Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The New Covenant P15 (06-28-21)
Have you ever pondered the sacrifice Jesus made for you? He came to this earth, demonstrated He is God by the things He said and did, and eyewitnesses, the apostles, confirmed that by writing down what they saw and heard. But the ultimate demonstration of His love is He laid down His life for us, only to be raised up to new life again, for our sake. No greater love is there than that.
Unfortunately, many people today do not understand all that Jesus did. Even people who are members of mainline denominations have not understood. Why are people still sacrificing today so as to keep in fellowship with God, to ask God to forgive them when they sin? Or to go to a priest or a confessional booth to get their sins forgiven? When Jesus shed His blood on a cross, and Jesus being God in the flesh, did His one time sacrifice on a cross take away only some sins but not all sins? John the Baptist certainly did not think so. He identified Jesus as the promised Messiah to Israel, and testified that He is the Lamb of God who takes away, not covers sin, but takes away the sins of the world.
Recall that John the Baptist lived during the time the Old Covenant was still in effect. Jesus had not yet gone to the cross. So how was the sacrifice of Jesus greater than all the sacrifices that the Jews, under an Old Covenant, were required to make? Was God pleased with their sacrifices? No. But such sacrifices as the shedding of bulls and goats, called atonement, were still required to be made. God could not be pleased with such sacrifices because they could never make anyone perfect, or complete. As long as there is a continual sacrifice, there is a continual reminder of sins. Such sacrifices never took away sins from the eyes of God. Reconciliation with God was only good for a year, by means of a high priest in a temple sacrificing bulls and goats, until sins accumulate again, year after year. Such sacrifices could not satisfy the death of an innocent person, one without sin, to meet the demands of the law, the wages of sin is death.
When Jesus died on a cross, he set aside the Old Covenant, having fulfilled its demands that we could never meet, and ushered in a New Covenant, a new agreement with mankind that only He could accomplish and secure for us. Could any man ever not sin once, to not lack in faith, for everything that is not of faith is sin, to never lust or break a single ten commandment of God. What is inside your heart is what comes out, and God deals with what is going on inside you, not just that you never smoke, drink or chew.
God being perfect love will do his neighbor no wrong, and so lived on this earth without sinning once, and being raised from the dead, He can live to always intercede for us. This New Covenant is a covenant of grace, whereby we, who are in Christ Jesus, are transferred out of the law of sin and death set against us, who are born spiritually dead, into a new life of liberty in Christ Jesus. The sacrifice of Jesus made it possible that we can be out from under the impossible system of sacrifice.
Do you know that you are under a New Covenant today, now that Jesus was buried and raised from the dead? What is that New Covenant? We are now under a new Sabbath rest, where we can cease from our works just as He did from His. The issue of sin that caused our death is over. It is finished. The sacrificial system, and any sacrificial systems that man makes up today, is over. Jesus did it all for us by His once and for all sacrifice to establish a new system, that requires nothing of us, but to place our faith in what He alone did for us, by His death, burial and resurrection, whereby He can place in us the same Holy Spirit of God that Jesus, as the second Adam, walked in submission to. There is no more sacrifice for sins and we have been made forever perfect, or complete, by the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus.
In other words, we no longer follow a man named Jesus of Nazareth, because when you follow someone, you are behind someone who is ahead of you, who is heading to a cross and ultimately to the empty tomb. But the work has now been accomplished, not by us, but by Christ Jesus. Instead you are led internally by the Spirit of God placed in you, who guides you into all truth, renewing your mind so you can walk in the new way of the Spirit. This Spirit is the same Spirit of Jesus, God in the flesh, who is perfect love, and by walking in dependence on the leading of the Spirit of God, we learn to walk in the same manner of faith as Jesus did. We have become a child of God, made complete in Christ.
Last week we talked about entering into Chapter 5: A Better Sacrifice of our bible study series, A Closer Look at the New Covenant. Again, you cannot overemphasize this. The understanding of the New Covenant is paramount to understanding the bible and the Jesus of the bible.
