In order to understand the Scriptures correctly we must first discover the difference between LAW and GRACE. Much of the confusion that exists among Gods people is the result of not discerning the difference between these two. It was not until John came that the true distinction was made, for he said, "The LAW came by (through) MOSES but GRACE and TRUTH or REALITY came by (through) JESUS CHRIST." Jn I:17.
So the first distinction is the channel through whom each came. The LAW came through a man born into an Israelite family, but raised in the Palace of Pharaoh and became a fugitive from Egypt. He married a Midianite woman and had a son named Gershon, which means "A stranger here." He also had a problem with his speech and found it difficult to express himself. By contrast, GRACE came through the Lord from heaven.
Moses received the LAW on Mount Sinai, of which it is written, "You have not come to that which may be handled and which burned with fire, and to murkiness and gloom and the blare of a trumpet, and the sound of declarations, which those who hear refuse, that no word be added unto them. For they did not carry out the assignment, and if even a wild beast should come in contact with the mountain, it should be pelted with stones. So fearful was the spectacle Moses said, "I am terrified and in a tremor." Hebrews 12:18-21. (Concordant Ver.)
It is important to realise that the LAW came to Israel from a material, visible mountain which represented authority on a natural level. Because of this there was no power in the words they heard, that could bring obedience in the hearers. The whole result of this episode on Mount Sinai was that the law became a DEATH SENTENCE to MAN.
In contrast "GRACE and TRUTH came by Jesus Christ the LIFE GIVING SPIRIT. Every WORD which He spoke was SPIRIT and LIFE, i.e. THE WORD had within it the power to fulfill or reproduce ITSELF, which results in LIFE. This stands out in stark contrast to the words spoken on Mount Sinai, which could only produce DEATH, because of the weakness of the flesh.
John spoke of Christ as the LIVING WORD which was in the beginning, which we have heard, and seen with our eyes and handled, the WORD OF LIFE. He continued by saying that what they saw was actually ETERNAL LIFE that became manifest unto them.
At the time the LAW was given to Israel, man had been on the earth for hundreds of years, and during that time had adapted himself to the material physical world, which was the only world he knew. The realities of life were all found in that which could be touched, tasted, heard, seen or smelt. In other words Man was orientated in the world of appearance, and the unseen realm of the spirit was virtually lost to him. Therefore the Laws given to Israel all related to the natural world about them.
But there were certain individuals who like Moses had some understanding of the Spiritual realm of God but they were in the minority. The SPIRIT in man was the LIFE and WISDOM of God, but since the Garden of Eden, man has lived in the darkness of a world where God was invisible, and therefore life was lived on a purely physical or natural level.. Therefore any SPIRITUAL aspect that may be contained in the LAW was lost to them.
Paul makes it clear that the promise given to Abraham concerning the blessing of all the nations of the earth through his "SEED", preceded the giving of the LAW and thereby declares that the LAW was not the original intention of God for mankind. The Apostle also states that even though "sin" was in the world before Moses, it could not be imputed or credited to anyone until the LAW was given. Rom 5:13. We also, who are in Christ are not UNDER LAW, but UNDER GRACE, therefore sin can not be imputed to us today.
The LAW declares every man guilty before God and pronounces the sentence of DEATH upon him. Law and Grace are totally incompatible and can never be integrated, so that the very best that could be achieved under the LAW system regarding mans failure, was for sin to be COVERED. This is called the ATONEMENT. By reason of the ATONEMENT man could continue to live with God dwelling in the Tabernacle in the midst of Israel, without their guilt destroying them. But the LAW could never under any circumstances release them from the bondage of their sin and nor could it give LIFE.
In order for a system of LAW to function it is necessary for there to be someone to administer that law. This brings us to another aspect of truth which has largely been ignored by most Christians today. Because we read about God giving the LAW to Moses on Mount Sinai, we assume that OUR GOD must be the administrator of the law that was written on tables of stone. So now we are introduced to the "LAW GOD" who is considered to be the same God who created the heavens and the earth, and who the Bible declares to be L-O-V-E!
