Achieved by WORKS – Given by GRACE

I have been studying this subject now for various weeks and found this to be so much important that I want to share it with you. This subject is called the covenants of God and the two Adams. If you hear that for the first time, you might say, what is that? But If you’ve been in church for a long time, you’ve heard of it.

However, I need to clarify that for you because I believe that it’s essential for you to understand salvation. And it’s essential for you to get rid of the confusion of salvation. Because at the end of the day, the reason we’re here is to be saved.

The biggest struggles that people go through every day is, am I okay? Am I okay with God? You know, I prayed this morning, I did my devotional, so if something happens to me today, it’s a good day to die. But I also yelled at my wife this morning, so I don’t want to die today. So we were constantly looking and doubting ourselves.

It is crucial that we clarify those things and the covenants as God works through covenants. A covenant is like a contract that God has entered with us. If you want to sign a contract, it’s good for you to know what that contract is.

So, let me tell you what my biggest worry is. My biggest worry this whole week, as I was preparing this first sermon, is that people are going to get bored with me because sometimes, these subjects are a little bit deep and they have no funny jokes in between. Also, I have to figure out how long can I keep people’s attention to understand something that is crucial for their salvation. So today, I want you to try extra hard because that’s crucial.

Let us pray first: Dear heavenly Father, we thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be here today to worship you. And now we’ve come to the time that through your word, you’re going to speak to us. We stood up and we praise your name, we sang prayers to you and worship, but now it’s time to sit back and you speak to us. So, Lord, it is crucial for me today as I am nervous about this subject because it’s so powerful and I really don’t know if I can get the right message through. I’m doubting if I can really make your word understood. So, I asked you for your help today that you may be the one speaking to us. Lord, I ask for your Holy Spirit to translate my words, to translate this sermon, that it may reach the needs of every person that is here today. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

A while back, I was in another church we bought which had a 23,000 square foot building, and it had a cooling tower for the air conditioning system. The cooling tower was on the side of the church right behind the yard of a neighbor. A while back, the neighbors had complained about the noise of that cooling tower when the air conditioner went on. So, the city had taken note of it, and they had written that if ever the air conditioning system was changed, that cooling tower would be put somewhere else. I purchased that church, purchased that property, and the cooling tower was bad. So I put a new cooling tower in. So, when I got a new cooling tower in, I got a letter from the city telling me that there’s a contract that says that if the system was ever changed, you need to put that somewhere else. And I knew that neighbor went and complained, and I knew I had that hearing and it was right here in West Palm. I came across a neighborhood that was infested with drugs. They had like two drug houses there and we moved some things around and we cleaned up the whole neighborhood. So, the neighbors went back and said, we want to stand by you, pastor. What you’ve done for our neighborhood, the city never did.

So, then I went to the hearing downtown and they began to say, “Hey, you changed it. You got to put it somewhere else” and the city officials spoke and I’m sitting there and they’re like, everyone will take a vote. I said, “hold up, I haven’t said a word.” You don’t want to take a vote without hearing my part. They said, alright pastor, you can say something, but we’ve decided on this. I said I need you guys to listen to the contract. The phrase says that if the system is ever changed, I need to move the cooling tower. They said you’re not reading this right? I said, let me ask you something. Is the on and off switch the system? No. Is the duct system the system? No. Is the cooling tower the system? No. I said I’ve got the same system. The system is all these things combined together to blow cold air into that church. So, I still got the same system.

You see, to achieve the right things, it’s important that you read your contract. A lot of times what happens when we talk about salvation and our relationship with God, the reason why most people are lost is that they enter into a relationship with God without reading the contract. You enter into this relationship, but you don’t know what the contract says. It’s interesting that God does everything through covenants. And let me tell you something, the covenant of salvation did not start in the garden of Eden. The covenant of salvation, the promise that God has made to save us started way before he even created this world.
A lot of people think that the plan of salvation was something that God kicked in at the last minute. But we to understand that nothing surprises God. Do you think when Adam sinned, God goes, “Whoa, I can’t believe that. How could you do that, Adam?” Let me tell you something. God had a plan of it. Isn’t it interesting that God uses covenants because he wants to show us that not only he’s committing you and me, but that he commits himself to save you through contracts, through covenant? God is committed to saving you.