We talked about a New Testament compared to the Old Testament, a New Covenant compared to the Old Covenant, and a new will compared to an old will. There was a reason for that. The reason for the new is because the old did not work. The reason the old did not work is because we were in the equation. There was nothing wrong with the Old Covenant, the law, for it was holy, righteous and good, but as Paul said, when it flowed through me it killed me. All it can show us is our spiritual death, which is what it was intended to do, and that is what prepares you for the offer of eternal life, given to us through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus.
This New Covenant is based on better promises. We studied this. As a result of that, there was a need for a new priesthood. Death will prevent you from continuing in office. Therefore, all of the Old Testament priests are dead. The only grave that is famous for who is not in it is the grave of Christ Jesus our Lord. He is the eternal priest who is available eternally to intercede for us, and that is all part of the better promise in the New Covenant.
Today, we want to talk about a better sacrifice. It is an important subject to study. The difference between an Old Covenant, the day of atonement, as an example, was so important and significant to all the sacrificial celebrations. The sacrifices the high priests made year after year could not, however, remove the stain of sin from people. There was a need for taking away the sins of the world. Atonement covered sin. That was where the Jews went to the temple. There was the shedding of blood, or the forfeiture of life of an animal and that covered sin until the next time. There was always work to be done. That is why it says in Hebrews, every day, every priest stands. The reason he stands is because a chair was a prohibited piece of furniture in the temple. The reason is because the work was never over, never finished. Every day, every priest stands and performs his religious duties again and again, sacrificing animals, which can never take away sin.
Contrast John 1:29, where John the Baptist identified Jesus.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
He identified Him as doing something far different than the blood of a bull and a goat could do, to do something far different than atonement can do. Atonement covered sin. Jesus came as a propitiation, to take away sin. That is totally different. Jesus was identified as one, as God Himself, to take away the sins of the world. That is why He was identified as such.
Again, in Hebrews 10:3-4, that is clarified.
3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
He is reminding us that the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins. Jesus was identified as the Lamb of God who takes away sins. So you have to see a contrast between ongoing forgiveness and totality of forgiveness. There is a difference. The result is a difference. Under the Old Covenant and under the sacrificial system, there was never a finality to the cross. That is why you could never be made complete. Completeness means there is nothing more to do.
14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
When you complete a painting, as an artist, and you sign your name, that means there is no more dabbling. There is no more to do and it is ready to be hung on the wall. It is finished.
When we paid off our building, I was not going to the bank to write another check. It is finished. It is paid in full. For me to go to the bank to pay my mortgage, they would have said I lost my mind. And sure enough I would have.
23 everything that does not come from faith is sin.
For you and me to dabble with a painting of the Mona Lisa is insanity. That is the work of a master. We have been recipients of the work of the master. We are dabbling with our paint system, dabbling with paying for what has already been paid for, and absolutely think we are clean as a pen because we have short accounts with God. “I keep short accounts with God and I have all my sins confessed. I have kept myself forgiven.” That is not only a lie, that is the ultimate lack of faith. There is nothing more of a lack of faith than spitting in the face of what Jesus came to do. He only came to do three things, to die, be buried and be raised from the dead. By such thinking, we are absolutely not putting our faith in any one of those. First, we do not know the meaning of the resurrection, of why He had to die and do not know the meaning of forgiveness because we keep asking for what in Him we already have.
If we think we are in good shape, then I have news for you. You are not in good shape if you are continually begging for what in Christ you already have. That is not faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
We must see the difference between “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” in comparison to “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Under the old system of continual forgiveness, going back for more forgiveness, whatever it might be, that is not taking away sins. You are not walking in faith that Jesus has taken away your sins. You are still under the Old Covenant of getting your sins forgiven, atonement. You are still under the atonement. If you are under the atonement, you must be under Levi as your priest. I guarantee Jesus is not your priest if you are not believing what Jesus told you. This high priest is God Himself. If He cannot be trusted with what He told you, then something is wrong with your being. We have to come to grips with that.
I had to come to grips with that in my own life. I am not talking about something I was never engaged in. I was engaged in that, that every time you sin you grieve the heart of God. If you are talking about sin being unbelief, can you imagine how many times God will be getting grieved? You talk about grieved.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
The passage about grieving the Holy Spirit is talking about humans fighting and fussing with each other, which is what grieves the heart of a parent more than anything else. You are brothers and sisters. You belong to the same family. That is the grief. We take that and say every time you sin, that God’s heart is grieved. So you got to get this God in a swivel chair back talking to you. We have been taught that. So in our minds there is a black mark up there. God is turning His back on you, and now you have to get that black mark erased so He will talk to you again. It is ridiculous how we have ignored the difference between taking away and covering.
