In a lot of people’s minds, God is this angry, loud, vengeful monster in the Old Testament of the Bible. Some non-Christians tell us we have two gods, the Old Testament one with the commandments and judgements, and the New Testament one offering grace and mercy. The God of the Bible is one; he gives commandments, he judges, but also offers to extend grace and mercy instead. The dichotomy may be apparent, but isn’t a matter of fact.
The difference between the Old and New Testament isn’t a difference in God, it’s a difference in which covenant people live under. The Old Covenant was about being given commandments, and living under the Law. God knew that people would not be able to keep the commandments, but people had to learn this lesson the hard way. God knew that people needed a savior, and his plan of salvation was worked out and put into motion before the world was created. What people needed to do was try to keep God’s Law, fail at it miserably, then ask God for mercy. We need to realize we need a savior before Jesus can be our savior. As long as we still think we can make it on our own, we won’t cry out to God asking for forgiveness for breaking his Law. The Old Covenant was to keep the Law and be God’s people; the New Covenant is to accept that Christ kept the Law perfectly and through salvation take part in his righteousness.
To illustrate that God is the same, read Isaiah chapter 1. I refer to this passage too often, but in Isaiah 1 God reprimands the people of Israel for singing the hymns, burning the incense, saying the prayers and lifting thier hands while living in their guilt of sin. He tells them to cease to do evil and learn to do good. As an example he mentions the fatherless and the widows, just like in James 1:27. In Deuteronomy 10, God commands the people to circumcise their heats. He is saying that while circumcision is an outward sign of God’s people, the change should take place on the inside. Very New Testament sounding for Deuteronomy. Here comes a big one:
When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replies with two. First he says love God with all your heart, mind and strength. Good answer, right out of the Old Testament. Then he says the second is just like it, to love your neighbor as yourself. So the Old Testament is about “thou shall/ thou shalt not” and the New Testament is about love right? The difference between OT God and NT God is love, right? NO, WRONG! Leviticus is the Oldest Testament Old Testament book their is, but look again at Leviticus 19:18
“You shall not take vengence or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.”
The Bible is one book that tells one story, and that story is how fallen man in a sinful world relates to a God that is holy. And the God of that Bible is one God, not two. God stays the same, and his love endures forever.