Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The New Covenant P13 (06-22-21)
I had a conversation with a relative in regard to why Jesus had to die. Her answer was something like, “If such and such did not happen, He would still be alive today.” I think she did not understand what Jesus came to do for us.
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
When you ponder over that, you realize there was a plan in the heart of God from the beginning, even before the foundation of the world, to rescue mankind from the fall in the garden of Eden. The entire Old Testament was planned out by God so that man might recognize his condition of spiritual death, that sin caused your death and therefore you are in need of life. The entire New Testament was planned out by God so man can know God’s provision of life and receive that life called eternal life.
So you must first recognize that you cannot fulfill the demands of the law. You cannot meet the demands of the law that says cursed is anyone who does not continue to do everything written in the law, and the wages of sin is death. That is why that Old Covenant system of sacrifice, of shedding the blood of bulls and goats, had to be set aside, which could only cover sin but never take them away. Such sacrifices had to be continually offered and that was a constant reminder of sin. So this system depended on man to do something and man could not do it. The law was there so man could recognize he could not do it, and therefore, will seek a savior. The law has finished its work when that occurs. It puts you to death.
So Jesus came to usher in a New Covenant with mankind, a covenant that He Himself will accomplish for man, that requires nothing of man to obtain it and nothing of man to keep it. He fulfilled all of the demands of the law for us and became sin for us. The life of God Himself, was poured out on a cross of cavalry, in order that He could enter into our spiritual death with us so that we could enter into His resurrection life with Him. He died for us then so He could live in us now. It is the love of God that then results in dependence upon God that then results in obedience to God.
So this New Covenant had a promise of a new priesthood, whereby one high priest, Jesus, became the final sacrifice, once and for all, with His own blood, and never to be sacrificed again. He died once, and His blood was shed once, to do away with sins once and for all, for all sins back to Adam and all the way forward to eternity. There is no more sacrifice for sins, not even an unbloody continual sacrifice. For we read that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. His blood continually cleanses us of all sin. Are you in Christ? That is where the forgiveness of sins, provided for us then, is received. Not daily at an altar before a priest, but is received once and forever at a moment in time when you are born again spiritually. That is when the life of God is placed in you, the Holy Spirit deposited as a guarantee of your redemption, stored up in heaven for you. That is the new will of the New Covenant, a promise of eternal life, and not just a life you have to wait for after you die physically, but a life to be lived now, for eternal life is to know God and His Son Jesus Christ, a dynamic relationship with the living God. Just as there is a physical birth, that happens one time at a specific time in history, so too is this new spiritual birth, and not by a continual ingestion of a wafer. Christ alive, living in you, is your hope of glory.
So this old system of priests was done away with by a new priest. So who is this new priest? Jesus. How did this come about? We read about how Jesus was made a priest by an oath by God Himself, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” He did not come from the line of Levi, where scripture tells us priests of the old system had to come from. So we had this Levitical priesthood, where only descendants of Levi could serve as priests, to offer sacrifices of bulls and goats that can only cover sin until the next time. Jesus did not come from the line of Aaron or Levi but from the line of Judah, where no priests are ever mentioned. This was of necessity in order to have a change in the priesthood, of a priesthood where the priest has to have an indestructible life. Only Jesus is an eternal being, and so He met the description required of a new priesthood. Jesus is God Himself, having no sin of His own, so He can lay His life down for us, taking upon our sin, only to rise again so He can always intercede for us and guarantee us better promises, of a future without end, of being made complete, washed, justified, and sanctified.
He has made perfect forever those who are the holy ones, those born again spiritually. How many of you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in the sight of God, you are as perfect, complete, as the apostle Paul? How many of you know that in the sight of God that you are as perfect and complete as Jesus Christ? Who made you perfect? Jesus. How did He do that? By His one sacrifice. Is He going to sacrifice again? No. How many people did He sacrifice for? The whole world, back to Adam and forward to eternity. When He did that, what did He make you? He made you complete. He made you perfect. How perfect are you? Are you as perfect as the one who made you perfect? Are you as complete as the one who made you complete? You had nothing to do with this. He did it all. How complete are you? I did not deserve this. I did not earn this, but in the sight of God I am as holy and complete and sanctified and justified as Christ Jesus Himself. That is your inheritance, my friends. That is who you are.
We are talking about this New Covenant that was ushered in by Jesus Christ after fulfilling the Old Covenant, which is the same as the Old Testament or the old will. He fulfilled that in its entirety. He walked in perfect love and love is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. So no one could ever fulfill that law.
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The Old Covenant has a condition to it. “Here it is, so you keep it.” No man has ever kept it except Christ Jesus. There was nothing wrong with the law. As Paul said, the law is holy, righteous and good but when it flows through me, it kills me.
11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
The only thing the law can do is produce death. It cannot make you righteous. It cannot make you holy. It cannot give you life. It can only show you your spiritual death, your condition. It is ultimately there to show you your condition, not what you are doing. What you are doing is evidence of your condition. Also, the New Covenant shows you His provision. The Old Covenant shows your condition. The New Covenant shows us His provision.
