When comparing the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible, there can be the impression that between the two there has been a change in the attitudes of God. The Old Testament, with its records of centuries of battles and confrontation between God and humans, can leave an impression of God's anger and justice. In comparison, the New Testament could be characterised by Jesus' teachings of love and compassion. Initially, the two may seem at odds but a closer analysis of the content of each shows that God is actually quite consistent between the two.

1. Does God Change?

We can learn about the nature of God in both the direct and indirect writings about him in the Bible. In terms of the direct descriptions, there are a number of sections of the Bible that directly state how God is unchanging, both in the Old and New Testament.

James 1:17 : Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. WEB

Psalms 102:27 : But you are the same. Your years will have no end. WEB

Numbers 23:19 : God is not a man, that he should lie, Neither the son of man, that he should repent: Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good? WEB

Malachi 3:5 : I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the perjurers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and who deprive the foreigner of justice, and don't fear me,” says Yahweh of Hosts. 6. “For I, Yahweh, don't change; therefore you , sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” WEB

The assertion is that God's plans and promises remain constant. There is a sense that we can have a certainty in God. What is good and what is evil is an unchanging truth defined by God.

Foreknowledge Of God

An aspect associated with God's steadfastness is his knowledge of the future. If the course of the world was already laid out in front of God, then there would be no reason to change his attitudes in response to the events as they occur. His emotional reaction would instead occur right at the time of creation when he knew of that future.

This rationale is cited in Romans to explain why God couldn't have rejected his nation of Israel. Paul there writes that God knew the response of his people, and that the promises were given regardless.

Romans 11:1: I ask then, Did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2. God didn't reject his people, which he foreknew. Or don't you know what the Scripture says about Elijah? How he pleads with God against Israel: WEB

The argument follows that God's promises are sure, because he has already taken into account all of the eventualities that the future will turn up.

Jesus

Of particular significance to any changes between the Old and New Testaments is the appearance of Jesus. That was the defining event that triggered the events recorded in the New Testament. However, the scriptures are clear that the appearance of Jesus was no surprise to God. It was the culmination of a plan of redemption he had had right from the time of the sin of Adam and Eve in Eden.

In the promises given to Abraham right near the start of the Bible, Jesus was referred to directly as a descendent who was to be a blessing to all nations (confirmed in Gal 3:16).

Genesis 22:18 : In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” WEB

As a part of that blessing, God had determined the role that Jesus was to take, including his death on the cross. The mode of salvation for humans had already been determined by God, so to an extent to God the event had already happened because it was assured to take place. In the preaching of the apostles soon after the ascension of Jesus into heaven, Peter stated how God knew in advance of the events that had happened.

Acts 2:22: Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know, 23. him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed; WEB

Jesus understood how his own role in life was already mapped out by God. He knew that God had already known of his life right back before those promises were given to Abraham. When speaking to the Jews, he expresses how both God and Abraham has the assurance of his life and work some 2000 years previously. Because of this assurance, it was as if he already existed to them back at that time. Jesus spoke to the Pharisees of this,

John 8:56: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad.” 57. The Jews therefore said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58. Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM.” WEB

To God, the sense of time is not so important as it is to us. For him. because of his knowledge of future events, he doesn't need to wait for events to happen to see their reality, or to respond. Consequently, there would be little reason to expect a dramatic change in the character of God through the process of time, or with specific events, such as the birth of Jesus.

2. Violence and Anger of God

A theme that occurs through the Old Testament of the Bible is the swift justice metered out by God. Those who defied God were at times subject to an immediate death penalty. The scene was set right back in the early chapters of Genesis, where Adam and Eve were told that there would be a death penalty for eating of the tree. While they didn't suffer immediate death, others who followed did.

At the time of Noah, on account of the wickedness of the people, God destroyed most of the people living in the world with the flood. Following that, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed when God rained fired on them, again because of the wickedness of the people living in them.

