Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The New Covenant P11 (06-16-21)
Faith is Understanding Jesus Forgave You Completely!
This New Covenant we are under today is a covenant of grace. When you think about what is the eternal inheritance that Jesus bought and secured for us, we cannot help but say, “Thank you, Jesus” and “Praise be to God for His marvelous grace.” This grace provided for us a new heart, the heart of God that is full of His love and compassion that we can access and allow to flow out of us. We have this unconditional acceptance, where we are free to fail without any condemnation, and can then boldly go to the throne of grace to instruct us, guide us into truth to correct our harmful behavior, with such tender-loving care. This is all part of this wonderful personal relationship with the living God, who rejoices over us, rejoices when we rejoice, and who delights in us. And to think that God, who created the entire vast universe with His spoken word, has such wonderful thoughts concerning me! He even knows every hair on my head.
Last, we have this wonderful promise of being eternally forgiven. When we think about how He accomplished that for us, you can apprehend this agape love of God, that while we were yet enemies of God, He died for us. He took the consequence of sin, which is death, for us because until He did He could not give us what He really wants to give us, and that is eternal life, life with him, to know Him personally. If the cause of our death, which is sin, was not taken away from the eyes of God forever, then the next time man should sin, he would die again. We were wretched, without hope, and without God in our hearts. We cannot comprehend this love of God, but that is who God is, perfect love.
Then you ponder over the fact that we needed new life, a new heart, which can only come from an eternal God who is love. He pours His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit He gives to those who simply put their trust in Him. We could not meet the demands of the law in our fallen state inherited in Adam. We were born dead spiritually, without the life of God living in us. God knew that so in His foreknowledge He devised a plan to restore mankind back to Himself. He entered into our death with us in order that, by being raised from the dead, we can enter into His life with Him. What a marvelous plan of redemption, showing the incomprehensible mercy and grace of God.
Yet, as human beings, we are so slow to grab a hold of truth that can set us free. We, as human beings, are likened to sheep, the dumbest and most stubborn of all animals. Here we are asking God to forgive us when we sin. How stupid is that! When you consider that in Hebrews 9:22, that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins, and Jesus shed His blood for us, and He will not shed His blood again, then why are we asking Him to do again what He has already done. We were forgiven before we were ever born. That does not mean we are saved yet, just by knowing about Jesus’ death on a cross. But it means that Jesus already did all the work to forgive all the sins of the entire world, all the way back to Adam and forward to eternity, to the person yet to be born. So where is the forgiveness of sins received? In Him, as it says in Ephesians 1:7.
Bob used the illustration of the offer of a million dollars in a certain bank to illustrate how we receive this eternal forgiveness. A man gives you a million dollars and tells you to go to the Bank of Dallas, and there you can receive the money. But you do not like the Bank of Dallas. You insist on going to the Bank of America. He tells you, “Sorry, the money is not in that bank. If you want to access the money, then you have to go to the Bank of Dallas. That is where the money is. Otherwise, you will die a pauper.”
In the same way, Jesus already did all the work so that all men are already forgiven of all their sins. He did it once and for all people when He shed His blood on a cross. But unless you come to new life in Christ Jesus, that forgiveness cannot be applied to you, and so you will die in your sins. Similarly, if Jesus had not risen from the dead, you would also be still dead in your sins, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15. You must receive life in order to benefit from being a forgiven person. What good is it to be a forgiven, forever dead corpse?
Yet the Jews will insist on going back to the Day of Atonement, sacrificing a bull and a goat to get their sins forgiven. Prior to the cross, that was all that was available to get your sins covered until the next time you sinned, and that was what had to be done while the Old Covenant was still in effect. But that system of sacrifice was only meant to last until the time of Christ, and has now been replaced by a once and for all sacrifice that did not cover sins until the next time, but took them away forever from the eyes of God. Yet still today, men invent their own sacrificial systems in what they think will get their sins forgiven by God. The Catholics, for example, will go to a confessional booth and a Protestant will go directly to God, quoting 1 John 1:9, so as to get their current sins erased to keep in fellowship with God. That is contrary to what is revealed in the New Covenant in Hebrews, where God says He will remember our sins no more and where these have been forgiven there is no more sacrifice for sins.
