Saturday, April 7, 2012

Grace in Old testament

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Old Testament (A)

Mike Goddard

Assignment 1

Words 5

Cheap custom writing service can write essays on Grace in Old testament

Lecturer Sharon Richardson

Essay number 1

Gods’ grace, I once thought was shown through Jesus, and just in Jesus. But I have grown to realise that Gods grace is continuos. It started at he beginning of creation and continues even today. Throughout the Old Testament God continues to show his grace in many different ways to, a creation that has rebelled against him. Gods’ grace is shown through the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai for the people of Israel and he still shows his grace to us today.

God grace in the Old Testament

Gods grace is shown continuously throughout the Old Testament. Although mankind through Adam and Eve chose a nature of sin God has shown his grace through acts of kindness and mercy ultimately redeeming mankind from sin through the death of his son Jesus Christ on a Roman Cross. He sent a pure sacrifice for an impure world.

The key points of the story of Adam and Eve are shown in Genesis 7-8 and Genesis 1. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sampled the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they realised their mistake. Genesis 7-8 (NIV) says “then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the tree of the garden.” It was obvious that Adam and Eve were ashamed of their sin. Arnold & Beyer (1) notes that… “After the first sin in Chapter three (of Genesis), humanity changed in a number of ways. First Adam and Eve lost their original innocence. Their opened eyes and the sudden awareness of their nakedness signify their shame and guilt (p.8).” But God showed his grace towards Adam & Eve by clothing them. Genesis 1 states “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” God also deferred death over Adam and Eve. This seems to be a precedent for mankind. Although as a race we chose sin God still does not abandon us but shows his favour to cover our sin, as he clothed Adam and Eve from there nakedness.

The second example of God grace comes in the story of Cain and Abel. In an act of jealousy Cain kills his brother Abel. Cain then starts living in fear that others would endanger his life saying in Genesis 414 (NIV)… “Whoever finds me will kill me.” But God in another act of grace says… “Not so, if anyone kills Cain he will suffer vengeance seven times over. Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him (NIV, Genesis 415).” In this act of grace God put on a protecting mark. His grace was his protection of Cain..

The third showing of sin seems abstract but important none the less. Sons of God were having sexual relations with the daughters of men. There are different possibilities of who this could refer to. Sons of God could be referring to Kings or more probably to angels. Daughters of men could refer to royalty of a lesser kingdom but most likely refers to mortal females. This displays a tyrannical or unfair system, a system that was showing corruption, where angels and mortals had ungodly relations. Arnold & Beyer state another possible view… “Chapter six starts with a troubling story about marriage between the sons of God and the daughters of humanity. In light of this…emphasis on human rebellion versus faithfulness it is probably referring to immoral unions between the faithful lines of Seth and the decadent line of Cain.” However, there are also many who believe that this refers to angel and human relationships. Through this sin God decides to reduce the lifespan of men to 10 years. Genesis 6 “Then the Lord said “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” But even in this punishment God showed his grace by not wiping man of the face of the earth.

Mans wickedness had became great and as Genesis 65 says… “Every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Verse seven says… “So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created from the face of the earth-men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air- for I am grieved that I have made them. But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.” It was this grace shown towards mankind through the preservation of Noah and his family that stands out. God established a covenant with Noah, promising not to destroy the world by flood ever again. Although God had the right to destroy everything for the sin of mankind he showed grace and preserved humanity.

The final of the original sins I am to mention from the book of Genesis is that of corporate self-exaltation. Men who had settled in Shinar came together and tried to make a tower that reached to the heavens. The sin in this is that they tried to make a name for themselves in doing so. Arnold & Beyer note that… “The tower of Babel in Chapter11 highlights the pride and arrogant rebellion of humanity. The powerful city represented humanities unified rebellion against God and was therefore marked by confusion (p.80).” Instead of destroying these people God decided to scatter them to decrease their power then he showed grace to mankind through Abram. God called Abram making a covenant with him telling him in Genesis 1… “I will make you a great nation and bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse. And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God showed his grace through the descendants of Abraham ultimately through his son Jesus. Where Jesus died on the cross to take the sins of the worlds in the ultimate act of grace and redemption from sin. As we see God’s grace is evident in the first five stories of the bible. As is appears to be evident all the way through.