25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
We are not under the Old Testament system. There is no more sacrifice for covering sin. This is the only thing that God ever gave man to cover sin, the day of atonement. He did not give anybody else that. Just the day of atonement, the killing of a bull and a goat. Jesus is all He gave us too. He came and He said, “Man, you have got to stay out of the equation. When I am counting on you to do something, you are going to fall. My salvation is going to take you out of the equation. I am going to do it all. Not some, but all. I am not going to take away some sins. I am going to take away the sins of the whole world.
“I am going to do something far greater than the shedding of the blood of a bull and a goat. Please do not insult me by putting my blood on the same par as the blood of a bull and a goat.” When you are talking about the shedding of my blood, you are talking about shedding the blood of God. You are talking about laying down the blood of God, not of an animal. Jesus came to take away the sins of the world.
6 “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. 7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats – one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.
How then were the Old Testament people saved? I laughingly say that the Old Testament people were saved on a credit card. God was not being unfair, when talking to the Israelites. When a person shed the blood of an animal, a sin offering, that was symbolically transferred to Christ. He was reconciled to God. On the day of atonement, all the sins accumulated symbolically, in the temple where sins were transferred on the scapegoat, which was then released into the wilderness, never to be seen again. At that moment, that was a picture of your sins being taken away. All the Israelites knew by faith was that they were reconciled to God. In this way, God was painting a picture of what would happen when the Messiah came, where our sins would be transferred to Him. He would become sin for us. The sins of the world would be transferred to Him. Those sins would never be seen by God again. The difference is the blood of a goat could only be done at one time, but the blood of Jesus could be applied eternally. Therefore, the Israelite atonement could only cover sin one year at a time. But Jesus took away sins forever.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So remember that atonement covered sin. That is Old Testament. That is Old Covenant. That is an old will. It only covered sin. Under the New Covenant, the New Testament, the new will, Christ took away our sins. What does that mean? It means He took away our sins from the eyes of God, never to see them again. God is not dealing with sins today. He dealt with sins. He dealt with it over 2000 years ago at the cross. He judged sins for eternity, back to Adam and forward to eternity. The verdict was guilty. The punishment was death. Jesus took it all. Because He took it all, there is none left for us. That is precisely why the apostle Paul wrote, there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. Why? Because the law of the Spirit of life, resurrected life, has set you free from the law of sin and death. Under law, the wages of sin is death. It is not paddling. It is not out of fellowship. It is death. That death was cured at the cross.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Not a God hanging on a cross any more, but God who was raised from the dead. What did that forfeiture of life provide for us? The forfeiture of life provided for us forgiveness, but forgiveness does not bring life to the dead. We are born into this world spiritually dead. If you are dead, you need life. Forgiveness does not bring life to the dead. Life brings life to the dead. That is why the resurrection is not only not to be ignored but it is to be honored and fulfilled in our lives, worshipped. Thank God for it because as the apostle Paul said, without it we are to be pitied of all people and are still dead in our sins.
1 Corinthians 15:16-19
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
We have a body here. This body of Christ Jesus.
5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
He is talking about his own body.
6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7 Then I said, ‘Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’”[Psalm 40:6-8]
8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” – though they were offered in accordance with the law.
We have to understand the law required these sacrifices to be made, but God was not pleased with them. We are still trying to get God to be pleased with them. To this day, I am convinced that when Israel comes to institute, and they will when the temple is rebuilt, the sacrificial system again, you will have dumb Christians going to kill a bull and a goat. There are people that would rather be a Jew than a Christian. They love all the Jewish holidays. These are Gentiles. If the Jew does it, they are following their own tradition. But for a Gentile to get involved in that is ridiculous. But God was not pleased with these burnt offerings and sin offerings. It tells us He was not pleased with them but the law required them to be made.
9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
He set aside the Old Covenant to establish the New Covenant.
