The Good News of the Judgment
||The Old and New Covenants in the Hour of God's Judgment
The Bible is very clear that we are justified by a righteousness that is found in Another. This is the righteousness of faith and the only righteousness that can enable us to be ready for the coming of our Lord in His glory. Those who are trusting in the sinless life and atoning death of our Lord upon the cross of Calvary are ready for His coming no matter when our Lord should appear. There is perfect sinless righteousness only in the person of Christ. All our good works and prayers and our Christian characters which are the fruit of the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit are tainted with the corrupt human nature we inherit from fallen Adam. The righteousness that is in us by our good works and deeds must still have the incense of the merit of Christ imputed unto them to be acceptable before God and worthy of reward. This corrupt human channel which all have through Adam necessitates that we come to God through the only mediator between God and Man, the only Good Man, Jesus Christ. In Him is contained the righteousness by which we are accounted and reckoned righteous by God's unmerited grace.
Our Lord was NOT righteous by faith. That is, He never needed to be justified by an external righteousness found in Another for He was the very essence of the righteousness of God in His own person. He alone could say "the devil comes to Me and can find nothing in Me". He alone could say that He always did the will of God and had no sin in Him. Of Him alone could the Father say, "This is by beloved Son with whom I am well pleased." The Law of God could find nothing in Him to condemn for He as the Second Adam and the incarnate Son of God was the very embodiment of the righteousness of the Law.
Repentant believers in Christ are always accepted before God and His Law by grace alone on the basis of faith alone in Christ's perfect sinless life and atoning death ALONE. The indwelling of the gift of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer which begins to write the law of love for God and Man in our hearts is a down payment of the life that we shall have in eternity. Until then our salvation begins in faith and ends in faith in the righteousness that is by faith alone in the imputed righteousness of Christ upon all and unto all who believe. All have sinned and all (including the most pious and godly of Christian believers) continually fall short of the glory of God, but being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ and we rejoice in the glory of God to be revealed at His coming. All other ground is shifting sand and the deception of self righteous, blind, miserable, naked wretchedness, and the pompous flatulence of the Antichrist.
The terms I use to declare the gospel of Christ are all New Testament words. They are covenantal words which can be found throughout the Bible especially the epistles of Paul the greatest of the covenantal theologians of the New Testament. Without an understanding of the Levitical language of the Old Covenant one cannot understand the language of the New Testament. The vocabulary of the Bible is just "theology speak" to some because their "theology" does not come from the Biblical framework of Covenantal Theology which Abelard and many false teachers in the Christian church today reject. Atonement, righteousness, covenant, justification, kingdom of God, propitiation, sin offering, Law, works of the Law, grace, substitution, unmerited grace, redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation, blood offering, curse of the Law, blessings of the Law, oath and promise of God, mediator, and High Priest are all covenantal terms which only have meaning to one who reads the Bible. This is not "theology speak" in a derogative way at all. This is the language of the Old, New, and Everlasting Covenant. All this is summarized in the text, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
I am amazed at the contents of many complaining messages I receive regarding my use of "theology" terms and yet I am not really amazed at all. Every term I use is found in the epistles of Paul. Read Paul's epistles to the Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews. All of these epistles deal with the Covenants of God and how God saved the lost human family through the substitutionary sacrificial death of Christ Jesus our Lord. Without an understanding of Old Testament history and Levitical law contained in the Pentateuch and the Prophets these epistles are full of meaningless gibberish.
Most of the Gentile converts to Christianity were well acquainted with Judaism and frequented the synagogue weekly. They understood the concepts of the sacrificial system and the Hebrew feasts which pointed forward to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Not all of the Gentiles were ignorant "barbarians" in the stone age sense of the term. Read over the Acts of the Apostles and re-acquaint yourselves with the history of the early Christian Church of the first century. Those few Gentile believers who were unfamiliar with the Old Testament were quickly taught the creation account in Genesis and about the temptation and Fall of Man and about the promised "Seed" who would crush the Serpent's head and about the meaning of Christ's sacrificial atoning death.
Read the background to the covenantal concept of the Lord's Supper. Our Lord said, "Take, eat; this is my body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Paul states, "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Covenant in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come."
The Synoptic and Johanine Gospels are also full of covenantal terminology which is totally indecipherable without a knowledge of the Old Testament and the covenants. The concept of the covenantal signs and symbols and seals and the terms of blood, bread, sacrifice, baptism, Passover meal, curses and blessings, priesthood, veil to the most holy place, incense, mediator, white linen, lambs, scapegoat, without spot or stain, redemption, debt to the Law, law of sin, oaths, Adam's sin, the Second Adam, election, Lord's Day, the rainbow, angels, atonement, sealing, down payment, wrath, refuge, mercy, few stripes and many stripes, Messiah, anointed one, Judge, judgment, forgiveness, sprinkling, justification, imputed righteousness, no condemnation, etc., etc., etc....... (I could go on for about one hundred or more other New Testament terms) all have their origin and definition in the Old Testament and the covenants which God made with the human family and Israel. The New Testament and especially the epistles of the apostles to the churches are FULL of COVENANTAL terminology with which the early Gentile Christian believers were VERY FAMILIAR.
For some to imply that the majority of the new Gentile converts had no access to the Old Testament is absurd. The view that Paul did away with the Ten Commandment and replaced them with the law of love was completely rejected by all of the Protestant reformers and never adopted by any reputable students of the Pauline epistles. Only the "enthusiasts" of Luther's era adopted the antinomian heresy of doing away with the written law by the infilling with the spirit of the law. (see Luther's Works on "The Spirit and the Letter of the Law). Many confuse Paul's warnings and rebukes to the Jewish Gnostics of the Circumcision Party as if they apply to any Christian who lives by the Ten Commandments as a definer of sin, including the fourth commandment which defines God as Creator of the world in six days and gives us the eternal symbolic memorial of His creative acts in the Sabbath. All of the Reformers observed one day of the week as a Sabbath day. The idea that Paul's allegorical comparison (see Hebrews 4) of the Sabbath to the finished work of atonement does away with the actual observance of the seventh day of rest is sheer folly and antinomianism by all definitions of the term.