Most people think that Christianity is two-sided: God does His part, and we do our part. Or vice versa.
In fact, this pretty much applies for any religion – there is God’s part, and there is man’s part. Basically, what this means is we obey God’s rules and laws, and God looks after us.
Even Christians today are prone to think this way, even though we say Christianity isn’t a religion but a relationship between God and us. A covenant relationship, nonetheless – hence, we have our part, and God has His part.
But the covenant relationship between God and us actually isn’t two-sided in the way described above.
That’s because the covenant that all Christians come under today, is cut between God the Father, and God the Son, Jesus.
A covenant is a solemn agreement of promise made between two parties. It far exceeds a mere contract, because it is always sealed in blood, and it lasts forever.
The only One who can void a covenant is God Himself. And the only time He did that was with the Old Covenant of the law, given through Moses.
For it is written:
In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. (Hebrews 8:13)
The verses before and after in Hebrews 8 and Hebrews 9 clearly indicate that the “first covenant” referred to is the Old Covenant, which had the elements of sacrifice, priestly service, the tabernacle of sanctuary, and the tablets of the Ten Commandments.
Why did God make the Old Covenant of the law obsolete?
Because it was a covenant made between God and man.
Not that there was anything wrong on God’s part; God is perfect, holy and good, and His law is too. The problem lies with man.
No matter how hard man tries, we can never meet the pristine and perfect standard of God.
Because His law doesn’t just require perfection in outward performance, but also in our inward thoughts and motivations. All the time.
That’s right. Every single second of every single day of our entire life. Even if we have a dream we’re not supposed to have when we’re sleeping, that’s it – we’re out. A moment spent in worry, fear, or unbelief in God – and we’re out.
It’s an impossible covenant to keep, for any of us. And it’s made worse by the stipulation that if we break even one of the laws of God, He counts it as we’ve broken them all (James 2:10).
We can’t excuse ourselves from the law by saying we don’t know it. Nor can we brush it aside thinking we don’t have to keep it if we never touch it. Because all of us are wired with the knowledge of the laws of right and wrong in our conscience (Romans 2:11-16).
That’s a real bummer, because the Old Covenant of the law was a conditional covenant. Meaning God would bless man if he kept the law, but curse man if he failed.
Not a great covenant to be under, seeing as it was an impossible one to keep.
That’s why God had to institute the system of animal sacrifices to enable the people’s failures and sins to be covered during that time.
That’s why God, after 1,500 years, finally sent His Son Jesus as a Man to represent us, and do for us everything that none of us ever could.
Jesus fulfilled the law in full for us once for all, so God would always see us who believe in Christ as perfect and righteously blameless. Because He sees us always in the perfection of His Son.
Furthermore, Jesus also redeemed us from every curse of the law, in becoming a curse for us on the cross.
Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was the actual payment – in full and beyond – for all the sins previously covered by the animal sacrifices, as well as the sins that would be committed after the cross, by you and I.
Even the sins we hadn’t committed yet at the time we accepted Jesus have been paid for by the blood of Jesus at the cross. The cross is outside time. Every believer has been fully acquitted in Christ Jesus.
His sacrifice of grace not only delivers us from the law, it also changes us over time -from the inside – to effortlessly do right.
And that’s why the gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News. Because everything we ever needed to do has been accomplished for us by Jesus, motivated by love.
So – if everything has already been done, what part is there left for us to do in the New Covenant of Jesus Christ?
Simply, to believe it, and receive and enjoy all that Jesus has accomplished for us.
It isn’t as hard or far-fetched as you might think it is. Just as a farmer sows seeds and then simply waits expectantly to enjoy the harvest after a time, so it is with the gospel of Christ.
Simply allow the seed of this Good News of Jesus Christ – the preaching of Jesus and what He has done for you through the cross – to be sown in your heart, and you can surely expect a harvest to grow in your life for your enjoyment. The more of this seed you sow through hearing, the more you can expect to reap.
Jesus is the Word of God, which is the incorruptible seed that will surely bear fruit.
Don’t be afraid to believe on Jesus and enter into the new covenant that He has bought for you.
Because when you encounter Jesus, you encounter grace.