Christianity’s Easy!

The writer of Ecclesiastes summed up life under the Old Covenant this way:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.)

Jesus told us succinctly what is expected of us under the New Covenant:

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29.)

Old: fear God and keep his commandments.

New: believe in Jesus.

There’s a big difference, isn’t there. We are no longer told to keep God’s commandments. And here’s why: Jesus has done that for us. Every single one of the commandments has been perfectly obeyed, carried out by Jesus on our behalf.

So all we have to do now to do God’s work is believe.

Simple, right? What might be keeping you from this?

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16 Responses to Christianity’s Easy!

  1. Jaimie says:

    Amazingly simple. Wow.

    What’s crazy is that I just finished reading Ecclesiastes–and therefore that verse–this morning. I feel like I haven’t done much studying of the OT, so I’ve been working through several OT books. But it’s necessary to remember to view those books through the lens of the NT: specifically, through the Gospel and saving work of Jesus Christ!

    Thanks for this! 🙂

    • Tim says:

      Good point, Jaimie. I think God’s revelation of himself has to be viewed by way of Christ and his work for us, or it can never be understood correctly.

  2. Jeannie says:

    Hey, first you said it was EASY and then you said it was SIMPLE. Which is it? Tell us more!! 🙂

    • Tim says:

      It’s simply easy, Jeannie. Or easily simple. Take your pick.

      • Jeannie says:

        I was kind of kidding before, but actually I think it is simple but not easy. I can’t help but think of that quote from Chesterton, how Christianity “has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.” But maybe you’re talking specifically about BECOMING a Christian, not about the Christian life itself, which Jesus says involves entering the narrow gate, taking up your cross, drinking from the cup he drinks of, etc. That doesn’t exactly sound easy — although with him all things are possible.

        • Tim says:

          Right. When he said to count the cost, he wasn’t kidding. But the word “easy” here means that it is not as hard as people make it out to be. The same Jesus who told us to count the cost, that we’d find we had no place to lay our heads, etc., also said that his yoke is easy and his burden light, as well as that we should abide in him while he bears fruit through us.

          There is an ease to the Christian life that non-believers don’t understand In fact, many believers don’t understand it either. I was going to go into all of that in the post itself, but then decided to keep it short and punchy. (I figured the comments would flesh these ideas out, and it turns out I was right!)

  3. nmcdonal says:

    I always thought the Old Covenant was summed up like this:

    “And Abraham believed God, and He counted it to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6, Galatians 3:6, Romans 4:3)

    Or are you referring to the Adamic covenant, which we all enter into at birth, under the curse of the law and of sin?

    • Tim says:

      Nice distinction, Nick. I meant to refer to the Mosaic Covenant, because I think that is what the writer of Ecclesiastes was referring to as well.

      You’re right about Abraham’s relationship with God. And it just goes to show that God’s plan for his people all along was to have a relationship with them based on what he has done for them and not what they’ve done for him. Whether following Abraham’s example or the instructions of Jesus himself, our work is merely to believe in the work God accomplishes for us.

  4. Ah, Tim, I gotta disagree.

    First, many of God’s commandments to the Jewish people (what you’re calling “Old Covenant” are “for all time” and “for all generations”. Sabbath, festivals, kashrut, etc)
    Second, the “New Covenant” is found in Jer 31 and Ez 36. Notice the only thing that changes is that the Commandments (or Torah) are written upon the heart, and it won’t be necessary to teach anyone God’s commandments, which don’t change btw, because all will know Him and His ways. That hasn’t happened yet (but arguably is in the process).

    That is important for 2 reasons. First, Jesus’ remark in Matt 5:17-19 that certainly not the least jot or title will be removed from the Law (Torah) until all is accomplished and heaven and earth pass away, which they haven’t.

    Since non-Jews were never “under the law”, we cannot “go back under it” and the key to understanding all this is to recognize the audience. Jesus is talking to Jews, Paul is taking to both, but he’s mostly instructing Gentiles who are mired in paganism and don’t know much about the God of Israel.

    Lastly, while Jesus did most certainly fulfill every commandment applicable to him, a male Jew (he obviously didn’t fulfill those for women for example) he also instructs his followers to keep the commandments. For example Matt 5:19, 19:17, and in 22:40 he again upholds all of the Torah (“Old” covenant) by saying “you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart. . . And your neighbor as yourself” is what all the Torah hangs on.

    Christians aren’t subject to the sign commandments of the Torah (Sabbath keeping, kashrut, fringes etc) however it hadn’t been done away with either. I know this is a layered topic, but is very important as well.

    • Tim says:

      I love Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36, SwJ. They are beautiful promises of what life is like under the New Covenant. The Book of Hebrews is clear that the Old Covenant is replaced by the New, and not just for non-Jews since that book was written to Jewish believers. I know there are schools of thought that support your take on this, so I can’t say that your disagreement with my take on things is off base!

  5. kristen says:

    Ecclesiastes is full of great wisdom that will help you live at peace with God, people around you and your circumstances. But it can’t save you. Good word.

  6. I believe we are to still obey the commandments, however, the ones that were sacrificial blood covenant laws have been fulfilled by Christ and no longer need to be put into practice since His blood was shed in full for those.

    • Tim says:

      I think Paul explained clearly in Galatians that we are no longer to obey those laws in the way the Israelites did.

      • Non-Jews were never told to keep those laws for starters, but to say they’ve been completely fulfilled in Jesus is a misunderstanding of sacrifices.

        If they’d been “fulfilled” as we Christians tend to think, there’d be no way to understand why the Apostles continued to offer them, with Paul even taking a Nazerite vow and paying for the vows of four other Jewish men long after Jesus’ resurrection.
        (Acts 21)
        This vow required a LOT of sacrifices:
        1 yearling male lamb as a burnt offering,
        1 yearling ewe as a sin offering,
        1 ram for peace offering,
        1 basket of matzah,
        Loaves of fine flour mixed with oil, Matzah spread with oil,
        Grain offering, Drink offerings.

        Multiplied by 5!

        All of this to prove that Paul was keeping the law and not teaching Jews to foresake it, which was the *false* rumor going around back “in the day”, and unfortunately continues today.

        The confusion came because he (Paul) WAS teaching the believing Gentiles they didn’t need to become full proselytes to Judaism in order to belong to God, as he said “God is not only the God of the Jews, but He is also the God of Gentiles too” (paraphrase)

        It is by faith in Messiah we experience salvation, just as salvation has always been by faith (Abraham was counted as righteous by his faith too, remember, and Heb 11 “Hall of faith) .

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