That is a very serious error because it is quite possible you are not even in the faith, that you do not even have the Holy Spirit living in you, believing that! For if you do not believe, as the apostle Paul says, in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus alone for your salvation, then you have believed a different gospel. If you have not understood the meaning of Jesus’ death and the meaning of His burial and His resurrection for you, then you have not come alive in Christ Jesus. Why did He die on a cross? To take your sins away from the eyes of God to solve the sin issue that caused our death so that we will no longer die should we sin again. Why was He buried? To prove His death so He can establish a New Covenant with mankind, that does not depend on you to obtain or keep it. A new covenant required the proof of a death to establish a new covenant, testament or will. That way, the Old Covenant could be set aside, for it makes no one perfect or complete. Why did He rise from the dead? So that He can give His eternal life, to place His Holy Spirit into our hearts and who says He will never leave us nor forsake us, and the Holy Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing our eternal inheritance, with the promise of the redemption of our bodies. And since He is an eternal being, there is no repeat sacrifice for sin and He always lives to intercede for us. If anything is added or subtracted from the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus, that pollutes and changes the gospel message, putting a condition on mankind to do something. That then becomes a false gospel. So test yourself to see if you are in the faith? That is, is Christ alive living in you?
We have entered into this New Covenant in comparison to the Old Covenant with its law and its promises we could not keep. Paul said there is nothing wrong with the law, which is holy, pure and good, but when it flows through me it kills me. Christ Jesus in His body nullified the law with its rules and regulations set against us. It is gone and it is over for the believer. We are no longer led by the law. The law has done its work. The purpose of the law was to show us our sinfulness. It showed us there is a consequence to sin called death. Death can only be cured by life. The only kind of life is resurrected life. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Salvation is being saved from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life.
Under this New Covenant is grace. It is a covenant of grace. There are four major things that this grace provided for us. First of all, we have a new heart. We studied that in a previous lesson. He will put a new heart in you, to take out that heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I can testify, as any one born again, as to that happening. My heart was hard as a brick prior to coming to Christ. After coming to Christ, it has been softened. For me to see someone crying, like Amy, I would say she just blubbers all the time and made me mad. Today, I am worse than she is. I can cry over a supermarket opening if I let myself. It softened my heart.
The other promise is unconditional acceptance, that you and I are accepted in the Beloved. Not only loved by God but accepted by God. That is a big one, to realize that God loves you. In my particular case, yes, but so what. He is God so He has to love me. But accepting me? Does He accept me where I am? Yes, He does. He takes you right where you are and He is not through with any of us yet, and He is still working on us. He accepts us in the Beloved. I am accepted in Christ Jesus.
The next promise is we have a personal relationship with God that was borne out with the ripping of the curtain in the temple. In the Old Testament, and under the Old Covenant, there was a temple and a Holy of Holies that could only be entered into. The Gentiles were far away and in the Gentile court. But to go into the Holy of Holies, only the high priest of that day could do so. What a lot of people do not know, when they did, they tied a rope around their ankle so in the event they died, such as from a heart attack, in that Holy of Holies, they could pull him out so no one else could go in. Otherwise he would crawl out or die in there. That shows you how strict that was.
