Fred Coulter

What is the difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant?  So this is kind of a continuation of last night, ok?  What is the difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant, because there is a difference.  We have the same God, and as we saw last night, God is love.  Whatever God does, He does based on love.  That’s why God says He doesn’t delight in the death of the wicked because He knows He must judge them and He must destroy them, but He doesn’t delight in it.  And that’s something we need to think about if we rejoice in the time of the end.  It’s going to be a terrible time, ok.

Now, let’s go back to Deuteronomy 4, and we will see that sure enough the Old Covenant was given was given because of an act of love as well as a promise given by God.  And I might mention that in our research that we’re doing to find out what was going on in the New Testament Church, we found that there were certain sects of the Jews that forbade the reading of the book of Deuteronomy.  Can anyone guess why that would be?  No, the law’s in it, the law’s in the book of Deuteronomy.  Certain sects of the Jews forbade the reading of the book of Deuteronomy that were quasi professing Christian.  Why do you suppose they would forbid it, since we’re here in Deuteronomy?  There is something in the book of Deuteronomy that prophecies of something in the New Testament, which gives the basis for New Testament belief that was a very contentious point.  What was the contentious point of the Jews?  Not the Messiah.  That was a point of contention but within the Christian Church itself, what was the point of contention?  The point of contention was circumcision.  Where in the book of Deuteronomy do you have the basis for non-physical circumcision?  It’s in Deuteronomy 10. 

Since we’re here in Deuteronomy let’s just go over there.  And here’s actually one of the prophecies upon which the New Testament was built that is found in the book of Deuteronomy, and we will see this, ok?  Deuteronomy 10:16.  It says, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.”  There’s the basis for the New Testament, circumcision of the heart, right in the Old Testament, book of Deuteronomy, ok.  That’s one of them.

Now let’s go back to Deuteronomy 4 and let’s see how that God began the Old Covenant, as we call it.  Or you could name it the first covenant, but it really wasn’t the first covenant cause you had the covenant with Adam, you had the covenant with Noah, you had the covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, with Jacob.  So this is really not the first covenant, so we will have to say this was the covenant with Israel, would be a more proper terminology of what is commonly called the Old Covenant, ok? 

Deuteronomy 4, and let’s pick it up here in verse 35, ok.  Now many other things you can read here in Deuteronomy but I just want to highlight just a couple of things to show that God began the Old Covenant because He loved Israel, and He loved the Fathers.  Verse 35, “Unto thee [that is those of you who are here to hear the Ten Commandments] it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD He is God; there is none else beside Him.  Out of heaven He made thee to hear His voice, that He  might instruct thee: and upon earth He shewed thee His great fire; and thou heardest His words out of the midst of the fire.  And because He loved thy fathers, therefore He chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in His sight with His mighty power out of Egypt;” (Deut. 4:35-38).  Ok, so then He shows…let’s come down here to verse 40, that  “Thou shalt keep therefore His statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.”

Now let’s come over here to chapter 5.  After He gives the Ten Commandments then we find something, something very important about the people, which is the basic difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant in a major respect, verse 29.  After they heard the Ten Commandments and they said we will do what the LORD says, verse 29, “O that there were such an heart in them…”  Now you see how that ties in with Deuteronomy 10:16, ok.  “…That they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!”  And of course that’s what the apostle Paul wrote, that it was weak because of the flesh.  Ok, and that’s what needs to be solved in the New Covenant. 

Now let’s come over to chapter 6 and we will see intermixed in this that God does it because He loves them and He wants them to love Him, which then is part of the primary commandment that we will read of a little later in Matthew.  Deuteronomy 6:1, “Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD…”  Now notice we’ve got “fear” all the way along here.  Now we are to be in fear of God in a right way but that’s not the paramount thing in the New Testament, see.  “That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.  Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey” (Deut. 6:1-3). 

And by the way the whole topographical and climatological setting of the holy land at that time is much different then it was now.  If you want an interesting study sometime, go down to your library and get out any book on the study of botany of the holy land going back before the time of Christ.  Why, it was covered with trees and there was water everywhere.  You know, yes there was desert in certain places but not like it is now.  Not like it is now.  And even at that time you probably even remember out of your history books that the Sahara Desert was at a time recorded where it was a great plain, where they had cattle out there grazing grass on what is now the Sahara Desert.  So that’s why it was a land flowing with milk and honey. 

“Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God…”, and this is in both covenants.  Both covenants require love.  Both of them do, without a doubt.  “…Love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.  And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which He sware unto thy father, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggest not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (vs. 4-12).  But what was the first thing they did, they forgot.  They forgot, ok. 

