The New Covenant

Scripture: Acts 15:1-34

Object Lesson: What is a covenant?

In today’s vernacular, loosely, a covenant is a contract, agreement or a treaty. It depends on the context. It is an agreement that one person agrees to do something, usually if some other person fulfills a condition.

This is the Old Testament word berith: a covenant, treaty, alliance, or league. Simply put, it is an agreement. From God’s perspective, a divine constitution or ordinance with signs or pledges.

As people, humanity struggles as covenant keepers. We are broken sinners.

The covenants that God made with Israel differed than the agreement described above. God made promises to Israel that were not dependent on anything that Israel did. God takes the initiative. He draws up the terms and defines the terms. God guarantees their keeping. Israel does nothing. God swears by His own Word.

Key Theme: The Power of the Blood of Christ

The New Covenant is found in Jeremiah 31:31-34. This everlasting covenant is made with nation Israel. God is the initiator and He is the one to will it to happen. A regenerated heart and mind and forgiveness of sin are promised as part of the agreement.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, 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 that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

So how does this covenant with nation Israel affect us in the Church Age? The Church and Israel are separate. Nation Israel has yet to receive the benefit of the New Covenant. It is yet future in the Millennial Kingdom. How can this arrangement apply to us? The answer is in the blood of Christ.

Jesus’ death on the cross ushers in and ratifies the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25).

It is His blood that is the covenant. The shedding of innocent blood allows for the forgiveness of sin. This is acceptable to God (Hebrews 9:14). According to the Law, all things are cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of innocent blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:16). Christ’s blood is the bleach that removes the stain of sin. As believers, we get the spiritual benefits of the agreement when we believe that Jesus died as payment for sin. As believers, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 2:12-16 instructs us that we were separate from Christ and excluded from nation Israel. Translation, we were not a benefactor of the New Covenant. The text teaches us that we were without hope. Thankfully, we were brought near by the blood of Christ. It is the blood of Christ that unifies the two groups (Jew and Gentile) into one group.

Ephesians 2:12-16 …that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

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Romans 11:17 indicates that Gentiles were grafted into the root of the olive tree. We, Gentiles, were grafted because other original branches, Israel, were broken off. Gentiles get the full benefit of the root.

As we take communion and we hear the words, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” These words are a reminder that we, believers, have the spiritual benefits of the New Covenant: teaching of the Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sin. Communion is in memory of the work of Christ. He died once and for all to bear the sins of many (Hebrews 9:28). It is to be taken seriously (1 Corinthians 11:25-29).

We are to do this until He comes again.

https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Lehr/e/B09W8FB77N

3 Responses to “The New Covenant”

  1. Amen

  2. Daniel Thompson Says:

    Dear Paul, I’m confused as to why the Decree of Cyrus is not the “Daniel 9:25” decree? From this decree in BC456? I know that people think the decree was BC538, but I believe there is an error of Persian years of 80+ years. DanielThompson, boxrdaniel@gmail.com. Lord bless

    • Time is elusive… Just making a good faith effort. I think that is part of the riddle of Matthew 24:36 But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

      Lots of time lines out there that make sense. Humanity is likely not on God’s timeline. That said, the events of the world today appear to point towards the “fullness of time”.

      I try to look at things through a Jewish calendar system and the Mosaic Law as a guide. And Jewish calendars have questions too.

      Interesting stuff. Thanks for reading and thanks for taking the time to comment.

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