Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The New Covenant P7 (06-08-21)
Are you competent as a minister of the New Covenant? Do you know what the New Covenant is, and can you explain that to someone else? That is so important to know and Paul instructed Timothy in this way.
2 Timothy 4:1-3
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
But if you are going to preach the word, are you commingling law and grace or are you teaching the New Covenant, which the Lord says you have to be made competent as a minister of the New Covenant, a covenant that replaced the old one?
Now, you may not identify yourself as a minister because you are not functioning as a pastor with a congregation, but can you tell someone the hope you have within you, and the reason for that hope?
1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect
For the reason for that hope is the New Covenant you are under today, having been born again. Being born again means you have the Spirit of God, alive living in you, and so you have the privilege to participate in the divine nature and to allow the Spirit to reveal to you the meaning of the word of God.
Can you identify the better promises under the New Covenant? Can you contrast that to the promises to those under an Old Covenant? Were the promises under an Old Covenant conditional and dependent on what man does? What about the New Covenant? Does the New Covenant require anything of man for it to be fulfilled. Who fulfilled the Old Covenant and set it aside to establish a New Covenant? Why under the New Covenant, as written in Hebrews 8:10-12 concerning its promises, is the word “laws“ used, in contrast to the same prophecy by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 31:33 of a New Covenant to come, where the word “law” was used? What are the laws written on the hearts of men under a New Covenant? What new command did Jesus tell us, as born again people under a New Covenant? Would that be possible to obey those new commands of Jesus without the Spirit of God living in us? Why is it that I still have stinky flesh to contend with when I am born again? What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? What is the result of doing so? So listen as Bob George leads you through many passages of scripture to answer these and other questions.
Do you believe these things to be true because your favorite bible teacher tells you this is true? Or, have you relied upon the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of the scriptures to you? You really cannot say you believe something unless the Lord Himself reveals to you the meaning of the word of God. Otherwise, you would be like a parrot, and not really sharing out of a new heart. When you are truly born again, you have a new heart of love, a heart that expresses itself through love, as you allow the Spirit of God to live His life in you and through you.
By reading 2 Corinthians 3:6-9, the scripture tells us that we are made competent as ministers of a New Covenant. That certainly refers to pastors today. It also refers to any of us who are born again, to realize we are under a covenant called a New Covenant, not the old.
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.
It is interesting to me that every time I turn on the Christian radio, someone is teaching out of the Old Covenant. What are you doing when the bible says, while pounding the bible from the pulpit, saying, “This is the word of God.”? That word of God claims that we have been made competent as ministers of a New Covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
It makes me wonder why in the world are people commingling law and grace? Why are people teaching the Old Testament as if it is applicable today? Why are people doing that when Jesus came to usher in a New Covenant, which according to my opinion, as to what so many are hearing? You might as well stay at home, for we are led to believe we could have made it under the old if He would have just left us alone for a little longer, that we would be okay. So many continually teach under the Old Covenant as if this is the way in which you live your life. That should not be.
Now He says that we are no longer under that covenant and He has made us competent as ministers of a New Covenant. I wonder sometimes how competent ministers are. If this ministry that you are so fond of brought death, which is engraved on letters of stone, that came with glory, we do not have to wonder what that is. That is the commandments, the law, that should not be preached to the saved. To the lost, we should be preaching law, because the law has not done its work yet. Remember the purpose of the law is to show you your sinfulness so you may turn to Christ by faith. If the law has done its work, we should leave it where it belongs and walk in the newness of life. But if you are lost, then that law needs to do its work, to what you are under, to show you are lost. How are you going to do that apart from scripture?.That is what the law points out to us.
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, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
He is comparing the two. The old was glorious. The new was more glorious. If the law, the Old Covenant, was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness. Is there righteousness under the law? Absolutely not.
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.
There will be no righteousness imputed to us under the law because no man has ever kept it. The demands of the law are a hundred percent perfection from birth to death.
The reason that God ushered in a New Covenant is not because He did not like the old. It is just that we could not live up to our end of the bargain. In the Old Covenant, we were in the equation and we could not live up to it. How could we? It is impossible for anyone to live up to the righteous requirements of the law. God never intended for us to do so. He gave us the law to show us our need for salvation and our need for a new and better covenant, one with better promises and better provisions. I do not see us rejoicing in the fact that we are under a New Covenant. Thank God that we have been freed from the old because I could not live up to it. If I am still under the law, then I am still under a curse. You are doomed if you are still under the law. You are doomed because you are dead. If you stay under the law, there is no way to receive life under the law.
21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
You have to understand that we are under a covenant of grace that is based on better promises and better provisions.
