Today, I want to talk about a fundamental – or basic principle – of discipleship. You may have heard in the past of the Faith ABCs: Accept, Believe, Confess. But I’d like to talk about a different faith ABC. A Better Covenant.
A lot of what we were taught in our early Christian walk was taught to us in error. Many of us – at least I know this from my walk – were introduced to Salvation by Grace through faith but, then, we were discipled in the law. I’ve talked before about how I – and this is a common experience with other believers – got saved and was then given a Bible with a Ten Commandments bookmark. In other words, now that you are saved by Grace, it’s time to get discipled by the law. The problem with that is it creates what I call a schizophrenic Saint – one minute in the Grace of God; the next, in the law.
As the old saying goes, you can’t have it both ways. James said “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” And, if you’re double-minded, the Scripture goes on to say, “the double-minded man can expect to receive nothing from God.”
Before we get started, it’s important to understand what a Covenant is. Unlike a contract, where two parties agree to some terms, a Covenant is a contract or binding agreement whereby the greater party promises something to a lesser. Like God obligating Himself to do something for us.
This is what Scripture has to say about the better Covenant:
But as it now is, He [Christ] has acquired a [priestly] ministry which is as much superior and more 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. For if that first covenant had been without defect, there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one. (Hebrews 8:6-7 AMP)
Here’s one thing we need to understand, though, that there were actually THREE Covenants, not two.
The first Covenant was Promise
The Covenant of Promise began with Noah after the flood, which was first written in the sky (Genesis 9:9-12) and consummated with Abram (Abraham) when it was written in blood (Genesis 15:8-11). The Covenant of Promise remained in effect until the Hebrews came up out of Egypt. Why did it change? Because the Israelites forgot and forsook the first covenant
God wanted to speak to His people. He wanted to have the same relationship with them He had in the Garden! Check out what He told Moses:
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5-6)
The people told Moses, “All that the Lord commands, we will do.” But that was not what was in their hearts.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day:for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. (Exodus 19:10-11)
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking:and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. (Exodus 20:18-19)
The Israelites handled the external preparation but not the internal. God was prepared to meet with them and speak with them directly but the Israelites hearts were hardened. So God gave them the Law and a mediator. He had to cut a new Covenant with them to purge the wickedness of Egypt out of them!
Simply put, getting out of Egypt is not enough; you have to get Egypt out of you!
The Second Covenant, The Law, was written in stone.
Third (and Final) Covenant
Let’s go back and look at the second verse of our core text:
For if that first covenant had been without defect (KJV says faultless), there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one. (Hebrews 8:7 AMP)
So who do you think the fault was with? Certainly not God! The fault was with the people – God upheld His end of the Covenant!
So there had to be another. That’s why, in the fullness of time, God sent His son, Jesus, into the world.
And Jesus, Himself, said He came to fulfill (complete, end, consummate, expire) the law (Matthew 5:17)
The law brought man into servitude but God wanted to restore us to sonship. This is why He revealed His Son to us so we would know what sonship actually looked like.
But, in order to bring us into sonship, a perfect sacrifice had to be made to atone for the sins of the world.
Writing in the sky wouldn’t cut it. The blood of animals wouldn’t cut it. And laws engraved in stone wouldn’t cut it. It had to be His own Blood!
So the third covenant was cut on the Cross at Calvary – when Jesus’ own Blood was shed for us!
And here’s the power of the New Covenant: The first two Covenants were between God and man, giving man an opportunity to violate it. The New Covenant was between God and Himself – therefore it CANNOT be broken!
The New Covenant is written upon the hearts of God’s children! (2 Corinthians 3:3)
And the Law, itself, was nailed to the Cross with Jesus. That means it died with Him! It was fulfilled. Satisfied. Completed. Done deal!
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (Colossians 2:14)
So, by abiding in Jesus, we become partakers of this Covenant.
And this Covenant doesn’t just SAVE us, it EMANCIPATES us!
It liberates us!
Grace DELIVERS us!
– No more sacrifices
– No more stonings
– No more judgments
We’re no longer slaves to the works of the law, Grace has made us sons and daughters
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
So, if the Law cannot save you, why return to it? That just doesn’t make sense!
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? (Galatians 4:9)
The Law is the weak and beggarly element!
Once a man has been delivered from bondage, he will never willingly return to servitude.
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 8:13 AMP)
The New Covenant hides our life in Him – In Him, we have our being.
When we catch this revelation, we will be so hidden in Christ that others HAVE TO see Him in order to see us!
© 2018 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)