“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 (KJV)
What is the picture you have of God? Is He a God of only grace and mercy? Is He a God of only wrath and judgment? Will you lose out with Him when you sin or does He overlook your sin?
For many of us, there is such difficulty reconciling the Old Testament and the New Testament. Knowing pieces, stories and token scriptures gives us an incomplete picture of God…It leads us to knowing about Him without actually knowing Him. Taking a look at the big picture the Bible presents to us, we can gain an understanding of how God has dealt with people throughout history and this will help us to see Him for who He truly is.
The Bible is a book of covenants. According to Merriam-Webster, a covenant is a “formal or binding agreement; a written agreement or promise usually between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.” Since the beginning, God has been dealing with mankind through covenants. Adam and Eve could have lived forever (spiritually and physically) upon the condition that they obeyed God. A covenant is entered through free will, so through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, He offered them the option to choose His perfect plan or not. After Satan’s temptation, they questioned God’s Word and decided to rule their own lives rather than let their lives remain in God’s perfect control, they sinned and died spiritually which would lead to physical death, as well. He then explained to them the curse that their sin brought on them and, consequently, their descendants. Yet, He also told them that He would send a Redeemer to crush Satan and buy humanity back from death. God had a plan. One man’s sin brought death and there would be one man whose death brought redemption.
Here we see God’s covenant of grace. Genesis 3:22-23 (KJV) says “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” By His grace and mercy, God prevented Adam and Eve from eating from the tree of life and living forever in a doomed state of eternal spiritual death.
Although God was not imputing their sins unto them, sin began to destroy mankind. Pain, hardship, murder, hatred, bitterness, resentment, polygamy, etc., had become the norm and by chapter 6 of Genesis, sin was taking such a toll that God “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.”
Even after cleansing the wickedness through the flood, sin still abounded and the effects were felt deep for many years. Because of this we then see, God offered a new covenant, the law, to help slow the spread of the destruction of sin (Galatians 3:19) and to show man what His holy standard was and how people were not living up to it and could not live up to it on their own. The law shows us our need for a Savior.
Yet, the law did not nullify God’s grace (Galatians 3:17). It was God’s temporary, necessary plan. It provided a way for us to see that we cannot earn our own right standing with God and teach us that we need a Savior, someone innocent to offer an eternal sacrifice for our sin. We would never accept Christ if we don’t see the need for a Savior. Paul explained in Romans and Galatians that the law was our teacher. It brought sin alive by showing us that without Christ we are sinners and in our own actions, we cannot meet God’s standard.
The covenant of the law shows us just how much God hates sin and that there is a price that must be paid for sin—death. Either we pay for our own sin through eternal damnation (spiritual death) or we find an innocent man to pay for it for us.
Because Adam’s sin affected all people, a man born of his seed would not qualify. God’s seed would be the only seed that would be able to produce a human sacrifice for all people.
How beautiful the next covenant is…the new covenant is provided through God’s seed, Jesus Christ. When He was on the cross, He became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He paid the price that we owe for our sinful state and now He lives again and offers us the chance for eternal life once more.
God’s new covenant is open to all people. We can choose to regain our perfect relationship with Him and rule and reign with Him in eternity or we can remain in our sin and accept the payment for it on our own through death and eternity in Hell with Satan.
So, what is the complete picture of God? From before the law, during the law and after the law, God has never changed. He has always been and is still full of grace, mercy, and love for His creation. He has always hated and still hates sin and the death that it brings. He has always been and is still just and fair. Sin has to be judged and paid for. He will judge sin and demand the payment someday. We will all stand before Him and those who rejected Christ and chose their own way will pay for their own debt. Those of us who choose to give control of our life through Christ will rule with God forever where no sin is present and no pain and no tears will ever be.
Who is in control of your life? John says, “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” ( 1 John 2:3 KJV) If He controls your life, you will want to do what He says. You may still battle the flesh that is not yet renewed, and make mistakes, get off track, but your desires change and you give Him control over your emotions, your thoughts and your actions and you don’t live a life dominated by sin any longer. If your life is ruled by sin, examine yourself and talk to God about getting your life on track.
Everyday of our lives that we choose to give Him control, we will grow stronger in Him over time.
In Him and His new covenant, we are free–free to stop living a life of sin that wreaks havoc on our health, our family, our peace and our happiness. Free to walk in ALL of His promises. All it takes is a choice–a choice of faith.
My friend, God loves us. He is not punishing us. Christ paid a heavy price for all of that.
I charge you to look at the complete picture of a loving, just God and give Him control of your life–not in word, but in deed, with all of your heart. He can make your life here on earth so much better than you can. He gives you power over Satan and his attacks, peace in midst of persecution and a sure hope that someday Satan and all his evil will receive the recompense for all he has done to humanity.
If you haven’t made that choice, make it today. It is not too late, but soon Christ will appear in the air and take those who have chosen Him to heaven to escape the sin, pain, and evil of this world. Choose Him now. You will never regret it.
If you have chosen Christ, I celebrate with you and encourage you to seek His Word for the victory we have in His power and tell others the good news.
I would love to pray with you…comment or send me a message on the contact page.
To a complete and perfect God be all the Glory!
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11 (KJV)
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12 (KJV)