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The New Covenant

May 10, 2011

All those who trust in Jesus are part of the New Covenant but sad to say that many believers today don’t understand what the New Covenant is all about. Many believers enter into the New Covenant without understanding what has been provided in the New Covenant.

The New Covenant: A New and Better Covenant

Hebrews 7:22 “Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.” (NIV)

Hebrews 8:6 “But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.”

What is a covenant?

God deals with us through a framework of a covenant. A covenant is a commitment between 2 parties to be one and to belong to one another. It is normally ratified in blood and can only be terminated in blood.

Let’s look at the two verses again:

Hebrews 7:22 “Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.”

Hebrews 8:6 “But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.”

Why is the new covenant better? This is because Jesus is the guarantor of a better covenant. A guarantor is a person, organization, or thing that guarantees something. Whatever problems happens to the person who is guaranteed, the guarantor is responsible for it. A bank would likely go after the guarantor since he has more money than the guaranteed person. (a side joke) A guarantor upholds the responsibility of taking over the matters of the contracting party.

The new and better covenant of which Jesus is:

1)  The “guarantor” (surety) – Hebrews 7:22

2) The “mediator” (middleman) – Hebrews 8:6

You need a middleman to see somebody. We cannot come and approach God and the only way we can come before the holy God is through Jesus Christ. The Bible declares that there is only One mediator between God and Man who is the Man, Jesus.

“found on better promises” (in the original Greek)- that can never be improved upon and never be replaced.

Covenants: New Vs Old

Some people think that the New Covenant is a patch-up of the Old Covenant. It is not. The New Covenant is something totally new. Sometimes we think that in the New Covenant, like the Old Covenant,  God had made the same demands as in the Old Covenant and God’s responds to us is the same as in the Old Covenant. That is not true.

The way God deals with His people in the New Covenant is completely different from the way He deals in the Old Covenant.

Then you might ask,”What was the purpose of the Old Covenant then?”

The Old Covenant is only a shadow of the good things to come in the New Covenant. In other words, it is only a type of Jesus.

Hebrews 10:1 “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming — not the realities themselves.”

Hebrews 8:7 “For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said:

Problem of the Old: 9… because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them…”

The problem of the Old Covenant is that the people’s performance was at the centre of the equation. Everything hinge on their performance whether they obey or do not obey the Law. So if they obeyed the 613 laws perfectly, they were blessed. And in the same way, if they do not obey completely, they were cursed.

Moses in his last sermon just as they entering the Promised Land about blessings and curses (in Deuteronomy 28)

v 1 If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: -blessings (vv. 3-12)

5 However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: -curses (vv. 16-68)

We also think that our receive blessings from the Lord is dependent proportionally to how much you obey the Law.

But the Law is not like that. The law is a 100% passing mark and i f you disobey even one, you fail in all. None of us can fully obey the Law as it is. But what is the good news in the New Covenant?

It is no longer our performance nor our obedience that matters but Jesus’ performance and obedience. That is the key in walking in the truth of the New Covenant.

In the Old Covenant, it involved God and the nation of Israel.

Exodus 24:3 When Moses went and told the people all the LORD’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.” (They wanted God to judge based on their performance and not the covenant which was promised to Abraham)

But the New Covenant is different. The New Covenant is cut between God and the Man. That is why Jesus came down to Earth as a Man to fulfill all the laws to cut the covenant with God. The New Covenant was cut between God and Jesus, the Man – 2 immutable, infallible, perfect, eternal beings –therefore it cannot fail!

Anything that depends on the people’s performance will fail and anything that depends on God and Jesus will not fail.

Then what happened to the Old Covenant?

Hebrews 8:13  By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Obsolete and aging

– Jesus’ death made the practices of the Old Covenant unnecessary.

– In AD 60, the people were still giving offerings at the temple. After that, in AD 70, the temple was destroyed and along with it, caused the Old Covenant to disappear.

Today, the Jews don’t have a complete religion. They don’t have a temple to give their offerings to God.

The New Covenant of “I will”

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. (Hebrews 8:10-12)

The New Covenant is all about “I will”. The Old Covenant is about “You shall not, You shall honour your father and mother” etc… The Old Covenant is about Man’s performance, the New Covenant is about God’s will and purposes. It is a new covenant of God-willing, God-determining, God wanting to do something for His people.

The New Covenant Promises (1)

“I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.”

The OT saints, e.g David, is known to be a man after God’s heart, knew the laws and meditated on them day and night and yet committed adultery, perjury and murder.

Why? Because the laws were written on stone and not in David.

