I know that God was very strict in the Old Testament, but today, with the grace of Jesus, isn’t God much less severe?

This thought may enter into most minds, but is it a biblical concept, or are we missing something? Hebrews 2:1-3 certainly suggests that we have definitely missed something. It reads: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.” The text speaks of the Old Testament (“the word spoken through angels”), and how each person under that law received recompense from God, whether good or bad. Every transgression was taken into consideration in the judgment of God. The text assures us that what each man received was just; they got exactly what they deserved. Now, as the text moves forward into the age of the grace of Jesus Christ as shown to us on the cross, we see that the character of God remains consistent still. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” Under the New Testament, God does not become a lenient God where anything goes, with little accountability and expectation from His servants. Rather, under Christ, there is greater expectation for a holy life. There is greater responsibility because what has been revealed in Christ is greater than anything before, which could only be compared to a shadow before Him.

Romans 11:22 should also be referenced on this subject. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” Looking back at the people of Israel who fell to destruction in the days under the Old Testament, Paul admonishes the Roman gentiles that they same thing can happen to them under Christ if they continue not in righteousness. So we see then that there is no lack of severity today, but God still judges in justice, whether under Moses or under Christ. We are all responsible for our works.