In the previous post we introduced the practice of making the connection between Christ and the OldTestament, following the way of interpretation of Jesus and the apostles. Seeking to understanding how to do this as well as how to help others see the glory of God’s revelation to us, we looked at the first principle for making the connection: we must love Christ. Now we will consider the last two principles.
2. Love the Gospel
This leads us to our second principle: we must love the gospel. You see, the greatest revelation of God in Christ is in the gospel. Before we can talk about loving the gospel we must know what it is. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Paul writes:
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Jared Wilson writes concerning the gospel:
This is the basic, nonnegotiable truth of the news that God declares good. Notice that it is not advice, not suggestion, not instruction. Nor is it vague spirituality, steps to enlightenment, skills to implement, or precepts to practice. It is information; it is an announcement. It is news. News to be believed, yes, but it is not news of something that has yet to happen or something we can make happen, but rather something that has already happened and was made to happen by God himself. (Gospel Wakefulness)
Narrowly, the gospel is the event of the coming, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus for the purpose of redeeming His people and His glory. Just as loving Christ begins and consists of trusting Him for who He is and what He has done, loving the gospel begins and consists of trusting it as the power of God to save, keep, and bring you to completion. You do not merely come to the gospel to be saved, but it is the very life source of the Christian. We never move beyond the need of God’s grace and therefore we never move beyond our need of the gospel. The more we dig into the truths of and around the gospel (God’s plan of redemption, His faithfulness, His sovereignty, man’s depravity, the incarnation, substitution, propitiation, reconciliation, sanctification, and so much more) the more we will come to love the gospel and the more we will love Christ, resulting in seeing more of Him in the Old Testament.
While to love Christ is to love the gospel, loving the biblical gospel secures a right understanding of the very purpose of the Scriptures – God’s revelation of Himself and His work on behalf of His people. Jesus illustrates this as He speaks to two men on the road to Emmaus:
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27)
If we are to make the connection with our kids we must show them our love for the gospel through our own need of and dependence upon God’s work in Christ in our daily lives.
3. Love the Old Testament
The last principle (though not exhaustive) to make the connection between Christ and the Old Testament is that we must love the Scriptures, especially the Old Testament. The reason I highlight the Old is due to the assumption that most Christians have rightly strong affections toward the New Testament but feel strangely, at least, reading or understanding the Old. You see, the Old Testament is not merely writings that point to Christ, they are about Him. Roger Nicole estimates that more that 10 percent of the New Testament is made up of either direct quotations of or allusions to Old Testament texts, validating the need to know and love the Old as much as the New.
So how do we come to love the Old Testament? Goldsworthy is helpful here:
As Christians, we must return to he principles of Old Testament interpretation dictated by the New Testament. When Jesus says that he gives the Old Testament meaning, he is also saying that we need the Old Testament to understand what he says about himself. Jesus drives us back to the Old Testament to examine it through Christian eyes, teaching that it leads us back to him.
In doing biblical theology as Christians, we do not start at Genesis 1 and work our way forward until we discover where it is all leading. Rather we first come to Christ, and he directs us to study the Old Testament in the light of the gospel. The gospel will interpret the Old Testament by showing us its goal and meaning. The Old Testament will increase our understanding of the gospel by showing us what Christ fulfills (According to Plan, 54-5).
Once again we have a self-sustaining method here. Just as love for the gospel increases our love for Christ, love for the Old Testament fuels our love for the gospel and Christ. If you only read the New Testament the gospel of the glory of Christ will not be seen in all its glory, for it was not a mere plan B for God but was His choice before the foundation of the world and has been progressively revealed since He, through Christ the Word, spoke everything into being.
Yes, of course, read the New Testament for it is the promise fulfilled and applied but to see the depths of God’s wisdom, power, and grace we must read and glory in the history of redemption as revealed in the Old Testament. Do this and you will find your love for the New Testament, your love of the gospel, and your love for Christ stronger and spilling over into the lives of your kids and those with whom you come into contact.
Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible
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