Love God and Neighbor – Christians and Old Testament Law, Part 1

Few things are as confusing to many Christians as understanding and applying Old Testament Law. Some fall prey to extremes, from believing all the law applies to us in the same way it applied to Israel, to thinking the entire Old Testament is off limits. Many are guilty of cherry picking some verses from the Law and leaving others out, with little rhyme or reason.

Jesus said he came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17), and that everything in the Old Testament was looking ahead to him (Luke 24:44; John 5:39, 46). His coming and ministry changed the way the Law was to be understood and applied, for Christ is the final and authoritative interpreter of Scripture (see how he taught with authority in the Sermon on the Mount [Mat 7:28-29], and let his word stand on equal ground with Scripture [Mat 5:21-22; 27-28; 31-32, etc), and the fulfillment of the pictures and prophecies. He is the Substance of the shadows of the law (Col 2:17); faith in Christ releases us from being under the “guardian” of the law (Gal 3:23-26). Jesus, then, is the filter through which all of the Old Testament must pass. All Scripture must funnel through his Person, ministry and message to see how it applies to his disciples in the New Covenant. Because God’s character does not change, many of the laws will remain the same for Christians (such as honoring parents, Eph 6:1-3). And yet, because he is the fulfillment of what the laws looked toward, much of the law will change drastically for believers, or even cease completely (such as animal sacrifices, Heb 9:11-14, 23-26). Paul can speak of not being under the law of the Jews, yet being under the law of Christ (1 Cor 9:20-21). This law of Christ (or “royal law,” James 2:8) is summed up in loving God and loving our neighbor (Mat 22:37-40).

An Example From Exodus

We will take a look at a section of the Law in Exodus to help us see how to approach Old Testament Scripture from the perspective of being fulfilled in Christ. God has rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt, brought them to himself at Mt. Sinai, and is entering into covenant with them. They will be a special people to him, a holy nation (Ex 19:6). God then thundered the Ten Commandments from the top of Mt. Sinai in the hearing of Israel, through Moses the mediator. The Ten Commandments show Israel how to love God (the first four commandments) and their neighbor (the final six). But these ten instructions are not all. God gives Moses The Book of the Covenant (24:7) – which are additional laws for Israel, and take up several chapters in Exodus (from 20:22 until 23:33).

Overview of the Laws

These ‘rules’ (21:1) are descriptions of what Israel’s loyalty to God looks like; they elaborate on the Ten Commandments, applying them to specific situations in daily life. They describe what a ‘holy nation’ to God is going to look like when God brings Israel into the promised land. This holy people is to be different from all other nations (19:4-6). They are to display to the world what God is like – to bear his image and declare his glory. Through this special nation will come the Messiah, who will bring blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen 12:1-3) – salvation!

These are things to keep in mind as we consider this Book of the Covenant:

  • The Law follows Grace. Remember that this law is not intended to save Israel if they can just keep it; they are already redeemed! God has already brought them out of Egypt by the blood of the Passover lamb, with a mighty hand and outstretched arm, bearing them on eagle’s wings to himself! Since they are so highly favored by God, and have already seen his grace and love and redemption, they must respond with obedience, which is their worship. The Law of God defines for them what this gratitude and love looks like.
  • The Law is Corporate. While individuals must walk in this law, it is given in the context of a redeemed community. A people who will reflect God. As we seek how we should apply this to ourselves as New Covenant believers, we can’t forget the corporate aspect. This is about a people of God, not me and how I can be a better person.
  • The Law is Love. Jesus said that to love God and love neighbor is the fulfillment of all the law and prophets (Matthew 22:36-40). God’s law describes what it looks like for Israel to love God and love their neighbor.
  • The Laws flow out of the 10 Commandments. The Ten Commandments are all over this Book of the Covenant. It defines, describes and applies the ‘Ten Words’ to daily life.
  • The Laws are not Exhaustive. God does not here describe every minute detail of life. He gives examples from various spheres of life. Israel’s judges (ch 18:25-26) can use these laws as precedents, illustrations and examples to learn how to judge Israel in every matter according to the character of God.
  • The Laws display God’s Character. In the law as a whole we see the glorious attributes of God displayed in Israel’s daily living. We see wisdom. Love to God and neighbor. Justice. Mercy. Compassion. Righteous Wrath. Supreme devotion to the glory of God.
  • The Law weaves Worship into the national DNA of Israel. This law begins with worship laws (altars) and weaves them into the social, judicial, financial fabric of the life of the nation.

