The great theologians of centuries past were correct when they saw in the Scriptures two covenants–the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace. Both have existed since before the fall of man in the Garden, and both continue to exist to this day. Moses, after writing of both covenants in the historical account of Adam’s Transgression of the Commandment and the Promise of a Crusher of the Serpent’s head, continues to write of both after he has received from Yahweh the Law. Concerning this, the apostle Paul writes in Romans 10, “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them” (v. 10:5). This is, by Moses, the acknowledgement of the perpetuation of the Covenant of Works, viz. that he who obeys the Law will be declared “just” by the Law. However, since it is made quite clear by the apostle in the preceding chapters of his letter that no one has kept the Law, the apostle appeals to Moses’ appeal to the Righteousness that comes by faith. For Moses writes and the apostle adds:
But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (i.e. to bring Christ down) or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (i.e. to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (i.e. the word of faith that we proclaim) (vv. 10:6-8).
The apostle’s appeal to the revelation given to Moses demonstrates that there are, even now, two methods to approach Jesus Christ (i.e. God) and his righteousness. The first way is the way of works. This method is a declaration by the heart that one will pull himself up by his own boot straps and rise to meet God halfway. It is rule keeping that manifests itself in self-righteousness based upon tithing, wearing nice suits on Sundays, and not being a drain on the government as other low-lifes are. These might acknowledge with their lips that Jesus Christ is God and that he came down to Earth and dwelt among men and died and rose up from the dead, but they do not base their righteousness upon him. They instead look to themselves and their own law-keeping and think that they are right with God simply because ten percent of their gross income goes to the local church.