In the Bible, there have always been two opposing and contrasting systems.
- Man’s works
- God’s grace
In the beginning you had two trees in the Garden of Eden:
- The Tree of Life represents the Grace of God given freely to man
- The Tree of knowledge of Good & Evil represents man’s efforts to become like God be morality/self-righteousness by doing good and avoiding evil.
After Adam sinned, all of humanity was spiritually dead with no connection to God, without eternal life.
Abraham was righteous by faith without doing any works. This was the plan of God to bring grace to the world received by faith and not works. It was the Grace of God.
Romans 4 “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”
Then after that God gave the covenant of works, known as the Ten Commandments / Law / Old Covenant. This was a temporary covenant where God demanded Israel to be righteous by works. The law said that those who do all the works will be righteous! It was salvation by works.
But this covenant was not designed to replace the promise of Grace to Abraham.
The law was given to show people that they are not righteous by works. The law was given so that Jesus would die on the cross to take away sins.
Galatians 3 “10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit…..16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise….. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.”
The Ten Commandments (Law) is the Opposite of the Cross (Grace):
Galatians 2 “16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified….19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!””
The Law ended on the cross so that the promise to Abraham is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is forgiven all sin, and righteous by grace without doing a single work.
Romans 4 ” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”