Now let’s come over here to chapter 8, it talks about forgetting again.  The whole lesson, chapter 8, of going through the wilderness, and that must have been a terrible thing, but they had manna every day.  They had six days of manna, came the Sabbath, you’d think after 40 years of that they would know when the Sabbath was.  God blessed them. And He said He did it, verse 3, “And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”  Ok, now that’s interesting isn’t it?  Cause that means not just the commandments.  Every word.  Every word.  We know this is the basis of the New Covenant too, isn’t it?  Yes indeed.

There again, verse 11, He said, “Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God…”  Come over here to verse 19, “and it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.”

Let’s come over here to verse 4 of chapter 9, and here’s something that we hear all the time in America, isn’t it?  How are we going to improve the American lot?  What is it that we say that we are going to do to improve the American lot?  Quality of the people.  No not education.  It is called American ingenuity.  Our goodness is going to make it right for us.  Ok, here’s what God says, Deuteronomy 9:4, “Speak not thou in tine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For [our] my righteousness…”,  in other words we deserve it.  We got it coming.  “For [our] my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.  Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that He may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.” In other words He was saying there was no way to circumcise their heart.  “Remember and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD” (Deut. 9:4-7).  You can read the other things that are there.

Let’s come to chapter 10, and let’s read the things up to verse 16.  Let’s go to verse12.  And this is a very good one here, brethren.  By the way excellent, perfect.  “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.  To keep the commandments of the LORD, and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?  Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.  Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them…” Notice He didn’t say, “to love you”.  To love them, fulfilling a promise.  “…And He chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day” (Deut. 10:12-15).  So then comes the command to circumcise their foreskin of your heart.       

Now let’s go to Acts 13 because all that God gave, all the commandments, all the ritual, and everything that was done did not put the people in a spiritual standing before God.  They were put into a standing at the tabernacle or the temple, ok.  And here is what set on fire every synagogue where Paul preached.  Glen and I were talking about that today, how wherever Paul went and preached there was a riot in the synagogue.  I mean it gets to be bad. 

Acts 13:14, “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.  And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.  Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.  The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people…” (Acts 13:14-17), took them out of Egypt and you go through the whole thing how He gave them the land, David was a man after God’s own heart, verse 22.  Then he says verse 23, “Of this man’s seed hath God according to His promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:  When John had first preached before His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.  And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am?  I am not He.”  Now you go back and you study that.  I did that in a series of the book when we did the Gospel of John.  The priests and the levites came out and said, “Are you the one? Are you the Christ?  Are you the prophet?  Who are you?”  He said, “I’m the voice of one crying in the wilderness.”  He said, “…I am not He.  But, behold, there cometh one after me, Whose shoes of His feet I am not worthy to loose”  (Acts 13:23-25). 

So then he goes on and he explains the whole thing.  He explains how everything happened, how Jesus was killed and crucified, how He was raised again.  Verse 33 quotes there “…Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten thee.” 

Now let’s come to verse 38.  “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (vs. 38-39).  Now that’s a very key important thing, the difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant.  Now this really set them on fire.  But I want to focus in on this, “which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.”  And of course the rest of it was that there was a riot in the synagogue.  He warned them and said “Beware you despisers.”  And then the next Sabbath all the Gentiles came out and heard it right next to where the synagogue was. 

Ok, let’s focus in on this, because this is a key thing.  What does it mean to be justified?  Now there was a certain justification unto the Old Covenant.  What were they justified to under the Old Covenant?  They were justified to the temple.  Under the Old Covenant did they have access to God the Father?  A lot of people think so but they didn’t.  They did not.  They had no access to God the Father.  Jesus said that He came to reveal the Father.  Now what does it mean to be justified before God, by the things you could not be justified by the law of Moses?  Now this is the whole key of understanding the whole New Testament.  The whole key, absolutely the whole key.  Ok, what does it mean to be justified?  We’ll answer that question.

Let’s go to another little perplexing verse here.  Let’s go to Luke 16:16.  Now here’s one that is very difficult to understand.  We know how the Protestants understand it.  They say the commandments were done away, but we’re not going to be fighting the Protestants tonight.  We’re going to find out what the truth of God has to say. 

“The law and the prophets were until John…”  What does that mean, you do away with them?  “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”  What is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God?  [Answer from audience] That’s part of it, but Jesus wanted to make sure that they wouldn’t misunderstand, so verse 17 says,  “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”  So what does it mean, “the law and the prophets were until John”, because obviously it doesn’t suspend the law?  But what does it mean?  Well we’ll find out, ok. 

