The New Covenant

The New Covenant

To understand the New Covenant, let’s consider its similarity to a marriage—not the whimsical marriages of today—but the kind God intended where a man and a woman become one until death separates them. Likewise, with the New Covenant, we are to become the Bride of Christ—wed to be one with Jesus for eternity.

Let’s take a look in the Old Covenant and see where God first made His proposal to mankind.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

This scripture tells us that God is going to establish a new covenant, because we could not keep our part of the Old Covenant—my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. Unlike the Old Covenant, the New Covenant will be inscribed on our heart, not on stone. Jeremiah was given the prophesy of a day 560 years in the future when God, the Son, would come and establish this New Covenant.

Romans 8:3-4 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and (as a sacrifice) for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The ratification of the New Covenant was signed, sealed, and delivered in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

This New Covenant isn’t about trying to stay within the rigid boundaries of rules and rituals; it is about living in love and fellowship with the Creator, as in a marriage. This new covenant is better than the old because it rests on the power and effect of Christ’s atonement for the sins of mankind upon the cross, not on our ability to keep the law.

Romans 10:4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

In the New Covenant, God offers forgiveness and restoration through an extraordinary act of love—the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. To us, who enter into this covenant of forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ, God, the Holy Spirit undertakes within us to change our heart, our mind, and our will. He enables us respond to God, the Father, in a ways we never have before because He writes this covenant on our heart and fills us with His love—which is Himself.

Hebrews 8:6 Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

The New Covenant emphasis is on desire not duty. God’s love in our heart will give us a desire to obey God.

John 14:15-17 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with and will be in you.”

Because mankind failed to keep the Old Covenant, God would have been justified if He had destroyed everything with one word and started over. Instead, out of His love and mercy, He offers a New Covenant which benefits us, costs Him His earthly life, but from which He receives glory through us who abide in Him and He in us.

In this covenant, from youngest to oldest, from peasant to kings, all would know God and that God forgives. He will purposefully not remember the sin and iniquity of those who come to Him in repentance and faith in His Son. Furthermore, He will cleanse us and change us.

1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God is love. Love is patient. Therefore, God endures our rebellion and sin to give us time to repent and turn to Him in prayer with a contrite heart.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

The New Covenant is based: not on rules but on a relationship with God, not on duty but on the desire of the heart, not on fear but on forgiveness. Jesus Christ is the mediator of this covenant—that is, He is the moderator, the referee, the one who sees that the terms of the covenant are carried out.

Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

That sounds great, you say, but what am I supposed to do?

God has offered us a New Covenant, like a proposal of marriage, but it will only benefit us if we say “yes” to Jesus Christ becoming our Savior and Lord, or our spiritual “husband”. As our “husband”, Jesus Himself lives forever to see that the provisions of the covenant are kept and to intercede on our behalf.

Hebrews 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

The glory of this covenant is that Jesus desired to spend the rest of eternity with us, sacrificed Himself to make it possible, and has prepared everything for our union with Him, withholding nothing from us. He has "freely given us all things" and saved us from Hell. And the thread of glory running through it all is not just the wonder and magnitude of His power, but it is also that it has been done without one human work! Not one behavioral requirement. Not one kind act; not any sacrifice by man; not one good deed; nothing, nothing, nothing...but Him, and Him alone! “It is finished!”

Prostitutes, adulterers, homosexuals, child molesters, rapists, murderers, drug addicts, drunks, prideful, greedy, selfish, liars, Democrats, Republicans, you, me—all changed through no work of their own! And not just forgiven and cleaned up; no, we will be made "like Him"—Jesus! The absolutely depraved—made absolutely glorious by the grace of God! That’s the New Covenant!

The New Covenant has been established through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven. Rather than us attempting to change ourselves by meeting the standards of the law, God will change us from within. God will write His word on our heart. He will fill us with His very presence, with His Holy Spirit. That is God's side of the covenant.

What is our side, you wonder? Faith. And even that will be a gift from God!

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.

