Have you ever heard them talk about “the God of the Old Testament” and “the God of the New Testament?” They do this to “prove” that our beliefs are based upon our society, subject to change just as society does, which means that it is all an invention of man. Everyone knows, they affirm, that the God of the Old Testament was a cruel, angry God who punished indiscriminately for even the most minor infraction, while the God of the New Testament is a mild, friendly, grandfatherly sort who forgives anything whether we repent of it or not. Study the two paragraphs below for a few minutes this morning.
And Jehovah passed before him and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. / Jehovah is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression. / Know therefore that Jehovah your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness to those who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. / The earth is full of the lovingkindness of Jehovah, / Your lovingkindness, O Jehovah, is in the heavens, your faithfulness reaches to the skies. / Great are your tender mercies, O Jehovah. / Jehovah is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.
And these shall go away into eternal punishment. / where their worm dies not and the fire is not quenched. / with angels in flaming fire rendering vengeance on those who know not God and obey not the gospel. / It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. / Our God is a consuming fire. / But the fearful and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
If you know your scriptures, you probably recognize that the first paragraph is taken entirely from the Old Testament and the second from the New. In fact, I found that the Old Testament uses descriptions of God like “merciful, gracious, and lovingkindness” 312 times, while the New Testament only uses them 200 times! Considering that a good portion of the Old Testament is history rather than teaching about God, that seems significant. So much for the intellectuals and all their theories about God.
Do you want to see a God full of compassion and mercy? Read the book of Hosea (an Old Testament prophet) and hear the ache in God’s voice as He describes His people, first as a wife He loved who betrayed Him (2:19) and then as a son He cared for and taught, who turned against His father (11:1-4).
Remember Jonah, that Old Testament prophet who tried to run from his mission to preach to the wicked city of Nineveh? What did he say about why he ran? I hasted to flee to Tarshish because I knew you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness, and would repent of the threatened judgment, Jonah 4:2. Jonah knew God would forgive, and he didn’t want those people saved!
God has not “changed with the times” because He was not invented. Look at the Greek gods through their mythology and see what types of gods men create. The true God could never have come from the mind of any man, no matter how intellectual he thinks he is. A God who gave His creatures the freewill to reject Him? A God who gave up His Son for creatures who did not deserve it? A God who lowered Himself to become human, and allowed those same creatures to torture Him?
Don’t let the ignorant fools of the world steal your faith. They have no answers at all for what they believe. Our God loves us—look at what He did for us. But our God will only save those who trust Him, obey Him, and live faithfully. His prophets have been speaking this message for thousands of years--the same message, an unchanging message, a message so far above the intellect of man that no man anywhere could have made it up.
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God’s good pleasure through the thing preached to save those who believe. Seeing that Jews ask for signs and Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness; but unto those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men, 1 Cor 1:20-25.