The Whole World Is Under The Law
God’s Law, the Old Covenant and now the New Covenant, is still very much alive since it is eternal. Further, it is complete, having been fulfilled by Jesus Christ, who through one act of sacrifice, brought justification to all the people in the world (Romans 5:18). And we now know you receive that justification by entering into a blood covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. Further, we know that securing this relationship is accomplished through repentance, i.e., returning to the Lord with all your heart. Your new relationship with Jesus is maintained by walking the walk of sanctification. Further, it is understood that you cannot walk in sanctification except by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. The walk of sanctification results in the blessing of eternal life for the believer. (Romans 6:22)
Jesus fulfilled the covenant that had begun when God made a blood covenant with Abraham. Such a covenant is eternal. Not only does it continue forever, it includes all of the descendants of the covenanting parties. Therefore, the covenant God made with Abraham included all of his descendants who became the nation of Israel. Now through Jesus Christ who fulfilled God’s covenant with Abraham, this covenant is accessible to all people everywhere.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. (Titus 2:11)
We have already seen that eternal life is the result of sanctification (Romans 6:22). And we know that sanctification is for those who repent, who by so doing enter into the covenant with Jesus. Therefore, we learn from the above verse that the covenant must be available to all people. Similarly:
But the Scripture [the covenant] has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ [eternal life] might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:22)
This verse tells us that all people are under the authority of the covenant, that is, the Law. If this were not so, non Jews could not be redeemed from the curse of the Law.
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—
14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)
Taken together, these three verses from Galatians explain that everyone who is living according to the flesh, that is everyone who has not repented, is shut up, or included under the authority of the Law, that is, the eternal covenant. With the fulfillment of the covenant accomplished by the death of Jesus, the New Covenant became the Law of the world. While it made justification possible for all people through repentance, it also meant that everyone was subject to the judgements of the covenant.
Before you can repent for not keeping and breaking the Law of the covenant, you must first be under the authority of the covenant. Otherwise, there would be no penalty for your sin if you were not subject to the Law. You cannot break any laws that for you don’t exist.
11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned –
13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (Romans 5:11-13)
Sin is not imputed when there is no law. In other words, the penalty for sin is not assigned to someone who is not under the authority of the law. In a modern-day scenario, you can’t get a speeding ticket if you are not subject to the traffic code. Another example is the immunity from the law of foreign diplomats in the United States. They are subject to the laws of their country but not this country, since they are not under the authority of our law.
The point is simply this, Jesus, the Lamb of God, without spot or blemish, brought justification to all people through His shed blood. However, at the same time He was extending the authority of the Abrahamic covenant, the eternal covenant, to the entire world. This is the only way all people would be able to repent and be set free from the curse of the Law. You can’t be set free from something unless you are first bound by it.
Where the Spirit of God is, He reigns with supreme authority. The creation account shows this clearly.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)
God’s Spirit was present over the waters, and God’s authority was absolute. All of God’s commands were obeyed … without qualification … without hesitation.
Then God said, “Let there be light “; and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. Genesis 1:6-7)
Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear “; and it was so. (Genesis 1:9)
Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. (Genesis 1:11)
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth “; and it was so. (Genesis 1:14-15)
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind “; and it was so. (Genesis 1:24)
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God [in a covenant relationship with Him] He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food “; and it was so. (Genesis 1:27-30)
“Then God said … and it was so.” Where the Spirit resides the authority of God is in existence.
The day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is prophesied in the book of Joel.
“It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.” (Joel 2:28a)
As marvelous and spectacular as was the pouring out of the Spirit on the 120 followers of Christ in the Upper Room, this verse tells us that God was accomplishing an even more awesome feat.
He was placing His Spirit upon, not only those in the upper room, but upon all mankind.
This does not mean that everyone in the world was being filled with the Holy Spirit as were those in the upper room. It means that God was establishing His covenant authority as the Law of the land to rule over all people for all time.
Through the monumental act of the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, God re-established His authority over all people. As a result, all people are now subject to the laws of the eternal covenant.
God’s authority and rule of the world is accomplished through the law of the covenant. The covenant contains a series of judgments, both blessings and curses. The blessings, which include eternal life, are given to those who enter the covenant with Jesus and keep the commandments by walking in sanctification by the leading of the Holy Spirit. The curses, which lead to death, are distributed to those who either reject the covenant or to those who enter the covenant and refuse to keep its commandments. The judgments of the covenant, both the blessings and the curses, are administered through a system of justice called the Righteous Judgment of God.
Jesus is the righteous Judge.
In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)
He is the mediator of the New Covenant.
For this reason He [Jesus] is the mediator of a new covenant. (Hebrews 9:15a)
And He has all authority over all people and things.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)
You may recall that it was Jesus upon whom the Spirit descended as a dove and rested upon Him. The Holy Spirit rested on Jesus and Jesus displayed His authority. He healed all manner of sickness, cast out demons, calmed the sea, and much more.
Therefore, we now see that the covenant Jesus fulfilled has become the Law of the world, and Jesus is the mediator of the covenant. As the mediator, the righteous Judge, He distributes rewards and penalties to every person according to the system of justice called the Righteous Judgment of God. We will look more closely at God’s system of covenant justice in the next article.