confused the simplicity of the gospel in our traditional view. What we’ve actually done is diminish just how glorious Jesus’ work is on the Cross by adding our attempts to save ourselves. It’s all about His performance, believing His promises, and letting Him live His life in us. As John 1:16 puts it, it’s super-abounding grace! I think that actually sounds like GOOD news. 🙂

  4. Cindy Powell says:

    Amen–I love my Jesus glasses!!! I’ve heard Bill Johnson say something along the line of “The Bible shouldn’t be read by anyone who isn’t in love.” So true–because if you’re not, often you’ll pick up the wrong set of glasses! Great contrasts between the old covenant and the new. Good stuff!

    • Mel Wild says:

      “I’ve heard Bill Johnson say something along the line of “The Bible shouldn’t be read by anyone who isn’t in love.” That’s a great quote. Amen, and it is so true. Without reading from a heart filled with love, we will always put scripture in the wrong context. Thanks.

  5. Pingback: What interpretative lens are you looking through? | In My Father's House

  6. Pingback: Jesus exegetes God | In My Father's House

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