In the New Covenant, there is a major transformational recreation. Some people kept on emphasising or in my perspective, “down blazing” it, “you are born again… you are born again”. People don’t see the significance that there is a complete change in you.

When you come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, when you know that the Holy Spirit has come upon you and when you are regenerated again, there is a new heart and a new spirit within you. There is a major transformation.

He will write His desires, His will in our hearts and our minds – Hearts that beat in tune with God’s will.

And then people accused us,”So, if you put it that way, then I can do whatever I want, so I can say God has put it into my heart.” In other words, what he was trying to say is that you have a licence to sin.

But I want to say this to you. People who talk like that don’t understand what the Lord has done for us. We are free and forgiven.

Living according to God’s will and purposes would be by inner desire, not by outward compulsion of following rules.

Foolish and impossible to try to live a life of sin because His will is written in your hearts.

He died for the sins of the past, present and the future. Jesus is a Man but he is also God so He transcended time so once for all no more. We are free and forgiven. You have a new DNA – new spirit, new heart.

His laws —-> His desires, His will, His purposes.

Some people talk so much about the Ten Commandments. I want to tell you that the Ten Commandments is only a kindergarten step in the will and purposes of God.

For example : “Thou shall not commit adultery”

Jesus gave us a better revelation. If you look at a woman with lustful eyes, you are committing adultery. (Matthew 5:27)

But Paul with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said, “Husbands love their wives as Christ love the church”. (Ephesians 5:25) That is a world of difference, the higher calling is in the New Covenant. The law which the Lord puts in our hearts to enable us to love because we were first loved by Him and today, we can love.

Our 2 faceted new identity:

forgiven and free but also, new and different.

1John 5:18 “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.”

The New Covenant promises (2)

I will be their God, and they will be my people – a covenantal relationship

He will:

– supply all their needs,

– deliver them from all dangers, and

– fill them with everlasting joy.

He will be faithful, bearing with their frailties, never leaving nor forsaking them. There is no better Father than God Himself.

And they will be My people

– the dignity and security of being His people

The New Covenant Promises (3)

No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know(1) the Lord,’ because they will all know(2) me, from the least of them to the greatest.

Know(1): ginōskō–to know by learning or experience

Know(2): eidon–to know intuitively

when you are born again, you know the Father intuitively just like how a son knows who the father is.

In the New Covenant everyone has a personal relationship of the Lord – do not need human intermediaries.

The Holy Spirit who indwells in us will lead us to all truth about Jesus.

The New Covenant – Main Clause

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

This is the great foundational promise and grace of the New Covenant.

“For” – the hinge for the earlier promises.

Forgive – not absolute mercy but grace shown as a result of a propitiation.

Christ died to render God propitious toward sinners (Heb. 2:17), and in and through Him alone is God merciful toward the sins of His people.

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)

Just so long as Christ is rejected, we are under the curse. But as soon as He is received, the promises described in Hebrews 8: 10-12 become ours.

“…will remember their sins no more”.

God not only forgives us but also does not remember our sins any more.

remember no more > forgets

no more (in original Greek) – double negative, never, no more!

All because Jesus Christ made a full and complete payment for you on the cross.

Holy Spirit’s Testimony

Sometimes people say the Holy Spirit convicts us for our sins. Let’s see what the Bible says on what the Holy Spirit convicts us of:

Hebrews 10:15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this.

First he says: 16―This is the covenant I will make with themafter that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.

17 Then he adds: ―”Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

John 16:8-9 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me;

The Holy Spirit will come and convict the world of their sin (notice: it’s singular)

Continue to read the verse, Jesus said this because they do not believe in Him. They will send them to eternal damnation. They did not believe in Jesus and His finished work on the cross.

Cornerstone of the New Covenant

Our Christian walk is like this, “I don’t want to sin”. The total forgiveness is like a safety net for us so that we can live our lives a full knwoing that sometimes if we trip, we pick ourselves up and run again. That is what the Christian life is all about. The total forgiveness. And that is something what the Lord as provided for us in the New Covenant.

In the Old Covenant, their lives are always a roller-coaster ride. They never knew whether God is going to be angry with them or God is going to be pleased with them. They never knew but today, because of what Jesus has done for us, His favour is upon us always.

he dealt the one thing that separates us from God once and for all.  God turned His face away from Jesus on the cross, bearing all the sins, all the diseases and all the punishment of the world. If the Father had not turned His back on His Son, He would have to turn His back on you today when you call out to Him in your hour of need. But because Jesus has taken your place, today, you take His place, and you have God’s face smiling on you always!

And when God’s face is towards us, His favour is upon us. You are forgiven and free but you are also new and different because of what the Lord has done for you!

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Categories: Grace, Jesus, New Covenant
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