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Jez wrote:

Hi, guys —

In the Old Testament God seems to be very strict. He punishes people for even the smallest mistakes but when it comes to the New Testament, He becomes very forgiving.

  • What is the reason for this change?

Jez

  { Why is the God of the Old Testament more strict when the God of the New Testament is forgiving? }

John replied:

Hi Jez,

We have to understand that the entire Bible is meant to reveal God . . . it is His Revelation.

Actually, the Old Testament shows a God of Mercy more often than people think and the New Testament shows God's Wrath more than people think. You have to read things in their greater context.

In general, if one doesn't understand the context of the text they are reading, your view can be a very common assumption.

God is never lenient but God is always merciful and there is a difference. The purpose of the Scriptures is for us to understand the need for God and His Mercy. Therefore we must first understand the perfection and righteousness of God in order to understand how much He forgives us and the Great Sacrifice that Christ (God Himself) made on our behalf in order extend that mercy to us.

We must understand that the Bible is the Word of God in the words of men so various authors used various means to convey these truths. God does not change; the Scriptures tells us this. Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever so what is at issue is our ability to stand before an All Holy and Loving God.

We have examples of this in the Old Testament:

Isaiah was brought before the thrown and immediately fell to the ground for fear of death because he felt unholy and so the Angel took brim stone off the altar . . . and placed it on Isaiah's lips.

This symbolizes the fire of God's love making us Holy but Isaiah's response to God's Holiness and his own sinfulness was humility and a willingness to accept expurgation, love and mercy.

For Isaiah to understand just how sinful he was, (and he was a good man), he had to be confronted about how Perfect and Holy God is and he did not understand that until He saw Him.

Well, the Old Testament is written in such a way as for man to understand that God is Holy and Perfect and that the slightest sin can cause us to be unable to receive and enjoy the greater Love that He has for us. It is only then that we can appreciate and truly embrace His Mercy, Love, and Grace.

You see, the price for the slightest sin is separation from God's Love and so in the Old Testament, even the slightest sin, is shown to be punishment, sometimes by death, and actually the slightest sin is enough for anyone person to go to Hell forever, were it not for Christ's Sacrifice on Calvary.

If every human being created was perfect and lived perfect, sinless lives, and I was the only one who committed the slightest sin, Christ would have suffered and died in order to save me but in order for me to understand that, I have to understand the consequences of my sin. To understand that, I have to understand how Perfect, Holy, and Loving God is.

So the entire structure of the Bible is a progression to teach mankind this essential fact, much like when we bring up children, we teach them things in a progression.

I hope this helps,

John

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