Pastor's Monthly Pen
We know that God often used covenants when He was trying to give blessings to His people so this is an important concept. We also often hear the words “new covenant,” but what exactly does all this mean? Because God is God, a covenant isn’t really like a bargain – if you do this I will do this; but it is more of a matter of fact statement of truth for the people the covenant was given to – if you walk out in the rain, you will get wet.
The Old Testament contains writings based on the old covenants of God, as well as prophecies about the new covenant. In contrast, the New Testament contains writings which are based on the new covenant and reasons why the old covenants are not as effective for us. This new covenant is the one which Christ talks about at the “Last Supper;” and is spoken of in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 1 Corinthians. This new covenant is what we often speak about during the liturgy for communion each week during worship services. But what exactly does this new covenant deal with and what is it that makes it different than the old covenant?
If you read Exodus 24 you will find that the old covenant was sealed in blood, as is the new covenant. The old covenant was sealed in the blood of animal sacrifices made in God’s honor, and the new covenant was sealed in the blood of Christ’ sacrifice made in God’s honor. The animals were not willing participants, but Christ was. Christ was not only willing but was also unblemished – or without fault spiritually. We can see that the blood used in the new covenant was much more “valuable” than the blood used in the old covenant.
Now what’s the deal with the blood in the first place … is God “into” blood sacrifice and likes to see spilt blood? I don’t think so – but let’s look closer. We all like the Abraham and Isaac story where Abraham is willing to sacrifice his son but is stopped at the last minute so that innocent blood is not shed. Now I guess we can see that God knew he was willing – because God can see into his heart … but do we really believe that he was willing? And if we are not sure – then how does his willingness help us in our lives? In contrast, when we look at the story of Jesus – we know that Jesus was willing – because He actually did it. So even though God knew His son would die for this cause, God allowed the death for our sakes so that we could believe. It is not that God like’s spilt blood, but the hardness of our hearts that requires it. And even with it being a matter of fact – some still choose not to believe.
The old covenant brought temporary forgiveness of sins and inclusion with God’s people. The new covenant brings complete forgiveness of sins and eternal inclusion with God’s people. Of course, we know that a covenant has two parts … our part is to believe and accept into our hearts. This can be found in Jeremiah 31: 31-34, Hebrews 7: 24-28 & 8: 1-13, and Ezekiel 36 & 37.
But don’t take my word for it … READ the previous scriptures to know your part in the covenant.
The old covenant asked for actions from us – do this and don’t do that … we failed on this account. The new covenant asks for belief – which should in turn govern our actions. We have been given every opportunity to believe with our heart and incorporate this belief into the actions of our life.