27 May 2002

Are OT Scriptures wisdom to salvation?

Submitted by theshovel
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This response was triggered by the Shovelation: The Complete Written Revelation?

Also, it seems to me that Paul would not have spoken of the Old Testament as being "the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." Paul considered the message which was revealed specifically to him to be something new and different from the Old Testament scriptures. In fact he used the word mystery to describe the gospel given to him and mystery was used at that time to describe something hidden or secret that had not yet been revealed.

Also, it seems to me that Paul would not have spoken of the Old Testament as being "the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Why not?

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14

As much as we might assume otherwise, the OT writings actually witness to the righteousness found in Christ!

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; Romans 3:21

Paul used many references from the Old Testament to support his preaching of Christ: Abraham, who was counted righteous through faith; David, who testified to the fortune of one not having his sins counted against him; Adam, who was used to show in a negative way the truth of the righteous given to all in Christ, etc. The Law itself left no viable alternative for this righteousness except that given by God through Christ.

When the apostles were together in Jerusalem immediately following the giving of the Spirit they would often study the OT writings and come out preaching Christ. The Ethiopian eunuch had been reading Isaiah 53 which was the wisdom by which God had him prepped to hear how Christ was the one spoken of. The reality of another life - that "written in the heart" - was demanded, and even foretold, all the way through the OT writings. No, the revelation was not there ... but it was not merely the lack of info.

There are many other examples. I think we have grown up with a rather warped view of what the Old Testament writings really are and have accepted a division between Law and Grace based upon the division between the old writings vs. the new, instead of upon the deadness of man in Adam vs. the life of God in man.

Paul considered the message which was revealed specifically to him to be something new and different from the Old Testament scriptures. In fact he used the word mystery to describe the gospel given to him and mystery was used at that time to describe something hidden or secret that had not yet been revealed.

The nature of this revelation was NOT the giving of more information, but was the revelation itself that was given through the Sprit. If it was the writings themselves then there should not be such blindness around the world among those who read Paul's words.

... which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel Ephesians 3:5-6

Once again, was this a mystery just because of the lack of information ... or because the Spirit of revelation had not yet been given? You know, when I was in Bible college gaining all that New Testament gospel wisdom I would imagine what kind of an impact we could have had upon those in OT times if we had been there preaching our self-proclaimed clear gospel. I couldn't imagine why GOD wouldn't have been more clear about it as we were. For that matter, I was having a real problem with how He had them preaching it in the NEW Testament times through the apostles ... as we thought had a much more understandable gospel. Geez, what vain speculations I held, huh? But it did make sense in view of our basic assumption that people merely needed to hear a gospel that made sense to their current logic and understanding.

Consider something, in Romans 15 Paul quotes some OT writings that testify to this mystery regarding the Gentiles:

...and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,
'THEREFORE I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND I WILL SING TO YOUR NAME.' Again he says, 'REJOICE, O GENTILES, WITH HIS PEOPLE.' And again, 'PRAISE THE LORD ALL YOU GENTILES, AND LET ALL THE PEOPLES PRAISE HIM.' Again Isaiah says, 'THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.' Romans 15:9-12

The fact is that these statements had been recorded for hundreds of years, which meant that the scribes and rabbis were aware of their presence, and yet there was no INSIGHT into the meaning behind what Paul threw out as rather plain and straightforward regarding the Gentiles inclusion.

If these bold statements were overlooked, avoided, reinterpreted, or ignored ... then WHY? Lack of written words on the issue? I don't think so. It was instead the Spirit of revelation that God was well-pleased to give to those to whom the very existence of God was nothing but an absurdity!! With the preaching of Paul's message, this "absurdity", this "foolishness of God", was boldly proclaimed and God gave life to those who didn't give a rip about Him.

Don't miss the fact that PAUL'S message was so different because of the fact that he, a Jew, was sent OUTSIDE to those who had NOTHING in God so that he could proclaim the GRACE OF GOD to these "outsiders" declaring that they had been brought fully into the life of God through Christ. His message is so CRUCIAL, so GRACE-CENTERED, because it leaves NO room for ANY boasting by ANY man who thinks that the righteousness of God can be found by ANYTHING we might do. Paul's message declares the very heart of God toward man - that had been "hidden" in the Scriptures - because it reveals the absolute truth that those who are brought INSIDE have NOTHING over those who are on the "outside" ... for it is God's gracious gift of righteousness through His son.

With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that anything God reveals of Christ to anyone in this day will already have been stated SOMEWHERE in the testimony of the written word. Why is this an issue, when in fact Paul's words can be traced back to something written in the OT scriptures (as he himself often offered up a written statement)? The truth is that the "revelation" is not the WORDS ON THE PAGE that can be broken down and categorized, but the INSIGHT to the heart. After all, there are millions who read these words everyday and yet have NO CLUE WHATSOEVER. Once we have been given the clue - often outside the context of the written words - we should not be surprised when we discover that it had been stated by those who testified of "the eternal life" who was with God from the beginning!!

Love, Jim

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles-- if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, AS IT HAS NOW BEEN REVEALED to his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, THAT THE GENTILES ARE FELLOW HEIRS AND FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE BODY, AND FELLOW PARTAKERS OF THE PROMISE IN CHRIST JESUS THROUGH THE GOSPEL, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. Ephesians 3:1-7

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Random Shovelquote: Ala-carte truth (view all shovelquotes)

I’ve gotten to the point that it almost sounds humorous to hear people pick out their favorite verses as if they were spread out on a buffet table in ala-carte fashion. source