Instant Death

In the Old Testament, there are a number of cases where rebellion from God's ways led to a violent and public punishment. There were several of these incidents during the time that God had appointed Moses to lead the nation of Israel up out of Egypt. One speaks of a fire from God consuming the dissenters,

Numbers 11:1: The people were as murmurers, speaking evil in the ears of Yahweh: and when Yahweh heard it, his anger was kindled; and the fire of Yahweh burnt among them, and devoured in the uttermost part of the camp. WEB

Later, three men, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, staged a rebellion against Moses, and by implication the God who had appointed Moses. They had a dramatic fate at the hand of God, in front of all the people of Israel.

Numbers 16:31: It happened, as he made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground split apart that was under them; 32 and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who appertained to Korah, and all their goods. 33. So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into Sheol: and the earth closed on them, and they perished from among the assembly. WEB

These events demonstrate a type of justice in the eyes of our current society can characterise Yahweh as a violent and angry God.

Ananias and Sapphira

Incidents of direct and severe judgement from God are not limited to the Old Testament times. While the New Testament in comparison covers a very short period of time, it also has recorded similar events after the time of Jesus.

Perhaps the most notable of these was the case of Ananias and Sapphira, who together conspired to be deceitful in the handling of money. They suffered an instant death penalty for fraud against the assembly of believers.

Acts 5:1: But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession, 2. and kept back part of the price, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4. While you kept it, didn't it remain your own? After it was sold, wasn't it in your power? How is it that you have conceived this thing in your heart? You haven't lied to men, but to God." 5. Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and died. Great fear came on all who heard these things. WEB

Even thouh Ananias and Sapphira weren't so overtly rebellious against God, they suffered a similar fate to that of Korah, Datham, and Abiram centuries befoe.

The Death of Herod

Another example of judgement was against Herod at a time when he was oppressing the followers of Christ. In this instance, as ruler over Israel, he completely failed to recognise the role and authority of God. God took that occasion to meter out a punishment.

Acts 12:21: On an appointed day, Herod dressed himself in royal clothing, sat on the throne, and gave a speech to them. 22 The people shouted, "The voice of a god, and not of a man!" 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he didn't give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. WEB

God brought on Herod an immediate punishment that was to lead to decay and death. This was possibly quite a slow and painful death for Herod in being eaten by worms, but every bit as decisive as the death sentences in the Old Testament.

Jesus' Whip of Cords

An important aspect of the life of Jesus was that he lived out the character of God, his father. He was so devoted to following the will of his father that seeing the actions of Jesus was the same as seeing the actions of God himself. The actions and teachings of Jesus thus reveal those of God.

While Jesus' message contains strong elements of compassion and forgiveness, there are also quite evident aspects of justice. A particularly noticeable event was at the time of Passover, when he entered the temple and discovered it to be misused by traders.

John 2:13: The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14. He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. 15. He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers' money, and overthrew their tables. 16. To those who sold the doves, he said, "Take these things out of here! Don't make my Father's house a marketplace!" 17. His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will eat me up." WEB

Here Jesus used physical force and whipped the traders out of temple. This is characteristic of that zeal seen in the Old Testament where the honour of God's name and of his temple were enforced.

3. Judgement After Jesus' Time

The record of the gospels covers a relatively short period of time, compared that of the incidents in the whole Bible. So one reason why we may see fewer acts of God's Judgement in the New Testament is simply because it covers a shorter time period. Then, in looking at the time following the ministry of Jesus, there are again examples of destruction similar to that found in the Old Testament.

Destruction of Jerusalem

There is an emphasis in the Old Testament on the national punishment of the people of Israel. Many times when as a nation they ignored God and served idols, God would send other nations against the Israelites to defeat them in battle. These represent many of the incidents involving God's anger in the Old Testament.

