06 Sep Glory: Old and New
For the past several weeks Pastor Pete has been driving one central point home: studying and understanding the Old Testament (or “older testament” as he puts it) will enrich and complete your understanding of the Newer Testament. I personally have experienced this in my own studies over the past year.
Last summer I decided to dive into a true study of the Old Testament once and for all. I had been putting it off for years—for all the reasons Pete has mentioned recently. But when I finally made the commitment to meditate on the stories in the older testament, my understanding of God’s purpose and plan for our lives was deepened tremendously. As I studied Exodus, I had a bit of a revelation: I saw the connection between God’s glory in Exodus and his glory, shown through Jesus Christ, in the New Testament letter of Hebrews.
In Exodus we see an amazing display of God’s glory; God shows his chosen people very clearly that his name is to be revered, respected, and worshiped. “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.” (19:18) This is quite a display of power!
How much more beautiful is it when we see God Himself take on flesh and come to earth in the form of a man? When we see him display his glory that way?
Hebrews tells us “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being….” (1:3)
Instead of looking on a mountain filled with smoke, now I get to look at this glory face-to-face in the form of a man, God’s own son, Jesus Christ. How amazing is it that we now can literally live among his glory—his New Testament glory and Old Testament glory—person-to-person?
You see, what struck me was this change: in the Old Testament picture, God displays His glory to His people as a separation; it strikes fear in the people. God says in Exodus “Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death.” (19:12)
However, this is in stark contrast to what we see in Hebrews; in Christ now (and only now) we can come boldly before the throne of God. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (4:16)
My point is that, in Christ, the same God made a way for us to come to him without fear and without reservation. Because of what Jesus has done on the cross for us, we can have an intimate and personal relationship with God now and throughout all eternity.
Hebrews says, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (9:15)
As we compare the two books, we see that the God of purpose and love that we serve, wove together a perfect ending to what He started with the people he chose for himself thousands of years earlier in Jesus Christ. Yes, God is a powerful God. He would be unapproachable and unable to come close to because of our sin if we were left to do it by ourselves.
But thanks be to God that he did not leave us to ourselves! He sent his son Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. His sacrifice cleanses us purifies us and allow us to come to him boldly in our time of need. Let us all come to him boldly now trusting only Christ and his sacrifice. Let us now basket and the glory of the Lord as I walk daily with Jesus Christ with no fear.
-Steve Garland, UVA Wrestling Coach & City Church Brother