Then at the cross of Christ Jesus, that curtain in the temple was rent from the top to the bottom, not from the bottom up, so we could have done it. But from top to bottom. A person asked me, “How did the Jews deal with that, with the fact the curtain in the temple was torn in two? I do not have a clue. It is not mentioned. But it had to be an unbelievable thing for them to realize that here this Holy of Holies is now exposed to everyone. That is the reason it was ripped from the top to the bottom, so that all people now could go in and have a personal relationship with God. That personal relationship under an Old Covenant was not there. But under a New Covenant, it is a personal relationship whereby you and I have the privilege of walking into the presence of God and calling Him the most intimate of Jewish terms, “Abba Father’, meaning “Daddy, Father.” When you think about that, how we, these insignificant people we are, are able to walk into the presence of God, who made this universe, and when you see the vastness of this universe. We just got a glimpse of it when astronauts first went to the moon, looking back on our earth. But that is only a small percentage of the universe. It goes on and on, the vastness of this! The God who us is big enough to create that and yet small enough to live in my heart. That is to me something I cannot totally grasp. I can apprehend that, but to say I can comprehend that, I have to take that by faith, and just be able to say “Thank you, Jesus.”
Now, we will look more closely at the fourth promise of the New Covenant, that we are eternally forgiven. You and I are eternally forgiven. That is something that we have difficulty getting a hold of, that eternal forgiveness. But it is a promise of God.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”[Jeremiah 31:31-34]
And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
His blood has been shed once and there is no more sacrifice. For the Jew, you might as well put up your sacrificial system, your day of atonement, because the blood of bulls and goats will never take away sins. But the sacrifice of Jesus, of God Himself, is the only sacrifice worthy to be able to take away sins of the entire world, back to Adam and forward to eternity. So a promise of the New Covenant is that you, if you are in Christ, have been made alive.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins
If you are alive with Christ, if you have come to Christ, not just for His death for you, but His life in you, for He died for you then so He can live in you now. If you have come to the resurrected Christ Jesus, and folks, I am emphasizing that because it has been ignored in most evangelical teaching. It is mentioned that we believe in the death, burial and resurrection, but we never explain the meaning of the resurrection. We explain the meaning of the cross, which is where Jesus took away your sins, but then we act like He only covered them because we go back to get more forgiveness. So, in essence, we cannot say out of one side of our mouth, I believe what Jesus said, where He said “I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.”, you are saying “I do not believe that”. If we did believe that, then why would we go back seeking what we are told we already have? If you are in Christ, you have forgiveness. It does not say you get forgiveness. It says you have forgiveness. That was accomplished by the shedding of blood.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. If you ask God to forgive you when you sin, how would God respond? “Where is the sacrifice? For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” “I am counting on your sacrifice.” “When did I, Jesus, do that sacrifice?” “Over 2000 years ago.” “What are you going to do with that? To keep asking for what I just got through saying? It is over. It is finished.”
That is what our religion has done. It has taken us away from the Sabbath rest, where we are able to rest from our works just as God did from His. When Jesus called out from the cross, “it is finished”, He rested. He sat down. A chair was a prohibited piece of furniture in the temple. But when God finished His work, He sat down. Why did He sit down? His work is over and He is not getting up again. It is over. It is finished. If you are in Christ you are a forgiven person.
43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
We receive forgiveness of sin, not through our confession, but through His name. Do you believe in Him? If you do, then you have received forgiveness of sins through His name.
1 John 2:13
13 I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
He does not say, “am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of your confession.” That is not what it says. Jesus is the forgiver. He did it once, and He did it for all and He did it forever. If you are in Christ Jesus, and you have come to Him for what He came to give you. First of all, He already provided forgiveness. So you do not come to get forgiveness. You come to receive the provision of forgiveness. Then He is offering you new life, resurrected life. That is the meaning of His resurrection, so that the life that raised Him from the dead can now raise you from the dead.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins
God came to make you alive in Christ and He forgave all your sins. Not some of them, but all of them. Think of the double-mindedness we go through today. Scriptures are quoted and pounded on the pulpit, saying, “God took away my sins; past, present and future“, out of one side of your mouth, but then, out of the other side, you quote 1 John 1:9, misapplying it to mean that you need to confess your sins to get forgiveness. You cannot have it both ways. It is either one way or the other.
