The New Covenant ratified and sealed with the blood of Jesus is infinitely superior to the Old Covenant ratified and sealed with the blood of bulls and goats in that it offers and provides righteousness for men as a gift from God.
The righteousness that men under the Old Covenant pursued by the works of the law but could not attain is now available to all men as a gift to be received purely by faith in Christ and His finished work. This is why it is called “the righteousness of faith.”
Apostle Paul explains this truth in his letter to Christians at Rome.
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith;
31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. (NKJV).
There are two kinds of righteousness that men can have. There is righteousness of men and there is righteousness of God. These two kinds of righteousness are mutually exclusive; you cannot lay claim to both at the same time for relationship with God.
It is either you hold fast to your self-righteousness or you renounce it and embrace God’s righteousness as a gift by faith in Christ.
Apostle Paul points out this truth in his prayer for the religious Jews.
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (NKJV).
Man or self-righteousness is purely based on man’s performance or works of the law. This is an imperfect righteousness; for no man can keep the whole law completely and continuously without stumbling in one point all through his life.
No man has ever done that except God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible describes our human or self-righteousness as “a filthy rag” in God’s sight (Isa. 64:6).
On the contrary, the righteousness of God is apart from the Law or independently of the Law. It is not based on man’s performance, actions or works, or keeping the requirements of the Mosaic Law. It is purely a gift from God and can only be received by faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross.
You cannot have, keep or hold fast to God’s righteousness while still having, keeping or holding fast to your own righteousness. It is absolutely impossible to have and keep both!
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (NKJV).
It is the earnest desire of Apostle Paul to be found in Christ, not having and holding unto his own righteousness, but having and holding fast to the righteousness of God which is apart from his works.
He puts it this way in Philippians 3:
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. (NKJV).
This should also be the earnest desire of every child of God today!
Having the righteousness of God imputed or bestowed on us independently of our performance, actions or works is undoubtedly one of the huge blessings or benefits of the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, many believers today are not appropriating and enjoying this great blessing because they remain sin-conscious instead of being righteousness-conscious in their walk with God.
While the blood of bulls and goats associated with the Old Covenant can only purify the bodies of the worshippers, it cannot cleanse their minds and consciences from sin.
Therefore, the Old Covenant people were not entirely free from guilt and condemnation of sin. They still had the consciousness of sin in spite of all their sacrifices and rituals for cleansing. Their sins were only covered under the blood of bulls and goats, but not totally blotted out and so there was a remembrance of sins every year.
The writer of Hebrew aptly presents this truth.
1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. (NKJV).
However, under the New Covenant there is no longer a daily or yearly remembrance or reminder of sins of the believers in God’s sight.
Unlike the blood of bulls and goats of the Old Covenant, the blood of Jesus purifies or cleanses our minds and consciences from sins, blots out all our sins, and obtains eternal redemption for us. Praise to Jesus!
13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity.
14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. (NLT).
Under the New Covenant God has sworn not to remember or keep the records of the sins of the believers forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
He said, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Heb 8:12 NKJV).
Although God does not remember or keep the records of sins of the born-again believers in Christ, sadly, many believers are still stuck in sin-consciousness, keeping personal records of their sins and remembering always their past sins. Consequently, they remain under condemnation and bondage of sin.
Having sin-consciousness is Satan’s trap to hold you under condemnation and keep you from enjoying total freedom from sin. You cannot overcome sin by being sin-conscious or sin-focused. You can only walk in daily victory over sin by reckoning or considering yourself dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).
Likewise, you cannot enjoy intimate and loving relationship with the Holy God with a mind that is stayed on sin. You cannot worship God in spirit and truth with a conscience and mind that is not purged from consciousness of sin.
You cannot appropriate, possess and enjoy all the blessings and benefits of the New Covenant with sin-consciousness. This is why the devil wants your mind stayed on your sins!
Beloved, it is not God but the devil who constantly reminds you of your sins, sets your sins before you, and focuses your mind or attention on your sins, thereby getting you stuck in sin-consciousness.
God would have you remember always that your sins have been forgiven and blotted out, and that you are now “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Therefore, rise up today to purge your conscience and mind from the consciousness of sin by understanding, believing, confessing, appropriating, and focusing on who you are now in Christ in God’s sight – “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” (Col. 1:22 NKJV).
Why are many believers today sin-conscious and not righteousness-conscious?
Because they are still living under the Law!
Without the Law sin is dead or powerless. The power or strength of sin is the Law (1 Cor. 15:56). While it was not the Law that brought sin, yet it was the Law that revived, activated or stirred up sin in man. It was the Law that revealed sin for what it is, and brought the knowledge and consciousness of sin.
Therefore, under the Law, no man can be free from the dominion and condemnation of sin (Rom. 6:14).
Apostle Paul explains presents this truth in his epistle to the Romans.
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”
8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.
9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. (NKJV).
The Scripture clearly teaches and explains that the ultimate purpose of the Law is to bring all men under the guilt and condemnation of sin so that men may detest their sinfulness or wretchedness and humbly cry out to God for salvation (Rom. 3:19-22, 7:22-25, Gal. 3:19-26).