This diagram shows how God’s Law flows into Israel’s everyday life: 

Law Diagram

The Laws

Now that we have overviewed the Book of the Covenant, let’s look at some of the specific laws God gave Israel. First, we need to understand the laws as they applied to the physical nation of Israel.

  1. Altars (20:22-26). Like the 10 Commands, the Book of the Covenant begins with worshiping God. They are to make simple altars rather than elaborate altars their hearts might idolize. He must be seen as holy, so they may not use steps for their altars (men’s clothing was like a type of modern woman’s dress, and with no underwear. They were not to be exposed as they walked up the altar!). God is holy.
  2. Slaves (21:1-11). These laws are for voluntary servants, not the kind of slavery that most often comes to our modern, western minds. It is not racial. Further, these laws describe how God’s people are to show love for God and neighbor within a broken world; God allows for the hardness of the human heart (Jesus, Matt 19:8). So these laws describe godliness within an imperfect society. All that being said, God is concerned to see that Israel does not become what they just came out of! They have been oppressed as slaves in Egypt; now God enforces rules that will keep Israel from doing the same to others. Their voluntary slaves will not be permanent slaves, unless that is their desire. A poor family might sell their daughter as a slave/wife to a rich man. She will have her needs met, and the rule prevents her exploitation.
  3. Murder (21:12-14). God recognizes the difference between premeditated murder and a crime of passion, or involuntary murder. Cities of refuge will be provided by God, where someone may safely stay until their case is resolved.
  4. Treatment of Parents (21:15, 17). God takes treatment of parents seriously. Attacking or cursing your parents is a capital offense.
  5. Kidnapping/Slavetrading (21:16). Kidnapping, slavetrading, people trafficking is another capital offense.
  6. Personal Injury (21:18-32). Various laws detail who is responsible when injury occurs. God wants Israel to value life. Of note – these laws call for a sense of personal responsibility and thought about the welfare of others in all our actions. If we are in a fight, we should see who is around us that might be hurt. If we have an animal that is prone to hurting others, we must restrain it. Love of neighbor considers the welfare of others and takes responsibility. What about ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth?’ The purpose of this rule is not cruelty, but to ensure that the punishment is not greater than the crime. God wants Israel to seek justice, not exorbitant cruelty (eye for eye; not eye+ear+tooth+legs for an eye).
  7. Restitution (21:33-36; 22:5-6; 10-15). Love of neighbor calls us to restore what we damage, lose, break, injure, etc. It also calls for forethought: how will my action affect others (example, the man who digs a pit and leaves it open for others to fall into; he must restore). Love of neighbor means being responsible for our actions.
  8. Theft (22:1-4; 7-9). Restitution must be made for what is stolen. If a thief is breaking into a house at night, they may kill him to protect their family. If it is during the day, the threat is lessened, and they must not kill him; let him go to a judge and answer for his crime. Again, God is calling for justice, not exorbitant cruelty.
  9. Social Laws (22:16-31; 23:9). Even the social life is filled with love and justice.
  • A man seduces a virgin. Though it was consensual, the man must still pay the bride-price to the woman’s father. This produces forethought; a man should not take sex, or women, lightly. A woman who has been dishonored would have a hard time in this society. But this rule ensures that she must still be taken care of.
  • Three detestable acts. God required the death penalty for a sorceress (magic instead of God; manipulation instead of trust in God’s plan), someone who has sex with an animal (dishonors the image of God in man and destroys the picture of marriage – Christ and the church; this was also a practice of other religions), and someone who sacrifices to another god. These three acts are deemed destructive to the holy nation’s social life.
  • Treatment of aliens. Because the Israelites were themselves strangers in a foreign land, they should be compassionate to any foreigners in their land. God reminds them, “you know the heart of a sojourner” (23:9).
  • Orphans and Widows. God promises to take vengeance on those who mistreat the downtrodden.
  • The Poor. Do not charge interest to the poor. Do not keep his cloak as a pledge (he will need it to be warm at night). These laws, again, call for special consideration and thoughtfulness about the needs of others!
  • Respect authority. Do not revile God or curse a ruler of the people. Recognize authority.