2 Corinthians 3:6
6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
What do we do? Commingle the two. All of the lecture and teachings are around the Old Testament, commingling the two, instead of teaching people to trust in this newness of life that has been given to you and to me in Christ Jesus. We drag over the Old Testament sacrifices. We drag over the Old Testament thing. We drag over Old Testament ceremonies. Instead of saying that it is gone. We set it aside in order to establish a new way of walking. That new way is not following Jesus. It is being led internally by Jesus. When I am following someone they are out in front of me and I am going behind Him. When I am led internally, the love of God is in me guiding me into all truth. The world of difference in the two.
By this will, a new covenant, a new testament, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. We can live on that passage alone. By this one will, this New Covenant, we stand in today. Do you know that you are in a New Covenant? Do you know that at the death of Christ Jesus, a New Covenant, a new agreement between God and man, was initiated. A will is not anything new. We have wills today. I hope you who are listening today have a will because if you do not, I guarantee you the government has one for you. If you do not have a will, the government will come in on its own and will do with your assets anything it wants to do. So I encourage you to get a will. That will is not new. It has been around since biblical times.
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.
You make a will that determines how you are going to pass on your assets to people after you die, and not a day before. If you change your will the day before you die, and change that will legally, that is the one that will go into effect. You could have had a will for 50 years that never changed. But you have a will the day before you die, that is the one that will go into effect. If you leave something out of it, I am sorry, they will not get it. Nothing new, but you now know what a will is.
This will, this brand new agreement between God and man, He made you holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus once and for all.
10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
It says that we have been made holy because of entering into this New Covenant. Under the Old Covenant, no one was made holy. Under the New Covenant, He said I will make you holy. I will set you apart. You are going to be set apart by what you do, but you are going to be set apart by who you have become. You have now become a child of God. You have now become a person who is led internally by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. You are one who is now indwelt by God Himself. The holiness of God lives in you. “I made you holy. I did so through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus. I did so once and I did so for all. I did so, quite frankly, forever.” You have been made complete. You have been made holy. What does it mean to be made holy? It means to be set apart.
What sets you apart from the rest of the world? What you believe is what sets you apart. It is not just your actions. A heathen can go to church. I went to church for 36 years and did not know the Lord. That is not going to get it. You are not going to be set apart because you do not drink, smoke or chew. I know a lot of people who never smoked, drank or chewed but do not know the Lord. I know people today, friends of ours, who never drank, never smoked, never chewed tobacco, and kept themselves healthy but they do not know the Lord. And when you talk to them about it, they really do not want to know the Lord. They go to church on Sunday and they love to go to church, but they do not want to talk about a relationship with Christ Jesus. You have to realize that is just the way people are. They are not set apart. You can look at them and say their lifestyle looks good to me. Some people can look at some Mormons and say their life looks good to me. And many times that could be true, but they do not know the God of the bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They have a God of their own making. They made one who came over from America despite that God said He will not come back until at the end times. So they have Jesus of their own making. They might look good and act good on the outside, but underneath the skin God looks at the heart. It has never been converted. It will never be converted while you are reading the book of Mormon or the book of Jehovah Witnesses. Those books are not inerrant scripture and they contradict the clear teaching of the word of God. So you will never be saved by coming to Jesus of your own making. You will come to Jesus because of Jesus. There is no Jesus in the bible that is not born from a virgin. There is no Jesus in the bible that was a man who became God. There is no Jesus that was not raised from the dead, in order to give life to us who are born dead. There is no Jesus like that. So you have your faith in a Jesus that does not exist, but a Jesus of your own making.
God made you holy. He sets you apart by what you believe. He set you apart by the word of God that you believe and know the meaning of. You can say I know what it says. But do you know what it means? There are a lot of people who know what it says but teach something different than what it means. All those decisions are in God’s hands, not ours. But let us be clear. If you are born again, you were set apart because of your relationship, believing that the scriptures testify about Jesus of Nazareth who came and gave his life for you so He could give His life to you so He could live His life through you. That is the Jesus of the bible.
When you put your faith in Him, you are set apart from the world that does not believe that you have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus, one time and for all. It is not something that you make yourself more holy. That is as ridiculous as painting on the Mona Lisa. “I made you. Now relax and walk in that newness of life.”