Let’s go here to Luke 24, the very last part of the book of Luke.  Let’s see what else Jesus said concerning the law and the prophets and the psalms.  And we need to understand that when the New Testament Church was beginning they did not have the New Testament.  They did not have the New Testament.  Peter didn’t stand up on the day of Pentecost and say, “Let’s turn to Romans.”  Paul was not even called.  [Laughter]  And even the disciples had a hard time with some of these things. 

Luke 24:44, “And He said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.”  Now this is the three-fold division of the Old Testament: the law, the prophets, and psalms or the writings.  Verse 45, here’s something that has to be done spiritually.  That’s why God has to call us.  That’s why He has to give us His Spirit.  “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand [all the traditions of the Pharisees]…” Ha ha, caught you.  “…The scriptures.”  The scriptures.  Then He gave them their mission statement:  go into all the world. 

Now when God did what He did it was most profound.  And then we’ll put it together and find out why then we need the justification of Christ, and I’ll explain it very simply.  There’s one simple thing you can remember to understand, which is this: nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Christ.  Nothing can substitute for the sacrifice Christ.

Now here’s what God did.  And He did this as a profound act of love, as we will see, while we were still enemies of God.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…”  Now Protestants quote this and they don’t have the slightest idea what this means.  “…That He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth…”, or as we have learned, “the one who is believing in.”  This is interesting in the Greek.  Now the Greek is very helpful from the point of view that the New Testament was written in Greek.  So if we can understand some Greek that will make it more profound for us.  Now the Greek were it is the word “in”, it actually means “into”.  The same word that is used for “I go into the house”, in other words it implies action.  So you’re believing into Him, which actually means that you’re believing into the whole being of Christ, cause of Who He was and what He was. 

“…Should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).  Now we could learn an awful lot about our own behavior, you see.  We might ask the question then: why are people in the Church condemned from the pulpit all the time?  And we’re also going to see why God did what He did to inspire us through this act of love, so that we have a different method of not sinning.  We have a different method of not sinning.  Ok? 

Now if you stop sinning because you drill yourself into not sinning, you’re going to sin.  You’re going to say, “Oh I shouldn’t do that.”  You know…  Now even athletes know that there is a problem when they’re say, like in baseball and they’re in a batting slump.  They try and do everything they can to improve their batting but they can’t do it.  You have the same principle with children.  “How many times have I told you to shut the door when you come it?”  You also have the same problem with children.  Can you beat children perfect?  No.  Neither can you beat Christians perfect.  Why?  Because of human nature.  We’re made by nature imperfect.  And that is the whole key concerning justification.  That is the whole key. 

Alright, now let’s go to John 1 and we’ll see a little bit of this here, but it’s based on the fact that God, because man could not do anything to make his condition better.  The law of Moses by the very nature of humankind could not make man better, so man was stuck, and unless God intervened unilaterally to send Jesus Christ there’d be no way out. 

So let’s go to John 1.  So God did, ok, in a profound way.  We know the first three verses.  But let’s read it into the record again here.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Not only did God send Jesus Christ, God Himself came.  That’s what’s so important.  Christ came.  And not only that, He sent the One Who made everything.  “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).  And that means brought into being.  The Greek there is {aginitao}  ginomai, which means to actually create.  I’ll show you why that becomes important. 

It talks about John and how John came.  Let’s come to verse 10, “He was in the world…”  Now you talk about the stupidity of human beings when something’s before their very face.  “…And the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.”  I mean when you really think on that, that is a profound statement.  The Creator was walking the earth in the flesh and those He created didn’t know Who He was.  “He came to His own, and they received Him not.  But as many as received Him, to them gave He power [authority] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on [into] His name: Which were born [the word there is gennao, could be born or begotten], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (vs. 10-13).  Now why is it all important that all these other things be said?  His was a divine impregnation.  Came from God the Father.  Not of the will of the flesh.  No one sat down and said, “I will to do this.”  Nor of the will of man, but of God.  So God had to unilaterally do this for us.  That’s why nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

Now let’s go a little further, verse 14.  “And the Word was made flesh…”  Now the word there for flesh is sarks the same as we have.  Human nature.  I went into that quite deeply in the book.  “…And dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  Because now something was going to happen that never happened before for human beings, and it only could come through Christ. 

“John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of Whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.”  And it actually means, “existed before I did.”  “And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (vs. 15-16).  Now what does that mean, grace for grace?  What does grace mean?  You only find one place in the Old Testament where grace is listed, or actually two.  Noah found grace, Abraham found grace.  More than two, three places.  And then it talks about the prophecy of Christ that He brings the headstone crying, grace, grace.  The whole New Testament is full of grace.  Now how are we saved?  By grace.  Ok, salvation did not come until Christ was here.  There’s no such thing as a dispensation of salvation before Christ came.  Ok? 

