Lesson Three – New Covenant

New Covenant

From Eternity to Eternity – Lesson Three

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Employers make covenants with their employees. They offer a certain sum of money and other benefits for a fixed amount of hours or production. Schools and institutions enter into covenant relationships with their students. The students must accept the covenant and apply themselves to the program in order to be guaranteed a change in their status in life. The word “covenant” means to make an arrangement. We are all familiar with the phrase, “l’ll make you a deal” We could use the word “covenant” instead of “deal” and say about the same thing. For two parties to enter into a covenant relationship, a covenant must be offered by one and accepted by the other. If both parties abide by the rules of the covenant the design of the covenant will be accomplished.

After Jesus returned to heaven as king over God’s kingdom, God offered mankind a new covenant. The following Scripture summarizes this covenant.

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 minds, and I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:10-12

In order to understand this Scripture we need to know a little about Bible history. In Genesis chapter twelve we read about promises made to Abraham the father of Isaac who had a son named Jacob. This was the beginning of the Jewish nation. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel which means “ruling with God.” An angel told Mary that Jesus would reign over the house of Jacob forever (Luke 1:30-33). Prior to Jesus’ return to heaven God’s kingdom was identified with the house of Israel. Solomon, the son of David, reigned over the man – dimension of God’s kingdom which was the nation of Israel (I Chron 28:5). This nation divided after Solomon’s reign, and for a time there was the house of Judah and the house of Israel.

The following diagram illustrates the relationship of the church to the house of Israel and how the members are citizens of God’s kingdom.

In Galatians 3:8-14 we learn that people from all nations are included in the blessings promised through Abraham. Even non-Israelites become offspring of Abraham when we put on Christ in baptism. Paul said, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3:27). After Jesus returned to heaven the “Israel of God” is identified as Christ’s church (Gal. 6:16). Today, God makes His covenant with the Gentiles (nations) as well as the Jews (Rom. 9:23-26). We are all being “built” and “fitted” together in God’s household when we accept His new covenant (Eph. 2:13-22).

New Covenant

Please note the three main parts of God’s covenant and their result from the foregoing Scripture from Hebrews. First, God covenants or promises He will be merciful to our iniquities and remember our sins no more. In effect, He will give us a gift of righteousness because He cleanses our hearts and minds of sin. God will not write on dirty surfaces; therefore, the cross of Jesus was necessary for the remission of sins before God could offer us the new covenant. At the Last Supper before His death Jesus said, “For this is the blood of the covenant, which is to be shed on behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matt. 26:29).

Secondly, God will write His laws of life on our hearts and minds. The result is spiritual growth in the likeness of the character and personality of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:28). God made us to be His children, but not in name only. We must think, act and feel like a son of God. This begins to happen as God writes His laws on our hearts and minds. The new covenant helps us know the Lord which is necessary for eternal life. While Jesus was praying, He said:

And this is eternal life that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.  John 17:3

The laws which God will write or impress upon our emotions (hearts) and intellects (minds) are found in the character and personality of Jesus Christ. We know this because as Christians continue to accept the new covenant we conform to Jesus in the way we think and act. We continue to work on letting God take all of our thoughts and emotions captive to
the nature of Jesus for the rest of our lives (II Cor. 10:5).

But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.  II Corinthians 3:18

New CovenantJesus has the quality of life described in the law of life (Rom. 8:2). His life is the light of our lives (John. 1:4). The description of life demonstrated by Jesus is the laws offered in the new covenant. It should be noted that sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). These laws define the life as in eternal life. They are able to save our souls because they produce a change in our inner selves like the persons who inhabit heaven (Jas. 1:21). They are not the Ten Commandments, but we fulfil the demands of the Law of Moses when we subject ourselves to the law of life (2 Cor. 3:2-8; Rom. 8:2-4).

Thirdly, the new covenant states that He will be our God and we will be His people. The result is that we attain our true identity and purpose in life. God created us to be His people and this is why He is offering us a new covenant. We must believe that God exists and that He is able to do what He promised (Rom. 4:21; Heb. 11:6). In spite of Satan’s work and the degradation of mankind, we can still be God’s sons and inherit His kingdom. (Gal. 4:7)

God’s part of the new covenant has already been  arranged. He has arranged all spiritual blessings for us “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3-6). Our part is to accept God’s new covenant which starts in our belief and repentance before baptism for the remission of our sins (Acts 8:35-38; Col 2:9-14). Once we have been born again the Lord adds us to the saved people (Acts 2:47). We are His church and we function as members of Christ’s body (Eph. 1:22-23). We cannot accept the new covenant without accepting our role and responsibility in the church. We need the help of the church and the church needs us for spiritual growth. Please read Ephesians 4:11-16. Since the church is the body of Christ the Apostle Paul identified the various  congregations or churches in the following manner.

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.  Romans 16:16

God has made us a covenant and arranged  blessings and laws so that we can accept it and live the remainder of our lives in this covenant relationship with Him. This is the essence of the Christian life on earth. In our next lesson we will see how the word “justified” is the best word to sum up the Christians’ condition “in Christ.”


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