Monday, May 17, 2010

Grace in Black and White

Too often we think of the Old Testament as the black and white part of the bible. There are no words in red, no words from Jesus, and we can look at this with a negative connotation. If Jesus wasn't there, what else was missing? We tend to think that grace and mercy would be missing as well. That's all Jesus, right?

Before Jesus, God was just smiting people left and right. He was condemning entire nations and making examples of people. If you messed up, BAM, fire and brimstone - no room for error, no room for second chances.

But, that's not entirely the case. There are some egregious examples of God's wrath in the OT, but there are also examples of God's grace.

In Numbers 13 and 14 a group of Israelites had lied about the promised land and invoked God's anger. They suffered the consequences. In Numbers 15, God talks to Moses about sacrifice. He explains how to make up for sins and wrongs. Then he brings up the idea of unintentional sin. In the case of this sin, which people don't even know they've committed, we might think that the OT God would just let 'em have it. They messed up, they pay the price, right?

Instead, God says that a sacrifice will be made on behalf of all the people, to cover over all these sins. He's not looking for an opportunity to punish, he's working to save. That's grace. The NT shows the same grace and highlights the lengths God is willing to go to offer it to us.

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