10. Judicial Laws (23:1-3; 6-8). God demands honesty from witnesses and prohibits going along with the crowd because it feels right. Rather, JUSTICE must be maintained. Surprisingly, he even says not to be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit. Impartial justice; No bribes! Do not punish those who are not guilty.

11. Your Enemy (23:4-5). The people must even show compassion and responsibility toward their enemies! This is not foreign to the Old Testament, as some suppose.

12. Sabbath and Festivals (23:10-19). God commands the people to observe the Sabbath in days, and years. In the Ten Commandments the reason given for the Sabbath was theological (the Lord rested from his work in creation); here it is more humanitarian (that your workers and animals may rest and be refreshed). Every seven years the land must not be planted, but left for the poor and the animals to eat from it. Three yearly festivals are given as well. He reminds them to bring him the first-fruits of the ground. They are not to appear before him empty-handed. Worship of God is woven into Israel’s calendar, lives, culture.

Boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk? Many explanations have been offered for this one, but it seems that this is forbidden either because it is unnatural (the milk of its mother is supposed to give life, not bring death), or because there is evidence that this was a worship-practice of other nations, and thus God is forbidding Israel to worship him the way other nations do.

Fulfillment In Christ

So how do these laws look when filtered through the Person and work of Christ? Consider these truths:

Jesus died for our transgressions and disobedience. None of us have lived up to God’s demands. We have not loved God or neighbor. But through Christ’s death and resurrection we who believe are forgiven for our sins. Full atonement has been made. The price is paid!

Jesus is the true Israel who obeyed the Law of God perfectly. Jesus did what Israel failed to do. Through faith in Jesus we are declared righteous – justified forever!

Jesus empowers his people to obey his commands. By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, believers walk in obedience to God. The law is written on our hearts and minds (Jer 31:33, Heb 8:10). We are not under the Law of Moses; we are not the physical nation of Israel. But we are under the law of Christ (1 Cor 9:21), which is loving God and neighbor. Through the fruit of the Spirit and the power to obey New Testament commands, such as the ‘one another’ commands, the church is a partial realization of God’s vision for Israel. And an even greater fulfillment is coming with the fullness of the kingdom! There we will experience perfect love of God and neighbor, and will live as the glorious people of God, enjoying the Lord forever!

So for believers in Christ, in the New Covenant, this looks like:

    • Love God: We learn from the Book of the Covenant to put God first; we worship him with obedience and loyal love. We love God by remembering him and honoring him in all of life, and worshiping him with the community of faith in the assembly. No other gods!
    • Love Neighbor: We also learn how to love our neighbor in these chapters of Exodus: Consideration of others. Forethought of other’s needs. Honesty. Compassion. Trust. Responsibility. Accountability. Mercy. Justice. Respect. Special concern for the downtrodden (widows, orphans, aliens, the poor). All of this is done corporately – loving God and neighbor together, as the people of God.

For more in this series, look at Part 2: Are we under the law of Moses or the law of Christ?


  • Promises Made: The Message of the Old Testament; Mark Dever; ©2006, Crossway Books.
  • How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth; Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart; © 1981, 1993, 2003. Zondervan.
  • How to Read the Bible Book by Book; Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart; ©2002, Zondervan.
  • 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law; Thomas R. Schreiner, ©2010, Kregel Publications; Grand Rapids, MI
  • Exodus – The New American Commentary Vol. 2 ; Douglas K. Stuart; ©2006 B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Genesis – Leviticus – The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised Edition Vol. 1; Walter C. Kaiser Jr (Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, General Editors); ©2008; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530.
  • Exodus – The NIV Application Commentary; Peter Enns; ©2000; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530.

Spiritual Adultery

By Cary Cox

God designed the institution of marriage as a living sermon proclaiming his gospel to the world. The intimacy and love shared between a husband and wife is a small taste – a glimpse! – of the great joy and pleasure of being united to Christ forever. In the presence of God is fullness of joy; at his right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). All marriages, whether Christian or not, point the watching world, the angels and demons, and all of creation to the great salvation of God in Christ for his covenant people. Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 5:25-27, where he calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, for the purpose of presenting her to himself. When a husband tenderly loves his wife and puts her needs ahead of his own he is preaching about the love of Christ for his church. In verses 31-32 Paul goes even further. He quotes from Genesis where God said that a man should leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, becoming one with her. “This mystery is profound,” Paul writes, “and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (v32). A great mystery is being revealed in these words! God has ingrained a picture of his great salvation – Christ and the church joining together in love and shared joy forever!! – into the very fabric of the institution of marriage.

