Creflo Dollar - What Changed Before And After The Cross
This morning we've been talking about righteousness, and I think yesterday we saw a difference between righteousness based on what you do versus righteousness based on your faith in Jesus Christ. I think we can safely conclude that you brought nothing to the table. Amen? And every time you think you can bring something to the table you need to think again. Amen? So what I want to do is, I noticed there in righteousness something changed after Jesus was raised from the dead. Before the cross, our performance was key. What you would do was a key to your righteousness. Being right before the cross was based on what you were able to accomplish. But then I noticed after the cross my righteousness was no longer based on what I do, my righteousness was based on what Jesus has done, and my righteousness now is my faith in Jesus.
And I started thinking, "Well, I wonder if I can find any other areas where I can begin to look at before the cross it was this, but after the cross seems like something was changed or something was adjusted". And so I began to notice that the truth before the cross seemed to change some after the cross for New Testament people, and I said, "I don't know about that". And I got to looking and I got to looking and it kept showing up and it kept showing up and it kept showing up, and I think I want to take you on that journey today. You can do whatever you want to do with this. You can do what you want to do with this. You can fuss with it. You can say, "I don't want it. I don't receive it". I'm going to give it to you. It's just like, you know, when you're a kid, "Here's the oatmeal. Eat it if you want to. If not go hungry all, you know, day long, but you better be ready to go by 8 o'clock".
So let's start off with this scripture. 2 Timothy chapter 2:15 in the Amplified Bible, if you have it. 2 Timothy chapter 2:15 in the Amplified Bible, and I want you to take these things into your consideration. He says, "Study and be eager to do your utmost to present yourself to God approved, tested by trial, a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing, accurately dividing, rightly handling and skillfully teaching, the Word of Truth". Woo, that was a mouthful. 'Cause I know if you can correctly analyze there is a possibility somewhere you might be able to incorrectly analyze, and that's not a bad thing. We're on a journey. We're growing. But he talks about rightly dividing that word of truth. So consider that.
Now let's go to the book of Mark chapter 2. Mark chapter 2, verse 21 through 22. Now, in this teaching this morning, I'm just going to, it's going to be like just a reading class. We're going to read, you're going to see it there, and then you got to decide what you're going to do with it. Ain't no use you fussing about something. You're going to read, see it there, and you got to decide, you do that with everything else. You know what I've learned throughout the whole pandemic? You know what I've learned? People do what they want to do. I ain't fighting with nobody. You do what you want to do.
All right, look what it says here. "No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worst. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put in new bottles". Could it be that in some parts of our lives we've got new wine in old bottles? I call it mixture. And what happens when you put new wine in old bottles? You don't get the benefit of either one of them. What happens when you begin to mix the old with something that's new? You don't get the benefit of either one. There's one more I want you to consider before we go.
Colossians chapter 2 and verse 8 in the NLT. Praise God. Verse 8, "Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that comes from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ". So it says just check out what comes from Christ. Hear him. Check out what he has to say. He has been appointed the high priest, the high priest who is now, he mediates the new covenant where we're concerned, between us and this new covenant. So now let's go on this journey this morning and, I think, you'll be delighted. I'm going to start off with some light stuff and then I'll end up with the heavy stuff. I think I'll end up with the heavy stuff last so I won't lose you at the beginning. So I just do light stuff so you can say, "Oh, yes. Amen. Yes, amen". And I get the light stuff you're like, "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis"?
All right. Let's look at this area of being blessed. Deuteronomy chapter 11:26 through 28. Before the cross, you were blessed only when you obeyed and cursed when you failed to obey. You were blessed only when you obeyed and cursed when you failed to obey. That was before the cross. He says, "Behold, I set before you this day," what? A blessing, and a what? A curse. And then he says, "A blessing, if ye," that's condition. "If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: and a curse, if you will not obey the commandment of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which you have not known". So immediately before the cross, there was a performance-based mentality. "This is what I have to do in order to get this". And here if you do these things, you'll get blessed. If you do these things, you'll get cursed.
