Many consider what separates the old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace is the blank page between the book of Malachi and Mathew. It sounds very funny, but you must understand, it is one of the unknown mysteries in Christianity hidden from the body of Christ, due to our emotional attachment to religious dogmas, wrong teachings, Church traditions that limits us from enjoying God’s best for our lives.
The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out. – D.L. Moody
GOD DEMANDING RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM MEN
In the Old Covenant of law, God did required or demanded righteousness from men. Righteousness is to have a right standing with God without a sense of guilt or shame. The best that were among the Israelites, (Moses, Joshua, David, Saul etc.) could not even meet the righteous standard of God based on their performance and neither were the blood of goats, bulls, sheep, doves and all the religious rituals were able to permanently cleared their guilt of condemnation before God. The law did not have the strength to make anyone holy or pure before a holy God. The blood sacrifices of animals covered the sins of the children of Israel for only one year, and the process had to be repeated every year (Hebrews 10:3)
Walking under such temporal remedy of animal sacrifices, which was a shadow of good things to come under the dispensation of law, the best still cried about how filthy as rag their righteous were before God.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6 K (KJV)
Under the new covenant of grace, the born again believer does not walk under condemnation because of his or her inadequacies and flaws. Our righteousness is not base on our works but the gift of Jesus righteousness which empower the worst among us to excel in good works, because of the no sense of shame, condemnation and limitation hanging on our conscience. We are accepted just as Jesus is accepted before the Father…we can therefore declare of our righteousness in Christ and not how filthy we are. After all, the righteousness of Jesus is not filthy or like filthy rags.
Under the New Covenant of grace; through our spiritual union with Christ Jesus by His finish work, (suffering, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension) we shared in His very life. God has imparted righteousness upon the believer and encoded a quality life of the DNA of God in our born again spirit on the basis of grace. Paul writes; “2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
We’ve been redeemed from the curse of performance base righteousness to an imputation of a new life which flows from the inside out and not the other way round. Look at the beauty of the righteousness imputed upon the believer freely and we are declared as the righteous of God not filthy rags as recorded in the book of Romans 4:5-7… “5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Relying on our outward performance, religious rituals, Church traditions, and culture to the neglect of the gift of righteous through faith on the finished work of Christ to access God is a slap in the face of Christ finished work which changed our position. We can imitate the Apostle Paul by counting every legalistic ordinance and rituals which have become the bedrock of our salvation as non essential and pursue the Excellency of Christ righteousness. The Apostle of grace writing to the Church at Philippi, he says;
“ 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the Excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: ( Philippians 3:8-9 (KJV)
Grace say, freely given; freely take and walk in it as a true child of God. Law says, I will try to acquire righteousness on my own and try to please God base on self works. The former leads to frustration and hypocrisy; because the law was not mean to empower you to live righteousness on your own.
Is your right standing with God based on self works, behavior modifications, adherent to church traditions, culture or an end goal you are pursuing? We can only be declared right and walk with our heads up as children of the most high when and only we place trust in Christ for the righteousness which is of God?
“Listen, O heavy laden, condemned sinner, while in my Master’s name, I publish super abounding grace. Grace excels sin in its measure and efficacy. Though your sins are many, mercy hath many pardons. Though they excel the stars, the sands, the drops of dew in their number, one act of remission can cancel all. Your iniquity, though a mountain, shall be cast into the midst of the sea. Your blackness shall be washed out by the cleansing flood of your Redeemer’s gore” – C.H Spurgeon