The Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT) are two parts of God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Although the Old Testament is called “old”, that doesn’t mean it is out-dated or irrelevant. It simply means that the OT records God’s promises and relationship with his people before Christ came. The New Testament, or NT, records the life of Christ and the things that came after Christ.
Covenant with Adam
The word “testament” means “covenant”, or “promise”. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with Adam that if he obeyed God, then he would have eternal life (Genesis 2-3, Hosea 6:7). But Adam sinned and broke that covenant, sending the human race into sin and death. But God made another covenant that he would send a Saviour to rescue people from sin and death. The first time God mentions that Saviour-to-come is in Genesis 3:15, which is a reference to Christ: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
Before Christ came, however, God made some other covenants in the Old Testament to prepare people for Christ’s coming. God made promises to a man named Abraham (Genesis 12-15), showing how people are brought into a right relationship with God, namely through faith. In Genesis 15:6, it says “And he [Abraham] believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Many years after Abraham, God sent Moses to his people to give them the 10 Commandments and various laws for them to follow. These laws were meant to help them understand that God was holy, and that they needed a Saviour because they were not holy. There were three types of laws in the Old Testament: moral laws (right & wrong), civil laws (what the government should do when people violated the moral law), and ceremonial laws (religious ceremonies for the Israelites to observe). Old Testament believers in God had to obey all three types of laws.
When Jesus Christ came
When Jesus Christ came, the promises that God had made many years before in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15) and to Abraham (Genesis 15:6) came to pass, and it became clear that people are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Eph 2:8-10, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, 2 Corinth. 5:21). Also, the people of God were no longer required to follow the Old Testament civil and ceremonial laws, but only the moral laws (Mark 7:19, Acts 10, Acts 15). The new covenant (or “testament”) of salvation by God’s grace was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and the older covenant (or “testament”) that was given through Moses for the Israelite nation was no longer in effect.
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