It still looks this way to me: Until Jesus’ execution, his mission was to “fulfill the law”. I guess this meant (1)understand it (2) declare it (3) do it without any sin or error. During the time of his fulfilling the law as told in Matt, Mark and Luke, he never spoke clearly of the cross, his sacrifice, grace, etc. I never really realized this until yesterday (although I studied scripture for 30 years). Yes, Jesus references these matters in John but wasn’t clearly proclaimed until Paul. He spoke only of a works righteousness in Matt, Mark, Luke for the purpose of helping his hearers to understand they can never become righteous by following the law.
Some people are convinced that there is a “works” part to the gospel since Jesus talked so much about works and about judgment in Matthew, Mark and Luke. But, Jesus talked ONLY of works in these 3 Gospels ON PURPOSE. Because Easter hadn’t come. In other words, his time hadn’t come. And, because, his message in THOSE days was to make sure the everyone understood the severity of God’s judgment and wrath – to prepare them for the grace that was to come on Easter.
So, I believe somewhat differently than I have most of my Christian life. What I believe today is truer than what I’ve believed in the past. My evidence? That after 29 years as a Christian in emotional pain constantly, my whole life has changed in the last year since I’ve come to believe this new way. Kind of like the Truth has set me free. Like my yoke is lighter. Like I get blessed when I don’t deserve it. Like I’m experiencing a peace that passes my understanding. Like I understand now what “abundant life” means. I’ve never had an experience (a turnaround) like this in my whole life. Someone told me they thought I’d found “the pearl of great price” for which I’m willing to trade everything I have. It sure feels like that much of the time.
MY VIEWS – I believe that if I (or anyone) just ask God for the Jesus ransom, then I’ve passed permanently from death to life with no fear of God. I approach His throne with much confidence. I believe that I no longer need to live in any feelings of guilt about the past or fear of the future. I believe the Spirit convicts (reminds) me of my (imputed) righteousness not of my sin. I find that this level of grace has activated the Fruit of the Spirit in me hugely. And has not led to license.