When Jesus “took our place,” it involved more than just going to the cross.
Yes, He took our place by standing condemned for our sins, but He also took our place in another respect—as one who walked perfectly in covenant with God. Jesus lived as a man who was sinless, spotless, a keeper of every holy command. And fulfilling the law with perfect obedience, He made the covenant complete. That is incredible news!
Yet here is even greater news: Jesus has not kept the benefits of the covenant to Himself, but shares them with us all. When He stands before the Father, He says, “I’ve brought My friends with Me to share in the blessings of Your covenant. As they stand before You, they stand in Me. So all My righteousness is theirs. Their forgiveness is activated through our covenant, Father.”
Thank God He did not choose us to keep covenant with Him! Yet the Man who has kept the covenant perfectly asks us to join Him in His covenant relationship with the Father. And when we say yes, we walk in Christ’s own Spirit. This is what Ezekiel prophesied when he said, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. . . . And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27, ESV).
Some Christians are overwhelmed at the thought of keeping God’s commands. They think, “I’ve got to read my Bible more, pray more, evangelize more.” If you think that way, you’re not living under the New Covenant—you’re living under the Mosaic Law. It is utter misery because you can never fully keep the law; when you break one part of it, you break all.
When you came to Christ, it is hoped that the revelation of God’s New Covenant set off a light of understanding in you. You didn’t have to be commanded to seek God’s face, to share the good news of Christ with your neighbor, to know freedom in the One who accomplished all for you. His nature began to transform your nature—and you did these things with a heart of joy!