God of the old and the new
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Thank God for the blood of Christ and the new covenant (Luke 22:20) – a new marriage with God, through Christ’s sacrifice and the Father’s grace (Ephesians 2:8). We have access to the Father in heaven and can feel a closeness, a relationship, that fills the void from the ‘BC’ life. The God of the new covenant is a God of love (1 John 4:8), mercy (Ephesians 2:4), grace (Hebrews 4:16), forgiveness (1 John 1:9), peace (Philippians 4:7) and kindness (Romans 2:4); all wonderful attributes of God that draw us towards Him. This new testament God seems quite unlike the old testament God – who is presented more as a God of wrath, punishment, and death; understandably something we might want to move away from. But as we draw near to our kind, loving, New Testament God, let us not move away from the God of the old testament for we cannot fall into complete submission to the one true God unless we honor the fullness of God (Job 40:1-8).
Our old testament God is almighty and fearsome; He has all authority (Romans 13:1), He holds Satan on his rein (Job 1:12), He holds the keys of Hades in His hand (Rev 1:18), He commands the waves where to stop (Job 38:11), He rules across the ages (psalm 145:13), He is all knowing (Psalm 147:5), and He is the sole issuer of judgement and justice (Romans 2:2). He controls all things (Job 38:4-39:30) and owns all power (1 Peter 5:11), even the end times are securely held by His mighty hands (Rev 20:10) awaiting His release, at His word, under His authority, by His power, to unfold as He sees fit, in His timing.
This almighty God seems unlike the God of many Christians today. Perhaps it comforts us to replace the old testament God of wrath, punishment, and death, with a new God of grace, forgiveness and eternal life. It seems we have conveniently dichotomized God and created a God of the New Testament distinct from the God of the old testament and have modernized God beyond recognition. We insist on grace where He might choose punishment, we blithely assert access to the Father instead of honoring the Holy place where He is, we pray with petitions for our own desire instead of sacrificing ourselves in submission to His will, we stand in apathy instead of awe, and we altogether forget what a reverent, deferential position to the King of Kings looks like. Our knees are not dirty any more.
While it is wonderful to celebrate our salvation and praise God for His amazing grace, we fall short in honoring the fullness of God when we separate the old from the new. There is only ONE God, not two, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Our ‘Old Testament’ God is our ‘New Testament God.’ He is wrathful when He sees the damage sin causes to His perfect plan for us, He punishes to bring our attention and our hearts back to His loving care, He chooses death when newness is necessary for a redeemed heaven and earth.
To move forward in our effort to bring God His due glory, we need to reevaluate how our hearts have positioned The One, almighty God . . . the great ‘I Am.’
New testament grace is not a substitute for old testament reverence.
Though we are gracefully and undeservedly offered access to God the Father, it does not mean, that He is any less worthy, or any less fearsome, or powerful, or sovereign, than the old testament God who laid the foundations of the earth, and who numbered the hairs on your head, and who placed the stars in the sky, and to whom, one day, every knee will bow and declare “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty . . . To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever” (Rev 4:8; 5:13).
“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29). “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:1-3).
God forgive us for bringing you down from your rightful place above the heavens and the earth. Help us to magnify you in your fullness.
Lord humble us.
Which character of God, the old or the new, do you most relate to? Did that change with your experience of His saving grace? Which aspect of God's character needs more appreciation in your heart, mind and soul? What studying, praying, or activities can you do to appreciate the fullness of God?
How does the modern evangelical/Gospel message set up the character of God? Is this appropriate 'milk' for new believers? When in our walk does the more fearsome totality of God become substance for the 'meat' of Christian knowledge and growth?
Is it possible to hold two potentially conflicting views of God's character at the same time?Is it possible to feel overwhelmed by His love and reverent to His fearsomeness simultaneously? How can you magnify one without compromising the other?
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Seminar: The power of humility in affecting change
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