The Old Testament is vital to understanding the New Testament. God’s love and grace in spite of human weaknesses is vividly clear. God has given man in the New Testament greater tools to work with. What he accomplished through his son, gives us access to the Father and the gift of holy spirit that energizes and communicates God’s desires to us.
In the book of Judges, especially in the last several chapters, life was difficult and the men that God had to work with struggled because of themselves as well as those around them. Samson had a lot of difficulties in what he did. Things seem to fade as the last chapter rolls in with the ‘everyman was right in his own eyes’ conundrum. To be ‘right in one’s own eyes’ isn’t necessarily bad if the standard by what one perceives is based in the love of God. However, perception that is involved in thinking can be skewed. Perception can be easily affected by personal thoughts, projections, and negative influences on a person.
Grace is always a part of God. Grace, or in other words, God’s divine favor, has been given to every person that was ever born.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Every person has the choice. During Noah’s time man forgot all about God and things were evil and wild. No one cared about God except Noah:
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations (among his contemporaries), and Noah walked with God.
This is the first use of grace in the Bible. God’s favor was with Noah because was a sound, humble man. He listened to God and built that ark! The word ‘perfect’ would have been better translated ‘complete’. Noah wasn’t perfect, but because he believed and was humble to God he could hear from God, act on it and therefore all his needs were taken care of.
After the Book of Judges is the record of Ruth, a Moabitess, who chose God. She was not of the tribes of Israel, she was a descendent of Lot. She eventually married Boaz who was of the tribe of Judah and became part of the line that David came from and subsequently the Christ line. Grace was poured into her life as she chose God.
We are saved by grace not works. There was grace in the Old Testament. There is grace in the New Testament. Grace surrounds us everywhere. Humbleness does not qualify you for grace, it makes you receptive to grace. Love makes it happen.
On the day of Pentecost people sitting in the temple received the gift of holy spirit. God’s grace was received, they all were:
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
They were excited about what God was doing and they were sharing grace as they received the spirit into their hearts. Reception takes a humble heart. Think of the 12 sitting there, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ receiving the power that could now be released. The temple leaders were not receptive to Christ, but these people were. They had gone through quite a bit, but they dealt with with it and they received.
It is not that different today. We live in challenging times. Many people have dismissed God and just like long ago are right in their own eyes in their perceptions of God. The New Testament, however, provides a better perception through the eyes of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is a living reality to this administration, not just a shadow of things to come.