The Two Covenants
5 May 2018
We are saved by grace through faith, but when many people hear this message they tend to get confused and think their performance is needed in order to avoid going to hell. The Law of Moses was extensive, and it contained not only the Ten Commandments but also more than six hundred laws the people were required to obey. God has since replaced the law with grace, and if we do not fully understand this change we can stumble on our Christian walk. Unlike the original laws that were written in stone by the finger of God, the laws we now have are written in our hearts, and we are now living epistles. Trying to mix the law with grace gives us zero results. When Paul received a revelation of Jesus, the Spirit of God began writing on Paul’s heart and directing him how to live. We receive the same type of revelation when we realize that real Christianity involves a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a life lived according to what His Spirit writes on our hearts.
- The Holy Spirit is an integral part of the new covenant. He leads and guides us.
- Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me (John 16:7-9).
- Jesus Christ specifically sent the Holy Spirit to us. The Spirit is an intricate part of our Christian lives; we cannot be successful without Him.
- We cannot accomplish the mission or assignment God gives us without the Holy Spirit’s help.
- The Spirit was sent to convict people of not believing on Jesus. This is the real reason for people’s sinful behavior.
- God is the same and He never changes. He deals with us through covenants, and the Bible is a book of covenants. However, how He deals with mankind changes based upon the covenant in place.
- Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8).
- The two main covenants in the Bible are the Law of Moses and the new covenant of grace.
- A covenant is much stronger than an agreement or a contract. It is an irrevocable pledge or vow, a promise between parties to carry out the terms agreed upon. It can only be broken by death.
- In the Old Testament, we see the covenant symbolized by the blood sacrifices made.
- The covenant of the law was conditional and based on performance. If either party violated the terms of the agreement, it was voided.
- And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee (Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 15).
- The condition of this covenant was that the people keep all of the six hundred thirteen laws; no one could do that.
- The law was strict and specific, and provided no room for adjustment. Most people are still trying to live under it.
- …for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life (2 Corinthians 3:6).
- “The letter killeth” refers to a performance-based type of Christianity that causes people to think they must do something to earn God’s blessings.
- Under grace, technically we are free to continue sinning; but if we have truly been born again, we will not want
- The ushering in of the new covenant was prophesied in the Old Testament.
- Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19).
- The “new thing” this refers to is the new covenant; by comparison, the old thing is the old covenant. God is saying that when He brings in the new covenant, people will not know it.
- Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it andwill you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19, AMPC).
- We must decide whether we will continue living under the old covenant. Under that agreement, anyone who cannot keep all of it is cursed.
- For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland (Isaiah 43:19, NLT).
- God is telling the people that when He brings in the new covenant, some of them will not realize the old covenant has passed away. They will continue trying to live by it.
- The major flaw of the old covenant was that it hinged on man’s behavior.
- But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith 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, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith 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 neighbour, 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 (Hebrews 8:6-12).
- If it was okay to continue living under the law, Jesus would not have needed to mediate the new covenant.
- The new covenant is unconditional. It is not between God and man like the old covenant was, but between God and Jesus. We are the beneficiaries of that covenant.
- If we do not believe verse twelve, the new covenant will not work for us.
- Mercy is when we do not receive the bad we deserve. In the new covenant, mercy has replaced condemnation.
- But as it now is, He [Christ] has acquired a [priestly] ministry which is as much superior andmore excellent [than the old] as the covenant (the agreement) of which He is the Mediator (the Arbiter, Agent) is superior and more excellent, [because] it is enacted and rests upon more important (sublimer, higher, and nobler) promises…However, He finds fault with them [showing its inadequacy] when He says, Behold, the days will come, says the Lord, when I will make and ratify a new covenant or agreement with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their forefathers on the day when I grasped them by the hand to help and relieve them and to lead them out from the land of Egypt, for they did not abide in My agreement with them, and so I withdrew My favor and disregarded them, says the Lord…When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether (Hebrews 8:6, 8, 9, 13, AMPC).
- Under the new covenant, God can still do His part even if man does not do his
- The problem with the old covenant was that man could not be faithful. The new covenant is not based on what we do, but on God’s love.
- To enter into this new covenant, we must believe and receive Jesus and His gift of righteousness.
- The old covenant of the law is out of use because the season for it has passed. The age of the law has expired; we are now under the age of grace.
- Sin is not the issue anymore. It is now whether or not we believe on Jesus.
- Most people think sin is the issue, but Jesus has already taken care of sin. The next time He comes, it will be to perfect our salvation and prepare us for eternity.
- Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once andonce for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who are [eagerly, constantly, and patiently] waiting for and expecting Him (Hebrews 9:28, AMPC).
- So also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28, NLT).
- Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).
- When we think we are made righteous by the law, we fall back into performance and self-effort. The law is not responsible for blessing us.
When Jesus healed entire villages, all of them were still sinners and none of them were saved. They simply believed. Unbelief, not sin, is the reason people are not healed.
Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 15
2 Corinthians 3:6
Isaiah 43:19, AMPC
Isaiah 43:19, NLT
Hebrews 8:6, 8, 9, 13, AMPC
Hebrews 9:28, AMPC
Hebrews 9:28, NLT