All right, so now I'm wondering, did anything about that change after the cross? Well, if you see Galatians chapter 3:13, Galatians 3:13 and then Romans 4 and 8, you see that you're blessed not necessarily because of our acts but because we are his redeemed. Look at verse 13. He says, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law". Now, here's the great thing about it. You've been redeemed from the curse of the law. You get none of the curses. I mean, excuse me. You get, yeah, yeah. You get none of the curses, but all the blessings. But you get it through the gift of his perfect obedience, not yours. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, 'Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.'"
So here after the cross we've been redeemed because of Jesus Christ. Again, after the cross, it's every, something happened to our relationship where blessing is concerned because now we're blessed because of Jesus. Like now we're righteous because of Jesus, now we're redeemed because of Jesus. Before, it was something we had to do. It was based on our performance, you see. And look at Romans 4 and 8 while we're there. We are his redeemed. Say, "I'm his redeemed". Verse 8 says, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin". So he's not putting it on your account just because of Jesus.
Now, please understand. If God does not take care of your sin and just let you just do anything, he's not a God of justice. So it's not that he hadn't dealt with your sins. He has dealt with your sins. When? When he placed all of our sins on the body of Jesus Christ. Your sin, my sins, they have been dealt with. Jesus has taken our sins upon his own self, praise God, and it is finished. Amen? So we see a change there. Well, now let's go and look at this other area here. Before the cross, God was distant and unapproachable to people. You find that in Exodus 19 and 12. Turn there. Before the cross, God was distant and unapproachable to people.
Exodus 19:12 says, "And thou shall set bounds unto the people round about, saying, 'Take heed to yourselves, that you go not up into the mount, don't even touch the border of it, and whosoever touches the mount shall be surely put to death.'" But then after the cross, we've been brought near to God. Ephesians chapter 2:13 through 14, let's read there. And then Hebrews 4:16. Ephesians chapter 2:13 through 14 he says, "But now in Christ Jesus, but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are now made nigh, nigh," or brought near, "by the blood of Jesus". Amen. "For he is our peace, who has made both one, and have broken down the middle wall of partition between us". And then Hebrews 4:16 says this. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in a time of trouble".
So you see very clearly here before the cross, man, you just, you're not just walking up there. If you even touch the border, you're going to have a problem. But now by the blood of Jesus we have been brought near unto God. That's an obvious distinction there. Well, number three, before the cross under the law, the Mosaic Law, let me pause. That's a huge thing, the Mosaic Law, the Mosaic Law. Let's talk about that for a moment. The law, the Bible says, is good. It is perfect. I'll go farther. It is eternal, and it is a part of God's character. Now, that's where you got to make a distinction and understand that the Mosaic Law is made up of three parts. There is civil law, where they lived by, there is moral law, the Ten Commandments, that's what we're talking about is God's character, and then there's the law of presenting the sacrifice.
So Mosaic Law, that's real big. Now, the law is perfect. It is good. It is flawless. It's not the enemy. The problem is not the law, the problem is fallen man. The law is perfect, but we not. So we got to come up with a way to be able to live because of what Adam did, and you're going to need a Savior. You're going to have to have a Savior in order to get by to do what needs to be done here. And so under the law God held man responsible for his sins. Under the law, you were held responsible for your sins. Leviticus 5:17, look at this. Under the law, you were held responsible for your sins.
Now, none of what I'm saying today is an excuse for hellacious behavior. You cannot say, "Well, under grace I can sin". Grace teaches you not to sin. Grace teaches you about Christian conduct. If you're really under grace, grace will teach you how to live a godly, righteous, sober life. So don't come telling me you have committed adultery with five women, but I'm under grace. No, you're not. No way. Look what he says. "And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord, though he wist it not, yet he is guilty, and shall bear," he shall bear, "his iniquity". So before the cross, then you... man was held responsible for sin. He developed sin consciousness.
Hebrews 9 and 9 talked about how this produced sin consciousness, developed a consciousness to sin. Sin consciousness, you ever heard anybody say that, at breakfast time they pray and they say, "Oh, Lord, bless my food for nourishment of my body, and forgive me for the sins I haven't even done yet". That's a person that's more conscious of sin than he is of his righteousness. You see that? Hebrews 9:9 says, "Which was a figure for the times then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifice, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience". That the bringing in of the animal sacrifices couldn't do it as pertaining to their conscience. They wore a sin consciousness because of how they responded to sin and the relationship with sin before the cross. But after the cross, we have redemption and forgiveness of sins, and by the blood of Jesus we are cleansed of all sins, freeing us from guilty conscious because God remembers our sins no more.
