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Various authors share about experiencing God's wonderful presence by knowing Jesus Christ personally through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Blood Covenant Righteousness

By Brian E. Trenhaile, MTH, Revision B, Published November 7, 2010

Table of Contents


I. Works Righteousness

The Jews Tried and It Did Not Work for Them

The Galatians Christian Tried and It Did Not Work for Them

Tremendous Human Effort and Willpower Will Not Work

II Faith Righteousness

God’s Righteousness Unleashes God’s Grace

III. Practical Covenant Righteousness

His Righteousness for Living

His Righteousness in Prayer

Practical Application in Witnessing




Christ’s righteousness is a gift. This gift is provided through the blood covenant which God made with all born again believers. God provides righteousness so we can fulfill our purpose of having a relationship with Him.  Sometimes others label this type of righteousness as Grace or Faith Righteousness.

Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). He meant that we are to yield to God’s authority and seek His best interests. But especially note that he also said we are to seek God’s righteousness. It is worth pointing out that Jesus does not tell us to seek or establish our own righteousness. He is telling us to seek His own righteousness which is provided to us through His blood covenant.

The covenant has made us just like Jesus, the first fruit. According to the covenant, all that Jesus is and has becomes mine: His power, His character, His nature, His resurrection, His life, His glory – all things are mine through the covenant. Romans 8:17 (NKJ) ‘and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together’ (Wolmarans, 56).

I. Works Righteousness

Humans often try to be righteous through their own efforts. However, these efforts fail miserably simply because they are dependant on human ability. One author put it this way:

Under the law, people work hard at trying to change, but the Bible says righteousness never came to anyone by the law … The weakness of the law is the flesh. Now, when the New Testament speaks of the flesh, we usually misunderstand what it means. We think of the flesh simply as cravings of the body. Although there are times when the Bible refers to the flesh as human cravings, it happens very seldom, particularly in Paul’s writings. The flesh refers to man’s ability. We are in the flesh, when we try to change, perform, or become what we should be through our own strength and efforts (Richards, 22).

We often try to please God through our own efforts. But it simply does not work. We only end up producing unacceptable works of the flesh. Abraham did this when he produced Ishmael. But when we do it God’s way, through faith in God’s power and ability, we end up producing acceptable works through the Spirit. Abraham and Sarah did this when they produced Isaac (cf. Wolmarans, 64).

The Jews Tried and It Did Not Work for Them

Most of the Jews,1 God’s chosen race, missed the point regarding righteousness. Paul describes their predicament in the following verses:

What shall I say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’… For I testify that they have zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Romans 9:30-33; 10:2-4, NASB).

The Galatians Christians Tried and It Did Not Work for Them

Even Christians sometimes have difficulty understanding that righteousness is a gift from God, and that it is obtained through faith. It is not obtained by human effort or works.2 Paul wrote to the church in Galatia making this point very clear.

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness … But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith (Galatians 3:1-6, 11, bold emphasis added).

Tremendous Human Effort and Willpower Will Not Work

Jesus said, “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). This is a heady statement when one considers how respected the Pharisees were. It took tremendous human effort and will power to be a Pharisee. They were highly regarded by the people for their piety. They were well educated and very disciplined in their religious activities. But Jesus often rebuked their outward religious activity, spiritual blindness, and proud hearts. This is obviously not the type of righteousness for which God is looking. It seems like a paradox when Jesus says that our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees; He also says “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (cf. Mathew 11:30. But what He says makes sense when one considers His righteousness obtained through faith.

II. Faith Righteousness

The Apostle Paul understood that faith righteousness is extremely important. He was educated at the best schools in the world at the time, he came from the same race as the Messiah, he was zealous for God, and was found blameless according to the righteousness which is by the Law (cf. Philippians 3:4-6). Yet regarding all these qualifications and accomplishments he said:

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection …” (Philippians 3:7-10, NASB, bold emphasis added).

Paul’s greatest desire is to be in close fellowship with God. God also wants this for each of us. Paul alludes, in the preceding verses, that faith righteousness is the key that unlocks this close fellowship in which we will experience God’s tremendous power.

God’s Righteousness Unleashes God’s Grace

When we believe we have Christ’s righteousness, it opens the door for God’s grace to come. Grace then empowers and enables us to live godly lives. God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9, NKJV). The following verse illustrates how grace empowers us to live for God.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (I Corinthians 15:10).

Another verse demonstrates how grace enables: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, least anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV). Two helpful definitions of grace follow:

Traditionally, we have defined God’s grace as ‘God’s unmerited favor.’ Although this definition is true, it does not tell us what grace really is; it tells us only that it is free. One of the simplest definitions of grace I have found is 'ability.’ Grace is God’s ability working in man, making him able to do what he cannot do in his own ability (Richards, 22).

Whatever challenges you face, God’s grace is working for you even if you don’t deserve it and want to earn it. God’s grace will accomplish the task for you even though you don’t deserve it. God’s grace is sufficient; we don’t need any extra besides His grace. His grace will get the job done (Wolmarans, 29).

III.  Practical Covenant Righteouness

There are many practical ways in which faith righteousness manifests itself. Some ways include provision for living holy lives, vibrant prayer and empowerment in witnessing.