Then what does that 1 John 1:9 mean? You have to explore that. It is there. Why is it there? Is it a passage written to believers or is it a passage for salvation? It is a salvation passage. It is a passage, that while the first chapter of 1 John was dealing with Gnostics who believed that they did not have a sin nature. That is the whole essence of 1 John 1:9. They did not believe they had a sin nature and did not believe they sinned. If you claim you have not sinned, you lied. In other words, you are not conforming to truth.
The same thing is talked about in Hebrews. When you keep sinning against the knowledge of truth. The knowledge of truth is what you are sinning against. This knowledge of truth talked about in Hebrews is acknowledging that your sins and lawless acts I will remember no more and where these have been forgiven, there is no more sacrifice. That is the knowledge of truth they are sinning against, going back to the day of atonement, or the sacrificial system, quoting 1 John 1:9 or a confessional booth. Any one of those, and not singling anyone out. It is all of those.
The issue is, when Jesus said “it is finished”, it is finished, and where is the forgiveness provided received?
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Where do you get what you got? You get what you got in Him and His resurrection. I used this illustration before. It would be like me saying to you, Bob, I put a million dollars in a bank account, in the bank of Dallas. You say to me, “Bob, I do not like the bank of Dallas. I like the Bank of America.” “I am sorry, Bob. I am glad you do, but that is not where your money is. I committed a long time ago that I am never going to that Bank of Dallas. Then you will never get your money and you will die a pauper. You have a million dollars waiting for you, but until you go in there and cash your check you will die a pauper for that is where it is.
Where is our forgiveness stored? In the resurrected life of Christ Jesus. In Him you have forgiveness, the forgiveness of sins. Where do you get redeemed? In His resurrected life. There is no life in dying on a cross. The cross does not provide life to the dead. The cross provided forgiveness of sins. His resurrection is what gives you the dynamic of the Christian life, and that is life. You just cannot go over that lightly and count on people to be living in the power of the New Covenant or the power of the resurrection. You cannot do that if you just glance over that.
Someone says, “Jesus died for your sins. Come to Jesus and get your sins forgiven, and He also was raised from the dead.” That will not work. You have to believe what Paul believed. Paul said that without the resurrection, we are pitied of all men and are still dead in our sins, realizing that a cross had occurred. He saw the meaning of the resurrection. It is paramount to salvation. Please do not believe that because you went forward to get saved. You are not saved by the death of Christ. You are saved by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
That is the gospel that saves. Anything added to it cannot save you. Anything subtracted from it cannot save you. It is the death, burial and resurrection. It is not just acknowledging that Jesus raised from the dead like Abraham Lincoln was killed in Ford’’s theater. Why did He die on a cross for your sins? Why was He raised from the dead? The best people can come up with for the resurrection is that maybe it proves He is God. They do not realize there is a consequence of sin called death. We are walking around deceived, saying “I believe I am basically okay and occasionally I sin.” So someone says they have a solution for that, quoting 1 John 1:9 or going to a confession booth, or, if I was a Jew and sacrificial system was still in effect, and it will again some day, and there will be people killing bulls and goats. We do not and will not grab a hold that it is a finished deal that God went to a cross to deal with sin, not two times, two million times but one time and did it for all. That is a truth that is not taught out of your pulpits today. People teach forgiveness as no different than atonement. “You can get forgiven today and you can come back and get forgiven tomorrow.” Or, “if you sin twice in one day, you can get forgiven twice in one day.” Because people have this idea, and have eliminated from their knowledge that there is consequence to sin. People have said, “God will take you to the woodshed.” or “You are out of fellowship” but the wages of sin is death. It is not out of fellowship. It is death. The wages of sin is death. There is a consequence to sin. Forgiveness cannot bring life to the dead. Resurrection brings life to the dead. So when people short-circuit this gospel presentation, telling people that basically you are an okay guy, but you do sin occasionally. Yes, I do sin occasionally. It is always accidental, never intentional. But I can 1 John 1:9 and I am okay. You are never okay but it is okay that God made you. And you will not be made okay by just coming to Him for the cross. He did not come to just give you forgiveness. He came to give you life. He gave you forgiveness so He can give you life. The reason for forgiveness was so He could give you life. What kind of life did He want to give you? Eternal. What kind of forgiveness did He have to give you? Eternal. That is why we have eternal forgiveness in Christ Jesus. The same life we have is the same forgiveness we have.