Turn now to chapter 3, Better Promises in our study booklet in A Closer Look at the New Covenant. In my humble opinion, if you do not have a grip on the New Covenant, you will be confused until the day you go into the grave. So you will have to wait until you die in order to understand anything. If you do not understand the New Covenant, you do not understand anything.
I think about that old hymn, Standing on the Promises of God by Russell K. Carter in 1886, based on Hebrews 10:23.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
I used to laughingly say, instead of standing on the promises, we are sitting on the premises. What promises are we to be standing on? The Old Testament, and specifically, the Old Covenant has many promises. However, their fulfillment for Israel was conditional. In Exodus 19, God promises this to Israel.
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.”
Here it is required of Israel for this promise to be fulfilled. “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then it will be true.” Did they? No. They could not. We have these promises. Many pastors will quote this passage, as applicable for today.
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
That was not written for us today. That was written to Israel. That is not New Covenant. That is a national deal. Christ came in the New Covenant to show us how to be saved as new people, not as the United States of America, but as people. This New Covenant has better promises than the old. These promises are unconditional in nature and they rest solely on the faithfulness of God for their fulfillment. It is on these promises that we are to stand.
6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
Who is the “theirs?” That is the Old Testament priests and the Old Testament writers. It is superior to the Old Testament, since the New Covenant, of which He is the mediator, is superior to the old one. The New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is established on better promises, not the promises of the old, but the promises of the new.
We are told this in Hebrews 9:15.
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
It appears to me, this is saying that now he has died as a ransom to set them free from sins committed under the old so that this promised eternal inheritance can be offered as something new to us. It was something that took place to all people, back to Adam and forward to eternity. So what is the New Promise to those who receive Christ by faith? Eternal inheritance. What made this promise of eternal inheritance possible? Our obedience? No. It is a covenant. It is a covenant of grace that was brought into effect by God. And as I said before, He left me out of the equation. Thank God He left me out of the equation, for otherwise I would have failed. How does the apostle Peter describe that inheritance in 1 Peter 1:4?
1 Peter 1:4
4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
Our inheritance is not kept down here. Our inheritance is stored in heaven for us. Something we do not have to worry about. If we are still under an Old Covenant, could we receive this promised eternal inheritance? No. What is the just reward for those who live under the Old Covenant?
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Under the Old Covenant, the wages of sin is death. Under the New Covenant, there is no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.
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.
This covenant that we are talking about provides a better promise. Which one provides that better promise, the old or the new? It is the new. Look at Hebrews 8:10-12.
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.
It is interesting that in the Old Covenant, it was never laws (plural). It was Law (singular), the Law of Moses. It was never laws. It was the Law. That is a quote out of the Old Testament from Jeremiah 31:33, and was quoted there as, “I will put my law.”
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.
But in the New Testament, in Hebrews, it was translated as “laws”. Did someone make a mistake in translation? Was someone confused? Or did someone know something that we just absolutely refuse to grab a hold of? Or was it never taught? Or never read? But it says “laws”. So what laws is he talking about there? It is not the law of Moses he is putting in there. It is the laws of Jesus.
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.”
So it reads in the New Covenant.
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.
This is a New Covenant promise.
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]
Anyone who comes to God by faith knows who they have come to.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”[Jeremiah 31:31-34]
This passage spells out the New Covenant. He made those promises to them. I will put my laws, the laws of love, in their hearts. They will be my people. I will be their God. A man does not need to be taught necessarily again. The Spirit of God lives in you to teach you. That is true today.
As a person that I believe has been given the gift of teaching, I could say I better not teach that or nobody would need me. That would probably be true. The issue is God uses pastor-teachers, evangelists, and those people as gifts to the body of Christ to help them to get into the bible and to trust Jesus to teach them the meaning of it. I can teach people what the Spirit of God, who lives in me, has taught me what the bible means and the Holy Spirit has done that. He has been faithful to do that. But I cannot teach you what it means. I can tell you what He has taught me.
Someone will say, “If it is good enough for Bob then it is good enough for me.” I would say that is not wise. It would be wiser to say, “Bob, if the Spirit of God was faithful to teach you that, then I am going to ask the Lord to reveal that to me.” Let the Spirit of God do the revealing. Because then you are taught by God. People are so prone to sit and listen to man and say, “Oh, Chuck said that, so ‘Amen ’ and ‘Hallelujah’.” “Well, if Chuck said that and God revealed that to him, then God has the ability to reveal that to me. He has not revealed that to me yet. I am not going to believe it because of what Chuck said. I am going to believe when God reveals the meaning of it to me.” That is a promise from God with every believer, that the Spirit of God, who lives in you, is committed tt teaching you the meaning of the word of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10
9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”[Isaiah 64:4] – the things God has prepared for those who love him – 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
So the issue is that God uses teachers, but in the final analysis, our final teacher, and that is why it says we do not need someone to teach us, the final teacher is the Spirit of God. If I was on an island with nobody around, the Spirit of God is very capable to teach me what the bible says and what it means. I am glad I had other teachers. I have certainly been blessed by having other teachers. But I can say this as honestly as anything. I have verified that this would have not always been the case, but today I can honestly say that what I teach and what I believe has been taught to me by the Spirit and not by man. There is none of this that I say I believe because man said it.
