|Volume 18 Number 3 March 2016||
Arlis D. Richardson
Why is nothing found in the New Testament concerning Onan who “emitted upon the ground”? “The thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He killed him also” (Genesis 38:9-10).
One must realize that everything written in the Old Testament is not repeated in the New Testament, but the principles remain in the Old Testament for our learning (Romans 15:4). Yet, every passage needs to be studied in its total context. The context of this text is that Onan refused to carry out God’s rule of inheritance. In Deuteronomy 25:5-6 we read:
If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. (Deuteronomy 25:5-6 NKJV)
Note that this has not been repeated in the New Testament. It only applied to Israel as that nation long ago inherited its promised land. Spilling of seed upon the ground wasn’t the sin there, but Onan’s failure to follow God’s law was the sin that he committed. The lesson for us today is to obey God’s will in everything. Otherwise, God’s wrath is reserved for us.
Was I Born as a Christian?
Some are under the impression that people are born into a religion; that is to say that we are born as Christians, as Muslims, as Buddhists, as Jews, as atheists, etc. It’s quite easy to think in those terms, but the more correct understanding is that we are born into families (Christian families, Muslim families, etc.). No one is born into a particular religion. No one is born as a believer or as nonbeliever. Though one may be born into a family that thinks and believes a certain way, we are not obligated to continue in that thought or belief. Take the Israelites for example. When they had conquered the Promised Land, Joshua assembled all the people together and told them that they had to make choice of whom to serve. Joshua encouraged the people to put away their idols, but ultimately he left it up to them who they would serve – the gods of their fathers, the gods of the Amorites or Jehovah (24:14-15). That choice still has to be made today. Remember that Jesus said that the one who would be saved is not the one born to believing parents, but rather the one who believes and is baptized (Mark 16:16).