THE LAW GOD
In the ten commandments we are told, "Thou shalt not kill." But this same "GOD" directed Israel to kill whole nations of people as in Deuteronomy 3: 33-34. If a person was guilty of adultery they were to be taken out and stoned to death. This "Law God" does not exhibit any of the love, mercy or grace that is demonstrated in the New Testament. This God demands BLOOD SACRIFICES, which Jesus declared His FATHER did not desire nor did He command them. So it is obvious that we have a real problem in understanding this GOD OF LAW as presented in the Old Testament.
I have mentioned these things concerning the "Law God" because of the issues I have raised. It is also important to notice that Hebrews 10: 5 & 8, declares that "Sacrifice and offerings, burnt offerings and offerings for sin, God did not desire nor did He have pleasure therein." We can also add to this the clear statement in Jeremiah 7 : 22 that God never did command sacrifice and offerings when He brought Israel out of Egypt. There is much more that could be said on this issue but I will include just one more.
In Revelation 11 : 1-2, a measuring rod was given to John for him to measure the Temple of God. Notice that he was not to measure the outer court which was given to the Gentiles. So it would seem that the outer court with its brazen altar, representing in type the whole sacrificial system of Israel, is not reckoned as part of the eternal purposes of God. Its application must be limited to a people who functioned out of a sin consciousness based upon the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Every reference in the New Testament to the Temple (NAOS) which Paul refers to as our body concerns ONLY the HOLY OF HOLIES, and not to the Holy Place or to the outer court.
GODS DWELLING PLACE
The next issue that concerns us regarding Law, is that God always desired to live with His people, and so there had to be a suitable PLACE constructed in which He could dwell. In the beginning there was no need for any TABERNACLE or TEMPLE to be built because God had created HIS OWN DWELLING PLACE IN MAN, MADE IN HIS LIKENESS AND IMAGE. But for the Israelites their concept of God was external to them, and so a separate building was required. For this reason the Tabernacle was built so that God could dwell in the Most Holy Place, separated from MAN and unseen by all. The only indication that God was there was the cloud which over-shadowed the place. Such a separation between GOD and MAN was not thought to be strange for Israel, because since Adam left the Garden, MAN considered himself to be a separate entity apart from GOD, who was somewhere outside of Himself.
Under the system of Law, man could not SEE God nor did they hear His voice, but Moses became the intermediary between God and Man. The principle of a HUMAN MEDIATOR between God and MAN, has become the foundation principle of the priesthood in every religious system. Even today, most Christians consider it necessary for some MAN to tell them what God is saying and what is expected of them. Without some intermediary between God and MAN few Christians would have any "spiritual" input into their lives.
This is a true indication that most people still consider GOD to be outside of themselves dwelling up in the SKY. Under these circumstances it is not possible for man to HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD. Paul declares that there is only ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN and that is THE MAN Christ Jesus. In the light of this statement, Jesus Christ is the only one who can bring US into the REALITY OF GOD because He is the Holy Spirit, who dwells WITHIN.
There was no provision for the removal of sin under Moses, with the result that the sacrifices and offerings had to be repeated year after year, and those who made the sacrifices were never really changed. Therefore the people retained their consciousness of sin which prevented them entering into perfection. Heb 10:1-2.
It is also important to note that the system of Law linked mankind with Adam in the Garden, seeing as he also was "under" a Law not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. His response to that law was one of rebellion and so SIN and DEATH were passed upon all men, infecting all mankind with the same problem. It would seem that the Law Moses introduced to Israel was designed to curb this rebellion and help them live a Godly life. But in this, the Law failed through the weakness of the flesh, because it had no power to prevent man from acting in rebellion towards God.
The Law functioned in the NATURAL world having to do with those things which relate to the world of appearance in which we live. For instance God said, "Thou shalt not kill Thou shalt not commit adultery," which are all under the control of our volition. We could not assume that any man who needed to be told that it was wrong to kill or steal or commit adultery was spiritual. So these laws were not spiritual in that sense but were designed to curb the lusts and appetites of the flesh.
