Saturday, May 23, 2015

Covenant (15) Purpose 5: Living in Grace

All that was needed to get the Mosaic covenant blessings was to choose God and reject all other gods (most were represented by idols). The first two commandments covered this. The Israelites did not have to be good, to get the blessings of the old covenant, because the sacrifices dealt with their sins. (The priest offered the sacrifices, but they did not need to work, so it was receive/do for them too). The Israelites needed faith because the sin was out of proportion to the sacrifice. This is the same means as under the new covenant. We have to choose Jesus and have faith in what he has done for us. Therefore, both covenants are receive/ choose/trust.

The do/receive approach to the Old Covenant makes God seem illogical. If his ultimate purpose is receive/do through Jesus, it would be stupid to make his people operate under do/receive for 1000 years. If they continued under do/receive after Jesus, it would be his fault because he had made them practice do/receive for so long.

The truth is that the old covenant is receive/do. It was sinful people like the Pharisees (and Joshua), who turned it into do/receive. That is why Jesus was so hostile to them. Of course, humans slip naturally into do/receive, so the OT people often did, just as Christians do today. That is the fault of the old man, not the old covenant. The old covenant was actually given to train the people to walk in receive/do, ready for when the big receive came with Jesus.

God would never set up a situation where people get blessings by works, rather than grace, because it would be guaranteed to bring out the worst in human nature. Sin came into the world because Adam and Eve wanted to decide and do for themselves. That is the motive of the old man. God would never set up a system that reinforced this kind of behaviour. He is a God of grace, so all his covenants are covenants of grace. He has no place for a covenant of works, because works always strengthen the old man and sin.

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