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Ben Schroder

Tapestry of Grace Unit 1 Essay

"You shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy," is the theme continually echoed throughout the book of Leviticus. With laws, commands, ceremonies, and celebrations, God showed the people of Israel how to rightly follow Him and enjoy His blessings. While Jews reject the notion, the New Testament and Christians have taught for two millennia that this Old Covenant, that which was brought through Moses, was a mere shadow and copy of what was to come through Christ. The New Testament reveals that righteousness could never be achieved through following the Law (since no man could follow it perfectly) or through the shedding of animals blood, but only by grace through faith in the shed blood and substitutionary atonement of Christ. God demands holiness because He is holy, if holiness cannot be achieved through the works of the Law, it must be through grace.

God's holiness means that He is separated from sin and devoted to seeking His own honor. In the Old Covenant, God gives His people conditional promises that assure blessings if they will obey His rules and curses if they oppose His ways in unrighteousness. While it may seem demanding and finicky to some, God's instruction for obedience, construction of His holy place, institution of festivals and sabbaths, and the extremely specific way of sacrificing was all for a reason. This Old Testament way of doing things was all a foreshadowing of the New Testament that would be brought through Christ. These strict regulations were to protect His people and keep them from going astray like their surrounding neighbours. In order to show the Israelites how sinful they were, God gave them His law so that they may seek refuge in the true sacrifice that God has provided in Christ. God cannot pass over our sin without His wrath against it being satisfied because He is holy and completely separated from unrighteousness, so He has provided righteousness in Christ.

Can man fully follow the dot of the Law of God with utter perfection? According to the apostle Paul's quoting of the Psalms, "There is no one righteous, not even one," and from the prophet Jeremiah, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" If the Bible speaks of man's condition like this, it should then be concluded that holiness before God cannot be achieved by man's merit. Hebrews 10:4 says, "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins," so even the sacrfices of old were a foreshadowing of the true sacrifice, themselves not able to forgive

sins. Fulfilling what the Old Covenant had left undone, Jesus' blood can take away sins because he achieved perfectly what we couldn't.

According to the author of Hebrews the New Covenant of grace is exceedingly superior to the Old Covenant. Hebrews 9:24 declares, "For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf." In the Mosaic covenant, the high priest entered into a place made by man, a copy, and sacrficed the blood of animals, a symbol of Christ. Where the priests of old had to settle with a copy, Christ, the true High Priest, entered into the temple not made by man before the very presence of God in heaven, and sacrificed His own pure blood. Jesus could do this because He fulfilled the law and achieved righteousness completely for all of those who would ever believe on Him and then turned away the wrath of God on their behalf by suffering in their place. Jesus did not replace the Old Covenant but rather brought it to full consummation with His sacrifice.

We are without excuse for our sins before a holy God. In darkness we have transgressed His law and rebelled not only from Him, but against Him. As shown, the Bible's diagnosis of our hearts is very grim and should be troubling. While we were dead in our sins, Christ died for the ungodly. He was made to be sin on our behalf in His death and fulfilled righteousness for us in His life. Through faith in this work of God, we can be justified before God, declared righteous before Him. Christ fulfilled the requirements of the book of Leviticus and has reconciled an unholy people to a holy God.