Any man seeking to live by the Law could not claim to be spiritual, but may certainly be counted as moral. Even today MORALITY among Christians has largely taken the place of SPIRITUALITY. As a result we have some Christians taking a strong stand on moral issues, yet fail in the manifestation of pure LOVE. They are willing to destroy anyone who fails to reach their standard of morality and yet they themselves fail miserably when it comes to expressing LOVE. In all these things we can see man living according to the KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil, which he is able to manipulate according to a his perceptions.
In the light of these things we can see that there is a great difference between the God who is represented by the legal system of Moses, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the God of mercy and Grace. In fact it was this very fact that caused Israel to reject Christ the Messiah and finally crucify Him. They considered the GOD who was represented in Jesus Christ to be alien to their understanding.
Jesus never sought to live by the religious system of His day, but constantly opposed the scribes and Pharisees who endeavored to enforce their views on the people. The basis of their theology was Judaism which was the Law of the Old Testament plus the additions which they added themselves. Both Grace and Mercy were manifest in the life and ministry of Christ, in contrast to the harsh legalistic attitudes of the religious leaders. Finally He declared that He was ONE with GOD who He claimed was His FATHER.
Under Law man retained a relationship with God only on the basis of constant sacrifice and offerings, and the shedding of blood which he considered necessary because of his failure and sin. For this reason the altars ran with blood constantly in order that man might find favor with God. Under the NEW COVENANT no such sacrifice is required for God says, "Your sins and iniquities will I remember NO MORE."
The LAW and SIN
There is another aspect of LAW which we need to consider and that is the relationship it has to the question of SIN. The Apostle Paul states very clearly that "The strength of SIN is the LAW." 1 Cor 15:56. Paul says "But SIN taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of lust. For without the LAW SIN WAS DEAD." In other words if there were no law then SIN would be robbed of its strength. In view of this, we may ask the question as to why the LAW was given? Paul again answers this question for us in the letter he wrote to the Galatians in which he discusses both the LAW and the PROMISES of God.
This is what he says. "IT WAS ADDED BECAUSE OF TRANSGRESSIONS UNTILL THE SEED SHOULD COME TO WHOM THE PROMISE WAS MADE, AND IT WAS ORDAINED BY ANGELS IN THE HAND OF A MEDIATOR." It is evident that the LAW was given as an aid to regulate the behavior of man. We must bare in mind that the DOMINION or RULE of God had been broken or DISRUPTED by Adam in the Garden of Eden, and since then man assumed responsibility for himself. In the words of the "serpent" he had BECOME AS GOD, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL.
The interesting thing is, that this knowledge of GOOD AND EVIL did not provide a power which would cause GOOD to triumph over EVIL. The distinction between the two was at the mercy of mans intellect, or MIND and so there were no absolutes. The introduction of LAW simply gave some definable guidelines to man in the choices he made. This designated certain actions as SIN simply because they transgressed the commandments. Thus man could now be declared GUILTY before the God of Law on a legal basis.
Paul also indicates that the LAW was ORDAINED BY ANGELS in the hand of a MEDIATOR. The word "angels" has no reference to the winged creatures we see pictured in religious books but are simply messengers, such as the prophets. This is in contrast to the promises given to Abraham four hundred years before, when God communicated with ABRAHAM DIRECTLY without any mediator. Paul states that a MEDIATOR cannot function between ONE, but only between TWO. Then he makes the remarkable statement that GOD IS ONE! What does he mean by this statement? Let him who has ears to hear, listen to the voice of the Spirit.
All of creation came out of God, including MAN who was created in HIS Likeness and Image, and the source of all life is GOD. It was obvious that when Jesus came into the world born of a woman, he believed HE WAS ONE WITH GOD WHO WAS HIS FATHER. Jn 10:30. For HIM there was no need for a MEDIATOR because HE BELIEVED HE WAS ALREADY ONE WITH GOD. From this it is evident that the only time a MEDIATOR becomes necessary, is when two separate parties need someone to help bridge the gulf between them.
Today most people consider God to be outside of themselves, dwelling somewhere up in the sky, so they are in need of a MEDIATOR in order to be reconciled. The estrangement between GOD and MAN took place when Adam partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was then their EYES were "opened", to reveal the perception that the covering of DIVINITY had departed, and they were NAKED and separate from God.
