Some of what God said in the Old Testament he further established in the New Testament, but it was only to increase our blessing. In the NT God uses the power of the former to establish the blessing of the latter. There was a time in history when the Old Testament was not the “Old” Testament. It wasn’t until the “New” Testament came along that the other one became “Old.”
The OT is God’s established covenant for a relationship with his people. Anyone who lived during that time knew all the blessings and requirements of the covenant. Then comes Jesus. He takes everything to a new level, but it’s only because God was thinking about what’s best for us.
The most common phrase in Mathew 5 is “You have heard it said, but now I say…” Jesus fulfills every jot and tittle of the Old Covenant. He completes it and then reveals a new way of understanding it. Of course the main difference is that the Old Covenant was for people who had God coming “upon” them and the New is for people who have God living “within” them. Therefore, all the ideas of the Old have to be expanded upon in the New.
The OT now becomes a covenant of “types” and “symbols” that reveals the scope of the New Covenant. The New is built off the Old, except it reveals God in a more profound way. Now everything coming out of the Old Covenant has to actually pass through the teachings of the New Covenant in order to us to find application in an era of grace.
Things that don’t make it into the NT are curses and penalties. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’” Thank God no one gets rocks thrown at them behind the church for stealing. In the OT God said things like, “If you disobey cursed will be you, cursed will be the ground, and so on…” In the NT there are no curses for God’s people because Jesus became the curse for everyone. He paid the penalty for sin’s curse to be broken.
There is no judgment upon us because Jesus took away our judgment, but there are consequences for our actions. Curses and consequences, two very different things. Remember, you reap what you sow. The law of reaping and sowing makes it into the New Testament without any alterations. There is no judgment upon us, but you will reap what you sow. Example: If you say something unkind to someone, as sure as you are reading this someone is going to say something unkind to you. If you take something from someone that isn’t yours, you can count on someone taking something from you.
The idea of treating others as you would like to be treated teaches us to be sensible in our human interactions (a message many evangelicals need to consider). You want to make sure that the things you say and do come back to you in a good way. With this mindset we need to consider when someone is treating us poorly that it may be a consequence of something we’ve said or done. That’s not always the case, but it helps us examine ourselves nonetheless. Examination is beneficial, don’t run from it, embrace it. Remove consequences. Say something kind to someone today.
(Sources: Brennan Manning; Graham Cooke)