There is a belief today that presents the existence of two different Gods in the Judeo-Christian system of religion. The basis for this belief is a perceived difference in the nature of God. When we see the actions of God in the Old Testament canon, we see a God, who demonstrated the willingness to destroy millions of people by way of a worldwide flood, strike down the first-born in all Egypt, from the family of Pharaoh to the cattle in the field, and then demand the destruction of six nations who resided in the land of Canaan as His children Israel went into to possess it.
At face value this would seem like a ruthless and harsh God, while the Son of God seen in the New Testament focused primarily on love and forgiveness. The Gospel of John tells us, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (NAS John 1:17) This passage coupled with our earlier observations might seem to justify an obvious difference in God from Old to New Testaments. But is this a fair assessment?
The same God who caused 40 days and nights of rain, also provided for the survival of mankind through His grace to Noah and his family. Without this favor, you and I would not be here. As for the others not saved, Peter calls them ungodly, and Genesis 6:5 records “every intent of the thoughts of men’s heart was only evil continually.” His goal was for man to repent, even while plans were underway to build the ark, though they apparently did not listen to Noah, ‘a preacher of righteousness’ (2 Peter 2:5).
When considering the call to destroy those dwelling in Canaan, we know God had a protective mindset, hoping to prevent the corruption of His children by pagans and idolaters (Exodus 34:11-16). While wandering in the wilderness God spared the children of Israel on a number of occasions, not because they deserved it but because he loved them, and often Moses was the instrument of intercession on their behalf. Exodus 33:1-3, is a case in point where God protected Israel by removing Himself from their presence for He knew their obstinacy would bring His wrath upon them. All that God does is for the benefit of those who would follow Him! These are just a few examples where God offers unmerited favor or grace to His creation. God has always loved us and wants nothing more than for us to know this and to respond in kind. How have you responded to God’s love?
Copyright © 2010, Nolan P. Rutter