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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The New Covenant



The primary Old Testament covenants have a sign which is an outward indication that signifies the person was in a covenant.  Dictionary Definition:   something that indicates or expresses the existence of something else not immediately apparent. 

The new covenant also has signs that are not only different from those of the old covenant but replaces them as well.  The sign of the old Abrahamic covenant was circumcision but the new is Baptism.  This sign of the New Covenant does not in itself confer righteousness and salvation, but it is performed after the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to symbolize one’s death to the old life, burial with Christ, and resurrection to the new life of the Kingdom of God (or Heaven).  Jesus places much significance and importance on this symbolic sign of a new life in His instructions related to the Great Commission.  The apostles were to teach all nations to observe all things that Jesus had commanded them.  Not only the laws of God, but the sayings and actions of the Messiah.  The essence of discipleship is becoming like the King and Lord.

Matthew 28:19-20 KJV Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

In the book of Colossians, Paul differentiates circumcision and baptism.  He states that the righteous are buried with Christ in Baptism as He was buried; then raised from the water through faith to a new life as He was raised from the dead by the Father.  This is a circumcision without hands; a spiritual circumcision of the heart; it is taking the sins of the flesh off the body through the spiritual circumcision of Christ.

Colossians 2:11-12 KJV In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 

Baptism is an answer to circumcision as a sign of righteousness but it doesn’t actually illustrate it. Yet baptism does illustrate our identification with the death and resurrection to life of Jesus.  We were buried with Jesus by being buried under the water.  We are also raised with Him by being raised up out of the water.

Peter has a similar statement.  He comments that the lives of eight people aboard the ark of Noah were delivered through water which is a pre-figure of baptism; not taking a bath but a pledge (or sign) of righteousness, that is – facing God with a good conscience.  This is all made possible through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
1 Peter 3:21 NET And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you -- not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God -- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,…. 

Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but according to Peter, it pledges our moral conscience to God.  It is the same as circumcision for Abraham; it did not give him righteousness but was a sign to God that he was righteous.

Romans 4:9-13 KJV Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 

The above Romans 4 scripture indicates that Abraham’s faith was reckoned for righteousness when he was not circumcised.  He received the sign of circumcision which was a seal (a sign of guarantee) of the righteousness of his faith that he had achieved before being circumcised.  Abraham was promised to be the heir of the world (Christ) through the righteousness of his faith and not by the law.

The second sign of the new covenant is also called a remembrance sign as the Old Testament Sabbath was a sign for the remembrance that God rested on the seventh day of creation (Ex 31:17, 20:11). The Lord’s Supper is a sign for the remembrance of the Lord’s death; the Lord’s body broken with whips and nails; the blood of Jesus poured out for the remission of sin.  All sins of all people were placed upon Jesus and He was punished for our sins that we may be viewed as spotless by faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  

1 Corinthians 11:24-26 KJV And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 

The Mosaic covenant put laws on tablets of stone; the New Covenant, through the Holy Spirit, will put the laws on our hearts and minds.

Jeremiah 31:32-33 KJV Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Today with the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit performs the task that the law did in the Old Covenant.  The law reminded people of sin, righteousness, and judgment; the conviction and remembrance of these things is now performed by the Holy Spirit.

John 16:7-8 KJV Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Where is God’s law today?  It is within us as the Holy Spirit convicts us to do what is right and causes us to be saddened, depressed, or upset when we fail or sin which is referred to as the grieving of the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit does not leave us when we sin therefore initiating re-salvation as some groups teach but rather we continue to be “sealed until the day of redemption.”

Ephesians 4:30 KJV And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 

If we allow the Holy Spirit to effectively work within us we will produce good works or fruits which are called the fruit of the Spirit.  As Galatians 5:23 proclaims:  against the fruit of the Spirit there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 NET But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 

The Lord instituted the New Covenant at the Last Supper, but it was not fully Inaugurated until His death and resurrection.

MC:  Moses reads the covenant law to the children of Israel.

Exodus 24:7a KJV  And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

LS:  Jesus gives his commandments to the disciples.

John 13:34-35 KJV  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  (35)  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 14:11 KJV  Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

John 14:15 KJV  If ye love me, keep my commandments.

MC:  The people unanimously agree to accept the covenant.

Exodus 24:7b KJV   and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

LS:  The disciples agreed to accept the commandment although there is no contextual scripture stating that they agreed.

1 John 4:21 KJV  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

MC:  Moses takes the blood in the bowls and sprinkles the Israelites saying, “this is the  blood of the covenant.”

Exodus 24:8 KJV  And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.

LS:  Jesus takes a cup of wine, shares it with the disciples and said, “this is my blood of the new covenant.”

Mark 14:23-24 KJV  (23)  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.  (24)  And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

MC:  God told Moses to take a select group of 73 followers up to the mountain and they had a meal with God.

Exodus 24:9-11 KJV  Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:  (10)  And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.  (11)  And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

LS:  Jesus shares a meal of bread and wine with the disciples.

Mark 14:22-24 KJV  And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 

Each time scripture indicates that one must keep the commandments of Jesus, just keep reading:  It will eventually tell you exactly what that commandment is – “love one another, as I have loved you.”

John 15:10 KJV If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 

John 15:12 KJV This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

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