Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The New Covenant P9 (06-14-21)
As you read the book of Hebrews, you will come to understand the New Covenant we are under today, with so many precious promises for us. The writer of Hebrews contrasts this covenant with the Old Covenant that it replaced. The Old Covenant was conditional in nature, and was to the people of Israel, that if they could keep all the requirements of the law, the law of Moses, with all its ten commandments and regulations, God would be their God and they would be His people. But man could not keep that, and neither could you and I today, who think we can do better in obeying the ten commandments of Moses, and come up with our own religious system that we might approach God.
So to understand the need of the New Covenant, you have to understand the problem of all mankind. You have to understand what caused our death, and that there is only one solution to death and that is life, but not a temporal life, but eternal life. That life is a life that God intended for mankind to have when He created Adam in the garden of Eden, with the Spirit of God living in him. That life that was in Adam, the Spirit of God departed from him due to sin. God wants the life that was once in Adam to be restored to all mankind.
The devastating consequence of Adam’s choice was the death of all mankind. For all of us are now born in the likeness of the fallen nature of Adam. For just as sin entered the world through one man, Adam, so also life will enter the world through one man, Jesus Christ, Jesus is referred to as the second Adam. Jesus is the only person born with the Spirit of God living in him. He came to undo all that was destroyed through the first man, Adam. He was not born the natural way. God Himself, as the Son, to take on human flesh, to do what was impossible for man to do for himself, to save mankind from an eternal death, death being the absence of life, being absent from a vital, dynamic relationship with the living God.
According to God’s perfect knowledge and wisdom, He first established a first covenant, or will, the Old Testament will, so that man can recognize his need. For until man recognizes his condition of spiritual death, then he would not seek a Savior. That was the Old Covenant will that people are so familiar with in regard to the ten commandments. Also in that wil were rules and regulations for men under that will to keep. There are provisions for mankind to have their sins covered by the sacrifice of bulls and goats, which was necessary until Christ Jesus came to be the final sacrifice, to not cover sins, but to take them away forever. The Old Covenant was never put in place to make man righteous before God, but was like a tutor designed to lead people to Christ, to make people conscious of sin. It was like a mirror so mankind can know his hopeless state, for until then he would not reach out to God, who desires to give him what he really needs, eternal life.
A New Covenant will can only go into effect at the death of Christ, just like any will we are so familiar with today, when a loved one dies, and that which is listed in that will decides who inherits what is written in that will. The book of Hebrews writes down what is in the will of God for mankind. This New Covenant is made available to all men by faith in what Christ alone accomplished by His death, burial and resurrection. This New Covenant will has no conditions placed on mankind to keep it. Jesus fulfilled all the demands of the Old Covenant for us, so it could be set aside.
If sin is what caused our death, then that sin must be taken away forever in order for man to not die again the next time he sins. So Jesus came to die in our place. His death had such value that it took away the sins of the entire world, back to Adam and forward to eternity for any man yet to be born. So that sacrifice of Jesus, God in the flesh, on a cross is what made it possible for eternal life to be offered.
But not until Jesus rose from the dead could He offer eternal life to you and me. Although the cross solved the sin issue, only life can solve the death issue. Forgiveness of sins cannot give life. Only an eternal being, without sin, can give the kind of life that we need. That person is Christ Jesus, who rose from the dead and ascended back to the Father so He can send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to live in us forever. That life, the Holy Spirit of God, to be placed back into mankind, so man can now function as God intended, to be made complete in a relationship with the living God, to know God as Adam once did in the garden of Eden, is offered to mankind to be received by faith or to be rejected. That is the only sin, the rejection of Son of God, that will keep anyone from an eternal relationship with the living God.
So the New Covenant offers better promises an Old Covenant never could. Listen now as Bob George shares from the scriptures what these promises are. God promises us a new heart, unconditional acceptance, a personal relationship with God, and to be forgiven forever. As we look at just the first promise, you can get an understanding of that, if you are in Christ, reflecting on your former lost condition.
The apostle Paul explained how he thought he could keep the law, that when the law said “Do not covet”, he coveted all the more, and so he died to the law that he would come alive in Christ. Bob George thought he could love his wife and family, but when he looked at himself in the mirror, he realized he could not pull this off in the energy of his flesh. He realized he needed a new heart. There was something wrong with his.
