As I’ve been reading through and studying Hebrews (and other books in the New Testament) the past couple of months, something I’ve thought about for quite some time is how much the New Testament (as well as all of scripture) interprets the things that occurred in the Old Testament for us. Many believers go back and look at what occurred in the Old Testament and say that what happened simply applied to Israel and Israel alone, that Israel is a separate people from us believers in Christ. I do not hold this view and believe that all believers in the OT and NT are one people, redeemed through the one work of Christ on the cross. And though many of the things that occurred did apply in a temporal sense, the New Testament speaks of the things that happened as also applying to us, the Gentiles. Here’s what I mean. In 1 Peter 1:10-12 it says
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
In other words, the prophets who prophesied about the coming salvation through Christ were not serving themselves but us who believe in Christ for salvation. There is a singular prupose and unfolding plan of God in history to bring about redemption through faith alone in the work of Christ alone. This is remarkable. In addition to this, the book of Hebrews in particular has statements in it that point to this singular truth. Hebrews 11:24 says
24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
Listen to that, the author of Hebrews says “[Moses] considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.” The unity of the revelation of redemption throughout Scripture is unmistakable. Believers in the Old Testament were justified not by their works, but by faith in the promise of God to bring about salvation “so that they might rise again to a better life” (Hebrews 11:35). In Hebrews 12 it continues on and says this:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Because we have so many witnesses in the OT attesting to this faith in the promise of God to bring about salvation through the work of Christ (there’s the singular purpose I was talking about), let us run with endurance toward God and His glory, the ultimate gift and final end of the Gospel. This glory and blessing in the Gospel, that is, the reconciliation of fallen sinners to the living God, was shown and revealed to those in the OT (who did not obtain it at the time), but it has been realized in us who believe in the merits of Jesus Christ on our behalf. OT believers didn’t necessarily know how everything would come about, but this is the one thing they did know: “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9) and “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:5). We all have this one singular hope: the reconciliation of our dead, sinful lives through the work of God, realized in the person and work of Jesus Christ, in order that we all may have God for all eternity! What a hope!
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