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4.7 Romans -- the Nature of Faith

Jesus Christ made a New Covenant with all humanity, in the same way that God made one through Noah with all mankind -- a covenant of peace.  Most of God's subsequent covenants until Jesus were limited.  The content of the New Covenant has very little in common with the Old Covenant, which is why the Jewish believers got very confused and angry when they tried to import old teachings and practices into the church.  Unlike the Old Covenant, where righteousness was earned through obedience, in the New Covenant righteousness is given by God to all those who accept Jesus' perfect obedience as their own:

          God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood (Rom 3:25).

From an Old Testament perspective, this makes it "too easy" to be part of the Kingdom of God.  The emphasis in the Old Covenant is about keeping unworthy people out, setting high standards, not compromising.  The emphasis in the New Testament is about spreading the news of God's free salvation to as many unworthy people as possible.  Instead of earning the right to know God, one receives this privilege merely by asking -- and then God sends the Spirit into each believer to assist him to live in active fellowship with God and with one another.  In the Old Covenant, almost no one received the Holy Spirit -- prophets and kings were the exceptions.  In the New Testament, God's own Personal Presence is deposited within each person who is born from above.

           Where then is boasting?  (Rom 3:27)

           Paul asks.  It is excluded -- because no one did anything that earned him the gift of access to God.   We need to realize that boasting is a major component of racism: one group proclaims itself better than another group in terms of intelligence, bodily strength, beauty, historical influence. Usually, a public display is organized to promote "Racial Pride."  All of this boasting is contrary to the Gospel, because variations in brain power or brawn have no value in the Kingdom of God.

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