Now notice verse 17.  “For the law was given by Moses…”  Nothing wrong with the law.  It’s holy, and just, good and spiritual, and right.  “…But grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”  Because God is going to do something for us through the sacrifice of Christ that nothing else can do.  That we cannot do, that the law of Moses could not do, that the commandments of God cannot do.  Ok, now that’s not to take away from the commandments of God.  Question: do the Jews honor the Sabbath in the letter, those who are religious?  Yes, yes they do.  Because there is no law that man can devise…  Now hold on, you need to think this through.  There is no law that God devised which brings justification.  What do I mean by that?  Now that may sound like a radical statement, ok.  But it is not.  Why?  What are we to remember?  Nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Christ.  And it is by grace.  “…Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”  But notice what it is built upon.  What did Jesus do concerning the law of Moses?  He opened their minds to it, correct?  Yes, and the prophets and the psalms.  What did He do, as we’ll see a little later in our series when we get into Matthew, what did He do with all the commandments of God?  I’ll just summarize it.  He’s saying, “Boys, you’ve been playing sandbox.  I want to show you the real thing.  I want to show you why these laws are spiritual, and what you do physical out here has no spiritual connection unless you come through Me.”  Now that’s kind of colloquial, crude summary of Matthew 5, 6, and 7, but that’s what He said. 

Now let’s come to John 6, and here again is a very profound verse.  Very simple but very profound.  And before we read this verse in John 6 I want to ask you why do you do anything you do, other than it’s a bad habit if you got one?  No, not human nature, no.  We’re not talking about anything bad.  Why do you do anything you do?  What’s the whole basis of how human beings operate?  Let me ask another question.  How many here have ever mailed a letter?  Every one of us.  Why do you mail a letter?  You think about it, it’s a stupid thing.  You get a piece of paper, you put it in another piece of paper that’s folded over, it’s got a little glue on it and you lick it and maybe it’s flavored or not.  And then you get another little piece of paper that says, U.S. mail.  You lick it and stick it on there and you run down to the Post Office and you put it in a box.  Why do you put it in the box?  You have faith someone is going to pick it up and deliver it and you believe it, why?  Because it’s happened before, right?  Everything you do operates because you believe.  Think of that.  Do you do anything you don’t believe?  You surely wouldn’t put soot in your white clothes to bleach them.  You don’t believe that would bleach them, do you?  No, ok so you wouldn’t do it, cause you don’t believe it.  Right? Right. 

Now here we go, John 6.  After He fed them the manna, and boy they were on to the greatest welfare program in the world, so they came and said, “Lord, we gotta have this food.”  So verse 26, “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily [or that is Amen], I say unto you, Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”  And I’ve got to say it every time I read it, I just wonder what the apostles felt when they took the fish, broke it off, and broke it off, broke it off, broke it off, broke it off, and the loaf grew, and the loaf grew, and the loaf grew.  And then they went out and gathered up more than they started with.  That was so profound they didn’t know what to do.  And these people were all excited, man. 

So Jesus said, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth [or the food], but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed.  Then said they unto Him, What shall we do…”  because all human beings like to do something don’t they?  “…That we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God [very first thing you have to do, and this is at the very heart and core of justification], that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent” (vs. 27-29).  And that belief, again is “into”.  Profound moving belief. 

Now there’s something strange about human beings, which is this: once they believe, whether it’s the truth or a lie, they act upon that belief.  So that’s why Christ came filled with grace and truth that we might believe on Him, see.  And that means everything that He is, and was, every word He said, every commandment He gave.  Ok, so we have to believe. 

Now how much are we to believe?  Let’s go to Matthew 10.  Now we get down to the nitty-gritty.  This is a little bit different than the old covenant.  Ok, and this ties right in with something else that we’re going to read in a little bit.  Matthew 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me [now that’s a profound statement]; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38).  So now we have something entirely different than is required in the New Testament based upon belief.

Let’s go to Luke 14.  We’ll see it laid out even more clearly.  Much more clearly.  And then this is what we have to do in the way of belief and then we’ll show you what God does in return.  And this shows us how we overcome sin, ok?  Shows us how we’re justified.  Luke 14:25, “And there went great multitudes with Him…”  And Jimmy Swaggart said, “Bless you all I’m glad you came.” [laughter]   Jesus didn’t.  “…And He turned, and said unto them, if any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:25-26).  So this comes into another thing that we were also talking about today.  Glen and I, we had some good conversations today.

