What Is the New Covenant and Are We Living In it?

ImageMy wife grew up in a very similar church experience as many of us have. She sinned every week and constantly, like so many in the church, had to go down to the altar and “recommit” her life to Jesus each Sunday or take a chance on dying and going to hell. She said that it seemed that Christ had the power to save her, but no power to keep her saved. She had to do it all from that point on by living a pure life and doing good works according to church doctrine and rules that must be kept.

I had a very similar church upbringing as she did, except I was raised a Catholic and had the same sin issue and the same striving against sin with the same necessity of confessing my sins and going down to the altar every Sunday to take “holy communion” that I might get right with God again and then the cycle started all over again the following week. What bondage!

Things became very clear to me that my salvation was not a result of my works, but God’s when I read chapter eight of Hebrews. There I read the difference between the Old Covenant of works and the New Covenant which Jeremiah prophesied of God’s wonderful grace. The writer of Hebrews wrote:

“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he says, Behold, the days come, says the Lord, when 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 when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb 8:7-12 KJ2000)

The first covenant (the old covenant) was doomed to failure because it hinged on the obedience of seemingly endless list of commandments that the Hebrews had to keep.by their own strength and as we read her they failed and broke the covenant that they made with God. So God knowing this had a further plan that WOULD work and in this plan it was not dependent on the righteous of the first Adam (fallen man), but the righteousness of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ. The first covenant was filled with “thou shalt’s and thow shalt not’s” but the second and more perfect covenant is pronounce with a short list of “I WILL’s” and it is all fulfilled by the working of the will of God in us:

I will make a new covenant
I will put my laws into their minds
I will write my laws in their hearts
I will be to them a God and they shall be my people
They shall not teach every man his neighbor…for all shall know me
I will be merciful to their unrighteousness
I will remember their sins no more

In Ezekiel we read a bit more about this covenant saying,

“And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Eze 36:23-27 KJ2000)

I will sanctify my great name
I will be sanctified in you
I will take you from among the nations
I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be clean
I will cleanse you
I will give you a new heart
I will put a new spirit within you
I will take away your stoney hearts
I will cause you to walk in my statues and do them

Nope, not a single “thou shalt” or “thou shalt not,” but fifteen “I will…” statements by God. The New Covenant is “good news” because Jesus and the Spirit of God gives those who surrender to Christ the power to obey Him and live upright lives IN Him. We live by God’s power and heart and not our own inability to please Him by our works.  So what are all these statutes and commandments He puts on our hearts? In Hebrews again we read,

In that he says, A new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which decays and grows old is ready to vanish away.
(Heb 8:13 KJ2000)

If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
(Heb 7:11-12 KJ2000)

Jesus Christ is our great High Priest and with Him and His covenant came in a New and changed law. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” (Joh 13:34-35 KJ2000)

Paul wrote, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, self-control: against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23 KJ2000)

And in Romans we read, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Rom 13:8-9 KJ2000)

So, as we abide IN Christ we now find that we have a new heart, a new mind (the mind of Christ), a new Spirit, the Spirit of God, and are able to walk in His New Commandment, the law of love that sums up the whole old covenant law and it is all by the power of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the sending forth of His Holy Spirit to abide in us. THIS is the Good News of the gospel, not a new list of rules and regulations we have to keep by our own strength… a list that we can not keep any more that the Hebrew people could keep the laws of the first covenant. The New Covenant is not about us, but it is all about Him and we who abide IN Him as members of HIS body. Amen, Lord. So be it!

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13 comments on “What Is the New Covenant and Are We Living In it?

  1. Ken Burgess says:

    AMEN! Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus! Praise God for such powerful revelation about HIM.

    Ken Burgess Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  2. Really enjoyed this article. If only we Christians could get away from what we’ve been taught in the modern day church and realize the grace and freedom we have been given through Christ. So many still think we need to mix law with grace. Christ has provided an abundant life for us, but we are held back through our traditions and doctrines of rules and regulations, Thanks so much for this article.

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    • Done,
      Thanks for writing. If only Christians realize the all sufficiency of Christ. He is our ALL in all and all takes in all we need for righteousness, salvation and life.

      And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.
      (Eph 1:22-23 KJ2000)

      and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.
      (Eph 1:22-23 RSVA)

      You cannot add to ALL. Christ is ALL we need and to add to that is to only take away from all that is ours and given to us freely by Him. You can’t make true Christianity a designer religion where you go through the Bible and pick and choose parts of the Old Covenant (exclusive priesthood- pastorate, temples and synagogues [church buildings], special feast days, etc.) and then add them to Christ’s finished work on the cross. As Paul put it, “In HIM we live and move and have our being,” not “in church we live and move and have our beings.” Jesus is enough. He is our ALL!

      Like

  3. Pat Orr says:

    Wonderful word. Thank you.

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  4. Pat Orr says:

    Yes, we had emailed the Orr connection some months ago. I appreciate relatives, especially those in Christ Jesus. I like saying Bro. Michael. That is a relationship with me – not a title.