This is what makes sexual sin so unique, and so heinous. A bad marriage preaches a false gospel. We distort the gospel picture when we step out of our roles in marriage. An abusive husband preaches through his actions that Christ is not a tender Savior to his church. A woman who will not follow the loving leadership of her husband thereby proclaims that the church should not respect her Lord. Homosexuality distorts the gospel picture, as man uniting with man presents a Christ-with-Christ image (selfishly keeping his love for himself rather than pouring himself out for the rescue of his bride), and woman uniting with woman displays a Christ-less church-to-church relationship. Divorcing your spouse when things get hard proclaims to the world that Christ can give up on us when loving us becomes inconvenient. And adultery invents a false gospel of a cheating Christ or church. We quickly begin to see that there is more at stake in our marriages than our personal happiness. It has to do with the glory of God.

A Biblical Theme

The theme of marriage as a picture of God in Christ uniting with his people in joyful relationship runs throughout the whole Bible. God proclaims himself the great husband to his covenant people and speaks his love for her. And sin begins to be spoken of in terms of spiritual adultery! When God’s people give other things first place – the place that God alone both deserves and demands – we have committed adultery against our Lord. God is passionate about both his own glory and the good of his covenant people, and this passion is seen in his divine jealousy. Rather than a petty human jealousy, the jealousy of God for his people is both good and right. Because of the glory of his Person, God is glorious and is worthy of all worship. And as the Creator and Redeemer of his people he alone deserves our loyalty and love. Therefore, God’s highest and greatest commandment for his people is to love him with all our heart, soul and strength. To love anything or anyone else before him is to commit spiritual adultery. We see this idea in both the old and new testaments of Scripture.

Old Testament

In the Old Testament God proclaims to Israel that their Maker is their husband (Isaiah 54:5). He will take pleasure in his people, rejoicing over Israel as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride (Isaiah 62:5)! As a husband is pleased with his wife, finding joy in her love and beauty and friendship, so God delights in his covenant people!

We also see sin presented in terms of spiritual adultery in the Old Testament. In fact, God uses very strong and shocking language to describe Israel’s unfaithfulness. He refers to them as prostitutes, harlots and whores, who give their sexual love to almost anyone. God, through his prophets, uses this strong language to reveal the extreme filthiness, wickedness and treachery of his people’s sin. He calls them to repent of their adultery and return to him.

The language of spiritual adultery begins almost as soon as Israel enters into covenant with God at Mt. Sinai. In Exodus 34:13-16 God warns Israel of the dangers of falling into idolatry when they enter the promised land. They must destroy the idols in the land lest they be tempted to “whore after” the false gods of the land (v16). In Numbers 15:39 the Jews are instructed to make tassels on the bottom of the men’s robes to remind them of God’s laws, that they will not “whore after” other things. And before Moses died, God warned him that after his death Israel would break their covenant with God and “whore after the foreign gods among them in the land they are entering” (Deuteronomy 31:16).

When Israel did enter into the land they failed to drive out all the sinful nations as God had commanded. And, just as God had warned, they found themselves overcome by the strong spiritual and cultural temptation toward idolatry. “They whored after other gods and bowed down to them” (Judges 2:17). This became the pattern throughout the time of the judges and into the time of the kings. Israel’s songs of worship reflected on their tendency to ‘cheat on’ their God. Psalm 106:35-41 tells the sad story of their idol worship, “which became a snare to them.” Their entrapment to these “demons” (v37) even caused them to sacrifice their children in worship of strange gods! In doing this, God said “they played the whore” (v39).

Yet it is in the prophets where this language of adultery is at its strongest. Through Jeremiah God tells Israel that he remembers the love they used to have for him in their youth, which was “as a bride” (2:2). But then he recounts their unfaithfulness to him: “On every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down like a whore” (2:20). God goes on to describe Israel as a camel or donkey in heat, sniffing the wind and looking for lovers (2:23-24)!

