Why is God in the New Testament so much more loving than the God of the Old Testament?

A careful reading of the Bible will help you see that God, as written about in the Old Testament is no different from God as described in the New. All of the attributes of God shine forth from all 66 books of the Bible.

From the very beginning, God shows his love for his creation and all of his creatures. But, he laments the fact that his greatest creation, men and women, have turned their backs on him and have chosen to elevate themselves above God himself. They want to be in total control of their lives and then moan and complain when the consequences of their decisions bring pain, heartache, isolation, guilt, brokenness and shame.

God shows his love for mankind in the old testament by giving people laws, that if obeyed will bring peace, joy and contentment. He sends messengers time and time again to warn people of what they will suffer when they turn from God. Then he shows amazing forbearance and love when he responds positively to repentant sinners and withholds the punishment they deserve. He extends love and mercy to adulterers, murderers, schemers and other violators of His law, and shows those in the old testament how he is going to bring a permanent solution to death and sorrow, pain and heartache, and to separation from God.

In the New Testament, Jesus reminded those who asked that God’s greatest commandment was to love God and each other.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Mark 12:28-34

Throughout the Bible, we see that God is the embodiment of love. It is the foundational characteristic that binds together the three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. That love is consistent from the beginning to the end. In his short letter found near the end of the New Testament, the apostle John provides a beautiful picture of God’s love and his desire for men and women to be as loving as himself.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

1 John 4:7-21

If you would like to learn more about how you can enter into a relationship with this loving God, we encourage you to read our blog post: How does one become a Christian?