People have come to realize that there is something missing inside of them. They do not have the Holy Spirit of God living in them. They cannot pull off what they know they should do, in essence to be able to love others. They are not attached to the vine, who alone can produce the fruit of the Spirit. Until we have the love of God poured into our hearts, given a new heart that replaces our heart of stone, we cannot live as God intended. God intends for us to live by faith in Him, which expresses itself through love.
Jesus shared with His disciples of this new heart that he would give on the Day of Pentecost, and how man is designed to function. He told them that He is the vine and we are the branches and apart from Him we can do nothing. So God, in essence, said, “Let us restore what was lost in the garden of Eden.” What was the essence of all sin? That which is not of faith is sin. We were meant to live in dependency upon the living God, not deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong, as if we do not need God. God created us, loves us perfectly, and knows how we are designed to function. Let us trust Him for our every need, for everything we need for life and godliness.
If you are not in Christ, then let Him be your Lord, Savior and best friend. Cease trusting in what you can do to save yourself, and put your faith in Him alone. Come to the end of the law for righteousness so you can accept His. Put your faith in what He alone provided for you by His death, burial and resurrection. Enter into the New Covenant will He has offered you.
It is always a privilege to be teaching the New Covenant, the most exciting and most important message for Christians to understand. It is a message that most people do not even comprehend. I do not believe we are doing a lot of repetition because most people have never heard or understood the meaning of the book of Hebrews. It is a mystery book to so many people.
When you talk about the New Covenant, you have to contrast that with the old. A covenant, as we have explained, and I will repeat, is the same thing as a new covenant, a new testament and a new will. All of those words are interchangeable. We probably know more in our human experience as to what a will is. Most people have a will. If you do not, the government has one for you. A will is what you make, listing what you want to pass onto your heirs at your death. But that will will not go into effect until the day that you died.
16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.
The New Covenant went into effect at the death of Christ Jesus. Through His life up to His death, He was fulfilling the law. Jesus is the only man who ever fulfilled the law. Many times people who want to say we are still under the law will use the passage; “not a dot or tiddle will be changed in the law until all things have been accomplished.” I have news for you. It has been accomplished. That is why He cried out from the cross, “It is finished.” It is paid, not in part, but in full. The Old Testament requirement of perfection under the law was met in Christ Jesus, forever, in us.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
That is our side of this coin. But on His side of the coin, He fulfilled it by walking in perfect love His entire life. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deuteronomy 5:17-19,21] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[Leviticus 19:18] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
So even to the last breath that He would have taken, of crying out “It is finished”, would be totally in fulfillment of the law, walking in love, right up to the last moment.
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
This is a New Covenant that He made with us, put into effect after His death. In Hebrews, we read about it.
10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”[Jeremiah 31:31-34]
One of the promises is a new heart. We will deal with the promises that are in the New Covenant. The first promise is a new heart. Under an Old Covenant where was the law written down? Take a look at Exodus to find that and as to what Moses said.
15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
We talked about 2 Corinthians 3:7-8.
2 Corinthians 3:7-8
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
We are talking about something superseding and surpassing the Old Covenant. Again, can laws written on a stone change a person’s heart? No. What was God’s promise to the people of Israel? “I will give you a new heart”, He said.
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
With my own conversion experience, the reality of that was so real to me because my heart had become so hardened through business. As I said before, I had an associate of mine say, “Bob, nice guys finish last”, and I caught the message. I became hardened. I was hardened in business, and I was hardened as a husband and as a father. The idea of love was devoid. I wanted to be able to love people. I wanted to be able to love my wife with all my heart. I wanted to be able to love my children as I would see so many fathers do. I just did not have the capability to do so. I wanted to, but I could not pull that off. That used to really get to me. My looking into a mirror as a lost person and seeing a reflection coming back at me, saying, “Bob George, who are you and why can’t you love like you know that you are supposed to?” Something inside of me was telling me this is not right, not being able to love like this. This is not God’s plan for my life. When I realized that, God gave me a new heart, because prior to my conversion, I used to get so angry at Amy when she would cry, and say “All you do is blubber all the time.” The minute I was saved, I could cry at a supermarket opening. My heart was tenderized. I was given a new heart. There is no explanation for it. I was just given a new heart. I was made into a new creation. It was not a heart of stone because I had a stony heart. He removed that heart and gave me a brand new one.