It was because of this perceived separation between GOD and MAN that Moses was required to mediate concerning the LAW. It is also obvious that Abraham did not need any mediator for God was acting IN GRACE towards him on the basis of His true identity and union with God. You may ask why then is there a MEDIATOR needed today under GRACE, called THE MAN CHRIST JESUS. The answer is because even today man still regards himself as a separate entity from God, believing he came from the DUST and is to return to the DUST.
However, once our true identity is established within us, our life does not function through a MEDIATOR, for Jesus said, "At that day you will know that I AM IN MY FATHER AND YOU ARE IN ME AND I AM IN YOU." Jn 14:20. At that point our IDENTITY and CONSCIOUSNESS has again been established in GOD with whom we ARE ONE, so that we see ourselves as a kind of "FIRSTFRUITS OF THE HIMSELF KIND." James 1:18.
The next issue we need to look into, is that MAN was not intended to live under LAW forever, but only UNTIL THE SEED SHOULD COME TO WHOM THE PROMISES WERE MADE. These promises Paul speaks about are those made to Abraham well before Moses was born. These promises were to bring a "blessing" upon all the peoples of the earth, through the promised SEED which was Christ. It is therefore evident that the true AUTHORITY or DOMINION of GOD was functioning when Christ came, for He declared to the people that the "KINGDOM IS AT HAND."
Christ fulfilled the LAW simply because He was a TRUE SON who LIVES TO PLEASE THE FATHER. Gods dominion IN MAN was restored in Christ just as it was given to MAN IN THE BEGINNING. Therefore there was no need for an EXTERNAL LAW to govern MANS behavior, because GOD AND MAN had been UNITED IN CHRIST.
What was true for CHRIST is now true of MAN. He said He CAME FROM GOD and not from ADAM or the DUST, and so WE also CAN SAY WE have come out of GOD, for we were "CHOSEN IN CHRIST BEFORE THE DISRUPTION." Our life did not begin when we were born on this earth but we existed IN GOD, and will always be IN GOD. This is what Jesus spoke about when He said to Nicodemus, "YOU MUST BE BORN FROM ABOVE BEFORE YOU CAN SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD."
This word indicates a DECLARATION OF GOD by which those who believe into Christ are declared righteous as far as the LAW is concerned. For these the LAW is not relaxed or set aside but considered to be absolutely and totally fulfilled in the strictest sense. Paul says that this righteousness is based upon THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST and not OUR FAITH.
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but by the faith of Jesus Christ. For we have believed in Jesus Christ that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Gal 2:16.
Our best efforts to keep the Law can never see us JUSTIFIED or declared righteous, for this can only be so by the FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST. What is the FAITH of Jesus Christ? His FAITH declared MAN came out of God in the beginning, being created in Gods Likeness and Image. This is in contrast to what MAN believes about himself, that he came through ADAM the man of DUST, and so is subject to the law of SIN and DEATH.
The Faith of Jesus Christ says, "I and my Father are ONE," and this is the FAITH that declares us righteous. Paul speaks of the "HEARING OF FAITH," and connects it with ABRAHAM who believed God and on that basis he was declared RIGHTEOUS. This is a righteousness WHICH IS BY FAITH and has nothing to do with keeping the Law of Moses. Here is what Paul says :-
"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of Grace but of DEBT. But to him that WORKETH NOT but BELIEVETH on Him that justifieth the ungodly, HIS FAITH IS COUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom GOD IMPUTETH RIGHTEOUSNESS WITHOUT WORKS.. . For the PROMISE that he should be HEIR OF THE WORLD was not to Abraham or to his SEED THROUGH THE LAW, but THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH. For if they which are of the LAW be heirs, FAITH IS MADE VOID and the PROMISE IS MADE OF NONE EFFECT. " Rom 4:4-6.
THE GOD OF GRACE
"For the grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared to all men." Titus 2:11. It is evident that Grace has a universal application to ALL men, while the Law was given to Israel. It is Grace also that brings salvation which could not be achieved by the Law.