    Sister Pat

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    • I agree, Pat. Unity in Christ is far more real than unity by genealogy by far. Being ONE in Him and the Father is what REAL Christianity is… a.k.a., the family of the Father and the Son, bound together by His marvelous love.

      Brother Michael

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  5. James says:

    Read 1 Corinthians chapter 10. In fact start at the end of 9. We are saved and sanctified and we are called to follow after The Lord. By His Spirit and yielding to the Holy Ghost we will run the race set before us. Run to win!

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  6. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    “The New Covenant is not about us, but it is all about Him and we who abide IN Him as members of HIS body.”

    Amen.

    This article above was the first I read on your site a few weeks ago, Michael, and I was very blessed by it. 😉
    I guess it is not too off-topic if I say here that the experience of being a member of His visible body was altogether a disappointing and disintegrating experience, particularly because I am a woman. I have just been reading yours and George’s completely God-breathed article on “Brotherhood – Male and Female Made He Them”. Wow! I am so thankful that you both wrote about it just the way you did.
    It is so good to know that we as brothers and sisters are equal in Him, and that no man in “the church” has a spiritual right to exercise control over women. For decades I have been wondering why God gave me the knowledge of Him, however, as soon as I was trying to share my experiences, there was no way for me to express myself in a way that would be “heard”. I felt like a “no-name identity” in the RCC, though some priests wondered at the knowledge God had given to me. One of them said, “Most people I met, knew little about theology. But you…as a woman…at that.”
    Later, in the evangelical camp, it was not better either. At church, women were useful for cleaning, preparing food, childcare coupled with biblical teaching – which I loved the most 🙂 – and serving their brothers and sisters silently. Yet, the only “adult” outcome of my experiences and knowledge I had received from God was to have a certain must-not-be-named-influence on different pastors’ sermons. Carefully listening to them, I wondered, “How is it possible to talk about things regarding God or biblical revelation which they never experienced on their own?” In fact, these pastors had no relationship with Jesus Christ, whereas we as women rather often had it. So sad, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne, I have enjoyed hearing about how Jesus has set you free of all that religious bondage that men have tried to put on you. I also started out as a Catholic and then became a member of a Protestant church and then bounce from “church” to “church” seeking His voice and not hearing it but on rare occasions from a pulpit. I think that seeing the darkness so blatant in the Catholic Church helped me to see that it was also there in the Protestant churches as well, even the so-called “Bible Churches.”

      Truly, as we abide IN Christ we are all a new creation in which there is no Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female. Christ in you is no less valuable to the whole body than he is in me or anyone else who abides IN His body. The old covenant was all about laws that bound people and separated them into classes. It was cast system. But Jesus came to break every yoke and let the oppressed go free and when He did, it sure made the religious establishment mad and they finally killed Him over it. They were loosing their grip on the people. “Behold how all have gone after Him.” “If we don’t stop Him… we will lose our place.” My experience in the religious system was also one of bondage and being held in a lower cast called, “laity.” Show me that one in the Bible! I can only imagine what it was like to be a “lay woman.”

      Jesus was all about living in the New Covenant and spreading the freedom that is ours in this good news of the gospel. As a result the proprietors of the old covenant were always accusing him of breaking the law or the Sabbath.

      There was another woman in John ch. 4 that was the lowest of the lowest in Israel. She not only was a despised woman, but a woman living with a man “out of wedlock” and besides that she was a Samaritan. In the mind of the Jew she had three strikes against her. Yet, Jesus, a Jew by birth cut through all that crap and spoke to her as a human being that the Father loved and He showed her things about salvation and the kingdom of God that not even the disciples were taught. He put value on her and she was blown away and it changed her life from that day forward. She was the catalyst He used to bring salvation to her village as well. This is the only recorded revival that happened from Jesus’ preaching in the gospel that I know of. Not one Jewish town or city received Him like these Samaritan “dogs” did and He uses a lowly woman who believed to bring them the message that brought them to Him. Sister, those who are in the kingdom of heaven stand on a sea of glass… a perfectly level playing field and we are all members of His body and one another and each of us is given enable-ments by the Spirit to profit the whole body and they are found IN Him as we abide IN Him. We rob ourselves when we do not make room for each member to share His life from within them. Thanks for sharing that Life with all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

        Indeed, I started weeping as I was reading your reply here, Michael. It was God directly speaking to my heart, since you wrote about things you couldn’t know but God does. There is so much prophetic insight in your response to me.
        Thus I say, “Thank God… for you” – the same as a dear brother, Allan Halton, recently wrote in his wonderful article on his blog site ( http://amendingfeast.org/2013/11/08/thank-god-for-you/ ).

        Every blessing to you, Michael, to your wife Dorothy and to your whole family – the same to George and his, of course – and last but not least, to ALL readers of this site.

        In Christ’s Love,
        your sister Susanne

        Liked by 1 person

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