All we talked about today was what I would call 200%.  Which adds up this way.  Did God give 100% to us?  Yes indeed.  What does He expect from us back to Him?  100%.  Since He gave 100% and He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, what is He going to do for us?  Now we’re not to take our 100% and pervert it and twist it so that we make use of God’s 100% for our own theology.  Now those are all those things involved too, you see.  All of those things.  Alright, let’s see what God is going to do. 

Now let’s carry this on further.  You all understand about hating yourself, don’t you.  Ever hated yourself for doing something?  Yes.  Alright.  Who’s the only one that can take away that guilt?  Christ.  Is there any commandment that can take away that guilt?  Is there any formula in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt get rid of guilt by doing A, B, and C?”  No, because it’s of the heart.  Has to be from belief.  Has to be from with inside.   So He says, “…[hates] his own life, he cannot be My disciple”, and it is interesting because means “there is no power that can make you My disciple.”  That’s what it really means.  The Greek there is  o dunatai, no power, no ability, no way.  Why?  Because nothing can what?  Subsitute for the sacrifice of Christ.  Now let’s go on.  “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be My disciple” (vs. 27).  Same thing.  So there’s certain things we need to do, and it’s not necessarily going to be easy. 

Now let’s see what God does in exchange, ok?  God gives us something…  First of all we need to understand what God gives us.  He’s given His only begotten Son, right?  Is that not a gift?  Yes.  He calls us.  Graciousness leads us to repentance.  Is that not a gift?  Yes, indeed.  He gives us of His Spirit, which is the gift of eternal life.  Is that not a gift?  Yes, indeed.  He gives us another gift, which is called the gift of righteousness. Now what is that?  What is the gift of righteousness?  Is that the gift of keeping the commandments because it says “All Your commandments are righteousness?”  No it isn’t.  The gift of righteousness is something entirely different based upon grace.

Now let’s go to Romans 3, and here again unfortunately in the King James, it’s really not too good.  And unfortunately a lot of the Protestants misread this and they don’t understand it so I’ll do the best that I can with it.  One of the projects I’d like to do and appreciate your prayers on it.  I would like to translate the book of Romans and do a series on that.  That is something else, boy.  Boy when you go through that, that’s something.  Ok. 

Romans 3:20, after he says everybody’s a sinner.  Jew, Gentile, you’re all a bunch of miserable louses.  You’re murderers, your bitter, there’s misery, and so forth.  “Therefore…”  Now I’m going to read it the way it should read.  “…By works of law…”  [“the” is not there in any case].  “…By works of law…”  Which is a broad general principle.  What did we say?  Remember, nothing substitutes for the sacrifice of Christ.  “…By works of law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight…”  Why?  Cause there is no law that forgives sin.  He answers the question.  “…For by law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20, paraphrased).   The law is to tell us what sin is.  The law that doesn’t justify us from sin.  Takes a different entirely, different act of God.  Ok? 

Justified means to be made right.  Now you all know when you get a speeding ticket, if you don’t go down and make it right you’re going to get arrested.  Cause you have not been justified by satisfying the law. 

Now here’s verse 21, and this is one the Protestants totally misunderstand, ok?  “But now the righteousness of God…”  And this one when I first read it I couldn’t believe what I read cause I didn’t understand it. Ok? 

Now hold your place right here, let’s go to Psalm 119:172, “My tongue shall speak of Thy word…”  Now the last part here.  “…For all Thy commandments are righteousness.”  Now you’re stuck with a problem, aren’t you?  Which means, what on earth are we talking about here?  But the righteousness of God without the law…how can you have righteousness without law?  You see?  You go nuts with it, because you don’t understand what it is.  Because how can all of God’s commandments be righteousness if you’re without them?  So the answer is, it doesn’t mean “the absence of”.  It does not mean “the absence of”.  If you come without a coat you come absent a coat.  Ok?  This word “without” means “separate from”, not “absence of”.  So the righteousness of God separate from the law is manifest. 

Now what kind of righteousness are we talking about?  That’s the whole thing.  Let’s look in Matthew 5, and another very profound scripture.  And this is interesting that Jesus starts off with this before He goes into any of the commandments of God.  Verse 19, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  Most everyone stops there.  You gotta read the next verse.  It says, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19-20).  Now how are you going to have your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees?  Through Christ, ok?  We’re on the way here now.