No matter what you’ve been going through in your life, no matter where you were born, no matter what you’ve done, no matter the things you’re doing, no matter the mistakes you’ve made, God is committed to saving you. And he shows us and he writes it down and he makes himself part of the covenant.

Now, one of the interesting things about Gods contract with humans is that God is making a contract with somebody who’s broke. But yet he comes in and he is willing to sign the paper. But he doesn’t only sign it, he said I will sign it with blood.

Now, these covenants have two parts; One is God’s part and the other is humanity’s part. In order to understand grace, you must understand what was humanity’s part in that covenant. When I studied these covenants. I learned five things:

  1. Man’s perfect obedience to God and his law is essential for salvation.
  2. That this obedience to God in his law ends in death.
  3. God has never gone soft on his contract or changes his requirements.
  4. Good works, obedience, and perfection are an essential part of the plan of salvation.
  5. Grace can only be offered after God’s full requirements have been met.

Another thing that I’ve learned is that salvation for man has been a process. The plan of salvation was not something that God came up with. The plan of salvation is a process that God has started way before creation. It isn’t a result of God making mistakes and then trying to fix some up. The idea of Jesus coming to this world and died wasn’t something that they got together at the last minute. It was planned way before cause we have an all sovereign God. However, we have a problem comprehending an all sovereign God who knows everything and who loves us, who is loved and everything that he does is perfect.

The plan of salvation was not something that came up, it was something that God already had planned the whole way through. Even today, he had planned that I was going to be here, right here today talking to you about this. That’s all far he goes,

Revelations 3:8: All who dwell on the earth will worship him whose names have not been written in the book of life of the lamb slain from the beginning of the word.

Ephesians 1:4: Just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.

Could you believe that before God created Adam and Eve, he knew you? Isn’t that interesting?

You can trust God. He knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t react to accidents.

1 Peter 1:20: He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of Jesus. He was foreordained before the foundation of the world.

Now when we talk about covenants, we have different covenants. We have covenants of works. What’s a covenant of work? If you don’t do, you don’t get. Simple as heck. We could say that it’s a conditional covenant. But you also have unconditional covenant; for instance, the Noetic covenant with God tells Noah, after he comes out of the Ark, he will never destroy the earth again with water.

Then we also have the covenant of grace that we will get into later in the next sermon, and God calls that the new covenant. Now let’s talk about the creation covenant. The creation covenant with Adam was a covenant of works. It wasn’t a covenant of grace. Why? Because for there to be grace, sin had to exist before. For instance, If I walk by you and I say, forgive me. You’ll say for what? For you to forgive me, I have to do something to hurt you. So, in the garden of Eden, it was a covenant of works, there was no grace there.

God said to Adam in Genesis 2:7: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils, the breath of life and man became a living being.

And then says in Genesis 2:15-17: Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden and the Lord God commanded man saying, “Of every tree of the garden, you are free to eat. but not to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for, in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.”

At the time of this covenant, there was no sin, so there was no grace and God was telling Adam, you have to obey. It was a covenant of works. Adam’s obedience would give him eternal life because although God knew exactly what was going to happen, it doesn’t mean that God created Adam and Eve with no plan of their obedience.

He said, be fruitful and multiply. God’s ultimate goal from Genesis to revelation is to establish His kingdom.

The goal of every person who is saved is to one day obtain eternal life. Adam was not created with eternal life. But through his obedience, he would obtain eternal life and God established his kingdom through them.

Genesis 3:7-8: Then the eyes of both of them were open and they knew that they were naked and they sow themselves leaves together and made themselves coverings.

