Covenants | Law | Mercy | Judgment
The following teaching is a revealing of Jesus Christ. Who He was, is, and will always be. There is currently much confusion in the church in regards to the judgment of God, mercy, grace, the law, the new covenant, and the old covenant. This teaching will lay a proper foundation of these subjects so that Christ may be better understood. The foundation can only be laid with scripture, not opinions. Many in the church say that God does not presently release His judgment. This way of thinking will be tested against the scriptures.
In order to have a proper understanding of these subjects, we must see through clear lenses. The first is: God does not change (Malachi 3:6). The second is: Jesus Christ was crucified from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).
I have heard some people in the church state that the God of the old testament is a God of judgment, and in the new testament He is a God of mercy. Now if we look through our scriptural lenses we can see that this statement is not true. God cannot change. In fact, the scripture also states that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). I have heard many preachers quote this scripture when they are talking about healing, but when it comes to judgement they seemingly forget it. Mainly because they are picking and choosing what scriptures in the Bible they want to believe. If a scripture disagrees with their "doctrine," then they turn a blind eye to it.
I have also heard teachers make statements such as, "Heaven views things differently after Jesus died on the cross and rose again". This may sound good, but when we put on are scriptural lenses and look at it; it becomes nothing more than human reasoning. Revelation 13:8 says the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. The Lord lives in eternity and is outside of time. He is not bound by it as we are. We view things changing according to time. In this case, an event that happened 2,000 years ago. This is human reasoning on our part. For the Lord sees the event happening from the foundation of the world. Before the world was formed, the Lamb of God was already crucified. It was already finished before Adam set foot on the earth. Because Jesus was crucified from the foundation of the world, the Lord could show mercy to Adam, Abraham, Moses, etc. The lord sees from an eternal prospective, and we see from a temporal one. Our minds must be renewed so we can see how the Lord sees. This will prevent us from operating in human reasoning.
We will now discuss the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. The definition of covenant is: an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified. In the most basic terms, the old covenant was: "Obey My law and commandments in your own strength, and I will bless, protect, and save you." The new covenant is: "Obey My law and commandments empowered by My grace and Me living through you, and I will bless, protect, and save you." The law and the old covenant is not the same thing. A covenant is simply the terms in which we agree with God to obey His law. The old covenant faded away when the new covenant came. The law, however has not passed away. By the law, I am referring to the ten commandments and any other moral law written in the scripture. Obviously there are certain things such as animal sacrifices that have been dissolved.
The Law and the Prophets
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19 NKJV)
Jesus did not destroy the law and the prophets. He fulfilled them and we must fulfill them as well (more on this later). Jesus states that the law and the prophets are still in effect until the heavens (sky) and earth pass away. This will happen at Christ's second coming (2 Peter 3:10). Then the New Jerusalem will descend out of Heaven and there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1).
Do we then by [this] faith make the Law of no effect, overthrow it or make it a dead letter? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law.
Paul makes it clear that we should not make the law of no effect, but we should uphold the law.
Romans 8:1-4 (NKJV)
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
When those who are in Christ (believers) walk according to the Spirit there is no condemnation. However, if a believer walks according to the flesh there is condemnation. If a believer walks in the flesh, he will sin and break the law. Thus condemnation will come upon him. In verse 4, Paul states that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us when we walk according to the Spirit. So if we walk according to the flesh, the righteous requirement of the law is not fulfilled in us. Please note that we must still fulfill the law. Jesus didn't remove the law. He came and fulfilled it, and then gave us the grace to fulfill it as well.
Galatians 5:13-18 (NKJV)
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[a] 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Paul states that we fulfill the law by loving one another. Then in verse 18 he makes things very clear. He says, "if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." Meaning that if we are not led by the spirit and we are walking in the flesh, we are under the law. So believers certainly can be under the law and suffer the judgment of the law. This is very clear in the scripture and I have witnessed it happen.
James clearly shows us that we can still break the law and be a transgressor of it, if we do not love one another: "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors." (James 2:8-9 NKJV)
The Mercy and Judgment of God
First I will note that the old covenant was not even in existence until Exodus chapter 20. That means that there was no covenant between man and God all throughout the book of Genesis. That does not mean that God's law was not in place during the Genesis time period. The Lord's moral law has always been in place, even if it was not written. We tend to think that there was only judgement under the old covenant. Well we know there was no covenant during the time period when fire and brimstone rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord was a God of judgment before the old covenant, He was during the old covenant, and He is after the old covenant (as we will see).
In Genesis 6:1-6, we see that fallen angels (sons of God) had sex with the daughters of men, and giants were born. During this wicked time period when the blood line of the human race was being corrupted, God said He would give man 120 years to repent. What mercy! The Lord waited 120 years before He sent the flood to destroy every living thing on the earth. The Lord was merciful before the old covenant, during the old covenant, and after the old covenant.
The Lord showed a lot mercy under the old covenant. David committed adultery and murdered his faithful friend. And the Lord forgave David the instant he confessed his sin. Doesn't that sound like the gospel? However David was still judged for his sin. But David should have been stoned to death according to the law. David walked in the revelation that the Lamb had been slain from the foundation of the world. He understood repentance and forgiveness, so his sins could be forgiven.
