The world divides human history as B.C. and A.D. B.C. meaning before Christ, A.D. meaning Anno Domini, the year of the Lord. But from God’s point of view the cross of Christ is the great divide of human history. As one Italian author put it, B.C. means “before da cross” and A.D. means “after da cross.”
Please come to understand that the New Testament does not begin in Mathew Chapter 1 at the birth of Christ, but the New Testament begins at the cross, at the death of Christ. Let’s look at Hebrews 9:16-18 for proof. “In the case of a covenant, (will or testament) it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a covenant is in force when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.”
Therefore, it is the death of Christ not His birth that initiates the new covenant. Galatians 4:4-5 tells us: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”
Well, there it is. Our Lord Jesus was born under the law, He lived under the law, He taught under the law, He fulfilled the law (the only one who ever did and ever will) and He also died under the law to usher in the new testament (covenant).
Sadly, too many Christians think the New Testament begins with Mathew Chapter 1 at the birth of Christ, and that is where all the confusion begins–Christian brothers and sisters religiously trying to live by the teachings of Christ which are all teachings still under the law. Remember He had not died yet, and the new testament/covenant was not in force yet.
Let’s look at the Apostle Paul’s life under the law when he was known as Saul of Taurus. As far as obeying outwardly the demands of the law, Paul was a success; but he did not stop to consider the inward sins he was committing. In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus makes it clear that there are sinful attitudes and appetites of the mind (our thought life) as well as sinful actions.
In His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord added a whole new dimension of sin (thought life) with these words: “You have heard that it was said to people long ago, ‘do not commit murder’, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment, but I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment (Matt 5:21-22)…You have heard that it was said ‘do not commit adultery, but I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt 5:27-28) Then in Matthew 5:48 Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Notice here that the standard is perfection.
Well, good luck! There is not a man alive who can live like this successfully, and Jesus knew that. That’s why Jesus came, to redeem us, to be our Savior, our Lord, our Master, and our very life. He died for us, to give His life to us, to live His life through us. He is the perfect Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Remember, “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4
In John 6:28-29 the disciples asked Jesus “what must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered ‘the work that God requires is this: to believe in the One He has sent’.” That’s why we are called believers not achievers!
He is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.
His death on the cross ushered in the New Testament (Covenant) and that is THE GREAT DIVIDE. I hope this helps you put it all together.
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