Many people feel that the Old Testament and New Testament are completely different. They see a wrathful, vengeful God in the Old Testament, a set of ‘thou shalt nots’ and are put off by the violence seen there. The New Testament, the story of life from the arrival of Jesus on earth to the end of time, is presented as a complete reversal of this, with love the main theme. Some people, therefore, feel there is little consistency in the Bible and shun God as a result.
However, whilst there are obvious differences between the two ‘halves’ of the Bible, there is consistency in how God is portrayed. He is love (as John’s first lesson explicitly tells us), but to simply focus on this without acknowledging His other attributes will lead to a lopsided view of God. His holiness, justice, righteousness, love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness can be found in both Old and New Testaments.
We looked at some of these themes in the New Testament last night and discovered there is much there about the coming judgment and God’s wrath (see Matt 3:1-12, Matt 7:P13-14, Matt 13:24-30). There, we also read of God’s forgiveness but this is not wihout warnings to repent and forgive also (see Matt 18:21-35). Judgment is seen in Acts too (think of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 or Herod in Acts 12:19-24). The New Testament actually develops the revelation of God seen in the Old Testament, where, for example, the Fatherhood of God can be clearly seen (see Matt 6:1-18, Ps 68:4-5, Ps 89:20, 26, Is 63:16, Jer 31:8-9). We need to understand that the New Testament is incomprehensible without the Old Testament and the Old Testament foreshadows all that is explained in the New. We need both, and can be reassured that there is consistency and hope within the entire BIble.