The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New

Angry Old Testament GodBut because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV)

Have you ever wondered how the Old Testament God could be the same as the New Testament God? You’re not alone. (tweet this)

The Old Testament God seems so angry, yet Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor and our enemy. If God loves people, why is the Old Testament so violent? It’s disturbing and confusing and I don’t have an answer. But I will plant a few Seeds.

We probably all agree that love is one of God’s fundamental characteristics. God is also unchanging. Even when we don’t understand (or agree with) His ways, God is always holy, loving, just and merciful.

It’s a love story. God wants to live with us in relationship. In the Garden of Eden God walks and talks with Adam and Eve. In the wilderness God dwells with the Israelites in the tabernacle, and then the Temple. God wants us close to Him.

So why is God angry?

His holiness repels sin. His perfect justice demands punishment. God floods the world because men’s intentions were always evil. He destroys Sodom because of its sin. Yet God shows mercy by saving Noah and Lot’s families. King David recognizes God’s mercy; he does not receive the punishment he deserves.

Combining God’s love with His justice creates a problem. He deeply loves us, but we are sinful. As hard as we try, we cannot avoid unloving thoughts and self-centered behaviors.

Only God can resolve this grave discrepancy. In His love and mercy, God provided a way for us to reside in His presence in spite of our sinful nature. Jesus. We survive God’s justice because Jesus suffered our punishment.

These few words scatter full Seed packets. Instead of sprinkling Bible references throughout, the colored phrases link to scriptural claims. Click to dig deep and plant!

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment or email me.

Read these helpful posts:

The one who set the standard also did the saving.
What is sin?
What is grace?

#SeedsofScripture #salvation #HisMercy #loveofGod


  1. J.D. Wininger on February 6, 2020 at 3:58 AM

    Great thoughts Ms. Cathy. As I was thinking while reading your post, my thoughts centered on the fact that because of the amazing, free gift of salvation through grace, God doesn’t look upon my sinful human self (which exists to this day). Instead He looks upon me and He sees His Son, my adopted brother, who paid the price for all my sins. I am looked upon not with God’s vengeful eyes upon a sinner, but with the loving eyes of a Father who knows the price for love His dear child paid. Thank you so much for this soft, sweet, entry into my day ma’am. God’s blessings!

    • Cathy Chung on February 6, 2020 at 6:44 PM

      You summarize the gospel beautifully J.D. I should have asked you to write this post. Isn’t it amazing that God sees us as children and not the sinful wrecks that we are?

  2. Julie Lavender on February 7, 2020 at 10:20 PM

    Thank you for the reminder that God provided a way for us to reside in His presence, in spite of our sin, and that was is His Son, Jesus. May we never forget, and may we always be grateful!

    • CathyChung on February 8, 2020 at 6:26 PM

      Amen, Julie! We need to be reminded constantly that we can do nothing to save ourselves. No good works take away our sin. Only Jesus.

  3. Lila Diller on February 8, 2020 at 10:07 AM

    I hear this all the time. I still struggle sometimes with how often punishment for sin included death even of the women and children. Especially when 1 Peter says that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. The only way I can reconcile this is to believe that mercy eventually runs out. God is so lovingly merciful and gives us chance after chance. But eventually His holiness has to be satisfied. If we refuse to repent and accept Jesus as our righteousness, then eventually punishment must come. It’s a hard truth. But this is why we have free will, to choose to repent and accept His mercy.

    • CathyChung on February 8, 2020 at 6:25 PM

      Well said, Lila. The OT slaughters are really hard to understand. One idea that helped me with the conquest of the Promised Land is that God wanted to live there with the people in the tabernacle/Temple, so even the land had to be cleansed and made holy. That’s why it was complete and thorough. It still doesn’t feel right, but in my head it makes some sense. ALSO, there will be judgment at the end of time. God has been incredibly patient with us, but those who continue to reject Him will be punished for their sin like those in the OT. We have come to accept the loving, merciful, forgiving God and forget that He is also just and requires payment for sin.

  4. Barb Fox on February 8, 2020 at 1:50 PM

    I have the same sensitivity to these topics, Cathy, and it makes me so uncomfortable to read about the Old Testament judgements. Yet I believe it would NOT be loving to allow sin to continue to wreak havoc. We believe in justice in our hearts (although we don’t necessarily want it applied to us personally 🙂 ). On the other hand, we appreciate being created as beings with a free will who can choose whether or not we will honor God. Thank you for sprinkling all those powerful verses to point us back to Biblical truths.

    • Cathy Chung on February 8, 2020 at 6:17 PM

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. So true! We want justice for everyone else, but have a difficult time recognizing our own sin or thinking it deserves punishment. We need to keep this in mind in order to understand Christ’s work on the cross.

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Each post is a brief scriptural thought that will grow as you let it take root in your thoughts. If you have time, dig into one area of interest and plant a whole garden.

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