The Lord sent the prophet Jonah to an evil city to preach. Jonah preached and the people repented. The Lord withheld judgment on the city. He extended mercy when He saw the repentance of a people who didn't even know the Him. The gospel.
Manasseh was the most wicked king that reigned from Jerusalem. He committed more sins and abominations than any other king. Yet the Lord gave him the kingdom for 55 years. After some judgment from the Lord, Manasseh repented of his sins and trusted in the Lord. Manasseh will be in Heaven. The Lord's mercy is truly amazing and He is not willing that any should perish.
New Covenant Judgment
There has been false doctrine seeping into the church that says the Lord does not judge under the new covenant. The scripture however states something different. If Christians will believe the word of man over the Word of God; they will go into deep deception in the coming days. It doesn't matter how well known a teacher is. We must believe the Word over man. We will be judged on this before the King's throne on that day.
Ananias and Sapphira wanted the city church to believe that they were completely "sold out" for the Lord like Barnabas. The were given over to the pride of life. They wanted recognition among the people of God. They desired to make a name for themselves. Therefore they sold an estate. After they sold it, they gave some of the profit to the apostles, and kept some of the profit for themselves. However, they told the apostles that they were giving the full amount from the sale of the estate. They wanted to have honor in the eyes of man, just as the Pharisees. God struck Ananias dead. Then Peter actually prophesied to Sapphira that men would carry her out dead like her husband (Acts 5:9). Peter would have been kicked out of our modern ministry schools that teach you never prophesy judgment. Even in this act of swift judgment, the Lord showed mercy. I believe the Lord took them to Heaven early because He saw that they would fall away from Him if allowed to stay on the earth. We must not judge His judgments as bad, for He sees all things and acts out of love.
Paul encountered a sorcerer named Bar-Jesus. This sorcerer was a hindrance to the gospel and the Lord's plan. So the Holy Spirit came on Paul, and Paul prophesied a "negative" word of judgment to Bar-Jesus. Paul told him that he would be blind for a time (Acts 13:11). Then Bar-Jesus became blind. Paul would have been kicked out of our ministry schools along with Peter.
Herod allowed the people to praise him as a god. When Herod did not give glory to God, the angel of the Lord struck Herod. Herod developed some kind of internal sickness, and was eaten internally by worms and died (Acts 12:21-23).
Jesus released a prophetic word of judgment over the city of Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44. The prophecy came to pass about 40 years into the New Testament church age. In 70 A.D. the armies of Rome burned the city and destroyed the temple. One million Jews were killed in the siege. Many from brutal starvation.
In Matthew 18:34-35, Jesus states that our loving Father in Heaven will turn believers over to the torturers/tormentors (demonic spirits), if we do not forgive our brother or sister. Demons have the capacity to inflict sickness, disease, and mental torment.
The church in Corinth was partaking of communion in an unworthy or irreverent manner. Paul goes on to say that because of this, the church was bringing the judgment of God on themselves. He says when the Lord judges you, He is chastening you. What was the judgment? Many weak and sick, and many fallen asleep in death (1 Corinthians 11:23-34).
I will end this segment on the Judgment of God with this last scripture. Keep in mind that this is addressed to His church, and it is His living word to the living church today. The great King and Judge, sitting on His throne:
(Revelation 2:18-23 NKJV)
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
Theses scriptures make it very clear that Jesus Christ is still a God of judgment under the new covenant. I have heard a well known leader in the church make the following statement, "I would go to jail for doing to my kids, for what some people say God does to His kids." This statement is based on human wisdom and does not factor in that God is the Lord and the Judge, in addition to the Father. God certainly is my Papa. But He is also my Lord and Judge. I am a father to my kids Alivia and Bryten. However, I am not their lord or their judge.
We reason that judgment is bad, and the Lord would not do anything bad, because He is completely good. While it is true that He never does anything bad, it is untrue that He does not bring judgment. That argument is unscriptural. Our human reasoning stating that judgment is “bad,” is incorrect. We are formulating our theology based on our limited sight instead of an eternal perspective. The Lord sees the end from the beginning. We must trust His sight above our own. Everything the Lord does is good, even His judgment. If we do not agree with His judgment, then we are saying that we have a better way. That’s pride and humanism. By disagreeing with Him, we doubt His leadership. If we disagree that He brings righteous judgment upon the people of the earth, then we are rejecting the Truth in scripture and creating our own doctrine. By creating man-made doctrine or traditions of men, we render the Word of God void and of no effect. Instead of our hearts and minds bending to fit Him and His Word, we bend Him and His Word to fit our hearts and minds. If we deny His judgments and the fact that He is a righteous Judge, we deny a part of Him. In essence we are saying to Him, “Not all of You is good, I disagree with part of You." I want to love all of the Lord. His goodness, His mercy, His kindness, His love, His Justice, His severity, the fear of the Lord, and His Judgment. All of Him is righteous and good.
- Ty Unruh (2015)