Delighting in the Old TestamentInstruction through the Lens of Christ

Moses matters for Christians, and yet he spoke in a context that’s very different from our own. The old covenant is not the covenant we’re under. We are under the new covenant. So all of Moses’s instruction matters but only through the person of Christ. That is, none of Moses—none of the laws—are directly binding and guiding for Christians, but all of Moses’s laws guide and direct us through the person of Christ.

We have to consider how Jesus actually fulfills the law in order to understand how particular laws apply to us. Sometimes Jesus’s fulfilling of Moses’s law means that he maintains that law in much the same form that it looked like before. “Don’t commit adultery” stays “Don’t commit adultery.” It’s a maintaining of the law through Jesus’s fulfillment. But other laws get transformed.

With a firm grasp of the progress of salvation history, this accessible guide helps Christians interpret the Old Testament, see how it testifies to Jesus, believe that Jesus secured every divine promise, and understand how Moses’s law still matters.

“Keep the Sabbath.” Jesus ultimately comes, fulfilling the Sabbath. Six days plus one, six days plus one—that’s how Israel lived. They lived for the goal of seeing Sabbath rest realized not only for themselves but also for the whole world, just like it was at the original creation. Jesus comes as Israel and fulfills the Sabbath. He brings the rest to all who are in him. He declares himself the Lord of the Sabbath and he says, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And in Jesus that rest is realized, not just one day a week but seven days a week.

And we gather often on Sunday because that was the definitive day that Sabbath went public, that rest became realized. So Jesus transforms the Sabbath, not that we’re keeping the Sabbath one day a week (we gather for worship one day a week) but to remind ourselves what he has given us seven days a week. The law has transformed.

And then we get laws like “Don’t eat pork,” and then we have “Delight in your bacon as victory food.” He annuls other types of laws. So Jesus maintains, he transforms, and he annuls. And so we need to consider at every stage and with every single law—when we’re asking, How does Moses matter for us?—we ask it in light of what the New Testament clarifies about Jesus’s person and work. And then we take the essence of what the law was pointed to and we apply it in a new redemptive context this side of Jesus.

This article originally appeared on Crossway’s blog.