This is an excerpt from my new book: The Revelation of God’s love through Jesus Christ (The New Covenant Gospel of Grace and the End Times) (Copyright © 2020 by Mathew Simon
Some Christians believe in Jesus for salvation but later on, trust in their own performance – mixing both the old and new covenants at the same time.
I did this for many years and suffered painfully in legalism, confusion, depression, and feeling distant from God not knowing His grace – until I realized His great unconditional love through the Gospel of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, I am not writing this lightly. It comes after 20 years of experience studying the Bible and applying it to my own life with a lot of ups and downs.
Under the Old Covenant, the Law was not given to save/transform people but to show that they are sinners and make them despair for salvation (Romans 3:19-20, Romans 7:7-9,24-25). The law demanded perfection for salvation: (James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”)
The law was about the righteousness of works but Christ fulfilled the law so that we can become righteous by faith and not by works (Romans 10:5-17).
The condition of the old covenant was that man’s works had to be perfect.
The one who obeyed perfectly was righteous while the one who broke even one commandment was a sinner. Therefore, all were sinners because nobody is perfect.
The condition of the new covenant is faith in Christ’s finished work!
Jesus Christ alone never sinned and is perfectly righteous.
He died for our sins and rose from the dead to make us righteous apart from works.
The believer is perfectly righteous by faith while the unbeliever is a sinner.
Therefore, a Christian cannot live by trusting in the Ten Commandments or ceremonial laws but lives in Christ by faith. The law cannot make anyone perfect because man is imperfect (Hebrews 7:18-19). The law was a shadow but the reality is found in Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17 “Let no one therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, or with respect to a feast day or a new moon or a Sabbath day, which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ’s.“
What is the Gospel of the New Covenant?
Under the law, the Jews approached God with constant repeated confessions and sacrifices but it could never take away their guilt (Hebrews 10:1-4). Therefore, Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins and make us perfect by His one sacrifice.
The Old Covenant could never take away their sins even after their constant confession, repentance, and sacrifices. The Law constantly reminded people of their sins and they could not do anything to become perfect!
The New Covenant is described according to Hebrews 10:5-18:
God’s will is that His Son Jesus Christ came so that our past, present, and future sins were taken away once and for all by His one sacrifice on the cross. It is finished.
This is why Jesus will not die ever again – because our entire lifetime of past, present, and future sins was forgiven once and for all on the cross.
God made us perfect, holy, and righteous by faith in Christ’s sacrifice alone and not by our confession, repentance, works, or sacrifices.
We cannot be repeatedly forgiven by daily/weekly confessions and self-examinations but only by faith in Christ’s one-time sacrifice on the cross, once and for all.
God did not give us two stone tablets (Ten Commandments) to guide us but the Holy Spirit leads us by grace and writes the law of love in our hearts.
God promises to never judge the believer and to never to remember our sins anymore.
This is the glorious power of Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection!
He made us righteous forever by His one sacrifice.
This is why the New Covenant is far superior to the Law.
1st John 3:23 “This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded.”
The Old Covenant commanded man to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves. But they were unable to do it.
Therefore, God made a New Covenant where God first loved us unconditionally when Jesus died on the cross and took away our sins! We are saved by faith in Christ having all sins forgiven. After we believe in Jesus, we love one another by the Spirit living in us.
Everyone who believes in Christ is freely given the righteousness of God by grace apart from our works. We are righteous by faith in Christ because our Lord obeyed the law perfectly – dying for our sins and being raised from the dead. God gives us His righteousness simply by faith in Christ – when we trust in Jesus and not in our works/performance!
Romans 3:21-26 KJV “But now the righteousness of God 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: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 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 forgiveness of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Many of us Christians start off by believing in Christ by grace but assume that the rest of Christian life is about behavior-improvement. We find this behavior improvement in every religion! But Christianity is not a behavior-improvement program.
We are righteous not by our performance but only by faith in Christ’s obedience!
Romans 5:18-19 “So then as through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, all men were justified to life. For as through the one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one, many will be made righteous.”
Romans 5:1-2 “Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
The Gospel is found here:
Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. He was buried and rose on the third day.
Acts 13:38-39 KJV “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.”
Everyone who believes in Christ is forgiven all sins and receives the righteousness of God apart from the works of the Ten commandments or any other works.
How do we live the Christian life?
Colossians 2:6-7 “As therefore you received Christ Jesus, the Lord, walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, even as you were taught, abounding in it in thanksgiving.”