Sometimes someone will ask me about the end times, about the book of Revelation, about end times prophecy. I can tell you how Hal Lindsey believes. I can tell you what John Ankerburg believes. But do I believe it? Not necessarily. I do not believe the Spirit has revealed to me the total meaning of those things yet. That is why I am not going to teach them. I will not teach them with any authority. I can teach what so and so says. Then I am just telling you what they said. But until the Spirit of God teaches me and reveals to me, and quite frankly, I am going to have to come back from the dead to get that out of Revelation. I am not going to be dogmatic about what I am teaching. This is what I believe. Why do I believe it? Probably because of what someone else has taught. But has the Spirit of God really confirmed that in my heart? If He has, I will teach it. But what I am teaching you, the Spirit has confirmed that for me.
So he says that they will all know me from the greatest to the least, and I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.
Now, let us take a look at the beauty of this. In Exodus 32:15-16, we read about Moses coming down from the mountain with the ten commandments in his hands.
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.
You heard of writing something in stone. This was written in stone. You could not erase them.
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?
The writer is making a terrific statement so we could see the divine logic behind this whole plan. We were told the story of how Moses came down with the Shakina glory that the people could not look steadily in the face of Moses, even though it was fading. And Moses knew it was fading, and Moses tried to hide his face as it was fading so they would not lose confidence in it. He did not have to do that because they were already having orgies by the time he went back up the mountain to tell the Lord what their response was. That tells us how faithful we are to keep the commandments of God.
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.
This is talking about a future event, and that is when people are born again. People were not born again until Jesus came to make them born again. A new spirit in you means that formerly the Spirit was not living in you. You are not born with the Spirit of God living in you. You are not born with a new heart. You are born with your old one. How do you see His promise being fulfilled through this New Covenant? The answer to that is by being born again. That is what birth is. When I was born again I was born again of the Spirit. What does that mean? God put a new spirit in me. Whose spirit was it? His.
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.
It says in there that we now have God living in us. We now have a new heart living in us. We have the privilege as people to participate, it says, in that divine nature. So I have a divine nature living in me and I have an old sinful nature that I still have to deal with. That is the conflict in there that will be there until the day we are absent from the body and present with the Lord, seeing Him as He is and becoming like Him.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
1 Corinthians 13:12
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
That flesh will be there until that day. Do not be shocked by the conflict. It will be there. I used to think, “Why is that, Lord? Why don’t you get rid of that yucky me?” “Bob, if I got rid of your old yucky being, you would forget me in a New York minute. Your yucky you is what keeps you dependent on me.” “God, you can use something that yucky for your glory?” “I do not have any other choice. You are that yucky and that is all I got to use. But it will keep you humble.” Pride comes before the fall. Humility is what God is looking for. That yucky nature of yours keeps you humble. That new heart has a purpose. That old yucky nature has a purpose. It says so in 2 Corinthians 3:3.
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.
How do you know this new heart has been put into you? How do you know that you have been given a new heart and a new spirit? He says to 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 the human heart. So the writer of Hebrews says, “He will write his laws on our hearts”, those laws of love and put them in our minds. Do you believe the writer was talking specifically about the ten commandments? No. He is talking about laws, not the Law of Moses, but laws of Jesus, which fulfilled the Law of Moses. That is what Jesus said. Love is the fulfilment of the law. Jesus did not fulfill the law by what he did not do. He fulfilled the law by what He did. He walked in perfect love and love is the fulfillment of the law. That love that fulfilled the law that man could not do, lives in you.
It says this in Deuteronomy 30:6.
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.
Jesus said this is the command I leave with you.
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 gave those laws, so to speak, this new commandment. What makes this commandment new is it came from Jesus. It was a New Covenant. It was not in the Old. The old is, “Do not do this and do not do that.” The new is love. The result of love is you will not be doing that.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
In that verse, it does not say to clean up your flesh and you will be spiritual. It does not say that. It says that if you will learn to walk in love. That is what it means to walk in the Spirit. You will not be fulfilling the desires of the flesh. It is a by-product. Instead of trying to get rid of sin, which is what religion does. He is saying you will never get rid of sin. You learn to walk in love and then you will not fulfill those desires of the flesh. It is like saying, “I will teach you how to pull weeds or I will teach you how to grow grass. If I teach you how to pull weeds, you will be plucking those weeds the rest of your life. If I teach you to grow grass, it will choke out the weeds.” That is what it means to walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.