The stark contrast between the Law God and the God of Grace, is expressed by Paul in 2Tim. 1:9-10. "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS (so has nothing to do with law) but according to His own purpose and Grace, which were given us in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath ABOLISHED DEATH and hath brought LIFE and IMMORTALITY to light through the gospel."
From these scriptures it is evident that the God of GRACE existed before the God of LAW, and He exerted His authority according to HIS PURPOSE without reference to the "God of LAW." Paul says that our "salvation" and relationship were declared IN CHRIST BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN. Because GRACE preceded LAW and continued to operate even after Law was introduced, it must therefore be the true expression of the heart of God. Paul connects salvation to GRACE when writing to the saints in Ephesus, "For by GRACE are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT OF GOD." Eph 2:8.
The LAW came by Moses, but GRACE and Truth came by Jesus Christ. Moses was born out of the natural nation of Israel but Christ came down from "HEAVEN" or the realm of Spirit. It is said of Him that He lived in the bosom of the FATHER, so that He was well qualified to reveal the true heart of God. The term "CHRIST" is the Greek word "CHRISTOS" and means ANOINTING. It is the same word used in the Old Testament as "MESSIAH", and was the one expected by Israel to come according to their prophets.
However Israels concept of God had become so distorted that when He came according to the prophecy in Isaiah they did not recognise Him. The God of Grace who is represented as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ was so different to the God of Law portrayed in the Old Testament that Israel rejected their Messiah. The result was they crucified Him as an impostor and a blasphemer. The great contrast between Moses and Christ was that Moses simply conveyed the LAW to Israel, but Jesus Christ was in fact a true MANIFESTATION OF God, because He was in His LIKENESS and IMAGE. Jesus Christ did not come with TABLES OF STONE, or with a MESSAGE concerning God, but HE WAS THE MESSAGE. He could say, "If you have seen me you have seen my Father .. I and my Father ARE ONE."
This contrast in manifestation is most important for us to grasp. Moses brought to Israel WORDS which were written on tables of stone, but Jesus Christ came in the living Image and likeness of God. The Words He spoke were the Words of the Father and the Works He did were the works of the Father. His every action in healing the sick and raising the dead was not simply a show of His power, but was a demonstration of the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, Moses became to Israel an arbiter of the Law.
Jesus Christ was not linked in His ministry to the OLD COVENANT given at Mount Sinai, for it had proven to be a failure based upon the weakness of mans flesh. Therefore the scripture declares, "He taketh away the first that he may establish the second." Heb 10:9. The "second" was called the NEW COVENANT which differed radically from the Old. The law which Moses received was written on tables of stone, and was external to the people, but under the New Covenant, God says, "I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Heb 10:16-17.
Under Grace, God has internalised His will and desire by putting it within the human heart and mind, just as He did in the creation of man. God put His likeness and image within the man He created, (Gen 1:26) and in so doing the will and purpose of God was fulfilled in Him, and no law was required.
So today as we enter into our true identity in Christ as Sons of God we discover His will and purpose being fulfilled in us in the same way. However the law written in our hearts is not simply the ten commandments for that was the LAW OF SIN AND DEATH. But now IN CHRIST we have been freed from that law of Moses through the higher LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS. Rom 8 :2. This is not a LAW of commandments as the LAW of Moses, but a principle governing the SPIRIT OF LIFE functioning in us today. This LAW OF THE SPIRIT is the next step after we are redeemed from the LAW OF SIN AND DEATH.
Our redemption at this point is the result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit within us opening our spiritual eyes to see our true identity IN CHRIST. Therefore Jesus Christ now resident within us as the SPIRIT of God crying ABBA FATHER, mediates between God and US. This is what Jesus said, "But when the comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, EVEN THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, which proceeds from the Father HE SHALL TESTIFY OF ME. And you also will bear witness because YOU HAVE BEEN WITH ME FROM THE BEGINNING."
This revelation cancels out our old perception that we came out of ADAM and therefore the DUST, making us a separate entity from God. Many Christians today are entering into this revelation and are now living under the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE.