However, the New Testament times reveal a similar occasion after the time of Jesus. In AD70, within 40 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, a siege developed between the Jewish people in Jerusalem and the army of the Roman empire. The end result was the destruction of the city and temple. The origins of this incident can be seen in the words of Jesus, where he tells how and why God was going to cause it to happen. It was essentially because the people had rejected God, just as they had done in the times past.

At the sentencing that led to the crucifixion of Jesus, the people of the city made it clear that they wanted Jesus crucified. The Roman governor, Pilate, didn't see Jesus as worthy of death, and so tried to convince the crowd to release him.

Matt 27:24: So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You see to it." 25. All the people answered, "May his blood be on us, and on our children!" WEB

Here the people assented to the fact that they would have to deal with the consequences of their choice to crucify Jesus. It brings an endorsement to some earlier words of Jesus in how he spoke of the actions of the leaders of the Jewish people. There he had called attention to the pattern of persecution that they had brought against the prophets of God.

Matt 23:29: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous, 30. and say, `If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn't have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' 31. Therefore you testify to yourselves that you are children of those who killed the prophets. 32. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33. You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of Gehenna? 34. Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify; and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city; 35. that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed between the sanctuary and the altar. 36. Most assuredly I tell you, all these things will come upon this generation. WEB

This follows on to Jesus' description of the destruction of Jerusalem that was to occur in AD70. That was an event very characteristic of the periods of destruction in the Old Testament when Israel ignored God and served idolatry.

Luke 21:20: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is at hand. 21. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let those who are in the midst of her depart. Let those who are in the country not enter therein. 22. For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who nurse infants in those days! For there will be great distress in the land, and wrath to this people. 24. They will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. WEB

So just as war had been brought against the city in Old Testament times for the judgement of God, so again it occurred in the first generation of Christians. God is quite consistent between the Old and New Testaments on this.

Judgement Day

A theme that runs through the New Testament is that the execution of justice may be deferred. While under the Law of Moses people would suffer capital punishment for a range of crimes, often in the New Testament there is instead an emphasis on a more delayed punishment. In Thessalonians, Paul spoke about this to the Christians who were suffering at the hands of enemies who were apparently going unpunished,

2 Thess 1:5: This is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you also suffer. 6. Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you, 7. and to give relief to you that are afflicted with us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 8. giving vengeance to those who don't know God, and to those who don't obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus, 9. who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, WEB

This passage talks about Jesus giving violent vengeance at the time of his return to those people who have denied his God. The same imagery of firey destruction is carried through the New Testament. In Hebrews God is pictured as a “consuming fire”, and worthy of reverence and awe.

Hebrews 12:28: Therefore, receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, 29. for our God is a consuming fire. WEB

A Fate Worse Than Sodom

When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the Gospel in other cities, he warned of how in some cities they would be rejected and despised. Jesus encouraged them in saying that their rejection of God would not go unnoticed.

Luke 10:10: But into whatever city you enter, and they don't receive you, go out into the streets of it and say, 11. `Even the dust from your city that clings to us, we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the Kingdom of God has come near to you.' 12. I tell you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. 13. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.” WEB

The punishment for the cities at that time was described as being worse than that of Sodom. This is significant because the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Old Testament times is the typical example of God's judgement. They were destroyed when he rained fire from heaven on them.

4. Eye for an Eye or Turn the Other Cheek

Perhaps the most commonly felt difference between the Old and New Testaments relates to the balance between justice and mercy. Under the Old Testament law, there was a strong emphasis on justice and the punishments to be levelled at those who committed crimes. Oft quoted is the phrase “an eye for an eye”, which comes from the Law of Moses which had punishments equivalent to the crime,

Leviticus 24:19: "If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: 20. fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him. WEB

In the New Testament, Jesus refers to this aspect of the law, and directs his followers in a different direction.

