The Graciousness of the Old Testament God

There is a fundamental misunderstanding within the American, evangelical church. There is the seemingly ubiquitous belief that the God of the Old Testament is different than that of the New Testament. This is a travesty and I hope to combat it with this post. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. He is gracious and longsuffering today, as well as in the days of Abraham.

Genesis 3:15 (ESV)

15  I will put enmity between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and her offspring;

he shall bruise your head,

and you shall bruise his heel.”

What is going on in the above text? God has set the stage for Adam. The entire world has been created to be for him a stage. On this stage, he was to act out the Covenant of Works made with God in Genesis 2:15ff. It was now Adam’s responsibility to follow the command of God and avoid the death that was to come if he was to transgress the covenant.

Not even one chapter later, we see Adam falling to temptation in his wife’s footsteps. She misunderstood the command of God, so the serpent took advantage of her to make her fall. From there, Adam fell, as well. Their innocence was lost and they tried to cover their sins with fig leaves. I imagine that they tried terribly hard to make the fig leaves do just right. They needed to not be naked anymore and to cover up what they’d done. The fig leaves represented their absolute best efforts at atoning for their sin on their own.

When God walks through the Garden, however, they know that the fig leaves aren’t enough and they hide themselves from God because they knew that they were naked. He would be able to see through the leaves. God calls out to Adam, “Where are you?” To which call Adam replies, “We hid ourselves because we were naked.” No longer could Adam face the Lord. He had to avoid him from thence forth and forevermore. Communion had been severed.

But, the story doesn’t end there. God gets the story from the man, who blames his wife, his wife, who blames the serpent, and the serpent. What follows are massive, terrible curses that affect each party to this day. Work is hard, Childbirth is dangerous and painful, and serpents cannot raise up out of the dust. And yet, there is grace in the midst of it all.

Right in the middle of the curses of chapter three of Genesis comes verse 15. Verse 15 is a promise of justice (the serpent’s head will be crushed), the Virgin Birth (The seed of a woman), and the crucifixion (you shall bruise his heel.) Even in the midst of terrible anger at the covenant breaking Adam and Eve, he promises a Savior and delivers on that promise in the New Covenant, in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But, he doesn’t stop there. If you look down to verse 21, after God has given all of the curses, he makes for Adam and Eve clothes from skins. Obviously, the skins had to come from somewhere, so it can be reasonably deduced that this was the verse instance of death in history. God made a sacrifice for Adam and Eve and covered their nakedness. What a gracious God is the God of the Old Testament! Never lose sight of that!

Soli Deo Gloria.

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