Paul tells us the Old Testament is for our learning
One of the most important things we learn from the
Old Testament is that man is responsible for obeying
This principle is also taught in the New Testament,
where we learn man is obligated to obey God.
- "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance,
God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere
should repent, because He has fixed a day in
which He will judge the world in righteousness
through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished
proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" (Acts
- "For since the creation of the world His invisible
attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have
been clearly seen, being understood through what
has been made, so that they are without excuse"
- "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the
prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them,
God will add to him the plagues which are written
in this book; and if anyone takes away from
the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take
away his part from the tree of life and from the holy
city, which are written in this book" (Rev. 22:18-19).
God's Commands are in His Word
God's mind is revealed by the Holy Spirit in Scripture
(1 Cor. 2:10-16). Therefore, the only way we can know
God's commands is through His word.
So, apostolic writings are Scripture and compose God's
Peter, referring to Paul's writings, refers to them
- "As also in all his letters, speaking in
them of these things, in which are some things hard
to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort,
as they do also the rest of the Scriptures,
to their own destruction" (2 Pet. 3:16).
And Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says the things
he writes are the Lord's commands.
- "If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual,
let him recognize that the things which I write
to you are the Lord's commandment" (1 Cor. 14:37).
God Has Spoken Through Jesus
In the beginning, God spoke directly to man. Then He
spoke through prophets. But in the last days, God spoke
to man through Jesus.
- "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in
the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in
these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom
He appointed heir of all things, through whom also
He made the world" (Heb. 11:1-2).
So God, upon the Mountain when Jesus was transfigured,
said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased;
listen to Him" (Matt. 17:5)!
Therefore, we must be careful to obey Jesus.
- "For this reason we must pay much closer attention
to what we have heard, so that we do not drift
away from it. For if the word spoken through angels
proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience
received a just penalty, how will we escape if
we neglect so great a salvation? After it was
at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed
to us by those who heard, God also testifying with
them, both by signs and wonders and by various
miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according
to His own will" (Heb. 2:1-4).
If we obey Jesus, we'll be saved. But if we disobey
Him, we'll be lost.
- "And having been made perfect, He became to
all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation"
- "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide
in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the
one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father
and the Son" (2 Jn. 1:9).
Jesus Commissioned the Apostles
Before ascending to heaven, Jesus commissioned the apostles
(Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16).
Thus, the apostles became ambassadors of Christ, as
God spoke through them to reconcile man to Himself.
- "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God were making an appeal through us;
we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to
God" (2 Cor. 5:20).
Specific and General Commands
There are three types of commands in God's word.
- Specific commands include the specifics for carrying
out the command.
- General commands do not include the specifics for
carrying out the command.
- Commands with both specific and general components.
When we have a specific command from God, we must
obey Him by accomplishing the command as specified.
But when we have a general command, we must employ lawful
expediencies to carry out the command.
However, many commands include both specific and general
components. In other words, God is specific in some
parts of the command, and general in other parts of
For example, God's command for Noah to build the ark
had both specific and general components (Gen. 6:13-22).
When a command has both specific and general components,
we must obey God by accomplishing the specific component
of the command, and employ lawful expediencies to carry
out the general component of the command.
In the next
article, we'll talk about general commands in more
detail, and the expediencies we must employ to obey