It talks about that in 2 Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 3:3
3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
He is talking about something different than writing information on stone tablets. Instead, I am going to write something on your heart. There is a world of difference in the two. The writer of Hebrews stated that He would write His laws, the laws of Jesus, to love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. So He said He will write His laws on your heart and put them in your mind. Was the writer speaking specifically about the ten commandments? No.
10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Whenever the word “Law” is used in the bible, it is referring to the law of Moses. It is always singular “Law”, not laws (plural). It is the law and it is the law of Moses. The quote out of the Old Testament, that is referenced from the book of Hebrews, is a direct quote out of the Old Testament, which uses the word “Law”. But over in Hebrews it uses the word “laws”, to write my laws on your heart.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
So in Hebrews, it has to be something different. It is not the law of Moses he is going to write on our hearts but the laws of Jesus, to love one another, which He said is the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets.
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[Deuteronomy 6:5] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[Leviticus 19:18] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
We ignore that because we cannot love in our own strength. We can go to church on Saturday in our own strength. We can fake some of the others in our own strength and hope people do not notice we are doing some of them. But as far as loving one another with our heart, mind and soul, we cannot pull that off. As a result of that, we have substituted everything in the Christian experience for the reality of what our Christian experience is, and that is a human relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ who lives in us, and who has written His love on our hearts.
Deuteronomy 30:6 prophesies about that.
6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
In 1 John 3:23 is His command to us.
1 John 3:23
23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
In the passage in John 13:34-35 we read about a new command from Jesus.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
He did not say that men are going to know you are my disciples by your bumper stickers, your necklaces, your church attendance or your tithing records or around how many people you have witnessed to or not, or how often you pray. He said that men will know you are my disciples if you have supernatural love coming out of you that there is no explanation for except this must come from God. That supernatural love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
This is talking about the agape love of God. When we look at that definition, that agape love is patient, and if God is saying He wants me to love one another, and God is always patient, so I should always be patient, we fail at that first instruction for this is what God wants from us. But He also explains to us that you cannot pull this off apart from living in dependence upon me any more than a branch can produce fruit. A branch cannot produce fruit in and of itself. A branch abides in the fruit of the vine, and the vine produces the fruit and the branch bears the fruit. We are not producers of the Christian life. We are bearers of the Christian life.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing
We need to get that into our heads because Christianity is out there trying to work people to death in order to produce fruit. It is all artificial fruit and you hope no one comes up and takes a bite out of it because if you do you will have a mouth full of wax. There is no reality to self-produced Christianity. In Matthew, it tells us this.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[Deuteronomy 6:5] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[Leviticus. 19:18] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Based on those passages, what is it that God is going to write on our hearts? The law? No. The goal of the passage is to love one another. Those acts are the fulfillment of the law. What did the apostle Paul say has been poured upon our hearts?
5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
That tells us that God has poured out His love into our hearts. It is not that we do not have God’s love available to us. It is the fact we do not take advantage of it or do not participate in it. We do not grab a hold of that truth. We are still out trying to do something in the energy of our own flesh. To love in the energy of our own flesh, we substitute phileo, friendship love, for agape love that is available to us. It is agape love that has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.
That boils down to the passage where we are told that we have the privilege of participating in the divine nature that lives in us.
2 Peter 1:4
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
That love is available to us. It is not an impossibility. It is just an impossibility for me to produce it. But it is not an impossibility for me to bear it. We act like this cannot be done. It can be done if we let the producer do it. But we cannot accomplish that in the energy of our own flesh. And yet we substitute everything else for what God says He is interested in.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
“The only thing that I am interested in is faith expressing itself through love. Faith in me, and that alone can produce what you can bear, faith that you are a branch and I am your vine, and if you abide in me, I promise you that I will be producing in you the thing that you know not of, the thing that you cannot produce in the energy of your own flesh. But you will have the privilege of bearing that fruit on a daily, moment to moment, basis.” That is a promise of God that most of us are totally devoid of the truth of it.
Why is this New Covenant promise better than what was provided in the Old Covenant? First of all, under the Old Covenant, God’s promised the Israelites that He would be their God and they would be His people but there were conditions attached to it.
5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
Were those words spoken to the Israelites? Yes they were. Did they fulfill their end of the bargain? No they did not. Are there any conditions attached? Yes. On the other hand, under the New Covenant, were there any conditions attached? No there is not. Under the Old Covenant it was a conditional covenant, “Here is my law and I command you to keep it.” We could not keep it. Christ had to keep it for us in order to usher in a New Covenant of grace.