Connection between the law and grace in the Old Testament

To first answer the question what is the connection between law and grace the concepts of law and grace must be defined. The law often refers to the Pentateuch. Lasor, Hubbard & Bush note that… ‘The “Pentateuch is made up of the first five books of the Old Testament � Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The word derives from the Greek pentateuchos meaning a “five volume book.” Jesus called this book the “Torah” which mean’s instruction, and is often referred in English as “Law” (p.).” Lasor et al. go on to note that the Pentateuch is made up of the building blocks of promise, election, deliverance, covenant, law and land. Grace is defined as an undeserved favour that is given to another.

A connection between grace and the law is shown through the nature in which the law was used. It was used to draw aside a holy nation a people belonging to God. Using the first five books of the bible God showed his people how to live in a way that would bring peace and blessing to their land. This is shown through Genesis 1 when God spoke to Abram saying… “I will make you a great nation and bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse. And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Lasor et al. (p.4) in summarizing the plot of the Pentateuch paints a picture of Gods grace being shown through the ‘law’.

“Yahweh chose the people delivered dramatically at the Red Sea as “his treasured possession out of all peoples” (Exodus 15). Then he bound them to himself in his covenant as their God. His gracious unwarranted deliverance is thus the ground for the covenant. For their constitution Yahweh gave to his people the law.”

The law is a stamp or mark to the people of Israel. One that says you are a chosen people you come under the law. For a Western person the concept of law sounds rather entrapping but this is not how Israel sees it. Drane (000) says that… “Though God was to be honoured and respected, observing the requirements of the law was never regarded a s a heavy burden. On the contrary it was something to be kept with great joy, for the people looked back beyond the smoke and fire of Sinai to the events that went before it- and in that context they could clearly see that Gods law was very firmly based on Gods love, and that their continued obedience was the free and loving devotion of those who were grateful for unexpected and undeserved benefits. It is by no coincidence then that the ten commandments do not begin with an instruction, but with a reminder of God’s love and goodness ‘I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves (Exodus 0).” Gods grace is shown in the law. It was a grace shown to a rebellious people that ended in the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ born of a virgin through the line of Abraham. This was an act of grace to surpass all others.

Personal Application

In some ways it is difficult to say how Old Testament scripture regarding the law to the Jews is relevant to me today. On one hand I know that I am not to be controlled by the law but indeed the law has been written on my heart through the Holy Spirit leading me. But on the other hand it is only through the law that the promise made to Abraham came to pass and ultimately that Jesus came- the ultimate blessing. Romans 50-1 acknowledges the relevance of the law in my life today… “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But when sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign in righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This verse makes note that grace reigns through righteousness. Romans 4-5 shows for Abraham how righteousness was received…

“If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about-but not before God. What does the scripture say? Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Now when a man works his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However to man that does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked his faith is credited as righteousness.”

This shows me that I must trust God and obey what he tells me. Doing works for him for the sake of ‘brownie points’ is indeed pointless. All that matters is doing what his Spirit is asking of me to do and trusting God that his Spirit will guide me. In the past I have lost this point in ministry. Two years ago I used to lead an Alpha course and a cell group, as well as other little ‘talk groups.’ This in itself is not a bad thing, however I was doing all these things for the sake of having too. Maybe not on the surface level, but deep down I felt I had to do all these things to be a really ‘on to it’ Christian. But God spoke to me of his grace and about even though I didn’t deserve it he gave it to me. Just as he gave it to Abraham for believing in him, so he gave it to me for believing in him. The works for God, no longer became works. They were now an overflow of the love I had for my God, a God that loved me so much that he gave his son for me in an awesome act of grace. God let his son die in my place and there is nothing I can do to deserve that. No amount of service, or praying, or living a righteous life can change the fact that he died for me.


So grace is given to us because we believe, just as Abraham believed, it is through nothing that we do. Just as God showed grace to Adam & Eve, Cain, Noah, and the people of the tower of Babel, so he shows it to us. He showed it ultimately through his son Jesus. The Messiah he sent to die for the sins of the world, so that the hold of sin may be broken and we may be called children of God. We are his promise people. Just as God through the law chose the people of Israel so he has chosen us. His grace covers our rebellion, like Israel’s and sets us free from all unrighteousness.


Arnold, B. T. & Beyer, B., Encountering the Old Testament (Grand rapids Baker Books, 1)

Barker, Kenneth (ed.), The NIV Study Bible (Grand Rapids Zondervan Publishing House, 15)

Drane, J., Introducing the Old Testament (Oxford Lion, 000)

Lasor, W., Hubbard, D.A. & Bush F.W., Old Testament Survey (Grand rapids Eerdmans, 16)

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