So, we talk about a New Covenant. The reason for the New Covenant is because we could not fulfill the old, for under the law, the wages of sin is death, and all of us are born into this world dead spiritually. What is death? The absence of life. That means the life of God does not live in us. We are not born with the life of God living in us. We have a human spirit, which separates us from the animal kingdom, but the human spirit is empty of what it was created to be filled with, and that is God. So God is not there. That is why man is continually searching. That is why there is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of man that can only be filled by God through His Son Jesus Christ.
11 He has also set eternity in the human heart.
You can go to any remote island in the world, the remotest area, and you will find natives who do not even know how to wear clothes but they are seeking a god of some kind. The emptiness is there. It is what creates that desire that something is missing in our lives. It is what draws us to Christ as we become aware of that truth, that I am empty and there is something missing. That was the reason for the New Covenant, that in Christ, is based on better promises. We studied that.
Now, it is based on a new priesthood.
11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood – and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood – why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.
There has been a change of the priesthood.
1 The Levitical priests – indeed, the whole tribe of Levi – are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance.
The purpose of the tithe was to support the Levitical priesthood. That would still be true today if the Levitical priesthood was still in existence. The Levitical priesthood has been replaced. It was replaced by Jesus, who was not a Levite. He was totally out of sync as to what prophecy said who was going to be priests.
14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
Here was Jesus declaring Himself to a degree, to be a priest, carrying Himself as God, but the Sanhedrin and chief priests were scared to death that Jesus was going to replace them. People were listening to Him and what He was saying made sense. People were following Him in masses. When the chief priests saw the response of the people to Jesus, they feared they would lose their position in society, and quite frankly, their very jobs. They were not about to let this happen. The tribe of Levi had carried out the priestly duties for over 1400 years. This Johnny-come lately, from the tribe of Judah, was not about to end their reign. So they plotted to have Jesus killed. As always, they go behind the back and get someone else to do their dirty work. That is exactly what took place here. They plotted to have Jesus killed. They looked at Christ’ death through the eyes of those religious leaders, you can conclude that job security is what killed Jesus. If we do not think job security is powerful, just take a look at what these men did in regard to killing the Lord of lords and our God.
Little did these priests know that regardless of their efforts to preserve their jobs, God had already appointed Jesus as high priest.
5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”[Psalm 2:7]
6 And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”[Psalm 110:4]
1 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
Who was Melchizedek? We do not know. Why did Abraham give Melchizedek a tenth of the plunder? Because he was a priest. Beyond that we do not know. I am convinced of this, that the only reason that Melchizedek is ever mentioned in the Old Testament is because in the New Testament, when Jesus was declaring Himself to be greater than Abraham, they said “no one is greater than Abraham.” The contradiction to that is why then did Abraham tithe to Melchezedek? You do not tithe to someone lesser than you. You tithe to someone greater than you. To merely prove that point is basically the only reason Melchizedek is mentioned here. What did Abraham give him? Plunder.
When we are talking about tithing today and say that Melchizedek is an example then we might as well plunder a city, bring the bank accounts in and lay it at the altar. For that is what He gave to Melchizedek.
4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5 Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people – that is, from their fellow Israelites – even though they also are descended from Abraham. 6 This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
So people want to use Abraham as a criteria for tithing as still in effect for today. We are no longer under the law but this was before the law. So was circumcision. I do not see too much of that preached from the pulpit. But tithing was for the purpose of supporting the Levitical priesthood, who has been replaced by Jesus. So if a Levite is your priest, you ought to be tithing, if you can find one. I do not know where you will find one, but if you do, you should be tithing to him. But if not, you ought to be free will giving.
2 Corinthians 9:7
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”[Psalm 110:4]
Who is he talking to? Jesus. This declaration of the priesthood of Jesus was not without an oath.
20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
Who is the value of a guarantee? The guarantor. Who is the guarantor? God the Father. Who is the guarantee? God the Son. That is better than Sears Roebuck. The issue is we have a guarantee in regard to the fact that Jesus is our priest forever. He always lives to intercede for us. That we can count on, the fact that He has given us an eternal inheritance, and He is the guarantee and God is the guarantor of that eternal inheritance in which we have.
23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;
It is amazing to me how death will do that, to keep you from continuing in office. All over the world, there are tombstones with names of priests on them because they are dead. The only tomb that is known who is not in it is the tomb of Jesus Christ, the eternal priest who lives forever and continually intercedes for us.
24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to completely save those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
To those who love to teach you can lose your salvation, meaning you are the one who gained it. If I can lose it, then I evidently gained it. But I did not gain it. It was a gift of God. It was all of Him and none of me. He has told me that I have a permanent salvation. Therefore, He, Jesus, the priest who lives forever, and has a permanent priesthood, He, therefore, is able to completely save those who come to God through Him. Why? How can He do that? Because He always lives to intercede for them.