Let’s come back to Romans 3.  Did they do everything in the letter of the law?  Yes.  Were they righteous?  Yes.  Were they also sinful in their righteousness?  Yes.  Why?  Because there is a righteousness greater than law-keeping.  There is a righteousness greater than law-keeping.  Doesn’t do away with the righteousness of the law at all, because all of the commandments are righteous.  Why?  Because they come from God.  God is holy, God is righteous, God is true, ok?  But there is a righteousness greater than the law.  Which comes through Christ.  Which you receive, so that your righteousness can be greater than the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.

Now let’s read on here, Romans 3:21.  “But now the righteousness of God…”  So it comes from God.  “…Of God [apart from] without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” (vs. 21-22).  Now what is this righteousness?  And how does it apply to you even though you’re a dirty rat and I’m a dirty rat, as far as of our own selves before God.  Remember there is a gift, ok? 

Now let’s go on.  “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace…” (vs. 23).  So this is something that comes through God’s grace.  Now what is grace?  Grace is unmerited pardon.  What else is grace?  Grace is far more than that.  I knew I’d get that answer.  Grace is the whole state of your relationship with God.  By grace you are saved.  You are not saved just through forgiveness of sin.  By grace you stand.  Every epistle is opened up, “Grace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Grace also means gift.  Grace is the umbrella under which everything comes from God.  The whole New Covenant is a covenant of grace.  Ok?

Now let’s see.  “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness…”  Don’t you think the righteousness of God is greater than the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees?  Yes.  Ok.  “…That He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.   Where is boasting then?”  We are Abraham’s seed, no way.  “…It is excluded.  By what law?…”  It’s not in the law?  “…Of works? Nay…”  Now here’s one to really cross your eyeballs.  “…But by the law of faith.”  Now how are you going to have a law of faith?  They’re diametrically opposite terms.  By the law and the operation of faith.  In other words, the operation of faith is called the law of faith like we have the law of gravity.  Ok?  “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified [apart from] by faith without the deeds of the law” (vs. 24-28).  Why, where is he justified to?  God the Father in heaven above.

Now then he says…let’s come all the way down here…talks about circumcision…no we’ll read that.  “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith [separate from] the deeds of the law.”  It doesn’t say you’re no to do them, but it says separate from them.  What did James say concerning the law?  If you obey the law but yet  what?  Offend in what?  One point of the law, you are what?  A transgressor, right?  Yes, ok?  So this has got to be greater than the deeds of the law.  Is anyone going to go up to God and say, “God, I kept the Sabbath for 50 years.”  He’s going to say, “What did you do the other 25?”  See?  By law. 

Law-keeping does not forgive law-breaking, ok?  Law-keeping does not forgive law-breaking.  Now how do you know that’s true, even in this society?  A guy commits murder.  He escapes.  He runs away someplace else, until he sees his face on the most wanted on t.v., and he is a perfect citizen.  Did his being a perfect citizen forgive the sin of murdering that person?  No.  Did it even pay back to society?  No.  Why?  Because a life was taken.  And all of your good works after murder cannot compensate for that life.  Now, who did you murder?  Jesus Christ.  Though we are to keep the commandments of God, which we are brethren, here’s where the Protestants just totally lose it.  They don’t comprehend it.  And were a lot of people in the Church of God totally lose it because they’re locked into commandment keeping, ok?  We’ve all killed Jesus Christ, therefore to make that right we have to do something other than to keep the law, which is in addition to it but separate from it.  We have to repent, we have to be baptized, have to go to God for the forgiveness of sin.  What forgives sin?  No law forgives sin.  Law defines sin.  God forgives sin.  How?  Through the sacrifice of Christ, ok? 

Now let’s go on here.  Verse 28, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith…”, because he believes that Jesus Christ was the sacrifice of God.  And he believes that that pays for the penalty of his sins.  Therefore he is made right, justified, with God by that belief.  Nothing else can do it because God did not create a law to do it.  He sent His Son to do it.  And nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Christ.  All right?

Is He the God of the Jews only?”  Oh, they wish He was.  “IsHe not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:  Seeing itis one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.  Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (vs. 29-31).  Why?  Because we receive the Spirit of God to love God and keep His commandments from a whole different point of view.  Therefore your standing before God is greater than law-keeping because God gives you a gift, ok? 

