No More Performance Based Blessings!
TNIV Scripture for Tuesday, June 24, 2008 [Isaiah 58:6-10]
'Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. 'If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
Old Covenant and New Covenant
Isaiah wrote these verses from the Old Testament perspective under the Old Covenant. Before Christ appeared, God's acceptance and blessing were linked to performance. In other words, if you performed well, then you would be physically satisfied and protected by God. However, you are now under the New Covenant that was instituted after Christ died, was buried and resurrected. God's blessings are no longer linked to your performance. In fact, the whole Old Testament is a story to show how inadequate human performance is...no matter how hard you try, you will never be good enough by God's perfect standards. That's why God sent Christ.
How do you read the Old Testament in light of the New Covenant?
God's perfect standard did not change under the New Covenant. However, instead of having to perform in your own strength, you have anchored in your life the person of the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen you to do God's will. And the best part is that you are blessed by God with every spiritual blessing no matter how well you perform! God is right there with you and will never leave you or forsake you no matter what if you are His child. As you grow up in Him through the Word, prayer and godly fellowship, He will enable you to increasingly live according to His high standard. In the meantime, you can rest in the truth that He loves you and blesses you every second of every day because of the work of Jesus.