Through the body of Christ the born-again believers have become dead to the Law and thus delivered or discharged from the Law. Therefore, the believers in Christ are free from the dominion and condemnation of sin, and from the curse of the Law. Sadly, not many believers know, understand, or believe this truth.
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another–to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.
6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (NKJV).
Although as a believer in Christ you have been delivered from the Old Covenant Law, yet if you put yourself again under the yoke or bondage of the Law, striving to keep the Law in order to earn God’s love, acceptance, approval, favour or blessing; the Law will exert its full power and wrath on you, and ultimately fill your mind and conscience with the consciousness of sin.
Therefore, you cannot escape the trap of sin-consciousness if you still choose to live under or walk according to the written code or regulations of the Old Covenant Law. It is walking in the Spirit that sets free from sin-consciousness.
This is why Apostle Paul sternly warns the born-again Jews against returning under the Law for justification and righteousness in Galatians 5, saying,
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.
3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. (NKJV).
What are the blessings of possessing the righteousness-consciousness?
First, righteousness-consciousness imparts boldness and confidence to you:
Sin-consciousness will erode your boldness and confidence in life, but righteousness-consciousness will impart boldness and confidence to you. Nothing emboldens you in life as knowing that you are completely and eternally righteous, holy, loved, accepted, favoured and blessed by God in Christ Jesus.
The Scripture states: “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Prov. 28:1 NKJV).
It takes being righteous-conscious to boldly lay claim on, appropriate and possess your covenant-blessings in Christ. You cannot approach God’s throne with boldness and confidence unless you are conscious that you are completely acceptable to God in Christ (Heb. 4:16).
It takes righteousness-consciousness (freedom from condemnation) to have confidence towards God. The Scripture states: “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.” (1 John 3:21 NKJV).
It is not God that condemns us but Satan by filling our minds and consciences with the consciousness of sin.
Second, righteousness-consciousness makes your prayers powerful and effective:
Sin-consciousness will empty your prayer of its power and renders it ineffective. But, righteousness-consciousness will release faith that will make your prayer powerful and effective.
The Scripture states: “…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (Jam. 5: 16 NLT).
Many believers today are not wielding the amazing power and enjoying the tremendous blessings of prayer because they are not righteousness-conscious. They traverse cities and nations seeking for some anointed servants of God to pray for them because they erroneously think that servants of God are more righteous or holier than them in God’s sight.
Your prayers will not be powerful and effective, producing wonderful results if you fail to see yourself as “the righteousness of God in Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Similarly, you will not be able to resist the devil and put him to flight wielding your God-given authority if your mind is fixed on your sins. It takes righteousness-consciousness to always prevail in spiritual warfare. This is why the devil wants you to be preoccupied with your sins, mistakes and shortcomings.
Lastly, righteousness-consciousness enables you to reign in life:
Sin-consciousness will reduce you to a captive or victim in life. But righteousness-consciousness will set you above every adversary and adversity in life.
The Scripture states: “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:17 NKJV).
You cannot reign over sin, sickness, poverty, failure, death and the devil while struggling under condemnation of sin. It takes a heart, mind and conscience free of any condemnation to reign as a king and priest unto God in this evil world.
It takes you walking in light of the truth that you are always holy and righteous in God’s sight independently of your actions to reign as a winner, victor and champion in life.
Many born-again believers today are constantly experiencing defeat, failure and frustration in life because they allow the devil to beat and hold them down with guilt and condemnation.
The devil will always harass, afflict, torment and defeat you if you allow him to preoccupy your mind with your sins or mistakes. It is not sin that often kills and destroys men but the guilt and condemnation of sin.
Beloved, stop listening to, meditating upon, and yielding to accusation and condemnation from Satan! In Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation for you.
The Scripture states: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1 NLT).
Embracing condemnation from Satan is opening the door for depression, affliction, and oppression!
You cannot maximize the grace of God available to you without possessing and walking in righteousness-consciousness. Grace reigns through righteousness!
It takes you seeing yourself as righteous in Christ notwithstanding your weaknesses or mistakes to appropriate the riches of God’s grace in Christ Jesus.
The Scripture states: “So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5:21 NKJV).
Don’t allow the devil to continue to rob you of the riches or benefits of grace through guilt and condemnation of sin. Don’t submit to condemnation of sin from Satan, yield only to conviction of sin from the Holy Spirit. Don’t continue to muse over your sins or wallow in your sins and so give the devil an inroad to your life.
Friend, if you are under a conviction of sin, repent of it immediately and confess it to God, and receive and appropriate by faith the forgiveness of sins purchased for you by Christ with His precious blood.
The Scripture assures: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NKJV).
You are not a sinner by your personal disobedience, but by the disobedience of the first man, Adam. Similarly, you are not a righteous person by your personal obedience, but by the obedience of the second and last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Scripture states: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19 NKJV).
Therefore, as a born-again believer in Christ, you are eternally righteous in God’s sight, not based on your obedience or works, but based on the obedience and finished work of Jesus Christ.
Righteousness is not just a gift you have received from God, it is actually who you are now in Christ. Nothing can change who you are now in Christ!
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21 NKJV).
Arise today and begin to think, talk, and walk as “the righteousness of God in Christ.”
Don’t ever lose your righteousness-consciousness!