A NEW CHAPTER
While I was doing research for my new book on prayer, I stumbled on a subject every believer should know inside out. It’s called the New Covenant. Of course, I realise that the gracious Holy Spirit, the supreme teacher, is here to lead us into all truth. It was He who led me to explore the ramifications of this covenant which Jesus introduced to His disciples in the Upper Room on the eve of His death.
Jeremiah predicted, centuries before, that God would make a new covenant for (not with) His people because the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant of which Moses was the mediator, failed to achieve its purpose.
If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, He said: “The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the Lord.” Heb. 8: 7-9 (NLT)
What was wrong with the Old Covenant? God said that it was not the covenant that was faulty. It was the people. They were incapable of obeying God’s instructions because of sin. There was no provision in the Old Covenant to deal with the power that sin had over them.
Paul was aware of the problem of sin in his own life when he was a strict Pharisee and made every effort to obey the covenant.
Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting was wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” Romans 7:7 (NLT)
The law’s purpose was to teach the people what sin was and to show them how impossible it was to overcome sin by trying to obey the law.
At one time, I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So, I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Romans 7: 9-10 (NLT).
God could not risk making another covenant with His people because of their failure to keep the Mosaic Covenant. Instead, He made a covenant with His Son. All who believe and receive His Son participate in the New Covenant by faith.
Those who lived under the Old Covenant could only look forward to what the New Covenant promised and would do.
“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbours, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, “You should know the Lord.” for everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
The operative word for those under the Old Covenant was “Do”. Their lives were an endless round of doing, which was never enough because of their sinful hearts. No matter how much they “did” they could not satisfy God’s holy standards. All the sacrifices for their unfaithfulness could never free them from a guilty conscience.
God made a promise through Jeremiah that the new covenant (which He would make with Jesus) would take care of sin in such a way that it would be completely removed and would never be an issue with Him again.
The New Covenant did away with the old system of Aaronic high priests, the Levitical priesthood, animal sacrifices and promises of an earthly inheritance, and replaced it with Jesus. He is the New Covenant. He is an eternal high priest because of the power of an endless life; He is the mediator of the New Covenant; He is the once-for-all perfect sacrifice which removed sin forever and He is the way to the Father.
The operative word of the New Covenant is “Done”. He declared, as He drew His final breath on the cross, “It is finished!” All we need to do now is to believe His promises. Anything that adds to or takes away from what Jesus accomplished by His life and death is under God’s curse.
Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News from the one we preached to you. Gal 1:8 (NLT).
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. All rights reserved.