This is a little late this week. The Celebration of Easter, HE IS RISEN!!!, and the daily monotony of life have really really gotten to me. I am one that has to look forward to something and right now, there is nothing to look forward to except more staying at home. In some ways, I am shocked at my response to this whole stay at home thing, for I am truly a homebody and love nothing more than staying home. But for my kids’ sake, I am struggling. So today when I was listening to a podcast, they talked about doing 3 things, or putting 3 things each day on the calendar. So my three things today are,
Going for a walk , laundry, and writing this post.
And so here goes…
VII. Of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.
This Article is a response to Marcionism which was an early belief system that ignored the Old Testament and said that the New Testament was the only relevant Scripture for Christians to use for life. Cranmer wanted to counter those who still believed a form of this during the Reformation.
Even today there are people who say that the Old Testament is just a barbaric, xenophobic, and violent book and has no relevance for today. It is just a book about God’s wrath. According to Gerald Bray, it is also viewed as an allegory and “strip away the material overlay, look for the underlying principle and seek to apply it in the life of the church.” (Bray, Confess, 51).
The Covenantal approach is another way to look at the Old Testament. This is the way Anglicans view it. We take it as literal truth, but the application has to change with times changing. This means that Anglicans take the promises made in the text and transfer them to Christians and the prophecies are fulfilled in the life of Christ. The sacrifices of the OT are completed and finished in the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. (Bray, Confess, 51-52).
Cranmer wanted us to realize that without the Old Testament, one cannot truly understand the New. It truly was a story that the royal thread of Christ cannot be separated from. Even the Jews said that the fulfillment of all of the prophecies are fulfilled in the Messiah, but they don’t believe that the Messiah has come yet.
The three aspects of Old Testament Law were personified in Jesus Christ. He fulfilled the Ceremonial, Civil and Moral Law. For Christians, the Temple or the Ceremonial Law has “passed away because Christ has offered the one perfect and sufficient sacrifice that needs not repetition.” (Bray, Confess, 54). The Civil law is fulfilled in Christ mainly because we as Christians, are not a political state. The Moral is still to be followed because it is an expectation that God desires. We are the reflection of who HE is.
That reflection is what binds us with other Christians. We are Christians who see the Old Testament as important in order to know who God is and what is expectations are. He is both a God of justice and mercy.
Sally Lloyd-Jones, in her wonderful The Jesus Storybook Bible, says this.
…the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything– to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!Lloyd-Jones, Storybook Bible, 17.
You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true.
…It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.
The whole of the Bible, including the Old Testament, are to show us who God is. He sent Jesus to rescue us, so lets dive deep into those stories to see HOW He tells the story.
Bray, Gerald Lewis. The Faith We Confess: an Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Latimer Trust, 2009.
Lloyd-Jones, Sally, and Jago. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name. Zonderkidz, 2009.