In Ezekiel God’s language becomes more and more shocking. In chapter 16 he tells the story of his relationship with Israel. Israel was like an unloved baby, thrown in a field to die. God passed by and found the baby, kicking in its blood, as good as dead. He spoke life to the child, who grew into a beautiful young lady. The Lord treated her with tenderness and kindness, giving her elaborate gifts. But she trusted in her beauty, forgot what the Lord had done for her, and began to offer herself to other lovers. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God says that Israel “lavished your whorings on any passerby” (v15), “offering yourself to any passerby and multiplying your whoring” (v25, where the Hebrew literally says “spreading your legs”). “Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband!” (v32).

Ezekiel takes this language even further in chapter 23, describing Israel’s idolatry as the fondling of her breasts (v3) and lusting after her lovers (v5). Her lovers, who are the surrounding nations, are described as having “whoring lust” (v17) and genitals the size of donkeys, “and whose issue was like that of horses” (v20). This language is meant to disgust Israel and shame them as they realize what they have done by forsaking God.

Though there are many more examples of this in the prophets, Hosea is a unique book. God called Hosea to more than just a message. His very life would be a living prophecy! God commanded Hosea to go and marry a prostitute who would cheat on him, because Israel has committed adultery against their Lord. Things deteriorated to the point where his wife has became a slave. Hosea purchased her and spoke tenderly to her (ch3) despite her wickedness, just as God is calling Israel to return to him in repentance.

God warns Israel and calls them to repent through the prophets, and he disciplines them for their wicked unfaithfulness. Ultimately he sends them into exile in Babylon for seventy years. Yet, in all of this we see the tender and patient, steadfast love of God for his covenant people. He brings them back from exile and they wait for 400 years for Messiah.

New Testament

It is into this context that Jesus Christ came, proclaiming that he himself is the bridegroom! He uses the well-known language of God as the husband and points it to himself (Matthew 9:15; 25:1-13). John the Baptist also refers to Jesus as the bridegroom (John 3:29). Christ is “God with us” (Mat 1:23), the Old Testament husband of Israel who has come down to rescue his bride! At the cross Christ poured himself out for his people, the church (Eph 5:25), who is no longer ethnic Israel but believers from every tribe and tongue. Through his blood Christ has entered into a new covenant with his bride.

In the epistles, the apostles also use the ‘marriage as picture of God and his people’ theme to call the church to faithfulness to Christ. Idolatry is still spiritual adultery, and the church must be devoted to Christ alone as we wait for his return.

In 2 Corinthians 11:2-4 Paul speaks of his planting the Corinthian church in these terms. He says he “betrothed” them to “one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” But the church has become willing to receive false teaching, and this concerns Paul. “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” We hear in Paul’s words the same heart we heard in God’s words to Israel. In fact, Paul describes his feelings as “a divine jealousy.” Paul shares the love of God toward his people and he is compelled to warn them against spiritual adultery. The church must reject fake Jesus’ and different spirits and false gospels. We must fight our tendency to wander from a pure devotion to Christ. He is first place, and he is enough.

James also uses this language, warning believers that friendship with the world (by which he means a love for the world system in place of God) makes us an “adulterous people” (4:4). The people of God in every generation are still in danger of committing spiritual adultery.

When we get to the final book of the Bible we get a glimpse of the consummation of God’s great plan. The God who has declared himself to be the bridegroom of his people, who has pursued his covenant people through all their wanderings and failings, is at last united with them in glory and joy! In the final pages of Scripture we hear these words: “the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Rev 19:7-8). Here at last is the pure church for whom Christ died! The great story has come to a joyful conclusion, as “the dwelling place of God is with man” (21:3). We are shown “the Bride, the wife of the Lamb” coming down from God, “having the glory of God” (21:9-11). When this day dawns, the institution of marriage is no longer needed. The picture is obsolete, as we enter into the joy of what marriage pictured: Christ and his people, united together in shared love and joy, forever!

A Picture We Can Understand

We can understand the heartache of adultery. When we hear God speak as a husband who has been cheated on, we are moved in our affections. We understand the anger and hurt of betrayal. Marriage is something we “get.” Even imperfect marriages know something of the joy of two people sharing love. Perhaps God has ingrained this gospel picture into the common experience of marriage to help us understand more clearly both his great love for us, and the extreme wickedness of our spiritual adultery.


Have we too committed spiritual adultery against the Lord? We must admit that our hearts are “prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.” How quickly does our gaze move from Christ and his glory, being captivated by lesser things! Idolatry is a very real and dangerous threat. May we confess it and forsake it, repenting of our spiritual adultery and renewing our love for Christ, by his grace.

