Yesterday I was reminded of a fallacy that has invaded the teachings of the Body of Christ. There seems to be no distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Under the Old Covenant the rules, or Law, was defined and each party had to abide by the rules or the covenant was null and void. As we see in the Old Testament the human side of the covenant was constantly broken and hence sacrifices were continually made. The death was not the actual death of the covenant breaker but was a substitutional death of an innocent animal. We also understand that this was a type, or picture, of the prophesied substitutionary death of the innocent Lamb of God, Jesus. When Jesus suffered through the beatings and hanging on the cross He came to the point where He cried, “It is finished!.” The “It” was the payment for breaking of the covenant, which is death. He suffered the unimaginable when He experienced total separation from God, The Father. That is what those who reject God’s love and lordship over their lives will face for eternity. When Jesus cried, “It is finished”, He was actually saying “The price for breaking the covenant is paid.” Because Jesus was truly God and truly man, He could pay the price for every human being who had ever lived or ever would live on the earth.
Now, to my point. Is there a difference in our approach as we understand the old and new covenant. Consider these. Under the old, God accepted the substitional death of an innocent animal. Of course that animal could not atone for the sin of the one making the sacrifice. But God accepted it because it looked forward to the time when God Himself would provide the perfect sacrifice. Because of this, God showed mercy, that is He delayed the actual consequence of the sin.
(Mercy: judgement delayed). The person making the sacrifice believed God’s word that He would provide the perfect sacrifice.
That sacrifice was Jesus, The Lamb of God. He was perfect. He kept the whole covenant with God. He was human and thus qualified as one who could enter into covenant with The Almighty. He kept the covenant and then turned around and said, “I will pay the price for those who could not keep the covenant.” So He did. “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”
Now, if the price is truly paid, is there a difference between those who were under the law and those who are under grace? In 2 Corinthians 3:6 it says this:
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
The “letter” it speaks of is the Law. The Law only brought death. Throughout the New Testament we read about the difference. Ephesians 2:8 sums it up when it states, “For by GRACE are you saved, it is the gift of God.” Grace can never be earned or deserved, otherwise it would not be grace. Since the Cross, God the Father has a totally different approach. He is extending His love and favor to all people, not just some. We now have a real choice. We can accept the Grace of God whereby we receive “right standing in covenant relationship” (righteousness), or we can still keep on trying to attain that right standing. The Bible is clear, though, that “There is none righteous, no not one.” If we could measure up, there would have been no need for Jesus to come. But He came. It was necessary.
So, to the question. Is there a difference? The answer, a resounding “YES”. The difference is “light opposed to darkness, life opposed to death”. The contrast could not be stated more definitively. If it is that stark a difference then why do we not see it in people who call themselves Christians? We shall look into this in our coming presentations. May God bless you with His grace.