Sunday, September 21, 2008

The New Covenant

As Christians, we are under the "new covenant". Have you heard this? Well it's true, in case you didn't know. If you don't believe me just check out Hebrews 8. To understand the new covenant, though, you must first understand what? Well, the old covenant, of course. Okay, so let's take a look at the old covenant.

We find the old covenant in the book of Exodus, where God delivers His "terms", if you will, to Moses upon Mount Sinai. After giving Moses the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), and other instructions, we see Moses come back down the mountain to relay God's Holy standards to Israel.

Let's pick up the story in Exodus 24:7, "And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient."

So here we see the people of Israel agreeing to the terms, or the laws, that God has given. They promise to fulfill the law and live obediently.

verse 8, "And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words."

So, we see the first covenant involved people agreeing to keep God's Holy law. What is the logical conclusion to this idea? Well, if you agree to follow God's law, and then break the law, what have you done? You have broken the covenant. There goes your salvation. Are you starting to see why there is a new covenant now?

Stay with me for a moment. Let's look at 1 John 3:4, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." So when we break this covenant by transgressing the law God gave Moses, it is called sin.

Remember the penalty for sin? Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." This can also be found in the Old Testament: Ezekiel 18:4, "Behold, all souls are mine, as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."

So only the people who have not broken the covenant by transgressing the law are going to be saved? That's what the Bible says. How many people do you think have kept the covenant and not sinned?

The answer is found in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" How many did it say? All. That's right. So according to the agreement we made with God, we are all guilty and the punishment is death. Not just death of the body, but remember what God said: "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." So our entire being, everything we are, our soul, is going to die.

The problem is that God won't just let His children die. He loves us and fights for us. But He is a God of justice, and can't let evil go unpunished. So how can He save us? We have sinned and the law must be satisfied, there must be a punishment of death.

So God did the unthinkable. The God of Heaven who created the Universe, created you and me and sustains our life every second...this God...became a man. He was born in a lowly manger and received no honor, no praise. He came and lived a life of perfection, following every command that God had ever given to men. He was the only sinless man that ever was, or ever will be. He was God.

John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
verse 14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
3:16-17, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

So Jesus Christ, who is God Himself, lived a perfect life so that He didn't deserve death, and gave His life in our stead. In other words, He took upon Himself the death penalty we deserve, and gave us the eternal life that He deserves.

John 15:13-14, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

So now, if we give our lives to Christ, He gives His life to us. So what to do about the old covenant? Well, God decided to let us in on the real covenant, the new covenant, long before Christ came and satisfied the old one:

Jeremiah 31:31-33, "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."

How beautiful is that? When we decide to follow Christ, He creates a new nature in us. A nature that loves to follow God's law. His nature. A nature of love. And we keep His commandments because we love Him, not because we have to. John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Amen!

1 comment:

  1. But in Romans 7: Paul writes, I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can't. I do what I don't want to do --what I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking...No matter which way I turn I can't make myself do right. I want to but I can't. When I want to do good, I don't; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.

    God gives us this new heart. He makes us a new being. But this newness is in wanting to do right. We must strive to be the person God wants us to be and also the person that we want ourselves to be. But that does not mean that we will never sin again. The change is that we now sorrow for the sin we may too often commit and repent of it in all seriousness.

    We must, however, refrain from permitting discouragement to overtake us because we may not always be this sinless person we want to be.

    George of