Matt 5:38: "You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' 39. But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. WEB

So through the New Testament, we see emphasised the importance of “love your neighbour”, and forgiving those who trespess against us, to a greater extent than in the Old. However, those aspects are still a part of the principles contained in the Old Testament. The Law of Moses contained many provisions that taught and enforced a culture that would loving and conscious of others in the community.

Leviticus 23:22: When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap into the corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest: you shall leave them for the poor, and for the foreigner. I am Yahweh your God. WEB

Leviticus 25:35: If your brother has become poor, and his hand can't support him among you; then you shall uphold him. As a stranger and a sojourner he shall live with you. WEB

Leviticus 19:18: You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh. WEB

Essentially, in keeping the Old Testament law in the way that it was intended, people would express love and care for their neighbours. In many ways, the teachings of Jesus were directed at correcting the ways the people had used legalism to misuse God's Law.

Laws in the Christian Era

Perhaps the biggest difference remaining between the two eras relates to law and enforcement. The Law of Moses contains many prescriptive laws about how life should be lived, together with a set of punishments to be applied against those who broke the laws. To the contrary, the New Testament demonstrates how Christianity is not about the obedience of laws, but rather in a faith to God.

A key to understanding the shift in focus is to recognise the context of the teachings in the New Testament. The Israelites under Moses were in a very different position to the Christians in the apostolic era. Under Moses, it was a nation of people, complete with a system of governance, policing, and justice system. However, in the case of those under Christ, it was always assumed that those elements are supplied by an external power. The basic rule of justice was outside the realms of Christian life, because Christians were instead told to come out of the secular world and leave it to govern itself.

In the context of Christ and the apostles, justice was administered by the Roman empire and its provincial powers. The believers were additionally told that their new-found freedom in Christ did not remove the responsibility to obey this form of justice.

Romans 13:1: Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God. 2. Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment. 3. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, 4. for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn't bear the sword in vain; for he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil. WEB

Paul here is essentially endorsing the role of the Roman justice system to preserve basic law and order. The Christian teachings did not include these law-and-order elements characteristic of the Mosaic Law because they were to be administered by the secular national powers. Additionally, these were no less severe, to the extent that Roman law was in many ways more harsh and decisive than that in the Law of Moses. In Peter, the brutalities of Roman law enforcement are depicted as the vengeance of God,

1 Peter 2:13: Therefore subject yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether to the king, as supreme; 14. or to governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evil-doers and for praise to those who do well. WEB

This may raise the question of how we are to obey a law that may be contrary to the teachings of God. The principle shown is that God is our first master, and following him takes first precedence. When the Jewish religious rulers questioned the Apostles about teaching of Jesus, they stated this principle.

Acts 5:28: ...“Didn't we strictly charge you not to teach in this name? Behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man's blood on us.” 29. But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” WEB

The reality though, is that many of illegal actions in Roman Judea were also things abhorrent to God, such as murder and theft. For these things God endorses the role of secular governance to enact his vengeance.

The Old Testament carries a greater degree of prescribed justice than the New, because it also includes the role of a national justice system. This is due to a different context, and not a change in the nature of God.

This nature of the New Testament also implies something of the role of Christianity through the generations following Jesus. The principles were laid down on the basis that Christian worship would be something independent of national governance. Christianity was to remain a body of believers motivated out of genuine faith, and the aspects of criminal justice were to stay outside of its bounds. This is consistent with the idea expressed in the New Testament in how the faithful in Christ would remain a minority of among the people of the world. Jesus speaks of this in terms of it being entering through a narrow gate, rather than the wide gate of the worldliness,

Matthew 7:13: Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it. 14. How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it. WEB

We can deduce from this that Christians were to remain a minority in the population. They were to be a people who would turn the other cheek in terms of justice, but would also live in a society administered by civil laws akin to those of the Law of Moses or of the Roman Empire.

5. The Eternal Mercy of God

Just as the justice of God continued from the Old Testament through to the New Testament, the elements of God's mercy and forgiveness are also consistent elements of his personality. God described his character when he appeared to Moses at the time the Old Testament Law was given, and it includes aspects of both justice and mercy.

