The New Covenant established by Jesus’ blood is a covenant of grace. God offers to mankind a divinely completed work of grace that no work on man’s part can be added to complete it. The recipients of what was promised only had to believe. Its benefits are received by faith so we can call it a “grace covenant of faith.” This work was completed by the Lord Jesus which is a total work of God’s grace. This is in contrast to the Law covenant God gave through Moses which was a law covenant of works (or it depended on man’s works).
There is often a false comparison that says “GRACE HAS NO WORKS BUT LAW IS WORKS. It is true there are no works we could do to complete God’s plan but there are works we do IN RESPONSE to His completed plan. There are works both under grace and under law but the difference is which comes first or the order. We can understand both the grace covenant and the law covenant by understanding two main principles: The ORDER of Divine blessing and human obligation (work); and the POWER depended upon to fulfill the obligation.
UNDER GRACE THE ORDER IS:
1. Blessing is freely given from God based on Jesus’ work, and now we respond in faith and obedience or BLESSING FIRST – WORKS SECOND.
2. The POWER to fulfill its obligations and standards is a divine life and Spirit put within. It is by the energy of the Spirit only that we can do all that is required. Human effort cannot meet the divine standard. Only a divine life can.
UNDER LAW THE ORDER IS:
1. It was blessing conditioned upon man’s obedient work or WORKS FIRST – BLESSING SECOND.
2. The POWER to fulfill its obligations and standards was man’s flesh and man’s working. (The Law Covenant, though, was weak because the flesh of man, depended upon as a source of power, cannot fulfill the Divine obligation (Romans 8:3). The power in man was insufficient to keep it. The Law Covenant could not impart the power to fulfill its rules. This made the law a ministry of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:9) and a curse (Galatians 3:10, 11).