We received Christ by grace through faith in His love and not by our works!
So, then we also live the Christian life the same way – not by depending on our works but by trusting in Christ and His love for us on the cross overflowing with thankfulness.
This means that we need to constantly be filling our hearts with the knowledge of His love for us rather than the knowledge of our works/sins.
Galatians 2:19-21 “For I, through the law, died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. I don’t reject the grace of God. For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nothing!”
When we believed in Jesus, we died with Him to the demands of the law and we were made alive with Christ. Our performance/self-reliance of the flesh died on the cross with Christ. Now we have a brand new life – we live by faith in Christ’s love for us. Christ is our life and we are alive in Him. We live daily by trusting in Christ’s love on the cross because He lives in us. We do the works not to become righteous but we walk in love with the assurance that we are already righteous by His performance.
So, then what about good works and living a Godly life? What about Holiness?
We come to God by faith in Christ apart from works.
But after that, many believers relate to God based on works.
We mistakenly say that our relationship with God is like a human relationship.
If we mess up, they say that we need to say sorry to be forgiven constantly.
While this is needed for a human relationship, it’s not sustainable for a relationship with God. Why is that? This is because if we relate to God based on works, then what standard are we going to use? It has to be the Biblical Law.
The problem is that the Law is a perfectionist. We know that a relationship with a perfectionist will descend into a disaster with constant guilt and condemnation.
So, then we cannot relate to God based on works. We relate to God through Jesus who finished the work. He is more than enough. When I rest from my efforts and just say that I am accepted and loved because of Jesus, then it’s pleasing to God. Then God can bear fruit in us and write his law of love in our heart – and then we live the life He has planned for us – all by grace through faith.
We acknowledge that salvation/righteousness is by faith and not by our works.
But then we mistakenly think that holiness is by our efforts!
We are focused on our performance instead of Jesus.
But holiness manifests when the Holy Spirit does His work in us!
That is why it is called the “fruit of the Spirit”.
He bears fruit in us when we trust more in Christ’s unconditional love.
Our salvation and holiness are 100% by grace and not our works.
It is not 50% Grace and 50% of our efforts. It should be 100% of Christ in me.
Does that mean we do nothing? No, we don’t become lazy or rebellious.
We should do good works from the assurance and confidence that we are already holy by Christ’s finished work. The Christian life is completely by grace through faith and not based on our performance. We trust in Christ as our Righteousness for salvation but also trust in Him as our Holiness/Sanctification in daily living (1st Corinthians 1:30-31).
Holiness is not about us trying hard but it is about Christ manifesting His love and power through us when we believe that we are holy!
Christ is not only our Righteousness in heaven but He is also our Holiness in this life.
He will also redeem our bodies from the curse of Adam by giving us eternal life in heaven. That is how we can truly boast in Christ and not our performance!
The Christian only boasts in Christ alone and not in our performance.
Many believers think that God is unhappy with their performance as an employer.
But God’s smiling face is found in Jesus Christ our Lord in the New Covenant.
Psalm 67:1-2 “May God be merciful to us, bless us, and cause his face to shine on us. Selah. That your way may be known on earth, and your salvation among all nations,”
People who trust in their own performance are in darkness because they cannot see the grace of God. Their eyes are blinded by their own performance until they see the glory of God in Christ’s face of love and grace by faith. Under the Old Covenant, they trusted in their own performance under the Ten Commandments but in the New Covenant we trust in the love of Jesus for us and then the Holy Spirit transforms us!
2nd Corinthians 3:6-18 and 4:3-6
“who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face, which was passing away, won’t service of the Spirit be with much more glory? For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For most certainly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses. For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech, and not as Moses, who put a veil on his face, that the children of Israel wouldn’t look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away. But their minds were hardened, for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, because in Christ it passes away. But to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit
… Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who are dying, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. For we don’t preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake, seeing it is God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.“
The Ten Commandments written on stone could only give a temporary glory but it eventually brought condemnation and death because nobody could obey it perfectly. The law was a mirror convicting them of sins bringing condemnation & death (3000 died on the day the ten commandments were given in Exodus 32). But the New Covenant brought the free gift of Righteousness and everlasting glory by faith in Christ (3000 were saved when the Holy Spirit was received by faith in Christ in Acts 2).
