010117 Celebrate the New
What IS the New?
The New Covenant is all-encompassing and is for absolutely everyone.
Hebrews 8:6-7 - But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
The New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant. It is more excellent, indeed. Here we have a reminder that the Bible is written for everyone, but not to everyone. The Old Covenant, the old way of the Law is inferior, and the New Covenant is superior. The Old Covenant had a certain glory which was surpassed by the New Covenant; which Covenant do you find yourself in? There is much more to the Old Testament that can be gleaned than just the Law, but we ought to take a look at the other side of the Cross for what we really have in the New Covenant.
The Law came through Moses; Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ. This Law is important in the sense that it reveals our flaws, whether we follow it to the tee or not. For any change it imposes unto us may break us, and any actual change it makes is superficial. The Law spurs human effort, and Grace spurs human dependency.
For he finds fault with them when he says:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
Here we see that it helps to understand the characteristics of the Old Covenant, the Law, so we could understand what the New Covenant isn't. The point here is that if you are under the New Covenant, you are not under the Old Covenant. So contrary to what I used to say, we aren't saved by grace to follow the law. We have not been ushered into the New Covenant to uphold the Old Covenant. Not at all.
Let us therefore be wary of people who attempt to mix the Old and New Covenants. For you would either cheapen the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, or you would diminish the absolute holiness of the Law.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
The New Covenant is a complete renewal, not just a change in words. This is not the Law of Moses. We already established that the Old Covenant is the Law, and that you are no longer under the Old Covenant but the New. How could a Covenant be called New if there is any usage or even a semblance of the Old Covenant written, of all places, in our hearts?
Christ is the end of the Law, and as established earlier, His death reconciled us with God, and His life addressed our self, to the point that He is alive in us. God, indeed, put His laws into our minds and wrote them on our hearts in the sense that the Living Word, the Word made flesh, is alive in us! Halleluyah!
And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
Christ alive in us truly changes our perceptions and priorities... As we know more and more about God's grace, we are literally returning to what we first knew. The past makes sense, the present is spent in utter peace, and the future is faced with confidence the more we understand the grace of God through Jesus Christ! Halleluyah! We're unlearning the ways of the world, learning the ways and words of Christ, taking in the visions He gives, following the steps He provides, moving according to Christ moving in and through us.
We will know Christ is such an intimate and personal way. Eternity is not a theory to grasp. Eternity is Christ, and He is alive in us, communicating to and through us..
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.
The writer of Hebrews is pointing out that the Old Covenant absolutely obsolete. It's like the iPhone 7 compared to the iPhone 1. There's something better on the table.
So what are the benefits of the New Covenant? What's so good about the New Covenant?
2 Corinthians 3:4
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.
Confidence - It's not about you at all. Our confidence is upon Christ towards God. It's not about us anymore. Our adequacy is found in Christ - our obedience is not called in check, but Christ's obedience. This is therefore a message worth sharing because it's not about us, but Christ!
2 Corinthians 3:5-12
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold..
We have more glory, boldness, and hope. Because it's all about Christ! We have an iPhone Infinity!
Without the shedding of blood, there would be no New Covenant. The blood of Christ on the cross ushered us into the New Covenant. We celebrate the New Covenant - Christ in our hearts, in our minds, having the mind of Christ and the counsel of Christ, knowing Christ intimately, completely aware of Christ knowing us equally intimately, our sins completely forgiven, all of us deeply loved, continuing to know more and more of Christ and His glory in us, moving from glory to glory, for all of eternity, to Him be all the glory!
All we could say is, Wow! There's so much more to celebrate about the New Covenant, so much more than just this new year!
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May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26