So personalize it. Therefore, He is able to save me completely, who came to God through Him. Why? Because He always lives to intercede for me. And for you, who are listening today, who have come to Christ for your personal relationship, thanking Him for His death for you and receiving His resurrected life in you. We do not have an inheritance and a salvation that can be lost. We have a permanent salvation. We have a salvation that is permanent because of the permanent one, the one who is always interceding for us. We are told in scripture that Satan is constantly going to God, accusing. He is called the accuser.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
When you have a person who is constantly accusing, they are not walking in God’;s light, period. God is not the accuser. Satan is the accuser. We are told that there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to 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.
There is no condemnation. You have a total salvation. Therefore, He is able to save completely, not partially, those who come to God through Him. He is always there interceding for you before God. When Satan accuses you, Jesus steps in between Satan and God and says, “It is finished.” or “Paid in full.” Satan has to tuck his tail between his legs and go back to where he came from. That is the good news of the gospel. These so-called good news experts out there teaching that if you do not watch your “p”s” and “q’s”, God will zap you and take salvation from you, then that is ridiculous, for we have an absolute permanent inheritance in Christ Jesus because of the eternal one.
26 Such a high priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
This passage describes Jesus as holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
He chose the Jew for salvation and He also chose the Gentile, as available for Salvation.
1 John 1:7
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
The result of being in the light, which we all are. We have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His Son, in whom He loves. So we are in the light. You cannot get in the darkness. So if we walk in that, the light that we are in, as He is in the light, we are going to have fellowship with one another and Jesus. The blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from all sins imaginable.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
If we are in the light, and a person says that you can get in darkness, how would you be there if the blood of Jesus His Son keeps on cleansing you of every sin imaginable. It seems to me you cannot get there.
It reminds me a little bit of a physical example of this. I was working in a company at one time that sold appliances. In this appliance lineup, they had something that was like a microwave. It was a type of beam that you could put a steak on with no sides to it. This ray would kick that stake, and the sparks, the fat that comes out, immediately incinerated. You could put that on a nice mahogany desk, and that was a demonstration used, and when you set this thing on that desk and turned it on, and put that steak on there. He was thinking his desk would be stinking and dripping with steak, but then watch that thing incinerate it and never make a spark on it.
That reminds me of how God uses and the blood of Jesus purifies all sin. It never gets out. The minute it is there, it is incinerated. It is never seen. It is like it is not there. It is there but it isn’t there. What God is saying is this. When I took away your sins at the cross, it is not only taken away but it is continually being taken away. That is why there is no condemnation awaiting us. Our sins are being alter-rayed.
In 1 Corinthians 11:9-11, it talks about people going through all kinds of things, and you read the list of sins.
1 Corinthians 11:9-11
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
But then you read, but that is what some of you were, and you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified. How? In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. It did not say you will be, but were, washed, sanctified and justified
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
He has made perfect forever those who are the holy ones. That comes back to knowing your identity in Christ. I ask people, “How many of you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in the sight of God, you are as perfect, complete, as the apostle Paul? You get a number of hands going up. How many of you know that in the sight of God that you are as perfect and complete as Jesus Christ? You get some hands up. Then you have the ones that put them up real quick and then put them back in their lap real quick. They think so but are not sure. So I will explain. “Who made you perfect? Jesus. How did He do that? By His one sacrifice. Is He going to sacrifice again? No. How many people did He sacrifice for? The whole world, back to Adam and forward to eternity. When He did that, what did He make you? He made you complete. He made you perfect. How perfect are you? Are you as perfect as the one who made you perfect? Are you as complete as the one who made you complete? You had nothing to do with this. He did it all. How complete are you? Finally, people get it. I did not deserve this. I did not earn this, but in the sight of God I am as holy and complete and sanctified and justified as Christ Jesus Himself. That is your inheritance, my friends. That is who you are.”
Did Jesus need to sacrifice for His own sins? No. He had no sins of His own.
27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
He did not sacrifice for sins twice. He did not go back. To be asking Him to do what we are asking Him to do is not faith. Since without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness, then He would have to go back and shed his blood again. He is not going back to do that. He did it once. He dealt with and judged sins of the world one time on a cross over 2000 years ago and He is not going to do it again. When He comes back, He is not coming back to bear sin but to bring salvation to those waiting for Him.
so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Why is He not coming back to bear sin? He has already done it. He sacrificed for their sins once and for all when He offered Himself. Not somebody else’s blood, not the blood of a bull and a goat, but His own life, the life of God Himself, poured out on a cross of calvary, in order that He could enter into our spiritual death with us so that we could enter into His resurrection life with Him. He died for us then so He could live in us now. It is the love of God that then results in dependence upon God that then results in obedience to God. Until we come to grips with the unconditional love of God, who did all of this out of grace, out of mercy, out of kindness, out of goodness, and we are the recipients of all of this goodness called the grace of God, the only time that you and I are ever going to rejoice is when we begin to believe this and put faith in it.
27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices [high priests of the Levitical priesthood], but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these [by the one high priest, by Christ on a cross]. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.
In order to save us completely, He had to replace our imperfection with His perfection. So consider what better promises we have in Christ Jesus.