The Law

The burden of success in the old covenant depends on man's self-effort. The centerpiece of the old covenant are the ten commandments. The ten commandments are directed at man. They are requirements for man to do the right things and not do the wrong things. So the burden is on man's shoulders to make the old covenant successful. The burden of success of the new covenant, on the other hand, depends entirely on Jesus. Man's self-effort has no part in the new covenant, only his faith.

Hebrews 8:6-13 But now Jesus has obtained a superior ministry, since the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, no one would have looked for a second one. But showing its fault, God says to them, "Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. "It will not be like the covenant that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord. "For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people. "And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, 'Know the Lord,' since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. "For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer." When he speaks of a new covenant, he makes the first obsolete. Now what is growing obsolete and aging is about to disappear.

The old covenant of the law produces death and condemnation. Only the new covenant of Jesus Christ can produce righteousness!

2 Corinthians 3:6-11 ... who made us adequate to be servants of a new covenant not based on the letter but on the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry that produced death -- carved in letters on stone tablets -- came with glory, so that the Israelites could not keep their eyes fixed on the face of Moses because of the glory of his face (a glory which was made ineffective), how much more glorious will the ministry of the Spirit be? For if there was glory in the ministry that produced condemnation, how much more does the ministry that produces righteousness excel in glory! For indeed, what had been glorious now has no glory because of the tremendously greater glory of what replaced it. For if what was made ineffective came with glory, how much more has what remains come in glory!

Notice that being in Christ has "tremendously" greater glory than being under the old covenant. So don't say I wish I was David, or Elijah, or some other old testament person; because in Christ you have the "tremendously" greater glory. The glory of being in Christ is the thing the old testament prophets longed for and even angels desired to see.

So Corinthians shows us that the old covenant produces death and condemnation, but the new covenant produces righteousness. In fact, the law cannot make man righteous, it can only show man his sinfulness.

Romans 7:13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, so that it would be shown to be sin, produced death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.

Again, in romans, it is revealed that the purpose of the law is to show man his sinfulness.

Galatians 3:19 What then was the purpose of the Law? It was added [later on, after the promise, to disclose and expose to men their guilt] because of transgressions and [to make men more conscious of the sinfulness] of sin...

And Galatians also agrees that the purpose of the law is to show man his sinfulness.

Romans 5:13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law.

Therefore, if you try to fulfill the law through your self-effort, you will fail, because you are putting yourself back under the old covenant, a ministry of death and condemnation. Even worse, you are making the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as though it was worthless.

The law leads us to Jesus. This is the ultimate purpose of the law, to point us to Jesus.

Galatians 3:23-27 Now before faith came we were held in custody under the law, being kept as prisoners until the coming faith would be revealed. Thus the law had become our guardian until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Jesus fulfilled the law on our behalf. And more than that, he is the end of the law

Romans 10:3-4 For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes.

What are all these scriptures telling us? Let's summarize by looking at the old and new covenants side by side according to what the Holy Spirit is revealing in the above scriptures.

Old and New Covenants
Covenant Focus Man's part Powered by Produces
Old Law Self-effort Man's self-effort Condemnation and death
New Jesus Faith (Believing in Jesus) Holy Spirit Righteousness

So if Jesus has done all the work for the new covenant, what is left for us to do? Our work today is to believe in Jesus.

John 6:28-29 So then they said to him, "What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?" Jesus replied, "This is the deed God requires -- to believe in the one whom he sent."

Only one thing is necessary, to enjoy an abundant relationship with Jesus.

Luke 10:41-42 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the best part; it will not be taken away from her."

So then what about the good works the father has planned for us to do? How do they come about if it is not by our self effort?

Right-believing
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Right-relationship (father-child)
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Receive His perfect love
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Right-living (give out of the overflow of His love)

(All verses from the NET Bible)

Author: Lyall Jonathan Di Trapani 19 Feb 2013