That's in Hebrews 8 and 12. So what happened after the cross? The blood of Jesus now has dealt with our sins. Hallelujah. Look at this in Hebrews 8 and 12. He says, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness". And I told you yesterday mercy is the bad you deserve you don't get. Praise God. You ought to praise the Lord. I said you ought to praise the Lord. That's why y'all not ever go around arrogant thinking it's you 'cause the bad you deserve you didn't get. And there are some bad that you deserve, but thank God for his mercy. "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness. I'll be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more". Man, you missed a chance to shout right there. You sitting up there saying, "Is that what it said"? Well, you can read. Amen?
So notice that. Hebrews 8 and 12, look what happens here. Well, you're no longer held responsible for your sins in the sense that Jesus has come in and has cleansed us. He has taken care of our sins by the blood of Jesus. All of your sins have been dealt with by the blood of Jesus Christ, hallelujah. He bore my sins, he bore your sins on a cross of Cavalry. Praise the Lord. And for a lot of you the only place that that thing still exists is in your memory, and that's why you got to renew your mind. The most important thing for an unsaved person to do is to be born again, but the most important thing for a saved person to do is to renew your mind. Amen. And that's not a one-time event, that's a lifetime process. Amen? Let's look at this. Number four, before the cross, it was thou shalt not.
Now, that's all over the Bible. You can just, you can go, before the cross, you can see thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not. And that's why up to your conscience it became so thou-shalt-not conscious. But after the cross, I noticed in Hebrews 8, verse 8 through 12, I kept seeing I will. Go there, Hebrews 8:8 through 12. I will. I was expecting thou shalt not, but now after he was raised from the dead, I will. Watch this. "For finding fault with them, he saith, 'Behold, the days come,' saith the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to try to lead them out of the land of Egypt; but because they continued not in my covenant, I regarded them not,' saith the Lord. 'For this is the covenant now that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' saith the Lord. 'I will put my laws in their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest".'"
In verse 12, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more," I will, I will, I will. "Yes, I will deliver you from that cancer. Yes, I will deliver you from your debt. Yes, I will deliver you from your problem. Yes, I will cause you to receive promotion. Yes, I will bless you going in and bless you coming out. Yes, I will make a way where there is no way. Yes, I will". We serve a I-will God. After the cross, I will, I will, I will. Are you listening to me? Let's look at the fifth one. Before the cross, righteousness was demanded of a sinful and fallen man. Deuteronomy 6:25. Let's take a peek at that.
Deuteronomy 6:25. "Why do you always turn into scripture"? 'Cause that's my script for life. I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to live by. He said, "And it", verse 25, "And it shall be our righteousness". All right, now there's a condition on it. So before the cross, there was always a condition on your righteousness. "And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us". So the condition is on your righteousness. If there's something you had to do, what we were talking about yesterday, the condition was there.
But now look at this in Romans chapter 5 and 17. Righteousness as a free gift is given to everyone in Christ. Remember when I said this. If the blessing comes to you as a result of what you do, then you should get the credit. But if the blessing is a gift, then Jesus should get the credit. Amen? All right, now look at this. "For if by one man's offense death reigned," or ruled, "by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of," watch this, "the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ". Oh my goodness, look, look. Before the cross, I had to perform in order to earn that righteousness. It was what I had to do in order to get this righteousness. But after the cross, it was a gift. And what do you do with a gift? Receive. It's a gift. I like that. No commission.
I'm going to give you credit one time and then I'm going to say like I said at the believers' convention, no commission. It's a gift. It's a gift. All right, watch this. Number six, before the cross, Adam's sin meant condemnation for all men. Before the cross, and you see that, go to Romans 5:18. Before the cross, Adam's sin meant condemnation for all men. He said in verse 18, he says, "Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to," what? Condemnation. So that was before the cross. Glory to God. But after the cross, in Romans chapter 8 and 1, look at what he said. Romans chapter 8 and 1 he said, "There is therefore now no..." Now there is no... now when? After the cross there is no condemnation, now watch this, to them which are in Christ Jesus. Period.