For centuries Christians have believed that, somehow, the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are different. Many see God as angry and full of wrath in the Old and then see Jesus as more loving and compassionate in the New.
One must look at the Bible holistically rather than as two separate parts. What was God’s purpose in His relationship with the world and what did He want to accomplish?
God created mankind and he sinned against God, thus separating the two. God then raised up Abraham and from Abraham eventually came Israel, God’s chosen people. Why did He choose Israel? One could come up with a list of reasons, but God told Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “…all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God’s ultimate plan from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, to the last book in the Bible, Revelation, was to bless the nations through sending a Messiah, a Savior, who would save us from our sins – He did this in Jesus Christ.
When we look through the Old Testament books, we do see accounts of God’s wrath and judgment. It has caused many people to question God’s goodness. However, God always spoke through individuals to tell people what He wanted them to do. There was no doubt what God’s requirements were and, if His people would only do them, they would be blessed. It was when they strayed away from the right things that consequences occurred. Obedience was for their own good and where true life was found.
Through studying the Scripture, it is apparent that God clearly instructs us how to live through what is in the Bible. It is when we either ignore it or we have not read it and do not know what it says that we may suffer the results. God has set life so that we “reap what we sow” (Galatians 6:7). We see in the world around us the result of this basic life principle.
God only desires that you and I come to have a personal relationship with Him and enjoy the benefit of complete devotion. This is what He made us to do – to love Him with our whole hearts. In the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, God tells us: “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32). God does not want to see people choose disobedience and suffer the consequences. This is why He tells Israel, and now us, over and over to repent (turn the other way) and experience the true life found in Him.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Maybe you have gone through life and experienced the harsh and difficult consequences of sin. It is never too late to turn from a life of sin. God is waiting with loving, open arms. He demonstrated this love by giving His own Son to die a cruel death in your place and mine. Won’t you turn to Him today?
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at www.OneMaster.org.