The first Believers on the day of pentecost were all Jewish, or proselytes to Judaism (Acts 2:8-11,36-47). Not all of these, but most of these individuals had been indoctrinated with false teachings most of their lives. They had heard and known what the Old Covenant Scriptures said, but didn’t really know what it meant. The whole Jewish system had been corrupted by the Devil. Now, these individuals were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but they would still have the ways they had been trained to think influence how they would interpret The Truth.
Pharisees who Believed, would not accept that Jesus had fulfilled all the Law for righteousness (Acts 15:5-6, Rom. 10:4). They believed Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial part of the Law, but for all believers to stay in “right standing” with God, they still had to keep the ceremonial and moral parts of the Law. This had been their same way of thinking under the Old Covenant. They did not understand that our futile attempts within our own strength to keep moral code and practice ceremonial rites could not effect our standing or acceptance from our Heavenly Father. They still had their focus and Faith in their own righteousness. They had never understood the complete aspect of the sacrificial system, where the sinlessness of the substitute victim was transferred to the offerer of the perfect sacrifice. They were supposed to live by this Faith under the Old Covenant and look for a coming redeemer who would solve their sin problem, within and without. This was the biggest problem in these Believer’s minds. They were taught that they could keep the moral commandments. But, they were blind to the fact that they never did do all that was required. They were blind to the sinful condition of their heart. Jesus confronted this blindness in Matthew 5:21-32. He points out that just because you don’t perform the act of sin, doesn’t mean that you are not full of sin on the inside. Basically, He was teaching that abstinence from the acts of sin isn’t deliverance from that sin. They needed the problem of their sin nature addressed. Jesus was teaching them to realize their need for a Redeemer for the sin within. Are you daily aware that you need a Redeemer for the problem within you? If you are a Believer or unbeliever you need redemption. You always will daily until you gain your glorified body.
The blood of the sacrifice was the only thing that established their relationship and right standing with God. That, and that alone. Many of the Jewish christians didn’t understand the sinlessness of Jesus Christ being transferred to Believers under the New Covenant. They were still trying to attain their own righteousness under the New Covenant like they had under the Old Covenant. Also remember, the apostle Paul had been a Pharisee (Phil. 3:5). This way of thinking is what he had been taught and had practiced all his life. Paul had been taught to earn and maintain the favor of God by means of obeying laws. However, Jesus will not participate with this type of thinking and doctrine. He will not bless or empower by His Spirit these type of efforts. Living by “Law”, whether Old Covenant Jewish Law, or 21st century man-devised religious laws, is not living by Faith (Gal. 3:11-12). Unless you live by The FAITH that God recognizes, you cannot please God (Gal. 5:4, Rom. 8:7-8). The only Faith that God recognizes and can reward with righteousness, is exclusive Faith in the sacrifice His Son made for us. Believers are only righteous because of what they Believe, not what they do. Believers are never to depart from this Faith (Gal. 5:1). Empowerment for right living will result (Rom. 8:1-4,11).
Operating by some type of “law”, in this world is normal. It’s the system we live in. If I want to have more money, I have to work more to earn it. If I want to lose weight, I have to practice self control in what I eat. We have to DO something to get something. That is a natural law. But, that system cannot be applied to receiving the benefits of our redemption. If we apply this way of thinking to our Christian Faith, and set out to earn some of God’s love, acceptance, goodness, grace, power, anointing, help, favor, etc. then we frustrate the grace of God (Gal. 2:21). Even Peter began to live according to “law” instead of “grace”. Paul had to address his hypocrisy and relates the account in Galatians 2:11-16. None of us are any different. Every Believer that has ever lived, struggles with understanding how to live for God after being redeemed. LIVING BY FAITH DOES NOT COME “NATURALLY” TO ANY OF US! This is why this information ahead is so vital to your Faith!