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.
We talked about this before. This is not the law of Moses. These are the laws of Jesus, to love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. This is the fulfillment of the law of Moses.
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]
Those are the four basic promises that God has in regard to this New Covenant. You and I stand today, and anyone who has come into a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus, not a knowledge, but a saving knowledge. I reiterate, a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus, is putting your faith in His death, burial and resurrection. I also want to emphasize that people who want to add to the gospel. He said this is the gospel that saves; the death, burial and the resurrection. He did not say the death, burial and resurrection and baptism. He did not say the death, burial and resurrection and tongues. He did not say that death, burial and resurrection and church attendance saves you. He did not say that death, burial and resurrection and tithing saves you. He did not say that death, burial and resurrection and good works save you. He said salvation is being saved from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life. There is a consequence to sin, and that is death. The gift of God is life eternal. That is why it says He who has the Son has the life. He who does not have the Son does not have life.
That means we are not born with the life of Christ living in us. We are born dead spiritually. What is death? It is the absence of life. What is darkness? The absence of light. The condition of the world is dark. The sun comes to dispel the darkness and we have a season of light. The sun goes down and it returns to its natural condition of darkness. We had to receive from God what we did not have, life. That is the meaning, my friends, of the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
If you were like so many people, and we have talked to people for many, many years on radio, and many times a person will say, “I came to Christ when I was a child but there has not been any change in my life.” “I received Christ not too long ago. I was in a Baptist church and I walked the aisle.” The first question I ask them is what is your understanding of the gospel? Nine times out of ten, listening to them, the answer comes back, “Christ died for my sins.” “Is that it?” “Yes. That is it.” “What about the resurrection?” “Yes, the resurrection.” If there was any meaning to the resurrection, the resurrection would not be an afterthought, saying “Oh yea, the resurrection”, or they would not be identifying the gospel as just Jesus dying for my sins. I say, “The reason you have no reality in your life at all is that you do not have His life in your life. There is a possibility of that. If you only came for forgiveness, then you did not come to receive what He came to give you. You discounted the meaning of His resurrection. Did you realize, really realize, that when you came to Christ that there was a consequence to sin? Did you come to understand the truth of that, the consequence to sin called death.”
Did you come to Christ to get your sins forgiven, with the concept that basically I am okay? The basic deal is ‘I am okay. You are okay.’ No, you are not okay but that is okay because God does have a solution to this. But when you come to Christ, you come to recognize the fact that the sins I commit is evidence of my spiritual death. There is evidence of this. If you have a breaking out of your skin, it is evidence that there is something going on under the skin. The breaking out is evidence of that truth. When I was having pain in my heart, it was evidence that there was something wrong with my heart. That is good to know if you want to get well. So, sin is the evidence of something wrong with you. There is something wrong with you. It is not what a man puts in his mouth that defiles a man. It is what proceeds out of his heart. It is like God saying, “You have a heart problem.” You think you have an alcohol problem, a drug problem or a sex problem. No, you have a heart problem. I came to solve that death problem and that is solved by giving you a new heart. But if you do not have a new heart, then you are on your own. Many times people think they are saved, and are told they are saved by merely coming to a cross. No. No. You have not gone far enough. Thank God you have gone to the cross, but you must go on from the cross to the empty tomb and there you find resurrected life, and in that life is where you will have the forgiveness that you seek.