Here is the first step in entering into the Kingdom of God and establishing HIS DOMINION over our lives, but WE ARE STILL UNDER A LAW even though it is the LAW of the Spirit. We have a desperate need for this LAW to function at this time because MAN has lived in DARKNESS for some 6000 years out of the knowledge of GOOD AND EVIL under a false sense of IDENTITY, and even to return to the STATE in which MAN was originally created, requires more than a simple adjustment of our thinking.
Paul presents this change from the ADAM MENTALITY in these words, "IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST HE IS A NEW CREATION, OLD THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY AND BEHOLD ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW." 2 Cor. 5:17.
We have been brought by divine Grace back from the TREE of the KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, in the center of the Garden which is actually the center of our being, out of which we LIVE. The Garden of Eden being a representation of MAN who has understanding of the conflict that rages within because of the two opposing TREES out of which we may live.
Both trees exist in the CENTER OF MAN. Salvation, is being delivered from the power and consequences of our disobedience to DIVINE AUTHORITY and DOMINION, in eating of the forbidden Tree which produces DEATH. As soon as we eat of the TREE OF LIFE which is CHRIST the power of DEATH is broken, and the DOMINION of God flowing through the TREE OF LIFE is established. Instead of living out of the Tree of the KNOWLEDGE of GOOD and EVIL we live out of CHRIST WHO IS TRUTH and the LIE is broken. Grace brings us back to our true CENTER which is CHRIST OUR LIFE, who DWELLS WITHIN thus uniting us with GOD.
However Christ did not live under any "LAW OF THE SPIRIT" but declared I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE. This is the UNITY OF DIVINITY which incorporates MAN into the divine ONENESS, where NO LAW whatsoever is necessary in order to manifest the Likeness and Image of God. Thus Jesus Christ could say, "IF YOU HAVE SEEN ME YOU HAVE SEEN MY FATHER." This is the fulfillment of the prayer Jesus Christ our High Priest prayed, "That they may be ONE as Thou Father art in me and I in Thee, that they all may be ONE IN US, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me." Jn 17:21.
THE NEW COVENANT
The New Covenant of Grace has replaced the OLD Covenant of Law even though many Churches still preach Law to their people, instead of Grace. Scripture says, "He takes AWAY the first (the Old Covenant) that He might establish the second." Heb 10:9. It is totally impossible for LAW and GRACE to function together.
The FIRST Covenant must be TAKEN AWAY, removed and discarded before the SECOND can be established. For the LAW made nothing PERFECT but the bringing in of better hope did, by the which we DRAW NIGH TO GOD. Here is the contrast between the TWO Covenants. Under LAW, the multitude of sacrifices never allowed man to come any closer to God, for only the High Priest was allowed behind the veil and then only once a year. So it is today that those who consider themselves under the LAW do not have access into the very presence of God.
The reason for this is clear because under LAW the CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN REMAINS, and this drives us away from the presence of God, just as it did for Adam. These things make it plain that all the blood sacrifices and offerings made under the LAW could never fit a man to stand in the presence of God.
"But this MAN (Jesus Christ) after He had made ONE sacrifice for sins FOREVER sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by ONE OFFERING He has PERFECTED FOREVER them that are sanctified And their SINS and INIQUITIES I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE .. Having therefore boldness beloved, to enter into THE HOLIEST BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS." Heb 10:12-22
If Law could have achieved these things, then of course they would not have needed any more sacrifice and the whole system would have become obsolete. But instead of the worshippers becoming perfect, they were reminded of their sins every time they made a sacrifice, thus the sacrificial system and their sin-consciousness was perpetuated.
The New Testament presentation of Grace is set in stark contrast to Law in many scriptures, but we will quote from just one.
"For if that FIRST COVENANT had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the SECOND (Covenant). For finding fault with them he saith, Behold the days come saith the Lord, when I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not saith the Lord. "
"For this is the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, I will give my laws into their MIND and write them upon their hearts, and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother saying, know the Lord, for ALL shall know me from the least to the greatest. Because I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and THEIR SINS AND INIQUITIES WILL I REMEMBER NO MORE."