A person who is trusting in his own performance has a veil on his eyes and cannot see the face of God revealed in Jesus Christ. That person only sees his performance and sins. But when we trust in Jesus and not in our performance then we receive the free gift of Righteousness by His obedience alone! We see God’s loving face by faith in Christ with full assurance!
Under the law, the Israelites meditated day and night on the commandments.
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.’
But now in the New Covenant, we only focus on Jesus Christ our Lord.
1st Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
Ephesians 1:17 “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him,”
The purpose of the ten commandments was not to save people but to increase sin so that people realize their need for salvation in Christ. It was given to make people realize that they cannot be righteous by their own works but trust in Christ as our righteousness!
Romans 7:1,5,13 “Or don’t you know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives?….For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were through the law worked in our members to bring out fruit to death….Did then that which is good become death to me? May it never be! But sin, that it might be shown to be sin, was producing death in me through that which is good; that through the commandment sin might become exceedingly sinful.”
1st Corinthians 15:56-57 “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
Romans 5:20-21 “The law came in that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace abounded more exceedingly; that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
When people rely on their own performance by looking at the Ten Commandments or other Laws, then they feel guilty, relying on the confession of sins to ease their consciences. But when people stop trusting in their performance but look to Jesus Christ, then the Lord Himself gives us the grace to overcome sin and live Godly lives (Romans 6:14-18).
John 16:8-11 “When he has come, he will convict the world about sin, about righteousness, and about judgment; about sin, because they don’t believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to my Father, and you won’t see me any more; about judgment, because the prince of this world has been judged.”
The Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers of sins because they don’t trust in Jesus.
But the Holy Spirit convicts believers of righteousness – reminding us that Christ is our Righteousness! The Holy Spirit teaches us to trust in Jesus to be transformed because we are holy by Christ’s obedience and not by our works. The Holy Spirit shows us how much Jesus loves us so that we can express His love to others.
The Holy Spirit is not nagging and reminding us of our sins because the same Holy Spirit says in Hebrews 10:15-17 that God promised to never remember our sins anymore! We are not under law but under grace!
Colossians 2:11-15 “In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us. He has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross. Having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
The believers were dead in sin but made alive in Christ, having all sins forgiven!
This is because the Ten commandments and ceremonial laws were fulfilled on the cross for believers! The unbeliever is still under the law and its judgment but the believer is free from the law and is now under the grace of God in Christ.
The New Covenant has nothing to do with our faithfulness but completely about Jesus working in us by our faith. Our good works are actually Christ working in us!
Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
The verse above says that it is God who begins the good work and also completes it – this means that we have nothing to do it!
Our works are completely done by God from beginning to end in our Christian life!
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.”
We have nothing to boast or strive for because it is God who gives us both the willpower and does the actual work! It is God’s grace (Jesus) who works within me.
1st Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace which was given to me was not futile, but I worked more than all of them; yet NOT I, but the GRACE of GOD which was WITH ME.”
Good works in themselves are not a sign of salvation. Even unbelievers can do many good works. The true sign of a believer is that he trusts in Jesus and not his own works.
He says that it is Christ alone and not himself. The believer will do good works not in our strength but through Christ’s power in us. It is God’s grace and not our efforts!
The believer knows for sure that it is Jesus working in him and not his own goodness.
Ephesians 2:8-10 “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.”
We are God’s workmanship – not our own efforts. If there is anything we can boast in our works, then we know it is not from Christ. But when Christ is working in us then we will only boast in Christ and not ourselves. We should do good works as believers.
The works we do are not to attain salvation.
The works we do are not to attain earthly blessings.
The works we do are not to attain heavenly rewards because Christ Himself is our great reward (Genesis 15:1) who lives in us through His Spirit.
If we have Christ in us, then we have everything (Luke 15:31) because He is our life (Colossians 3:3-4). He who has Christ has eternal life that is not just about heaven but the grace-filled life on earth as well.
1st John 5:11-12 “The testimony is this, that God gave to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has the life. He who doesn’t have God’s Son doesn’t have the life.”
He who is without Christ, is dead in his own works and sins. But we who believe in Jesus do good works because His love compels (constrains) us from within our hearts.
2nd Corinthians 5:14 “For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died.”
Actually, it is Christ Himself who does the good works within us because He alone is our Righteousness and Holiness, and not ourselves.
The more we trust in Christ’s unconditional love for us apart from our works the more His Spirit works in us! This is the New Covenant.
Read more here in my book that can be purchased on Amazon: