The Lens of the Finished Works of Christ

Mar. 23, 2020 | By Creflo Dollar

Summary

When we read the Bible, we need to use critical thinking and ask ourselves four basic questions: who is speaking; to whom is it spoken; what is the Scripture speaking about; and how are we to understand what we are reading in light of the finished works of Jesus? Following these guidelines will help us properly divide the Word. If we fail to do this, we open ourselves up to the danger of taking a single Scripture out of context and misinterpreting the Word’s true meaning. It is important not to read the Bible with an Old-Testament mindset; if we do, we will miss seeing grace in the context of what Christ did on the cross. What was true under the old covenant of law may no longer be true under grace. While self-effort was required under the law, Jesus freed us from that and replaced it with grace. Therefore, we do not have to beg God to bless us; we can now thank Him for the blessings He has already made available to us.

  1. The new covenant was established when Jesus shed His blood and died on the cross.
    1. We must remove the lens of self-righteousness and the veil of religion. Instead, we must read the Bible through the lens of the finished works of Jesus.
      1. When we remove the veil and look on Jesus, we are changed into His image.
      2. And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18, AMPC).
      3. We behold God by reading His Word, which mirrors to us who we really are in Him.
  1. It is important to establish whether the Scripture refers to pre-cross or post-cross.
    1. And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:16-26).
      1. Jesus is answering questions the young man posed to Him.
      2. Upon reading further, we learn the man is Jewish, because he keeps the commandments.
      3. Jesus’ answer to him was to keep the commandments through self-effort, because this was pre-cross, under the old covenant.
      4. When Jesus spoke of a camel passing through the eye of a needle, He acknowledged that this is only possible through God.
      5. It is impossible for us to keep all the commandments of the Law of Moses—only Jesus could do that.
    2. We are not justified through the Law, because by its very nature we are continually beholding our sins.
      1. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).
      2. The law is based on self-effort, which does not make us righteous in God’s eyes.
    3. Jesus’ blood gives us the right to approach the throne of God. Jesus is the new and living way.
      1. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh (Hebrews 10:19, 20).
    4. Jesus tells us He is the only path to eternal life.
      1. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).
      2. Keeping the requirements of the old covenant will not get us to eternal life.
    5. When Paul and Silas were speaking to the jailer, they were speaking under the new covenant.
      1. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house (Acts 16:30, 31).
      2. We see here there is a switch from being required to do something to simply believing.
    6. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:12-14).
      1. In the book of Matthew, when Jesus was teaching the people about how to get to heaven, He was teaching the law. His statement “this is the law and the prophets” puts it into context.
      2. Under the law, the road to heaven was narrow and few people were able to get there.
  1. After the cross, Jesus completely invalidated the old covenant of the law.
    1. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein (Isaiah 35:8).
      1. In the Old Testament, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus is the highway to God. Jesus has made it possible to get to heaven by walking the way of holiness.
      2. Jesus made it foolproof.
    2. The book of Luke made reference to Isaiah’s prophecy that Jesus is the way to salvation.
      1. As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Luke 3:4-6).
      2. Jesus has made the road smooth, straight, and completely attainable.
    3. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
      1. This is the new and living way to be saved, and it does not involve self-effort or following a long list of requirements.
    4. There is nothing complicated about being saved.
      1. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37).
      2. Jesus will not turn anyone away.
    5. Unlike the law that Matthew 7:12-14 referred to, the new covenant allows a great many people to be saved.
      1. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands (Revelation 7:9).

For more on interpreting the Bible through the lens of grace, click on the link below for the DVD, Resting in Jesus.

http://bit.ly/RestinginJesusDVD

Scripture References

2 Corinthians 3:18, AMPC

Matthew 19:16-26

Romans 3:20

Hebrews 10:19, 20

John 14:6

Acts 16:30, 31

Matthew 7:12-14

Isaiah 35:8

Luke 3:4-6

Romans 10:13

John 6:37

Revelation 7:9