By bringing in a NEW Covenant He hath made the FIRST OLD. Now that which decayeth and waxeth OLD is ready to vanish away. Heb 8 :7-13.
For Israel their knowledge of God was through the covenant of LAW, but both Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke of ANOTHER COVENANT which God would make with them. In this NEW COVENANT there is a NEW REVELATION of GOD and the result is, they will not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother to KNOW THE LORD, for EVERYONE SHALL KNOW ME! This knowledge of God is through Christ and the NEW Covenant, where in He has internalised the knowledge of Himself.
Jesus located God for us when He said, "I will pray the Father and He shall give you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of TRUTH whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not neither knoweth him, but YOU KNOW HIM FOR HE DWELLETH WITH YOU AND SHALL BE IN YOU AT THAT DAY YOU SHALL KNOW THAT I AM IN MY FATHER AND YOU ARE IN ME AND I AM IN YOU." John 14:16-20.
The other vital issue with the Covenant of Grace, is the fact that God said He would remember our sins and iniquities no more, so they would no longer be taken into account. Once there is no imputation of sin, we are released from the powerful influence of our conscience, which registers every infringement of law. Our "conscience" is not something that was created in us by God to teach us what is right and what is wrong, as some have taught us. Actually God did not create the conscience at all. It was birthed in Adam when he disobeyed the Word of the Lord in the garden.
As soon as Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil, he ran away to hide from God. What made him do that? It was this thing we call conscience which produces GUILT over which we have no power. This condition declares that we are a SINNER and consequently God is our enemy, and we stand condemned before Him. In the words of Genesis 3 :7, it produces a consciousness of our being NAKED, and opens our eyes to the material world which become the only realities we know, despite Paul telling us that ALL TRUE REALITIES abide in the INVISIBLE WORLD. 2 Cor 4:18.
Every person born since Adam has this same consciousness. There is this thing within every man that accuses him day and night before God, so that scripture says men love darkness rather than light because of their SIN CONSCIOUSNESS. No man with a guilty conscience would come willingly and openly to God who is LIGHT.
Conscience within man is not a true consciousness at all, because it is not based upon TRUTH. When God found Adam hiding in the trees, He asked him why this was so. Adam said it was because when he heard the "voice" of the Lord in the garden, HE WAS NAKED, and this condition caused him to be afraid of God. But notice what God said to Adam, "WHO TOLD YOU, you were naked?" It certainly was not God, therefore this was a "knowledge" that had nothing to do with God, but was associated with the fruit of that forbidden tree and so it could not be TRUTH. Adam had stepped out of a God consciousness into a SELF consciousness seeing himself as separate from God.
Conscience continues to function today in exactly the same way, declaring to our inner being that we are NAKED and God is angry with us. But we are told that if we REPENT of our sins we will be forgiven and this corrects the whole matter. But this is far from the Truth, because forgiveness does not wipe out the original act nor does it remove our consciousness of sin, so whilst it may restore some sense of relationship the fact of SIN remains. Thus we read that the LAW with all the sacrificial system, had no power to bring perfection to those who participated. Heb. 10:1. Perfection can never be established while a person considers that he is "NAKED," because the COVERING of Light and Glory which is our original covering has gone, and forgiveness CANNOT replace that.
Law had no answer to this dilemma, and so God took AWAY that FIRST Covenant, and replaced it with the New Covenant of GRACE whereby a man is JUSTIFIED BY FAITH. This means he is declared RIGHTEOUS by the FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST. Like Abraham we simply BELIEVE what GOD says about us and we also are declared RIGHTEOUS.
What does God say about WHO you are and FROM WHENCE did you COME? "You were made just a little lower than ELOHIM and crowned him with GLORY and HONOUR. You were given DOMINION over all the works of Gods hands, and put all things under his feet." Psalm 8:4-6. Then also GOD says, "I HAVE SAID YE ARE GODS (ELOHIM) AND ALL OF YOU ARE CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH." Psalm 82:6.
