“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
~Ephesians 2:6 (NIV).
Some might erroneously believe, and therefore think, that God is somehow different from the Old Testament to the New. I hear it in some circles, especially in lauding the ‘power of Jesus,’ which is correct of course, but it’s often founded out of the wrong context.
Miracles – ‘Old’ and ‘New’
I rediscovered this recently as I grazed through the early part of Second Kings. A question:
Were the miracles of Jesus any more impressive than the miracles of Elijah and Elisha?
This is a rhetorical question, of course. Jesus’ miracles were no more profound than those done by God in the Old Testament—indeed many miracles have been known since Jesus’ death, and these merely prove that God’s miraculous works are eternal; the best miracles of which are the changed hearts of those against God now contending for the living Lord.
Teaching – ‘Old’ and ‘New’
Secondly, let’s consider teaching.
Was Jesus’ teaching any different really compared with Moses’?
Some might argue persuasively that Jesus attends the heart issues behind the commandments of God initially propounded by Moses. But Moses still taught the things of God just as capably as Jesus did, albeit perhaps not so parabolically.
The Cross – ‘New’ Only
The main thing that separates the Old Testament from the New is the cross—promised at some points in the Old, but not seen; it’s realised in the writing and landscape of the New Testament as suddenly the apostles and gospel writers had access to the key of God’s final redemptive work.
And still redeeming sacrifices were made and atonement was had in the Old Testament. It was only that the way, or the mediation, was different. The New Testament is not so much about the mediation process, but a Mediator.
Still, it stands for us as the only cataclysmic difference: grace. In and through Jesus—belief in his death and resurrection, to the healing of the sin of the world—we’re granted the highest access to the courts of God; the personal relationship and presence with God.
The nexus of Christianity—and the difference between the Old and New Testaments—rests on this premise of the work of the cross; that and that alone.
God—the eternal God—is unchanging. The work of God’s plan, however, is still unfolding.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.