Oh, this is where unbelief strikes us. We doubt the covenant is that simple. That is why we must be given faith by God, because we think there must be something we need to do to be saved. Baptism - communion - church membership - a prayer - feeding the poor - something. No, nothing! Anything we do, in fact, poisons it all. The glory of the New Covenant is that it is all Jesus. We have a choice—a free will, yes, but still it is all Him. The only considerations we have are the same any bride must consider when responding to a marriage proposal: 1. Will you believe He loves you and accept His proposal? 2. Will you love, obey, and follow Him the rest of your life?

Many hesitate to accept His proposal because they worry where Jesus will take them. Well, there is one place you can know for sure that He will take you. He will take you into the presence of God. Under the Old Covenant, only the high priest could enter into God’s presence behind the curtain in the temple once a year, to bring a sacrifice for his sin and the sins of the people. Remember what happened to that curtain the moment Jesus died?

Matthew 27:51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.

The good news of the New Covenant is that when Jesus died on the cross, pouring out His blood for us, He freed us from our sins and gave us the access to God that priests alone had. Under the New Covenant, God allows us to come into His presence at any time! We have full access, and in fact, are encouraged to come into the throne room of God. To enter, we don’t have to come with blood of a sheep, for the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, has gone before us, purifying our admittance.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Furthermore, because Christ died as a ransom for us and we now have the Holy Spirit of God living within us, we have the power to overcome sin—the same power that dwelt within Jesus.

Although we are still in a war with the temptations of the flesh and the devil, under the New Covenant, we never need to doubt our salvation if we lose a battle. Jesus has won the war and the Holy Spirit will give us victory in this war. The Holy Spirit is our “eternal lifetime guarantee” that we will receive the promises contained in the New Covenant.

2 Corinthians 5:5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

When I bought our car, it came with a 3 year guarantee, covering anything that went wrong. Now they want me to make a monthly payment to keep it under warranty. Not so with the New Covenant! The Holy Spirit is God living in us, who is our guarantee that we are covered for eternity under the New Covenant no matter what happens.

Hebrews 9:24-26 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Our sins have been atoned for, once for all, by Jesus Christ. When Christ died on the cross, He atoned for all the sins of everyone living at that time, and all people who would come after—for whosoever will accept His proposal of “marriage” and follow Him. He atoned for all our sins, not just the ones we committed before we gave our life to Him, but the ones we will commit tomorrow or the next day. They have ALL been forgiven, in full, by His blood.

That means we don’t have to worry that we will lose our salvation because of a sin or because we somehow fail to live up to a list of good behaviors. Jesus is our husband and we are His Bride. He will take care of us. As long as we follow Him, we are walking in His light and we don’t sin because we are walking according to His Spirit instead of our flesh. We are in fellowship with Him. Therefore, we don’t have to sin, but if we do, we have His protection, correction, and salvation.

The strength of God's covenant is not in our behavior, but in God's Word, and the strength of God's Word is God's love.

That sounds great, you say, where do I sign this covenant? You don’t sign anything, but you can we enter into the New Covenant. It is free, but it will cost you everything. Let me explain.

Who was Jesus with when He spoke of initiating this New Covenant in His blood? Answer: His disciples. And so, as He did then, He still does today. He offers the incredible benefits of the New Covenant to those who commit to a life of discipleship, a life of total surrender to His loving leadership. In other words, to those who say “yes” to His proposal of marriage, who are willing to become His Bride and to love Him.

Like a wedding ceremony, you say “I do” to Jesus publicly by confessing Him as the Christ, the Son of God, and your Lord. Then you give your life to Him through baptism. In exchange for your life given to Him, you receive:

1. His Name and the authority to use it.

2. The power of the Holy Spirit to change you from within and give you gifts for ministry.

3. Free and total access to the Father, including His love and discipline.

4. Freedom from bondage to sin.

5. The assurance of eternal salvation, with an inheritance kept in Heaven for you.

Do you believe this? We are saved by grace through faith in what Jesus has done alone. However, genuine faith acts upon what is believed. Faith is what causes us to say “yes” to Jesus’ proposal.

Therefore, if we believe in Jesus, we will do what He says. We will repent of our sin—of being our own god—and we will begin following Jesus. The first act of following Him is dying to ourselves through baptism. In that act, we are born again of the Holy Spirit, who give us grace to be changed into the image of Christ, as we continually die to ourselves, pick up our cross daily, and follow Jesus in an intimate relationship.