So they sinned and then they realize they sinned. They saw that there were naked and sin already began to do his effect. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden and the Bible said, they saw wind which means that the spirit of God was moving. It was judgment time, there is an eschatology in the garden of Eden.

When God says, I expect you to be obedient for this covenant and when you fail, judgment time came. And God sat down and judge Adam and Eve. He said, you’re found guilty, but I’m ready for your guilt. I’m ready for you because I have not only made a covenant with you, we have a covenant up here in heaven between the Trinity and then that covenant is going to cover your covenant.

When God created Adam, the big question was from Satan. who said what’s going to happen when they don’t obey?

God’s character came into question when someone disobeys him. How does God handle that? And today the whole universe is looking down and all of God’s creation and all of the angels are looking down and seeing how does God deal with you and me today.

And he said to Satan, I’ll put enmity between you and the woman. And then he said, from the woman, from my people, one would be born and I’m going to send somebody who’s going to come and die, die for your sin. He’s going to come and die and he’s going to destroy you and take your power away from that you’ve taken here in the garden.

Genesis 3:21 Also Adam and his wife and the Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them.

Genesis 3:22: And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.

The book of revelation says that he that overcomes will eat what the tree of life.

Adam had not overcome, so he had not eaten of the tree of life. See, this was a covenant of obedience. It was a covenant of works. Now, we go from there to the result of Adam’s disobedience.

Romans 5:12-19:  Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned— 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Jesus as we know, becomes that second Adam. Now when Jesus comes, he’s got to come under the same covenant as Adam. Jesus didn’t have any grace. He comes in under the same covenant of work. And the covenant of works for Jesus was to save humanity, he had to be 100% obedient, a hundred percent perfect.

Now, Jesus had the same advantage as Adam that he came in without having a sinful nature. Jesus did not have a sinful nature because if we would’ve had a sinful nature, he would’ve needed a savior himself.

Only Jesus could do this because the lamb had to be perfect. The lamb could not have a sinful nature. When God looks at us as humans, we are sick. The Psalmist says that we are sinful from the moment we are conceived. So Jesus had to come himself to be the perfect sacrifice. Jesus came like the first Adam mortal, but not born in sin, but with the ability and weakness to sin.

When the rich young ruler asked Jesus, what should I do to have eternal life? Jesus said, obey the 10 commandments. Do you think Jesus was kidding? He wasn’t kidding. He was saying, if you really want to save yourself, you got to obey God. That is still the requirement and you’ve got to understand that before you can understand the new covenant.

See, eternal life requires perfect obedience to God’s law, and Jesus came to meet that requirement so that we could eat one day of the tree of life. It is crucial for you to understand this because as your struggle with your weakness, as your struggle with sin, as you are in that struggle, it doesn’t mean that you should doubt your salvation because Jesus already did it. If you don’t understand that, you will frustrate yourself. You need to understand that the requirements that you and I needed to come up with to be able to be saved, Jesus came and did it to perfection.

Matthew 5:17-18: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Jesus came to fulfill everything that the father demanded. He fulfilled the covenant of works. Works and obedience have a place in salvation and without it, there is no salvation because God’s demands must be fulfilled.

John 17:4-5: I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Hebrews 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus went through every single temptation you’ve got, but he was faithful. He sweated for you and for me work that for you and for me. He was faithful so that we could be looked at as faithful. He stayed clean so that he could be looked at as clean. He kept them down to the last job. He kept the law so that when you and I were looked at in heaven, God would say, yes, you took up the law perfectly. Yes, because it had to be fulfilled where Adam failed. God did not go soft. God still expected the representer of humanity to be completely perfect and obedient. Jesus became victorious where Adam failed.

Every struggle that I go through that I’m dealing with, Jesus overcame it already for me. He did not only have to live a perfect life, so that perfect light will be accredited to you and me, but now he had to die for those who did sin.

