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Why We Need the Old Testament

Today’s reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-12:11

My selection: I Corinthians 10:11-13

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

My reflections: This passage tells us that one of the purposes of the Old Testament is to instruct Christians by example. Some of these examples are negative, as in the case of the people of Israel who engaged in drunkenness, idolatry, sexual immorality, and grumbling. Even though the Corinthian believers lived, as we do, at the end of the ages, they could not assume that they were exempt from the same kinds of temptations as the Israelites.

There is a warning here to Christians, of all times, not presume to be above falling into temptation and sin. There is also a promise to believers today to remember the sovereignty and providence of God who always holds in check the intensity of the temptations which come their way and to provide a way of escape from those temptations so that no believer need succumb to them.

My challenge: Do not neglect the study of the Old Testament which contains examples, both positive and negative, for our growth in faith. Avoid the extremes of cheap grace, which downplays the importance of a daily pursuit of holiness in life, and perfectionism, which expects the attainment of a sinless life in this world. Seek to be holy. Expect progress but also ongoing struggles and failures. Confess sin and receive forgiveness and cleansing. Your standing before God is, and always will be, based on Christ’s atoning work, not your own achievements and merits.

Tomorrow’s reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-15:11

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