The Contrast

by Creflo Dollar | 15 May 2019

Summary

There are definite differences between the old covenant of the law and the new covenant of grace. Jesus has replaced the law with grace, but this does not mean we do not have any laws at all to follow. Although we are no longer under the Ten Commandments and all of its associated requirements, we are now under a new commandment: to believe in Jesus Christ and to love one another. Under the law, man had to perform to be blessed; now, all we need to do is to have faith in what Jesus has already done. We do not have to be aware of sin, because we are now free to be mindful of what Jesus’ finished works made available to us. God has said we are righteous, redeemed, delivered, and healed. To receive these gifts, all we need to do is to believe this.

  1. Unlike the old covenant, we do not have to work to be blessed. We are already blessed.
    1. One of the major differences between the old and new covenants is the finished works of Jesus Christ, and how they impact us as Christians. We do not have to perform to achieve what He has already achieved.
      1. Jesus has already redeemed, delivered, and healed us, and given us wisdom.
      2. By faith, we can activate the authority we have been given through His grace.
      3. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).
      4. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith (Mark 11:23).
      5. Performance-based religion is sin, because the only true righteousness is Christ’s righteousness. The only way to get this is to receive it, and surrender all our self-effort. We must believe.
      6. Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Galatians 3:6).
    2. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).
      1. Under the law, we became conscious of sin; this is the purpose of the law. Sin-consciousness always tells us what we must do. In an attempt to keep the law, we do “dead works.”
      2. Dead works are our efforts to perform to deserve God’s favor. However, grace is a gift from Him.
  1. Under grace, we are not enslaved to our self-efforts. We simply have faith in Jesus.
    1. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death (Romans 7:5).
      1. “The flesh” is a mindset. However, when we live by the law, this mindset even impacts our physical flesh.
      2. To be in the flesh means to try to do the good things that the law requires, through our self-effort.
      3. We err if we put more faith in what we can do for Jesus than in what He has already done for us.
      4. And the law is not of faith… (Galatians 3:12).
      5. …For whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
    2. And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field… But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee (Deuteronomy 28:1-3, 15).
      1. The law was conditional, and based on man’s performance. By contrast, the phrase “if thou” does not appear when God talks about the new covenant; instead, the phrase “I will” appears throughout.
      2. The Abrahamic covenant, also known as the covenant of promise, is a mirror-image of the new covenant. The Abrahamic covenant was unconditional, and not part of the Law of Moses.
      3. The law produces sin-consciousness; sin-consciousness produces condemnation; condemnation produces self-righteousness; and self-righteousness keeps us in the flesh.
  1. When we believe in what Jesus did, God considers us righteous, apart from our actions.
    1. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).
      1. When we got born again, we received the wisdom of God, and became sanctified, righteous, and holy.
      2. We were also delivered from the curse of not being able to perform the Law of Moses.
    2. What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 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 (Romans 4:1-6).
      1. “The flesh” is defined here as trying to justify oneself by works.
      2. If Abraham had been justified by works, it would have been by his own performance; we know this was not the case.
      3. Abraham was under grace; God treated Abraham as righteous even when Abraham did not act righteous.
      4. When we believe God, eventually our actions will eventually fall in line with our belief.
      5. Faith, not actions, justifies us. At Jesus’ crucifixion, one of the thieves on the cross voiced his belief in Jesus. He had no opportunity to justify himself.
      6. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:39-43).
    3. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Philippians 3:9).
      1. The only true righteousness is the righteousness we receive from God; this comes when we believe Him.
      2. We must have a sincere heart for what we do; we must not be motivated by praise from others.