Jesus is being whipped, he’s being punched, he’s being pulled his beard, he’s being knocked to the ground, he’s being spit on and a few feet away was Peter, he was there watching it. The book of John says, Peter looked at Jesus, and the moment that he was cursing to prove that he wasn’t one of his, Jesus looked at Peter and said, Peter, I’m doing this for you. Every time I read that encounter, I have to think about myself when I will be looking at the eyes of Jesus. See people, grace wasn’t cheap. There was something in the look, of the eyes of Jesus, that did not take Peter to hang himself. It took him to where Jesus had come from and get the ceremony and become converted.

As Jesus was betrayed, as Jesus was mistreated, as Jesus was tempted, he stayed faithful, he obeyed the law to perfection.

1 Corinthians 15: 45-49: So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we[b] bear the image of the heavenly man.

See people, this whole thing of the second Adam, this is why it’s crucial for you. What moved me to study this was the way that people were interpreting salvation and the way I was listening to people explain salvation because every time they explained salvation, I saw them and I was hearing them go back to the first Adam who failed. But today, our salvation is not based on the Adam of the garden, our salvation is based on the Adam of the cross, our origin. Jesus was perfect and our salvation is based on a perfect Adam, not on a failed Adam. So when you try to explain righteousness by faith when you try to explain salvation, you got to come off as that our origin is not with a sinful Adam, but our origin is with a perfect Adam, which is Jesus Christ.

Jesus says the following:

Matthew 26:27-28: Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Now you have a new covenant, a covenant of grace. Grace is a word that is thrown around and most of the time presented on its own, but it’s cheap when presented without works and perfect obedience. In fact, when presented without works and perfect obedience, it cheapens the gospel. It talks about a God who went soft. Now, God didn’t go soft, his whole wrath, all of us expectations came down on Jesus. Salvation was not achieved by grace, it was achieved by works; perfect obedience, pain, and suffering.

I’m going to leave you with this little story here. When my parents were alive, they made a covenant. A lawyer sat down with my parents and me, and they made a trust, they made covenants, and my parents signed it and I signed it. And it said that with my parents’ death, certain properties will automatically go over to my name. When they died, without me having to do anything with their death, transferred those properties to me. So I received them by grace. But my parents earned them for sweat and work. They never went on a vacation, they work their tail off cleaning houses, driving trucks, cleaning toilets, and obtained those properties. So those properties were not obtained by grace. Nobody gave it to them, but because they earned it and worked it, I now receive them by GRACE.

So for someone to tell you that obedience to the law is not important, and you can show them something. Someone to tell you that works is not part of salvation, you need to teach him something; because works and the law are part of salvation. Because of what Jesus did, you and I can now eat of the tree of life. You see, Jesus was and is the tree of life. Everything is fulfilled in Jesus because Jesus is the rightful owner of our salvation. He earned it, he worked it, he died, he fulfilled the law, he fulfilled God’s demand so that today, people like you and I who come to the table broke, can actually be part one day of this powerful and great kingdom. Do not take lightly your salvation. It wasn’t achieved by grace, it was achieved by works, It was achieved by obedience, it was achieved by dying.

Let us pray: Dear heavenly Father, we thank you so much for how you have worked this out. We thank you for just making us part of it. We thank you that although we don’t completely understand it, you still save us and you love us. Jesus, thank you for being obedient for me, thank you for being faithful for me, thank you for obeying the law where I have disobeyed it, thank you for being strong where I am weak, thank you for just dying when I could not die, thank you for resurrecting where I could not resurrect, and thank you for sitting at the right hand on the father right now, representing me so that I one day could also be there.
Oh Jesus, what you have done, help me to appreciate it, help me to live it, help me to think about it every day. We ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

×Note: To download, click the button. If it doesn't work, right click, then click "Save Link As." Download only works if media is stored within this site. Download Video
Download Audio
Download PDF
Back to top