Gospel Love of God

Is God Angry in the Old Testament But Loving in the New Testament?

From my experience, non-Christians (and some Christians) sometimes assert that God is a monster in the Old Testament but somehow loving and Fatherly in the New.

Robin Schumacher over at explains:

Non-Christians sometimes assert that God is portrayed in the Old Testament as a cruel and ruthless deity that indiscriminately orders the execution of seemingly innocent men, women, and children, or directly carries out their deaths by various means. Such a God, the argument goes, in no way represents the loving Creator or Father figure that the New Testament offers, and should in no way be worshipped or venerated. However, a closer examination of Yahweh in the Old Testament refutes the charge of the Creator being a tyrant and instead reveals a righteous, patient, merciful, and loving God who does indeed mirror the picture painted by Jesus and the rest of the New Testament writers.

I highly recommend reading the article.

Go on. Check it out.

But there’s another aspect to the discussion that is oft overlooked.

God is a jealous God and will protect all whom are His

Exodus 34:14 explains, “you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” God is speaking to His people with whom He has established a covenant (see Exodus 34:10).

God protects His own and woe to those who oppose His people.

Folks see God as a vindictive and horrific monster. I can understand that false perspective.

Leviticus tells us, “Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.”

God is jealous for His name; He desires His name to be praised and adored among His people and all who do not will be judged.

You will not understand this until you recognize the Old Testament is written from an insider perspective;

people who are God’s people see the Old Testament as an expression of God’s love for them

The New Testament expresses the same idea. God loves His people; God loves His people so much, He gave His only Son to die for all those who believe in Him. And for those who don’t revere His name and believe in Him will perish.

This is the greatest expression of love, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The whole of the Old Testament testifies to this, and the New Testament explains it.

Both Testaments possess this single truth:

Hell is eternity in the presence of God without a mediator. Heaven is eternity in the presence of God with a mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.1

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!

1Eternity Without a Mediator by Tim Challies

Gospel Grace

Don’t Judge Me

Judge not, that you be not judged. ~Matthew 7:1

Many quote this verse to stave off the onslaught of being judged by others unbeknownst to those many from where this quote comes or what it really means.

When folks quote this verse, they really mean we shouldn’t judge others because, then, we’ll be judged.

That’s a part of it, but don’t substitute the part for the whole.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ~Matthew 7:1-5

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. ~Romans 2:1-11

What Scripture is telling us: Don’t judge others by your standards because, when it comes down to it, you don’t even live up to your own standards all the time.

I have no doubt God will judge us by His standard, but does He really have to judge us by His standard if we don’t even live up to our own standard(s) which are far lower than His?

James says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” (James 2:10).

I think this applies to our own standards, our own “laws”. If we fail in one point of our own standards, we are guilty of breaking our whole personal standard.

And we are accountable for all of it.

This is why we need grace. It is a graceful thing to address sin, yes, but love also covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8).

We are to judge others by the fruit they bear in the Gospel, but there is wisdom in knowing when to address the sin(s) and when to cover it in love.

Gospel Grace

Motivation For Doing Good Works for Which We Will be Judged

Why do I focus on the Gospel so much when Scripture tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10)?

Where does this verse fall in this epistle? Paul writes this statement after he explains and expresses the Gospel. We could say 2 Corinthians is a follow-up of 1 Corinthians, and in both epistles, Paul continually points us to the Gospel. And only after pointing us to the Gospel does Paul give us commands, things we ought to do.

But as Dave Gill explains, “If someone says “God commanded it, so we must be able to do it,” RUN. God’s commands force reliance on Him, not tell what is possible.”

As I have stressed before, many times before, all of our good works are perfected by and through Christ’s finished work on the cross and the good works we do are the fruit of the Spirit’s Gospel-Applying work in our lives. In fact, our good works are fruit and the power to defend ourselves is fruit, as well. Scotty Smith hits the point with, “Don’t focus on the ‘how to’s’ of the Christian life as much as the ‘Who did'”.

So how do we reconcile this fruit of the Spirit’s Gospel-Applying work in our lives? Simply put, and I hope this is not oversimplifying the issue, we are free to do all that we can for God’s glory.

We don’t have to worry about what others think because the only Person who loves us and fully and completely accepts us is pleased with us because He sees us as “in Christ” and we have Christ’s righteousness.

We are not trying to gain God’s favor. Christ has already gained it for us and in our place. That work is finished.

The power of our idols and sin is broken. 1 Corinthians 15:50ff. We are free. We are free to love God and love others.

Because of this freedom in Christ, we can do all we can for God’s glory in Christ. And it is the good works in this freedom for which we will be judged. There is now no excuse to exhort each other to love and good works. “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

“16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

And this is good news! This motivates us to share the Good News of the Gospel because we are motivated by the Gospel to do these things. And this is why I focus on the Gospel so much – it is the motivation for us to do the good works for which we will be judged. And we definitely need motivation. There is only one sustaining motivation for the Christian. It is the Gospel.