Do We Reap What We Sow OR Is This an Old Covenant Principle – (Letters to a Friend – Series)

BibleWhen 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.

Crucifix on a WallTHE NEW COVENANT OF GRACE: We have a better Covenant today. Jesus reaped the whirlwind of God’s judgment for us on the cross. Our judgment was once and forever put on Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

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.

About Carol Ann Ritchey

Life is good because God is good.
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10 Responses to Do We Reap What We Sow OR Is This an Old Covenant Principle – (Letters to a Friend – Series)

  1. Paul’s teaching are a complete break with Judaism of Old Covenant. I am dismissive of OT therefore in favor focus NT only.


    • Yes, it is true that we should not try to mix Old Testament law with New Testament grace. Jesus Himself told us that new wine should not be put into old wine skins, because both would be lost. The Law demands our perfect obedience, which we cannot perform; grace provides forgiveness and unmerited favor, without which we have no hope. How blessed we are!


  2. jannatwrites says:

    To me, the Old Covenant is more like trying to buy our way out of condemnation by acts, and following the letter of the law. Grace is wonderful gift indeed.


  3. I think it is dangerous for Christians to dismiss or ignore the OT law. Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. The 10 commandments still stand – it’s just that Jesus both simplified them and expanded them.

    He simplified them by telling us to love God and love our neighbor – that in doing this, we would automatically keep all 10 commandments.

    He expanded them by telling us rather than keep the letter of the laws, as the Pharisees did, to keep them on our hearts. The Pharisees were legalists, and worshiped the laws over compassion and love. Jesus wanted us to put compassion and love before the letter of the law when weighing our words and our actions. This is why he healed on the Sabbath.

    Paul’s teaching was not a break with the following of the 10 commandments, but a break with the idea that works leads to salvation. It is faith, not works, that leads to salvation; that was the primary difference between the Old and New covenants.

    Works is an outpouring of faith, as James explained. We still cannot lead lives of sin, but our faith, and God’s mercy and grace, give us the desire to walk the path of sinless lives. When we stumble (and we will, because we are human), we depend on the forgiveness of God to set us right again.


    • Well said, Susan. I would have argued myself exactly as you have. I understand where you are coming from. I was there. I am not saying anything new. It seems new, but it’s the same good news that Jesus gave us. Logically, if Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and received the wrath of God in our place, then God will not revisit our sins. There was no other way to save us. Jesus, as He lived on this earth, fulfilled the law in our place, and He died to pay for our sins, all of them, present, past, and future. We live for him by His holy Spirit. Our deeds should reflect His presence in us. When James preached to his congregation, he wasn’t seeing the evidence of the Holy Spirit in his congregation, and he questioned. Sometimes we don’t act like the Shepherd, but if we are His sheep, He knows us, and we know Him. What Jesus said of the two commandments was that they summed up the entire law. And they do. Old Testament saints couldn’t keep it, and neither can we. Jesus kept it for us. Now, as He is in this world, so are we. We have HIS righteousness, not our own. Of course, we want to live to honor God and love our neighbors. Knowing how we are loved by God empowers us to live for Him. Blessings to you, Susan. Thank you for taking time to explain your position. I fully understand what you have said.


  4. Thanks. And thank you for the follow-up post about consequences.


  5. pattisj says:

    I’m glad we don’t have to try to live out the letter of the law.


    • Yes, we cannot consistently or perfectly keep the entire law. Jesus kept it for us and gave us His righteousness in exchange for our sins, which He paid for on the cross. Imagine what it will be like in heaven when we no longer have to deal with our tendency to fail. Blessings to you, Patti…


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