Jesus praised the church in Ephesus, but had one thing against her: she had forgotten her first love (Rev 2:1-7). He called her to repent and do the works she did at first. May the Lord restore to us the joy of his salvation! May we be a faithful church, clinging to Christ in single-hearted devotion until he comes!


By Mickey McCall

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. “

2 Corinthians 3:17

On the 4th of July, my family and I were vacationing in Colonial Williamsburg and were given the opportunity to see many celebrations of our country’s birth. There were festivities, music, readings of the Declaration of Independence and many other events to commemorate the 4th. Most impressive to me was the marching of the fife and drum corps down main street toward the courthouse. The sound of the two instruments together made me want to jump in line and march with them, to take up my own drum or fife. The 4th of July is a date we, as Americans, set aside to commemorate our nation’s independence from the tyranny of King George III of Great Britain. In the midst of all this celebrating, pomp and pageantry, I was reminded of something that happens in the lives of Christians.

We are set free with liberty.

We, who were once slaves to self and sin, are now set free from the bonds that held us so tightly. Instead of a covetous heart that only looks out for ourselves, we are now capable of loving others as Christ loves us. He gave Himself up and died for us. We can now lay down our own lives in service to the one who died for us.  What we are NOT set free to do is sin. It is ridiculous to believe that the very thing you are being set free from is the thing you would then continue to serve. It would be like the United States declaring itself free from the rule of Great Britain, and continuing to serve the King of Great Britain as if nothing had changed. That would be preposterous, and yet some people believe this lie.

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1-3

If you have died to sin, you will no longer look to it for life.  We have been set free from sin to do good works — works the Father ordained that we do from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 2:10). Now we are fellow citizens of a Kingdom not made with hands. We are set free from the tyranny of sin and brought into a better kingdom with much better promises. After all, the promises of the government of sin are death and punishment, but the promises of the heavenly kingdom are life and peace.

The fife and drum corps picture a properly functioning church. With the corps as with any marching band, it is very important to keep in step with each other and follow the conductor (the guy with the big scepter). The church has a conductor — His name is Jesus (the one with The scepter). The church is called to keep in step with the spirit of Christ (Gal. 5:25). Paul says we do this by not becoming conceited, provoking or envying each other. Imagine the confusion if a band member decided he was better off marching to his own beat rather than that of the rest of the band, or if he started playing a different tune in the middle of a song. The church can appear like this when we become conceited, puffed up and proud. The leaven of hypocrisy quickly leavens the whole lump. We were not called to toot our own horn but to be a functioning body part that knows its role. That is what walking in liberty looks like.

Every Page of the Bible is About Jesus

By Cary Cox

In prophecies and pictures, contrasts and types, every page and passage of the Old Testament points to Jesus. This is a huge claim, but it is one that Jesus himself and his Apostles made very clear.

Here are 7 passages that show us that all of Scripture is about Jesus Christ:

Passage 1: Luke 24

In perhaps the most black-and-white of the claims, Jesus says that he is the subject of the Old Testament. And he’s not merely talking about vague references, either. He says the Scriptures make plain that the Messiah would suffer and die, rise into glory, and give forgiveness of sins in his name! This means that Christ and the gospel are hidden on every page and every passage, if we have eyes to see. He even marveled that his disciples could not get this, calling them “slow of heart to believe” the Old Testament!

  • And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! [26] Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” [27] And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. …Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms (these are the 3 divisions of the Old Testament –  including every book!) must be fulfilled.” [45] Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, [46] and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, [47] and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:25-27, 44-47 ESV)

Passage 2: John 5

Here again Jesus very clearly points to himself as the subject of the Scriptures:

  • You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, [40] yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. …For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. [47] But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”(John 5:39-40, 46-47 ESV)

Moses, who wrote the first 5 books of the Bible, wrote about Jesus! Think of the stories included in these books: Abraham and Isaac, the Passover lamb, the sacrifices in Leviticus, the Priesthood in Numbers, the laws of the King in Deuteronomy 17, and so much more. ALL about Jesus.

Passage 3: Acts 10

We’ve seen Jesus’ claims. What about the apostles? In Acts 10 we see that Peter also believes that all of Scripture points to Jesus.

