During the last supper the Lord Jesus set in motion the New Covenant; man was no longer going to have to relate to God through the Law of Moses but by the indwelling Holy Spirit. This was a massive change in the way God was going to deal with mankind; under the new covenant God makes people right with Himself (righteous) apart from the law, He literally gives righteousness as a gift to all those who believe on the Lord Jesus no matter who they are or where they are from. This is really good news 😀
There is a misunderstanding that should be cleared up at this point; mankind has only ever been saved by grace, even those under the law. The law of Moses was given to teach man that there is a difference between sin and holiness and to protect Israel until Jesus the messiah came.
The Ten Commandments themselves are an expression of God’s heart, they tell us that God is not a murderer, a liar, a thief and so on; however as perfect and spiritual as the whole law is it has no power to make anyone righteous. In fact the New Testament tells us that sin gets it’s strength from the law; sin is so terrible that it takes that which is good and kills us with it by exposing how sinful we really are, and the wages of sin is death.
The main reason God asked for all the sacrifices in the Old Testament was because no one could keep the law, the sacrifices were made to cover the failings of the people. They are also a picture of the Lord Jesus; a sacrifice had to be ‘perfect’ in order for it to be acceptable to God and when the sacrificial animal was presented the priest would inspect it rather than the person who was far from perfect. That is how it is today, we approach God through the Lord Jesus who upon inspection is the perfect sacrifice and so His right standing with the Father is assigned to us. Thank You Jesus!! People under the law were made right with God by accepting they were sinful and needed God to have mercy on them by granting them His forgiveness. It is still the same today except we have no need of the sacrificial regulations because Jesus has fulfilled all those requirements through His death and resurrection.
Things went wrong for many in Israel when they forgot that their salvation was an act of God’s kindness and not the result of them keeping the law. By the time Jesus began to preach the Pharisees were convinced that they were acceptable to God because they kept the law which was a joke. To prove how sinful they were Jesus taught that not sleeping around didn’t mean that you were pure, He pointed out that even to look at a woman with lust made you an adulterer; His point? We all have lust in our hearts whether or not we act it out and that makes us sinful; we have all hated and that means we are all murderers. The Pharisees were like the rest of us, trapped in sin and for them to offer God their performance put them beyond the reach of God’s saving grace.
Though the law is good, spiritual and holy if we present it to God as the reason for Him to accept us it will be the death of us. How? The law will declare us to be guilty on every count and therefore deserving of spiritual death. On the other hand Jesus came for those who know that they are sinners and not for those who believe that they are good enough. If we think we are good enough then there is no room for grace and we are left with our own religious efforts. But if we are convinced that there is nothing we can do to make us acceptable outside believing on the Lord Jesus then the doors of heaven are wide open to us and God declares us to be His beloved children. How great is our God!
Neither you, me or any one is saved because they go to church, pray, give or anything else. Nor will any of these things keep us saved; we are safe because we believed on the Lord Jesus and it is He who is keeping us and not our religious efforts. What a relief!