I spent my entire childhood “in church.” If the doors were open, we were there. From church choir to youth group, church was a large part of my childhood that I carried over into my adult years. A few years ago I discovered something in the Bible called the New Covenant that I had somehow never noticed before. It isn’t something small either, like an interesting verse, but rather the New Covenant has entire chapters in the Bible devoted to explaining it. It is something foundational to understanding the gospel and interpreting the Bible correctly. Yet, for my entire 30+ years in the church I had never heard this New Covenant mentioned before. Which meant that for my entire 30+ years in the church, I was misunderstanding the Gospel.
How did I miss this? Like most Christians, I always divided my Bible into the two testaments: Old and New. I called the first few chapters of the New Testament the “Gospels” (which means Good News). I hope to explain why this way of dividing the Word can cause confusion among believers.
Having a proper understanding of the New Covenant changes everything. Learning to properly divide the word and read scripture IN CONTEXT is crucial to understanding the gospel.
2 Timothy 2:15 urges us of the importance of rightly dividing the Word of God. As believers, all scripture is written FOR us (2 Tim 3:16), but not all scripture is written TO us. Reading scripture within the context of “who is this written to?’ will change the way the Bible reads. We now filter everything we read through the Living Word!! One of the first steps in rightly dividing the Word is learning about the covenants.
Throughout history God has related to mankind through Covenants. We are going to look at the 3 main covenants of the Bible and what they mean for us today.
Under the Abrahamic Covenant a person qualified for God’s blessings, promises, and inheritance based on their family line. I like how Chad Mansbridge uses the three “P’s” in his book, He Qualifies You. Under the Abrahamic Covenant, a person qualified for God’s promises and blessings because of their Pedigree (or their family line). They qualified simply because they were born into Abraham’s family.
Mosaic (Law) Covenant
Under the Mosaic Covenant a person qualified for God’s blessings, promises, and inheritance based on their ability to uphold the law, or the commandments (which is a whole lot more than just the big ten we are familiar with). In other words they qualified for God’s promises and blessings because of their Performance.
“The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.” Deut 28:10
“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:…”Deut 28:15
The Mosaic Covenant was weighty in that one would be blessed for obeying, and cursed for not obeying. Much of the Old Testament prophesies of the Savior that will come and fulfill this covenant.
Under the New Covenant a person qualifies for God’s blessings, promises, and inheritance based on belief in Christ’s perfect sacrifice on our behalf. We are qualified because of our Position in him.
Sin, or the lack of keeping the law, is no longer an issue because Christ upheld the standard perfectly. He died, rose again, and now lives forever, seated at the right hand of God, interceding with God on our behalf (Heb 7:25-26). And we are IN HIM!
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 2 Cor 1:20
Look at that verse again. The promises of God are “YES” in Christ. No longer because you were born into the right family line (Abrahamic), and no longer because you kept all the commandments of the law (Mosaic), but simply because you are IN HIM.
Need proof that you are in Him? It’s not hard to find. Here are a few:
“In him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Cor 5:17
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11
Which Covenant are you living under?
Are you still trying to follow all the rules in your own effort, living under the law keeping covenant? Are you making the mark each week and doing what all good Christians should be doing, like reading your bible, praying, serving, tithing, etc.? Are you falling short and subjecting yourself to condemnation, shame, punishment, and consequences?
Or are you living under the freedom of the New Covenant, where God remembers your sin no more, and gives you a helper (the Holy Spirit) to guide you in all truth? If you are at all like me, this fresh understanding (or revelation) of the New Covenant might leave you with a lot of questions.
Does it sound too good to be true? Papa knows your concerns. He longs to expose any lies you might believe about who you are and how much He loves you. Let Him bring it into the light. Keep asking questions and He will answer.
“Questions are keys. They open doors and unlock treasures. Questions are stepping stones to revelation and doorways to discovery. A good question can take you places. It can free you from unhealthy mindsets and set you on the path to wholeness and abundant living. A good question can change your life. We are born asking questions. We grow up asking questions. When we stop asking, we stop growing.” (The Gospel in Ten Questions, by Paul Ellis).