1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
The verse above tells us who God is in one word. Half of the Christian world sees God the Father in this manner, but the other half sees the Father in a different manner. They use many scriptures in the Old Testament to show how God was full of wrath and anger. If you are a new believer there seems to be a dichotomy. To make matters worse you have this verse in Malachi 3:6 that says, ““For I am the Lord, I do not change…” This possess an interesting question, if God does not change, why does the Old Testament and the New Testament present Him in such a different manner.
The truth is that neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament present God in different ways. One of the major keys in understanding the Bible is understanding covenants. The covenant that was in operation in the Old Testament is different from the one in operation today. That is why you see God acting differently today than He did in the Old Testament.
In Exodus 20-25, God makes a covenant with the children of Israel. Deuteronomy 28 has a great summary of the covenant. The covenant that God had with the children of Israel was 100% dependent on their behavior. If they obeyed God, He would bless; if they did not obey God, He cursed them. Reading the Old Testament, you see how the Israelites disobeyed Him. Because of the covenant they had with God, He was bound to judge them, but in His mercy, He sent prophet after prophet to warn them but each time they either killed the prophets or ignored them. God pushed back His judgement hundreds of years making sure He gave them more than enough time to repent. During this time, He was warning them about the impending doom, He always encouraged them about the coming covenant that is better than the current one.
This better covenant is the one that we are under today. In Hebrews, Holy Spirit comments about it, that it is a better covenant. Holy Spirit through Paul says that this new covenant has better promises. The major and key difference between this new covenant and the old one is Jesus. In the old covenant, God’s actions were determined by the people’s obedience. In the new covenant, God’s actions are determined by the obedience of Jesus. The day we are born again we are born in Christ and become new creatures (Galatians 3:27; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Because we are in Christ, Christ actions become our actions. God judges us by Christ actions. Because Christ is righteous, we are righteous (1 John 4:17).
As new testament believer, we must make it a priority to know all that we can about our new covenant. In Hosea 4:6, God laments that His people suffer for lack of knowledge. We might be guilty of that today if we don’t spend time to know what is true for us today.