Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The New Covenant P27 (07-26-21)
You Have Been Made Competent as a Minister of the New Covenant
What is your competence? Is it your ability to obtain a job? Your intellect? Your abilities? Your ability to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, to make yourself holy? Or is the competence that you have from God, the competence to proclaim that He has done it all for you, to proclaim the message of God’s grace? Do you realize you are made competent as a minister of the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)?
Listen now as Bob George explains scriptures of how we are made competent as ministers of a New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:5-11, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). He contrasts the ministry of the Old Covenant, under the ten commandments, under the law, through scripture passages, as in Exodus 24:12, Exodus 31:18, Exodus 32:15-16, Exodus 34:1, and Exodus 34:29-35, in contrast to the New Covenant we are living under today. We enter into the New Covenant through faith in Christ, who has completed the work to make the New Covenant a reality. That reality is experienced in the lives of those who come to faith in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:4-11).
To be made ready for the New Covenant, consider the problem of man as explained in Romans 7. Consider that Jesus entered into this world and fulfilled the Old Covenant for us so He can set it aside to establish a New Covenant with men. When we come to realize our condition of spiritual death, which is why the law was added, so we could see our condition of depravity in light of God’s perfection and righteousness in Christ Jesus, we are now ready to receive what Christ came to give, new spiritual life (2 Corinthians 3:12-18). Your heart is now made ready to hear the word of God, the power of the gospel unto salvation, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Consider the life of the apostle Paul (Philippians 3:4-11). Consider what was he like before his conversion, before he heard the voice of the resurrected Christ Jesus on that road to Damascus. He was on his way to persecute the followers of the way, or born again believers as we would call them today? He was so serious about legalism that he believed murdering Christ followers was the will of God for his life. He even watched over the cloaks of those that were stoning Stephen. As far as legalistic righteousness, Paul was faultless. He pursued obeying the law like no other man. As far as the world is concerned, he had everything, Pharisee of Pharisees, of the tribe of Benjamin, and was trained under Gamaliel, the well-renown religious teacher of his day. But he was darkened by a veil in his understanding like so many today, even among those who go to church, hearing but never understanding. What changed? He heard the voice of the resurrected Christ who said, “Why are you persecuting me?” Paul replied, “Who are you, Lord?” The voice from heaven said, “I am the risen Christ whom you are persecuting.” Paul had an encounter with the risen Lord. We too must hear the voice of the Holy Spirit so we may believe.
Paul came to understand the grace of God. Paul did not spend his life to teach love and grace in order to make up for past failures. He did so because he could not help it. He was compelled by the love of God, as Paul would write. He saw the law for what it was. After being trained for over 18 years by no one else but Christ Jesus, legalistic thinking was replaced with thinking under grace, under a New Covenant. He would later write what the purpose of the law was, to show you that you are utterly sinful, wretched man that I am, that you might seek a Savior. Paul would write that he considers everything he once had while under the law as rubbish that he might be found complete in Christ, not having a righteousness of his own by way of the law, but righteousness from God imputed to him through faith in Christ Jesus.
The Old Covenant law is a ministry of death, to show you are dead spiritually, to show you that you cannot be made righteous before God by observing the law. You cannot do it. But Jesus can, and He did. Jesus did something for you and me we could never do. He died for our sins, identifying with us in our death. He took away forever the cause of our death, which is sin, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too may live a new life. This was done so we may identify with the resurrected life in Christ Jesus in order that He may be in us forever. Jesus lived a perfect life, something we could never do. Being perfect love, which does its neighbor no wrong, Jesus therefore fulfilled the law for us. This is eternal life, to know God and His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus gave his life for you so He could give His life to you so that He could live His life through you.
As you were once dead to the things of God. You could have heard about God but nothing penetrated your heart until the message of Christ, His righteousness in contrast to your unrighteousness was revealed. You had a veil over your heart that had to be removed. You had to come to the point in your life of saying, “I cannot do it but God can and He did.” That is, like the apostle Paul, you had to recognize that once you thought you were alive under the law, that you could obey the law that says “Do not covet”, but being deceived by the law, thinking you could obey it, you found yourself coveting all the more. Then you came to understand that the very law that you thought was intended to give you life actually brought death to you.
You recognized that the problem is not with the law, which is holy, righteous and good, but with you, deep inside you, underneath the skin where you live. There was an emptiness inside of you, that causes the very things you want to do you do not do and the very things you hate to do you do anyhow (Romans 7:7-11). What is missing is the Spirit of God living in you. That is exactly what Christ came to do, to put in you what was lost in Adam due to sin. Due to the sin nature inherited in Adam, you were born spiritually dead, without the Holy Spirit of God living in you.
So you come to understand the only one who offered a solution to your problem of spiritual death is Christ Jesus. Christ died to take away your sins, to take away the cause of your death, which is sin. But He also rose again to solve your biggest problem, your problem of spiritual death. He came to offer you His very life, His Holy Spirit to be with you forever, to live in you and to guide into all truth. With Christ in you, you now have the divine privilege to walk in the new way of the Spirit. You came to Christ Jesus, who is full of grace and truth, by faith alone in what He accomplished for you by His death, burial and resurrection.
So when you are born again, God has made you competent as a minister of a New Covenant of grace in Christ Jesus, and you are compelled by the mercy and love of God to proclaim this message, because you received from the Lord that which you want others to receive and experience as well. You came to understand that you are no longer under the law of sin and death, but under the new law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus, where you are changed into a new creation and treated as a child of God, where God in His grace no longer counts your sins against you but rather guides you into all truth so you may walk in the new way of the Spirit.
When you know the real Jesus, God in the flesh, you cannot help but proclaim what Christ has done for you! Jesus is the vine (John 3). He is the source of the dynamic of this Christian life. We are the recipients but He is the source of everything. The source of energy, the source of words, the source of the way we see things in the world and the way we say things. Christ Jesus living in us is our source of life and that life is eternal. We literally have the privilege of bearing the fruit of the Spirit, which is our source, but we cannot in and of ourselves produce that fruit. The fruit we are talking about is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). This is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, that lives in every believer.
We encourage you today, receive Jesus, God in the flesh, for having forgiven all your sins on the cross and Thank Him for what He has done for you and understand that He gives you eternal life the moment you place faith in Him!