Old Testament God Vs. New Testament God

I came across an interesting question by a member of a forum I frequent related to the community I live in. They asked the question, “Why is God so different in both testaments? (Bible – Old and New)” They provided no other details as to what they were referring to, however I’d make a pretty good that guess that they were comparing the differences between God’s grace and God’s wrath.

You see the Old Testament is filled with occurrences of God’s judgment upon sinners – the plagues of Egypt, Sodom and Gomorrah, King Nebuchadnezzar, David’s adultery with Bathsheba, and the list goes on. In fact if you start reading through the first five books of the Bible, you might get the impression that God is very strict, impatient, angry and wrathful. The New Testament can give the impression that God is a God of love and grace. So which is true? Is God a God of judgment and wrath or a God of love and grace? Actually He’s both.

The Old Testament comprises the history of man before Christ along with prophecies, proverbs and psalms. The New Testament comprises four books recounting Christ’s time here on Earth, the early history of the church (Acts), and several letters to the churches. However, keep in mind that the last book in the New Testament is “The Book of Revelation” in which we once again see a God pouring out wrath and judgment, but at the same time exhibiting extreme patience and lovingkindness as He gives mankind a chance to repent.

Therefore, the Old Testament may give readers the impression that God is this mean old man just waiting for us to screw up so He can whack us over the head with a big ol’ baseball bat while in the New Testament, God seems to have chilled out a bit. It appeared that way to me when I first became a Christian. I started reading in Genesis and got up to Joshua before I ever ventured into the New Testament. What inspired me to leave off in Joshua and go to the book of Matthew in the New Testament was viewing the movie “Jesus of Nazareth” where I saw a God of love. I then realized that He is a God of love but at the same time, He just.

Another thing to remember is that in the Old Testament, God’s chosen people were under the law. Now we live under grace meaning that all mankind’s sins have been paid for once and for all by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. No longer do we have to make our own atonement for sin as they did in the Old Testament because it has already been done for us.

So it is not necessarily a situation where God is uptight in the Old Testament and is now laid back in the New Testament. In fact if you read through the Book of Revelation, you will see more of God’s wrath poured out upon unrepentant sinners than anywhere in the Old Testament. So remember, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Old and New Testaments represent different times in history as well as different covenants between God and man, and yet they both show not only God’s judgment and wrath but His grace and love as well.


Author: David Wallace

David Wallace is a search & social media marketer who lives in Anthem Arizona with his lovely wife. Interests & hobbies include all things Disney, roller coasters, musicianship and Christianity. Follow +David Wallace on Google + as well as Twitter.

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4 Comments

  1. Our culture has moved away from the authority of the Word of God. We refer to what is written in the Word of God but have become embroiled in what we know about God instead of entering into personal active obedience with Him. All that Jesus of Nazareth brings into the world is the Son of God in union with the Father and Spirit. There can be no variance in the Son of God to all that is identified with us in Him on the cross and satisfying the righteousness of the Father through His blood and resurrection. The nature and character of God are fully possessed by Jesus of Nazareth in identification with our separation from the Father. Through the Son of God we enter into life that displays all that is made alive in us by Christ’s blood, resurrection and power to make us alive in Him.

    Our culture does not shape the full expression of God’s nature and character to the world.

    As we take steps of obedience in response to what is shown in the Word of God, this opens into further growing clarity of what Christ has already made available to us through Himself that is shown in the Word of God. So the Word of God continually shows us the small steps of obedience that remove what is causing the true and actual nature and character of God to be obscure to us, which is our sin.

    Our need for God is complete. Our North American culture prompts us to identify where we have a need. But our need for forgiveness, for repentance is complete. Our whole life needs to go to the cross. Through the cross it is not what we estimate our need to be but the whole of our life, separate from God by our sin, that is satisfied by Christ’s death in our place.

    Turn to the Word of God and begin obeying every way that you can find to submit your life to Christ. That obedience will open into aspects of your entire being, your thinking, lifestyle expectations and intent that were never considered before. Christ cannot have part of me. I am His or I do not know Him. This is a frightening thing when we survey how easily our culture permeates into our way of following Christ. Our life is segmented into sections where we allocate resources and time to observe what Christ has given us and yet the real events and issues of our life are kept for ourselves.

    This will never survive the real and actual nature and character of God. There has never been a greater need for us all to turn to the Word of God and give ourselves to Christ without reservation or condition. We as a culture will face consequences that will not be removed. But our life in Christ is far greater than what we will experience here. This is only the beginning of a far greater drama that will only continue with him undivided through death when we receive eternal life now while we are living.

    The result will be less attention to what we know about God and more about enjoying the companionship of Jesus Christ in every aspect of daily living on His terms.

  2. @Bill Ross – Could you reference your statements with the actual scriptures? If not backed by actual scriptural reference, your statements are merely opinion.

    Also to claim that God is “hard hearted, harsh, vindictive, hateful and amoral” borders on the line of blasphemy. You obviously have little to no understanding of God’s true nature and His attitude towards His creation which can be summed up in 2 Peter 3:9:

    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish , but that all should come to repentance.

  3. According to Paul, God has an unquestionable right to:

    * harden people to the gospel
    * punish those hardened people

    He claims that God cursed the Jews so that he could treat them for jars of wrath. He is, according to Paul, preventing Jews from believing, lest they be saved from wrath.

    So you don’t have to worry about the NT God being too much of a softie. He is hard hearted, harsh, vindictive, hateful and amoral.

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