When I think of the old testament versus the new testament, one of the differences I tend to think of is law versus faith. In the old testament, the people were under the law, and judged by the law. Then in the new testament, Jesus changed things up so that we could be saved by our faith, with his sacrifice. No longer were people required to perform sacrifices under the law.
Is that the right way to look at it though? I’m not sure because I still find scripture that makes comparisons which lead me to the same conclusion. However, in Romans 4, Paul talks about Abraham being credited by faith. Verses 2 and 3 say:
“For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ “
Paul goes on to say that David also talks about blessings that are separate from works, or in other words, by faith. Verses 7 and 8 say:
“ ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.’ ”
So, how do I get this to fit with the laws and required sacrifices and such that were required for forgiveness in the old testament. While the laws were all required to be followed, there had to be faith included with it for it to please God. I can’t help but think of Matthew 5:17 as I am talking about the law of the old testament versus faith and grace in the new testament. It reads:
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”
So, with our forgiveness coming through faith, it does not mean the law has been thrown away. Instead, it means this is the perfect fulfillment of the law.
Why is this important to us? Verse 16 says:
“For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.”