7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said to them:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
As a person who now has trusted Christ Jesus, and hopefully you, listening to my voice, have also. If you have not, you need to do so. It is not that you have to do so. It is the fact that you are missing the real thing. Life is too short to miss the real thing, to experience what real life is, to be able to experience what real joy is instead of happiness, to be able to experience true love toward others and the true love of God and the true love of yourself. All of these things are available to us through our relationship with Christ Jesus, who has promised to never leave us or forsake us.
Look at this New Covenant promise in Hebrews 13:5.
5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”[Deuteronomy 31:6]
All of this ties into a thing called eternal security. I firmly believe that anyone who teaches that you can lose salvation either does not have a clue what salvation is or has never experienced salvation or are just totally deceived in regard to the passages and the character of God Himself. Jesus said as clear as the nose on your face, “I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.” That is one of His promises to us in the New Covenant.
In the Old Covenant, He said, “You are my people if you obey my commands. Then I will be with you. But if you don’t, I won’;t.” We could not do it. God knew we could not do it. The Lord knows man gave it a try for thousands of years. Then Jesus came at a point in time to provide salvation for His people. In order to do so, we, the Triune God, have to leave mankind out of the equation. We have to provide salvation that has no conditions to it, that does not depend on man to keep it. We cannot put a condition on man for he will not fulfill it. There is no sense in going through all the motions to provide salvation for people who absolutely cannot obtain it. So we will do something that man cannot do for himself. We are going to provide a sacrifice. It is not going to be an animal sacrifice. It will be my Son, whose life and whose blood is of such value that it is capable of taking away the sins of the entire world, back to Adam and forward to eternity.
Having accomplished that act at the cross saying, “I will assure people with my last words, ‘It is finished’. I am going to accomplish for them what they cannot accomplish through the blood of bulls and goats. I am going to take away their sins from the eyes of God never to see them again.” Do you realize that is what God did for you? God took away your sins. He did not die for some of them. It did not say that there is more to die for. He said, “I have taken away your sins from the eyes of God.”
That is something the law could not do. The Old Testament could only cover sins. Jesus did not come to cover sins. He came to take away sins, saying “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Having entered into our spiritual death with us, into our condition of spiritual death, He is now able through His resurrection to enable us to enter into His spiritual life. He died for us then so that He can live in us now, to provide life for us who were born into this world spiritually dead.
When that transaction has taken place, and we have received eternal life from God, we had nothing to do with that. Not a thing. It is all of His work and none of ours. So how do I have eternal life? How could I have eternal life if sin is what caused my death? Because you do not have to live very long as a Christian to realize that you can still sin. So what happens with that sin? What do I do with that sin? Did that cause God’s life to depart from me? The reason that people teach that you can lose that life is because they do not know what salvation is. Salvation is receiving eternal life, an eternal inheritance. If you could lose it, then the only thing that can cause you to lose it is sin. What caused the Spirit of God to depart from Adam, who was created alive spiritually? He was not born dead like us. He was created alive. What caused that life to depart from Adam? Sin. What caused the life of Jesus to depart from Him? Sin. Whose sin? Our sin. All of it. What is the only thing that can cause the life to leave you and me? My sins. Why is that an impossibility? Because of the cross, where sins were all taken away, forever, for the entire world, back to Adam and forward to eternity.
So for a person to say you can lose the life that God gave you is to insult the cross. Which is what people do all the time, spitting in the face of Jesus saying, “Jesus, you are a liar when you cried out on the cross, ‘It is finished’, when you cried out, ‘Paid in full’” You are calling God a liar, saying “It is not paid in full when there are still sins out there that other people are committing, and not me, of course, that you did not die for.” So we have to see the divine logic that was in this plan of salvation of God whereby you and I were receiving a life eternal. That is why He could say, “I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.”
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
He did not give temporal life but eternal life. No one can snatch you out of my hands is what Jesus said. Now you might read this and think it is for Israel alone but that is not what Paul said.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away [Gentiles] and peace to those who were near [Jews]. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
That was called a mystery.
6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Because of this promise, you and I are assured of our salvation. It was not a temporal salvation. It was unconditional, and it was a salvation that is yours forever.