Jesus actually quotes this scripture to the Jews who were about to stone Him to death because He said, "I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE." John 10:34. Paul adds his testimony in speaking to the philosophers on Mars Hill saying, "IN HIM (GOD) WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING, as certain of your poets have said, FOR WE ALSO ARE HIS OFFSPRING." Acts 17:28. How few today actually believe the testimony of the scriptures about our true IDENTITY? It seems to be more reasonable to believe the LIE that we came out of ADAM and so are sinners and God is angry with us.
Paul tells us that the "Grace of God" has appeared to all men, and in that appearing it brings SALVATION. It is obvious that the reference here is to Christ, who appeared on the world stage about 2000 years ago. However the salvation that Grace brought only becomes reality at HIS APPEARING WITHIN US as revealed by the Holy Spirit. This is a revelation of our true identity, which is reflected in the FACE of Jesus Christ.
GRACE is the enabling of God that puts within us the power and ability to respond to HIM both to WILL and TO DO HIS GOOD PLEASURE. Therefore our salvation rests upon HIS GRACE and not upon OUR ABILITY or FAITH. Eph 2:8. The manifestation of the Grace of God is the birthing of that Godly Image and Likeness in our consciousness, which had become obscured by our humanity. It is interesting that when Christ came it was not with some panacea for sin but with a revelation of our true identity which HE REVEALED IN HIMSELF. Thus in His coming he brought Salvation TO ALL MEN.
GRACE therefore is not passive but an active force bringing that which is necessary to restore us to the LIKENESS and IMAGE of God. In other words, to restore the COVERING of Light which has been lost to us since Adam left the garden of Eden. That covering is the very righteousness of God which became visible in Jesus Christ on the Mount of transfiguration.
"What the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His OWN SON in the "likeness" of sinful flesh, (i.e. with the same body of flesh and blood that we have) and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled IN US who walk not in the FLESH (i.e. not according to our earthly view of ourselves) but IN THE SPIRIT." (which is the reality of our being) Rom 8 :3-4.
"For God has made him ("to be" is not in the original) sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD in Him." 2 Cor 5:21. The word "sin" is not the verb but the substantive in the Greek, and indicates the condition of the Adam man. Hence He died as the LAST ADAM thus forever releasing us from the law of sin and death.
Now IN CHRIST we are freed from the LAW OF SIN AND DEATH and brought under the NEW COVENANT in which there is NO IMPUTING OF SIN. God does not declare us to be SINNERS for we have been JUSTIFIED, which means that as far as the LAW is concerned all its demands have been absolutely and completely satisfied. Further more we are now declared to be the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD in Christ JESUS.
However allow me to emphasise the fact that :- We are FREE from the Law of Sin and Death IN CHRIST rather than BY CHRIST, and we are the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST and not THROUGH CHRIST. We are NEW CREATURES IN CHRIST and not through CHRIST. To be IN CHRIST is to discover our SOURCE and ORIGIN, in the LIKENESS AND IMAGE OF GOD, having been BEGOTTEN OF HIS OWN (Gods) WILL with the WORD OF TRUTH, that we should be a kind of FIRSTFRUITS OF THE HIMSELF KIND. James 1:18.
Paul simplified the question of our ORIGIN when he said,
"IN ADAM ALL DIE BUT IN CHRIST SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE."
NOW under GRACE, and having discovered our true IDENTITY is IN CHRIST, we are no longer slaves to the LAW and GOOD and EVIL with its inherent lack and FEAR OF DEATH, but have been restored to FATHERS HOUSE AS SONS AND HEIRS OF GOD sharing the inheritance with JESUS CHRIST. We NOW live our life not just in the material world of appearance, but dwelling in heavenly places SEATED WITH CHRIST in the realm of the Spirit.
In this state we touch all the realities of Life which are neither seen or experienced while we are living in the sense of this material world.
In conclusion let us remember Paul declares that we ARE NOT UNDER LAW but under Grace, therefore none of our "good" works make any difference to our standing with God, because the righteousness of God is not a question of works at all, but results from believing what He has declared us to be, THE CHILDREN OF GOD. We are accepted IN THE BELOVED and that one is JESUS CHRIST the only begotten of the Father full of Grace and Truth.