Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 1, 2023
In the ‘new year’ go the ‘old way’

Many in our culture today constantly promote “new things.” Everywhere you turn you find there is a new “trend,” or a new “fad.” You have all heard demeaning phrases like – old school – or, antiquated, archaic, out-of-date, or even anachronistic. That last one is usually just a pseudo-intellectual way of saying “old fashioned.”

But the truth is, especially in these last few decades, it is often promoted that “if it is older than you it must not be true.” Of course that means that those older than us don’t really know what is going on, and that truth can only be found in that which is new.

Why do you think such thoughts are promoted so aggressively today? I suspect one reason is because in the Bible, God makes it clear that He is Truth itself. In Him there is nothing but truth, and truth is all that He shares with us. Thus those who want to disregard the clear convicting work of the Bible want to cast it aside simply on the basis “it is old, and therefore not relevant.”

Of course the age-old question is, “What is truth?” If you read the Gospel of John 18:38 you see that Pilate, the then governor of Israel, asked that very question of Jesus – “What is truth.” It is truly amazing Pilate would ask that of Jesus because it completely displayed Pilate’s lack of discernment, because Jesus is the very embodiment of “truth.” In fact, in John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Yet Pilate clearly could not see that.

I bring this up in the context of what is old and what is new because I was talking with someone about Christ (the Messiah) and Christianity a while back, and he asked me why he should believe in a “new” religion. He said there were many religions older than Christianity. In other words he expected that if God wanted us to know about Him through “religion” then he thought it would have been through an early religion, not a relatively new one.

Although I hadn’t thought about such a question before, it quickly struck me that Christianity, or more properly “the way of salvation,” is not somewhat new; rather it is truly the oldest religion in the history of the human race.

Why do I say that? If you think about it, Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises God made regarding the way of salvation. In fact, in Jesus’ day the Jews referred to the Messiah as “the Promised One.”

Why did they use that term? Because when God first promised salvation – the destruction of our enemies, Satan, sin, and death – He promised that He would send someone who would do just that – deliver us. You see this in Genesis 3:15 when God promised that One born of a woman would be our deliverer; He would “crush” our enemy.

How this would be done actually began to be portrayed in the Garden of Eden, before God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden. In Genesis 3 you find that sin had caused Adam and Eve to be exposed and covered in shame. So in Genesis 3:21 God sacrificed an animal, and He made clothing to symbolically cover their sin and shame. In doing so God was giving us our first glimpse of how God would take care of our sin, which was something we could never do for ourselves. He was going to bring about a sacrifice that would cover our sin and shame.

Later in Genesis 12:3, God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed somehow through him. He didn’t say how that would occur, but later, in Genesis 15, Abraham asked God how he could know that God would keep His promises. God entered into a covenant with Abraham in which He basically said, “May I become like these dead animals if I do not keep My word.” This covenant was called a “berith” – a cutting of a covenant.

What Abraham did not know, in fact what no one knew prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection, was that in order for God to keep His word God the Son, Jesus, had to die.

In fact, if you read 1 Corinthians 2:6-8, God says that He actually kept the crucifixion of the Messiah a clouded mystery because if it was known how the way of salvation and eternal life was going to be made possible as a gift of grace, the minions of Satan would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.  

But the reality is they did crucify Him, and because they did, and because of His resurrection, Satan’s plans were destroyed, and the gift of salvation and eternal life was made possible through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone.

So you see, Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of salvation made in the Garden of Eden just after Adam and Eve sinned. Therefore Christianity, the “religion,” or “the way of salvation,” is in reality the oldest “religion” in the world.

Please understand; just because something is older doesn’t necessarily make it right or better. But God so loves us that right from the beginning He made it clear that He was going to provide the way of salvation and eternal life, so that any who chose to put their faith in the Messiah could be forgiven of sin, and given the gift of eternal life. Choose life; choose Christ.

Jon McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.

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