Let’s go to chapter 4.  Now the righteousness of God.  What is that?  What is the righteousness of God?  Let’s define it another way.  Let’s ask another question.  How righteous is God?  He’s perfect, there’s no sin, is that not right?  Yes, indeed.  Ok.  So if the righteousness that God gives us comes from Him as a gift, there’s no way we can earn it.  Can we earn perfection?  No.  Why?  Because that which is imperfect cannot of itself ever be perfect.  So that perfection has to come from God, ok?  And it’s imputed to us.  It is given to us cause you can’t earn it.  God gives it.  Just like you Glen when you’re grandchildren come up and they know they’re going to get a hug and a kiss, ok?  And they know they’re going to get $5.00.  And they know that they don’t have to do anything for it.  But you tell them they’re not going to get it unless they love you.  Now do you think one of them of you is going to come up and kick you in the shins and say, “Give me my $5.00 Grandpa.”  (Laughter)  No.  It’s the same way with us, see, because God loved us and sent His Son.  Therefore He has to give something to us, ok? 

“And therefore…”, verse 22, of Abraham and his belief, that he was fully persuaded to what God was able to do, promised what He was able to perform.  Verse 24, “Therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”  Now as I explained in my James series, there were two different things.  James is talking about one thing, taking the son to sacrifice him.  And then he had to do something so there was a work to justify him, ok?  This one is, God took him out and said, “Look at the stars if you can count them, which you can’t.  That’s how your seed is going to be.”  What’s your only alternative?  Belief.  Ok, so that’s imputed as righteousness.  Given to him as a gift. 

“Now this was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed [given or granted], if we believe on Him [there’s that word again] that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:22-25).  Now what kind of justification are we talking about here?  Being put in right standing with God.  That’s  what justification means.  Being put in right standing with God.  That’s what justification means.  And the righteousness then is that state of right standing. 

Verse 24, “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.  Therefore being justified by faith, we [shall] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand…”  You stand in that grace.  God’s gift to you.  Now how good should you really feel toward God?  And this is why we need to be uplifted and inspired because of God.  Now I know it’s a little technical, but when you grasp it and you understand it, it’s fantastic.  “…And rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit] Ghost  which is given to us.” (Romans 4:24-25, 5:1-5). 

So here’s the full cycle.  God loved the world and sent His Son.  Christ was raised from the dead.  He is the sacrifice to justify us.  He sends His Holy Spirit.  He gives us a gift, which is called the gift of righteousness.

Now let’s come over here to verse 17.  “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace…”  Remember what it says?  Grace upon grace.  Everything that God does is based upon His graciousness toward us because we are what by nature?  Sinners.  So the only way we can truly overcome that is through God’s grace and gift, and the gift of righteousness. 

Now what does it mean, the gift of righteousness?  That means being put in right standing before God the Father in heaven above as a gift.  Now how then are we to respond to God?  We’re surely not to go out and sin.  What shall we sin, that grace may abound?  That’s what he says here in chapter 6.  No. 

“What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2).  See, so that’s why when we’re baptized we are joined in the death of Christ.  He died for everyone’s sins and our part in it.  So God says, “Because you do that, because you believe in what I’ve done.  Because you love Me, because you love Jesus Christ, I’m going to give you the gift of righteousness, which means that you stand before Me blameless. 

Now, do you want to sin?  No, no you don’t.  Is that not a greater motivation to not sin, because of this gift of right standing with God, than to say, “Brethren you’ve go to beat your flesh so you don’t sin.”  Beating the flesh is a work of law, right?  Yes, ok?  Believing in Christ is a work of faith.  And when you have that belief are you going to want to sin?  No.  And if you sin, because you’re still human and have the law of sin and death within you, what is God going to do?  He’s going to be so gracious and giving that He’s going to lead you in repentance to repent of it so He can forgive it, so therefore you will be inspired to not sin.  God wants you to quit sinning by being inspired because of His gift.  That’s what it is.  The gift of righteousness. 

Let’s go to Colossians 1, here for just a minute.  Now we covered this a little bit in Ephesians 1, but we also find it in Colossians 1, ok?  Now we know that Christ died for us when we were still enemies, right?  While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  Why?  Because God loved us.  Could we bring Christ down from heaven?  No.  God had to send Him, because the inferior or the created doesn’t command the creator.  He never commands the creator. 

“For it pleased theFather that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works…”(Col. 1:19-21).  That’s why you must believe, because nothing from without that you do changes your mind unless you believe first.  You’re enemies in your mind by wicked works.  Where does everything come from?  From within.  That’s what Jesus said.  For from within, from out of the heart of man proceeds what?  The first thing He said?  Evil thoughts.  Adultery, fornication, murder, theft, covetousness, all of that from within.  So if you believe from within and with God’s Spirit, you see, then when you’re reconciled.

“In the body of His flesh through death…”  That’s what does it.  The sacrifice of Christ.  That’s why no law can substitute for the sacrifice of Christ.  Here’s the reason.  “…To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight…” (vs. 22).  And you might add right after that…through the gift of righteousness, which is right standing with God. 

