ODJ: Forever the Same

October 16, 2018 

READ: Genesis 15:1-21 

Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses (v.17).

When I googled “God in the Old and New Testament”, the results included questions such as “Why is God so different in the Old Testament thanHe is in the New Testament?” and “Why was God so harsh in the Old Testament, but more forgiving in the New Testament?”

Some would say they see a different God at work in each of the Testaments. But is that true?

When God, in the Old Testament, called Abram, He promised that he would become a great nation, and his descendants would inherit the Promised Land (Genesis 15:1-7). To show Abram that what He said would indeed occur, God made a covenant with him. In keeping with the practices of the day, animals were sacrificed and the halves laid out in a row to document the binding relationship.

Both parties of the covenant walked between the pieces, symbolising their willingness to accept the fate of the animals if they violated it. But while Abram slept, only God passed through the pieces (v.17). God took on the responsibility of fulfilling both sides of the deal; Abram just had to believe and accept.

The Old Testament covenant with Abraham’s descendants required recurring blood sacrifices to cover their sin. In the New Testament, Jesus laid aside His divinity to walk the earth and make a new, final covenant. Representing both God and man, Jesus became the sacrifice that permanently reconciled humanity to God (Hebrews 2:16-18, 10:12). Once more, God took on the responsibility of the covenant; we merely need to believe and receive His gift.

Two covenants and two Testaments, but one God. The same requirements, fulfilled by the same merciful and holy One. God isn’t different in the Old and New Testaments—He’s forever the same.

—Remi Oyedele

365-day plan: Acts 7:1-29

Read Hebrews 13:8 to see what the Bible says about the unchanging nature of Jesus. 
Are you prone to think God is different in the Old and New Testaments? How does your view compare with the Bible’s revelation of God’s nature and character?