When I learned that the ministry of Jesus embraced the last years of the Old Covenant, my understanding of the four books of the gospel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, changed. Things Jesus said that once seemed contradictory to the gospel message made perfect sense.
When the rich young ruler came asking Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus reminded him of the commandments. The man said he had kept all of them from his youth. Jesus loved the man and pointed out one thing he lacked. Jesus told him to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and follow him. (Luke 18:18-23 and Mark 10:17-22)
When I first read this account, I wondered why Jesus didn’t tell the man to believe on Him and his sins would be forgiven. He had told some others that their sins were forgiven. Here is the reason: This man believed that he was already perfect and without sin, because he thought he had kept all the law all his life. Jesus told him that there was one thing he lacked. As long as this man believed that he had kept all the commandments, he couldn’t see his need for a Savior. Jesus exposed his need.
THE OLD COVENANT OF LAW: Under Law, man was obliged to keep the entire law perfectly. The Old Covenant principle of man’s sowing wrongdoing and reaping the whirlwind of God’s judgment was mitigated for Old Covenant believers by animal sacrifices offered to God as payment for sin, a foreshadow of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus would shed His blood, in the fullness of time, to forever settle the sin debt.
When trouble comes, it has not been sent by God to punish us, because Jesus has already been punished for our sins. There is no condemnation for believers in Jesus. We have forgiveness, favor, mercy, and the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us live godly lives in Christ Jesus. God loves us and does not punish us for the sins Jesus has already been punished for. Rejoice and be glad. We are greatly blessed, highly favored, and deeply loved.