Exodus 34:6: Yahweh passed by before him, and proclaimed, "Yahweh! Yahweh, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth, 7. keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children's children, on the third and on the fourth generation." WEB

Throughout the Old Testament, many people assent to the mercy and forgiveness of God in their lives. They see God as a protector, with the same attributes that were later to be shown in Jesus. In the Psalms, King David often described the assurance that his faith in God gave.

Psalm 103:2: Praise Yahweh, my soul, And don't forget all his benefits; 3. Who forgives all your sins; Who heals all your diseases; 4. Who redeems your life from destruction; Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; WEB

Isaiah 55:7 : let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. WEB

Micah 7:18: Who is a God like you, who pardons iniquity, And passes over the disobedience of the remnant of his heritage? He doesn't retain his anger forever, Because he delights in loving kindness. WEB

Psalms 119:132: Turn to me, and have mercy on me, As you always do to those who love your name. WEB

The prophet Isaiah gave a message to remind God's nation of Israel that they had indeed been blessed with a continual mercy from God. Even though they had been disobedient on many occasions, and God had sent judgement on them, yet he did not forsake his promises for them. In Isaiah 54, God is likened to the loving husband of his nation, caring for her even though she strayed from him,

Isaiah 54:10: For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, says Yahweh who has mercy on you. WEB

Mercy from Judgement

At many times though the Bible, God has judged individuals and groups of people as deserving of destruction. In this context, God has also had a mercy in withholding some judgement for the sake of some righteous people who may be caught up in it.

In Old Testament times, when God was determined to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness, he first spoke to the patriarch Abraham about the plans. At that time God emphasised how mercy would be shown for the sake of the righteous in their presence.

Gen 18:26 Yahweh said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake.": WEB

Later he refines this down to say that for the sake of even ten, he would not destroy it. However, ten weren't to be found, and God destroyed the cities, but not before leading out one family of people living there for the righteousness of one man.

We see a similar situation in the New Testament. Here God is described as delaying his judgement on the world, for the sake of those that will yet come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. WEB

There is a severe destruction awaiting the world that humanity has build up, but again God suffers the wicked for the sake of those on whom he will have mercy. The mercy of God follows the same pattern over successive millennia.

Healing

During the time of the ministry of Jesus, a particular blessing given to individuals was the miraculous healing of illnesses. However, this was one out of a few periods through history where this occurred. Such periods also appeared in the Old Testament. During the ministry of Elijah, we also see similar healing,

1 Kings 17:17: It happened after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. WEB

1 Kings 17:22: Yahweh listened to the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. WEB

Also, in the later letters of the New Testament, we see a similar approach to the healing of illness to other sections of the Old Testament. Here, rather than the miraculous style of direct healing seen with Jesus and Elijah, it is focussed more of the role of God acting in response to prayer,

James 5:15: and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. WEB

The Future Blessing

The gospel taught by Jesus was always to speak of the “Good news of the Kingdom of God”. The critical aspect of that was that the world was to be a reformed place, with evil done away with, and all glory to God. Some of the most detailed glimpses into this time are in the Old Testament prophets, and spoken by God well before the birth of Jesus.

Isaiah 2:4: He will judge between the nations, And will decide concerning many peoples; And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more. WEB

Isaiah 65:25: The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says Yahweh. WEB

The biggest of God's blessings on humanity has been consistent right through the whole of the Bible.

Conclusion

Although there is sometimes a perception that a change took place in the character of God between the records of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, it doesn't bear up to scrutiny. The primary elements of justice and of mercy in God are actually quite similar and consistent right through the whole Bible. There is a difference in focus between the Law of Moses, and the teachings of Jesus, but much of this is due to one being directed at a national justice system, and the other to individual behaviour principles. Regardless, the character, attitudes, and expectations of God on his people remains a constant.