|Sin and its consequences.||God’s provision in Christ.|
|Being under the judgement of God.||Justification and forgiveness.|
|Being separated from God.||Reconciliation.|
|Being spiritually dead.||Regeneration.|
|Being powerless.||The Holy Spirit.|
|Being in the Old Covenant.||The New Covenant.|
Through the ages God’s dealings with man(kind) have always been by a covenant relationship. Examples would include the covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David.
This is not the place where we can study this theme more fully. Suffice it to say that the law given by Moses includes those covenants already mentioned and viewed in the light of the New Testament as being “Old”.
The book of Hebrews is the most helpful when we want to have a fuller discussion of this great theme.
The writer – many think it would be Paul – says this;
“In that He says, “A new covenant” He has made the old obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away”. Hebrews 8:13.
This is in the light of majestic prophecies from the Old Testament that have now been applied to Christ who has fulfilled them. The clearest comes from Jeremiah.
“Because finding fault with them, He says: Behold, the days coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah –
not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall by My people.
“None of them shall teach his neighbour, and none his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more”. Hebrews 8:8-12.
The key thing to see is that what was originally an external covenant and one that required keeping from both sides was impossible for the people to do. That is why the very first words we read regarding Jeremiah’s great prophecy was that he laid squarely at the door of the people the reason why the covenant was continually being broken – He found fault with them. Hebrews 8:8.
God fulfilled both sides of the covenant agreement so we can be in the agreement as we are in Him.
The New Covenant is where we read and see the power of God to change us inwardly.
This is well described in the other marvellous prophecy of the Old Testament.
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgements and do them”. Ezekiel 36:25-27.
This wonderfully declares that the Lord will give us a new heart as we believe Him. This will enable us to walk in Him. He will cause us to walk. This is no longer our efforts to live as we should but is dependent on the activity of the Holy Spirit in our new hearts, as we believe Him.
What was once external – the external law and commandments – is now internal, the law written on our hearts and in our minds.
God the Holy Spirit fills the life of the believer so that He is indwelt by Him. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon a few and a limited number of people for a particular task or purpose. In the New Covenant the Holy Spirit lives within us. This is an amazing truth and revelation!
Jesus was teaching His disciples this the night before He was arrested and taken from them. He was explaining about the unique work of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, our Advocate.
“Jesus answered and said to him, (Judas, not the disciple who would betray Jesus) “If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word; and My Father will love him., and We will come to him and make Our home with him” John 14:23.
Jesus, along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit – We – will make Our home with him!
When Jesus was teaching them, He was describing a different order of relationship.
“The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you”. John 14:17.
Jesus by the Spirit is certainly with us, He leads us, guides us, comforts us etc, but the greater truth is that He is in us!
This is the marvel of the gospel in its culmination.
We who were sinners, born in sin and in slavery to the devil, have been redeemed and reconciled to God by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and He now lives within us!
“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and wonder how He could love Me, a sinner condemned, unclean!
How marvellous, how wonderful and this my song shall ever be, How marvellous, how wonderful is my Saviours love for me!”