Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
• 1 John 4:7 – 10
Love is the overriding characteristic of the God I serve. While this is true, it does not mean He does not require justice or that sin will go unpunished. Because of His love, He judged sin under the Law and then poured out His wrath on Jesus at the cross.
The New Covenant began with God pouring His wrath out on the Lord Jesus. We have a much different relationship today because His wrath and judgments are satisfied by the redemptive work of Christ.
You can experience the true nature of God today because of Jesus. He is not angry at you and is now free to show you His unconditional love. The blood of Jesus removed every barrier created by sin that kept us from entering into a relationship with our creator.
God’s love for you is in no way proportional to your performance. It is unlimited, and He is free to pour it out because Jesus paid the price for every sin you have, are, and ever will commit.
I believe people struggle in their relationship with God due to a lack of understanding of these things. We must develop a clear understanding of the differences between the relationship Old Testament saints had with God and the one available to us now. Without this, we will have a wrong perception of God and continue to be hindered from entering into the intimate relationship He so desires to have with us.
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)
As we move forward, I want to emphasize that I am not saying any part of the Bible has passed away. The Old Testament contains lessons we can benefit from, but we live under a better covenant and are free from the constraints of Old Testament Law.
You and I have access to God that no person living in Old Testament times had. There are liberties and freedoms available to us in Christ that were not available under the Law. Religious tradition has robbed most Christians of experiencing these freedoms.
The average Christian does not know the difference between the Old and New Testaments. As a result, they cannot understand why God seemingly treated people so harshly in the Old and would not do the same to us today.
God can treat us differently today because He poured His wrath out on His own Son. His anger and judgment were borne by Jesus and have been satisfied. The blood of Jesus pays the required payment for every sin of every person.
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:5 – 6)
We have a level of access to God that people living under the Old Covenant could never have imagined. No one could ever access the liberties and freedoms resulting from our position in Christ before His death, burial, and resurrection. Unfortunately, most Christians do not understand these truths and are not walking in the liberty found in Christ Jesus.
Let me pause and ask you what your impression of God is? Do you view Him as a loving God or as one who will judge you for the slightest mistake? We all have preconceptions that influence our answers to these questions. Many people view God through their experiences resulting in a misconstrued view of Him and His love for humanity.
We serve a God who loves us at a level beyond our ability to imagine. He only desires good things for our lives. Our lack of revelation regarding His love hinders us from enjoying the full benefits of our salvation.
God indeed judged sin harshly in the Old Covenant, but that is not a reflection of who He is. We read the accounts and mistakenly think they reveal His nature, and I believe this is the number one hindrance to our being able to receive from Him.
The God we serve is not a harsh taskmaster. He is not the source of our sicknesses, the natural disasters, or the abject poverty plaguing so many people worldwide. I will be providing you with a lot of Scripture in this book that will help you understand God’s true nature.
I tend to view the harshness shown by God in Old Testament passages as displays of His mercy towards the human race. His giving the Law and resulting judgment provided a sort of guardrail to keep sin at bay until Jesus could to the earth and become the sacrifice for humanity’s sin.
We live in a different covenant ratified with the blood of Jesus. No one could be born again before He came. Before Jesus, a person’s spiritual nature couldn’t be changed, and the resulting corruption was so vile that it had to be judged. In a way, God dealt with people under the Old Covenant, which we could compare to a surgeon cutting off a person’s limb to keep an infection from spreading into the rest of their body. His judgment was poured out as an act of mercy to keep the poison of sin from spreading and destroying the bloodline through which Jesus entered the earth.