Does Christianity follow the Old Testament? You might have come across this topic being debated among Christians themselves and even among other religions. But, even before we begin answering that topic, what do you understand by the term Christians? The name Christian was first heard in the town of Antioch to refer to Christ followers and if you are a true Christian, John says that you should keep God’s commandments and teachings, which are not a burden;1 John 5:3.
In Mathew 5:17-18, Christ told His followers and teachers of law that He had come to fulfill the law and not to destroy it. The coming of Messiah was a promise to Israelites. It is important to understand that the Old Testament was written and addressed to the God chosen nation; Israelites. So, when Christ came, he did everything in fulfillment of what the Old Testament had taught. Thus, being a Christ Follower you have to acknowledge that Christ did not come to render the Law of Moses or the Old Testament irrelevant.
However, when He died, He became the atonement for sins and drew all people not just Israelites to GOD and making them understand the nature of God better. Thus, he put everyone who believes in Him under His law. Paul states that Christians are under the law of Christ according to Galatians 6:22; which is Moral Law of God. Christ’s teachings revolve more around grace, forgiveness, and mercy just like the Old Testament teachings.
In New Testament righteousness does not come through obedience to Mosaic Laws. It is for that reason, the Disciples of Christ were taught not to burden the Gentiles with the law of circumcision as one does not become righteous through the obedience of law rather by faith in Christ Jesus. In support of that, Paul reminded his followers in Romans 6:22 that Abraham was accredited as righteous because of his faith; by faith, he became a father of many nations while he had no child.
It is important to understand that Christ reconciled the Old Testament, law and its decrees with Himself as stated in Ephesians 2: 14-16. That is why He taught the importance of loving God above everything and loving your neighbor as yourself; a summary of the Old Testament Laws. Christ understood that no one was Holy or could adhere to the law and become righteous. He became our righteousness and that is why Christians are righteous through faith in Jesus Christ according to Romans 3:22.
According to Pharisee, Jesus did many things that seem to contradict the Old Testament because they had not understood the word of God clearly. However, Jesus obeyed and adhered to the Old Testament and brought a better understanding of it. Jesus coming was a graceful act and He wanted us to know that we are saved by having faith in Him and not by being obedient to the Mosaic Law as no one could be Holy for all have fallen short of the glory of God.
By failing to acknowledge the Old Testament, we fail to acknowledge all the prophets, their teachings and God’s inspired Word in the Old Testament, which was the basis of New Testament. What Christ did was to reconcile the Old Testament with Him and give us a better understanding of His nature and Law and not contradict it. Therefore, to understand God, His Purpose, and the New Testament, you must understand the Old Testament as the Former is the Fulfilment of the Latter. Nonetheless, in regard to law, you are not under the Law of Moses, but of Christ Jesus.