His Righteousness for Living

How can we fellowship with God when He says, “Be ye holy for I am holy” (cf. I Peter 1:16)? We do it through Christ’s righteousness not our own. All we have to do is have faith that God puts us into Christ and when He does this we also get Christ’s righteousness. The following scripture attests to this truth.

By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD’ (I Corinthians 1:30-31, NASB, bold emphasis added).

If we mess it up, His righteousness can be restored simply through confession on our part. In context, the following verse was written to Christians, it was not written to unbelievers. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:8-9, bold emphasis added). Note from this verse that God is being faithful to the blood covenant that Jesus made on our behalf.

On account of sin there can be no covenant between man and God without blood. And there can be no New Covenant without the blood of the Son of God. As the cleansing away of sin is the first condition in making a covenant, so it is equally a first condition of an entrance into it. It has always been found that a deeper appropriation of the blessings of the Covenant must be proceeded by a new and deeper cleansing from sin … The confession and casting away and cleansing away of sin in the blood are the indispensable, but all-sufficient, preparation for a life of everlasting covenant with God (Murray, 59).

His Righteousness in Prayer

A vibrant prayer life results from Christ’s righteousness given to us through the blood covenant. This is because this righteousness gives us direct access to God. “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we also have access into this grace wherein we stand” (Romans 5:1, 2, bold emphasis added). In Greek, access means that which is given to an important ambassador to visit someone who is of great authority.

Just say, ‘Father I come to You in the name of Jesus.’ John 14:13 (NKJV) ‘And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.’ Why? To bring honor to the Father. When I use the name of Jesus, my covenant Partner and He solves my problems then the Father is honored (Wolmarans, 65).

Practical Application in Witnessing

Blood covenant righteousness is deeply intertwined with the salvation process. For example when one believes that God raised Jesus from the dead, then that person becomes righteous. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

The following quotation gives understanding about the role of the Holy Spirit’s when we are out witnessing as a church.

He quoted a few scriptures that he heard … I felt those Scriptures burning in me like fire. The Bible says in John 16:8, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The moment He had some truth to work with in me, the Holy Spirit did His job. It is important to note that this is how the Holy Spirit relates to the world, not the church. The Living Bible makes this point so understandable. It reads, ‘And when he has come he will convince the world of its sin, and of the availability of God’s goodness [righteousness], and of deliverance from judgment. The world’s sin is unbelief in me; there is righteousness available because I go to the Father and you shall see me no more; there is deliverance from judgment because the prince of this world has already been judged’ (John 16:8-11). The Holy Spirit had to convince me that because of Jesus, I could be freed from sin and have righteousness. When I prayed, I was surrendering my life to Him to change it in whatever way He wanted, because I knew I could not change. That admission of inability and dependence on His ability caused the greatest single change that ever took place in my life (Richards, 149-150, bold emphasis added).

It is our job to share the Good News in love. Part of this Good News is that God gives us His own righteousness and ability. Our action then opens the door for the Holy Spirit to convince them of the truth that we are saying.


It is futile to try to establish our own righteousness. God will not accept it. One prophet said, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags before God” (Isaiah 64:6, NIV). Fortunately for us, God has given us Christ’s righteousness. “For He hath made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (I Corinthians 5:21, NKJV). So the righteousness problem is solved through receiving it by faith (cf. Galatians 5:5).

Receiving blood covenant righteousness through faith brings God’s grace into our lives. This grace enables and empowers us to live in fellowship with God and to do the works that He has given us to do. These are deeds that cannot be done in our own ability; they are done through our faith in God’s ability (His grace) working through us. So faith righteousness unleashes God’s grace (God’s Resources and Ability at Christ’s Expense) into our lives, and this frees us to be who we were created to be. So the whole purpose of the blood covenant is then fulfilled through our lives.


Murray, Andrew. The Believer’s New Covenant. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1984.

Wolmarans, Dr. Theo. The Blood Covenant - TBC-270, Johannesburg, South Africa: Christian Family Church International, 2008.

Richards, Dr. James. Grace the Power to Change. New Kensington, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 1993.

Kendall, R. T. Understanding Theology, Volume I. Fearn, Ross-Shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 2002.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

Scripture references marked NKJV are taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION, Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982, by The Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture references marked NASB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (

Scripture references marked NIV are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture references marked NLT are taken from the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION ®. NLT ®. Copyright © 1996, 2004 by the Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

End Notes

1These missed it because of their unbelief, even though they are God’s chosen people who are entrusted with the oracles of God (cf. Romans 5:2). They are the most likely candidates to understand, since they are God’s chosen and are entrusted with the promises, the covenant, the temple, the priesthood, with whom the glory of God resided, and are from whom the Messiah descended (cf. Romans 9:3-5; Kendall, 84).

2Some unauthorized Jews (cf. Galatians 5:7, 8) were telling the Galatians that in order to be saved they must keep the Jewish festivals (cf. Galatians 4:10) and get circumcised (cf. Galatians 5:2, 3) according to Jewish custom.  In other words they must do religious works to be righteous before God.