  • To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”(Acts 10:43 ESV)

All the prophets spoke of Jesus and the gospel! Jonah? Yes, that pictures Christ. Obadiah and Nahum? Jesus the Judge. Isaiah? Yes, when he saw the Lord high and lifted up, he was looking at the Son of God!

Passage 4: 2 Corinthians 1

Now we come to Paul. And we are not surprised to learn that Paul agrees with Jesus and Peter.

  • For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)

All the promises of God are fulfilled (find their ‘Yes’) in Jesus. All of them!

Passage 5: Colossians 2

Paul also speaks of the Law as being about Jesus. The Law was a shadow, but Jesus is the substance!

  • Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. [17] These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.(Colossians 2:16-17 ESV)

Passage 6: 2 Timothy 3

In Paul’s letter to Timothy he mentions Timothy’s faith in Christ, which he got from the ‘sacred writings,’ or the Old Testament Scriptures! (thanks to Vic Connell for pointing this one out!)

  • …and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.(2 Timothy 3:15 ESV)

Passage 7: Hebrews 10

Finally, the author of Hebrews is also in agreement. Quoting the Old Testament as the words of Jesus himself, he records:

  • Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; [6] in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. [7] Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” (Hebrews 10:5-7 ESV)

The Scriptures, in both the old and new testaments, agree, overlap, flow together and join into one great story of Jesus Christ. They point to the forgiveness of sins that come through his name alone. What encouragement we have, knowing that all of God’s revealed word is pointing us to come to him through his Son, Jesus Christ!

When we have Jesus, we have enough.


By Mickey McCall

“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”          2 Cor. 5:20b

Reconciliation: the act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement.¹

We need reconciliation. The problem in finding reconciliation, or a bringing back together into a right relationship, is that we too often do not recognize that we need to be reconciled until it is too late. How many marriages end because we do not see that the relationship is ajar in some way? Surely, in able to be reconciled, one must first recognize that the relationship is in peril or even severed.

You see, God made everything. And He made it good and right, but we rebelled. We, in Adam, all rebelled and fell. Our relationship with our Creator was then severed in a very real way. We died. Spiritually, we all died, and death — physical death — also entered the world. We have been serving sin and sinful flesh ever since. Until we see the problem — that our relationship with the Creator has been cut off due to our own rebellion — the remedy will not give us hope. We must realize the need for reconciliation before the good news of reconciliation in Christ will benefit us. The truth is there, but we suppress it.

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Rom. 1:21-23

“Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image.”² Our brother A.W. Tozer brings across a good point. We, as Christians, like to form God into an image that looks a little more like us. The problem with that is, well, it’s idolatry. Instead of worshipping God as He has revealed Himself to us in His word, we just take the parts of Him we like and leave out the others, replacing them with attributes that look a little more like ourselves. Before you know it, you are no longer worshipping God anymore but yourself. How cheaply do we exchange the “glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man”?

But praise God that in love “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Eph 1:5-6. God has made a way for us to be reconciled to Himself. It is all according to His will and for His glory. We can be brought back into a right relationship with the Father through the Son. We are no longer dead in trespasses and sin because we are crucified with Christ and, nevertheless, we live! We have been born again, and it is now Christ who lives in us because:

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor 5:17-21

Now what are we to do with this reconciliation that was purchased for us at the Cross of Christ? How should we live? We have been given the ministry of reconciliation. We have the ministry of renewed relationship between the Creator and the creature through the blood of Jesus Christ. We have it — and all thanks, praise and glory goes to God! For He has justified us. He has purchased our pardon. He is the Savior, hero and King. We must spread the word of this hero, this King. We must tell others what He has done for us. We must preach the gospel 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.” 1 Cor 15:3b-4

I think Tozer hits the nail here: “Every soul belongs to God and exists by His pleasure. God being who and what He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full Lordship on His part and complete submission on ours. We owe Him every honor that is in our power to give Him. Our everlasting grief lies in giving Him anything less.”2 Because we love Him, we no longer see His commands as grevious, but we want to do His will for His glory. Our Joy is found in serving, treasuring and knowing the Lord. We are now satisfied in Him alone. He is our Father and He is a good Father. We as adopted sons and daughters, love to be in the presence of our Father. So come to the Father, through Jesus the Son, and give Him the glory great things He has done!

1 Definition from Merriam-webster dictonary
2 Both quotes come from chapter 8 of A.W. Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God”