We Are Not Contract Workers
“And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”
Genesis 15:6 and affirmed in Galatians 3:6 (NKJV)
The Old Testament had an aspect to it that was contractual, but of course it must be understood that Israel did nothing to gain God’s initial favour. That favour was gained for them by Abraham who also did nothing for it, other than to believe. His belief was counted to him as righteousness. You will recall that Abraham did not walk perfectly before God even after this, but it did not affect the covenant that God made with him. This clearly shows that the covenant with Abraham was not contractual, i.e. you do this and I will do that. It was a completed covenant that did not need a contribution from Abraham other than that which he had already given—belief.
The new covenant is the continuation of the covenant made with Abraham whose children we are. Jesus has done for us all that needs to be done, there is no further contribution required from us other than our belief. And further, all this was done for us whilst we were enemies of God (Romans 5:10). This again demonstrates that we can do nothing to contribute to this covenant.
Yet it seems to be in our DNA to want to do something to gain a benefit. It seems we hate to be beholden to someone. This was the position held by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. He came to offer them the kingdom through faith but they insisted on earning it with works. Rather than believing him and believing in him, they insisted on holding to their previously held position of somehow finding a way to be worthy of God’s blessing by the things that they did.
Remember that Jesus said all judgment had been given to him. His sacrifice dealt with sin once for all so that, in Jesus, there is no condemnation, there remains nothing to be judged, it has already been judged and the sentence completely paid and satisfied (Romans 8:1). All that remains is for us to believe. Jesus has done everything that needs to be done because we could not do any of it for ourselves. And he has done it perfectly for us to the full satisfaction of the Father. To turn to works as some kind of necessary contribution is to deny that fact and to say Jesus didn’t do it all for us. Yet Paul says we are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10). Now, either we are complete or we are not. That is why we have to believe, otherwise we think we are not complete and seek to bring about completion by something we do. Paul warns us that if we do seek to contribute to our completion Christ will be of no value to us. It’s either all done for us by Jesus and we are asked only to believe, or we are on our own.
Let’s allow this confidence to fill our life with hope and assurance no matter what we may be asked to endure.
Father in heaven, thank you so much for what you have done for us in Jesus Christ. Please fill me with the confidence and assurance that this hope can provide as I meet the trials of this life.
Study by David Stirk