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The Whole Scriptures

I met someone once who said "I don't read the Old Testament -- it's too confusing". I did not quarrel with him, but tried to tell him that many think the New Testament is much more confusing! Either way, the two are speaking differently because of a different focus that each has not because they disagree. We could say that the Old Testament is giving the "nuts and bolts" of the faith, and the New Testament is giving the heart of the faith.

Another fact that would should mention is that there is a difference in the two Testaments which has been noticed by many (and--sad to say--twisted by many as well) that is harder to explain. I will use a turn of phrase to point it out: the Old Testament has works and faith; the New Testament has faith and works. This means that in the Old Testament before the first coming of Christ, the emphasis was the works and duties of the people of God with a reference to proper faith. In the New Testament, the emphasis is on proper faith and it references good works. Together they balance out what God is telling us: faith and works both are necessary for salvation.

The problem arises when people disconnect themselves from the historic understanding of the Scriptures and re-fashion the Word of God in new ways. Most Christians outside the Catholic Church will speak of works alone in the Old Testament and faith alone in the New Testament as though there is nothing else. And, people can be convinced that this error is true if they do not read it for themselves, or if they read it with a presupposition that this idea is true. Let us be certain that we read Scripture in accord with how the Church has always done so.

Do we need faith? Yes. Do we need works? Yes. Do we need a working faith? Yes. Do we need faithful work? Yes. Our Lord made sure that we know this, and if we look at what He has said in all the Scriptures we will see this beautiful truth.


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