Reconciling the Old Testament God with the New Testament God, 3/3/09
One rather looming criticism of Christianity has been that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are completely different characters seemingly inconsistent with one another. The solution does not seem rather difficult to comprehend, but the clarification is rarely presented and this causes unnecessary strife among believers. Rather than deal with the answer to “difficult questions,” many believers often assume the Old Testament to be irrelevant. ....
The answer is not that God is changing, but that our understanding of him must be based on principals that are slowly revealed. For instance we cannot truly understand mercy and love if we do not first understand what we deserve. If God is truly perfect without sin and holy as we would want and expect him to be, then by nature he could not tolerate any evil. We cannot have it both ways, he is perfect and just, or he is unjust and imperfect. Very early in the scriptures God presents the law in order for us to receive an indication of how wicked we are. At that time man however can have no closer relationship to God other than to know he is unworthy of God. Therefore God to some appears only to be a God of Wrath. (I believe however the Old Testament is clear that God has a loving side we just forget that sometimes because we glaze over those parts.)
Christ of course is the pivotal point if the whole thing. Remember though he said he did not come to change the law but to fulfill it? God did not hold back his love because we are unimportant to him, but because God is holy and we need an intercessor. When Christ comes however, he is God in the flesh. Suddenly we are able to talk to and relate to God in human form. Christ becomes our intercessor and our high-priest. Man now also has a direct way to connect to God the Father and the deeper truths of his character can be revealed. That is that we deserve death, but God loves us, wants a relationship with us and wants us to love others, but until Christ comes, man could not be reconciled to God and looking back we have trouble understanding that truth that God was Love then as well.
In the Old Testament the highest aspiration of man is to have faith, be righteous and just and to reflect God in that way. Christ in no way changes the fact that God is holy and just, but he provides us a way to be justified before God allowing us understand the deeper truths of God. The Father is not just angry and the son is not just a loving friend who pleads for us. Both Father and son must judge and have wrath because they are Holy and perfect, but they are also both loving.