“Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come–all are yours.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-22 NKJV).
Under the Old Covenant, receiving, experiencing or enjoying God’s blessing is contingent or dependent upon obedience to the terms of the covenant. Under the Law, the people of Israel had to perform or do the works of the Law in order to earn God’s favour and blessings.
Whenever they failed to perform according to the terms of the Covenant, they came under the curse of the Law. This is because the Old Covenant is purely a performance-based covenant.
The Scripture affirms that the Old Covenant is work or performance-based.
1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.
2 “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God.
15 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. (NKJV).
The New Covenant, unlike the Old Covenant, is not a work or performance-based covenant, but a faith-based covenant.
Under the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s blessings are graciously bestowed upon the New Covenant believers, not based on their good works or performance, but on their faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
The Scripture amply attests to the truth that the New Covenant believers are blessed purely on the basis of their faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work of redemption.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. (NKJV).
This scripture above aptly reveals that believers were chosen, accepted and blessed in Christ before the foundation of the world. Apparently, not according to their fasting and prayer, or according to their tithing and generous giving, or according to their good works and obedience to God’s law, but simply according to the good pleasure of God’s will and to the praise of the glory of His grace.
2 Peter 1:
2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. (RSV).
This scripture also buttresses the truth that God has given or granted to the New Covenant believers everything necessary for living a godly life.
God has anticipated all your needs and in His wisdom He has placed the provisions in your born-again spirit, which is one spirit with Christ.
The born-again believers are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, not based on their works, but purely based on their faith in Christ Jesus. God’s favour and blessings are simply God’s gracious gifts or bestowments on those who put their faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Apostle Paul amply testifies to this truth.
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (NKJV).
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (NKJV).
As a joint heir with Christ, you have equal rights with Christ to all things that belong to God. Christ owns everything, for He is the “heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.”(NKJV). Therefore, as a joint heir with Christ, you lack nothing that is good, for all things are now yours.
Apostle aptly states this awesome truth in his epistle to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 3:
21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours:
22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come–all are yours.
23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (NKJV).
All things are yours in Christ and through Christ the very moment you became born-again through faith in Christ.
Your salvation or adoption as a son into God’s family is purely by grace through faith in Christ and His finished work of redemption. And by virtue of your adoption as a son into God’s family, you have become a joint heir with Christ Jesus, the Firstborn in God’s family, who owns everything.
This is purely by grace through faith. It is the gift of God!
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV).
6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. (NKJV).
Sadly, many believers today who totally believe and agree with the Scripture that their salvation or adoption as sons into God’s family is purely by grace through faith alone in Christ Jesus and His finished work are however striving and seeking to earn, merit or deserve God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing through their self-righteousness, gifts, performance, or good works.
Apparently, they are like the foolish Galatians who having begun in the Spirit (by faith in Christ) later sought to continue and be made perfect in the flesh (by the works of the Law).
1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have you suffered so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain?
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (NKJV).
It is sad but true that many born-again believers today still don’t know and understand that God is not dealing with them as He dealt with the Old Testament saints, according to the terms of the Old Covenant.
As a result of their ignorance, they are always passionately striving to serve God and give to God according to the stipulations or regulations of the Mosaic Law with the motive of earning, deserving, or meriting God’s blessings.
Unfortunately, many ministers of God today still don’t discern, recognize or understand the vast differences between the Old Covenant (the Mosaic Covenant) and the New Covenant in the Bible.
Consequently, they mix the two unequal covenants together while preaching or teaching, thereby confusing God’s people and subjecting them to the terms or regulations of the Old Covenant which God had abolished in its entirety.
The Lord Jesus clearly taught in a parable that the Old and the New Covenant are incompatible – cannot be successfully mixed together.
36 Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.
37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.
38 “But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
39 “And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'” (NKJV).
The Old and the New Covenant are not of the same nature, purposes, and terms!
While the Old Covenant is based on works, the New Covenant is based on grace. While the Old Covenant is according to the Mosaic Law, the New Covenant is according to faith in Christ.
While the Old Covenant is of the letter, the New Covenant is of the Spirit. While the Old Covenant is the ministry of condemnation, the New Covenant is the ministry of righteousness.
While the Old Covenant was established on the people’s promises to perform according to the terms of the covenant, the New Covenant was established on better promises, God’s promises to perform or fulfil His Word with oaths (Exo. 24:1-8, 2 Cor. 3:5-10, Heb. 8:7-13).
God has abolished the Old Covenant in its entirety. God is no longer dealing with men based on the Mosaic Law, or according to their works or performance, but only according to their faith in Christ.
Therefore, you don’t need to impress, appease, influence, motivate, persuade or compel God to love, accept, favour and bless you by your performance or good works. In Christ, you are loved, accepted, favoured and blessed by God.
Beloved, we are in the days of a New, Better and Superior Covenant which Mediator is not man, but God Himself. You are no longer under a performance-based covenant. You don’t need to earn anything by your performance or works, for all things are already yours in Christ.
You don’t need to strive or seek to be blessed, for you are already blessed in Christ. You don’t lack anything; you have everything in Christ.
7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”
9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (NKJV).
In Christ, you are blessed with believing Abraham. Therefore, stop working or performing to earn the blessing; rather, start believing as Abraham did.
How then do you draw from, appropriate and enjoy the blessings you have in Christ?
Find out in the second part of this piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing me in Christ with everything that I will ever need in this life. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach me how to appropriate all things that are mine in Christ and through Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.