And it would be like this:  if you went up to your Grandpa and you gave him a great big hug and kiss, and you knew that he was going to give you $5.00, and he reached down in his wallet, because he loved you so much, he gave you $1000.  And you thought that was so good.  You gave him another big hug and kiss, and Grandpa who owns the whole world, reaches down in his pocket and he pulls out $10,000, ok?  And Grandpa says, “Now don’t you go be a bad girl.”  “Yes Grandpa, I’ll be a good girl.” See. 

Now that’s exactly how God wants us to respond to Him, because what He’s giving us is the removal of sin, totally.  And He is giving the righteousness of Christ.  He’s saying, “I’m going to take My Son who was perfect, since He died, and I am going to place Him in you (Christ in you the hope of glory), and I’m going to give you that gift of righteousness where when I see you, you are what?  Let’s read that again.  “…To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight…”  Now brethren, that’s inspiring.  Now there’s a little caveat here, “if”.  “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard…” (vs. 23).

Now let’s go to Ephesians 2 and we’ll wrap this up.  Let’s go to Galatians 2 before we go to Ephesians 2.  So hold your place in Ephesians and go to Galatians.  Now with that…now I don’t want to get bogged down in the technicalities of Galatians 2.  I’ll do that at a later date when I can spend more time on it.  Let’s come here to verse 20, maybe we can understand this even more, ok?  

“I am crucified with Christ:…”  Why?  Because you died with Him.  Co-death, joined together in His death.  You’re hundred percent.  You’re crucified.  He said whoever doesn’t come after Me and take up his cross…”   You’re crucified.  Ok.  “…Nevertheless I live;…”  You’re all still alive too.  “…Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…”  And in the Greek that means, “Christ’s own faith”.  Another gift.  The gift of faith.  Why do you believe and others don’t believe?  Because God has given you the gift of faith, which is an act of what?  Grace.  Christ’s own faith.  Not only do you have Christ in you, you have His faith, you have His love, you have His righteousness, which God has given to you and you can’t earn it.  And that makes you justified before God from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.  There’s no law of Moses can substitute for the sacrifice of Christ, ok? 

“…I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me [comes right back where we began], and gave Himself for me.  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness…”, which is what?  Right standing before God the Father in heaven above.  “…came by law…”  There is no law that can substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, so therefore there is no law.  And it doesn’t come that way.  And if it did then Christ died in vain, which He didn’t die in vain.  But when you start out in the spirit and someone comes along and says, “We’re going to finish in the letter…”, you can’t finish in the letter because the letter cannot do the spirit.  It’s that simple.  Only the Spirit of God can. 

Now let’s go to Ephesians 2 and we’ll finish there.  Now I covered part of this during the Feast of Unleavened Bread so I won’t go through it in great detail, but let’s pick it up here in verse 4 after we’ve been thoroughly condemned living under Satan’s world, verses 2 and 3.  “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us…”  Again God intervened in an act of love to call you, to call me, to call whoever God calls.  Ok, now you can see why God does not like ministers ruling over those He calls, because God rules over them, see, by love.

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)…” (vs. 5).  And it means having been saved by grace.  The act of grace to save you from your sins and Satan.  You’re not yet totally saved because the resurrection is not here.  That is coming.

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [things] places in Christ Jesus:…”  Which verse 7, will be fulfilled in the ages to come.  What has He promised us?  Hasn’t He given us a heavenly promise?  Where are we going to sit?  As kings and priests, right?  When?  In the ages that are coming.  That “…He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”  He’s going to tell all the world.  “Folks this is what I did with My grace.  This is My family.  This is the bride of Christ.  Now we’re going to bring you the love and joy of God.  And the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to circumcise your heart and take away your heart of stone.”  Ok? 

“For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that is not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:...”  So we’ve got grace, we have faith, we have salvation, we have righteousness – all gifts of God.  The many, many gifts of God, ok?  “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  We already covered that.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (vs.8-10).  How are these good works motivated?  Ok?  Because you love God, cause you know He loves you.  Because He’s given you that gift.  And nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Christ.  Now that’s why what the gift of righteousness is. 

Now I know it’s a little technical in parts of it but if you can grasp that then you’re well on the way to overcoming fear, overcoming doubt, overcoming guilt complex, see.  That’s why a minister is not to put a guilt complex on you, but he is to help lead you so that you go to God and repent.  And how much better that is.  Isn’t that better?  Yes.  Sure it is, because then it’s between you and God.  And then you can love each other, and you can love God, and we can go on from there.  Ok.  That’s it, we’ll end it here.