(You will get the most out of this if you read the first two parts, which start here (for your convenience, all links will open in a new tab so that you don’t have to navigate away, and come back to this one.))
The tenants of the New Covenant are laid out most clearly in Hebrews 8:6-13 (& 10:14-23). Like Genesis 17, which lays out the specifics of the Old Covenant, the writer of Hebrews lays out specifically the New Covenant arrangement. This arrangement is based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.
For those unfamiliar with Christianity who may be reading to understand it (or at least get my view of it) the New Covenant is the ‘contractual’ agreement that God has established with men through which we can enter relationship with Him. In this era, all of humanity has been given an open invitation to fellowship with God through entering into this covenant with Him. Just as Abraham had a personal relationship with God through the Old Covenant, so through the New Covenant every individual can have a personal agreement with God through Jesus Christ. (The New Covenant will remain in effect until Jesus returns to reclaim His Bride – that is, the people of His covenant. (As it is written: Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. (Ps 50:5))
Hebrews 8:6 declares that Jesus is the mediator of a BETTER covenant, based upon BETTER promises. If the covenant, and its promises are BETTER — what are those BETTER promises?
As a refresher, the promises of the Old Covenant were:
- Perpetual increase of the covenant people
- A permanent [earthly] dwelling place
- The promise of God to ever be their God
The BETTER promises began to be described by the prophets of the Old Covenant. In fact, describing the coming covenant of the Christ became the central focus of the Old Covenant prophets.
It was Jeremiah who expressly stated the promises of the coming covenant of the Messiah. Jer. 31:33-34 declares the New Covenant promises, Paul quotes this passage twice in the book of Hebrews in the bible’s most concise teaching on the new Covenant (8:10-12 & 10: 16 & 17).
The promises of the New Covenant as thrice stated in scripture are:
- God, Himself, will inscribe His Word upon the hearts AND minds of His covenant people. This promise declares that His Word will be so sure in them that they will have no need of a human teacher. (Cross reference: John 14:26; John 6:45; John 16:13-15; 1 Cor 2:10-16; 1 John 2:20 & 27; 2 Cor 3:13-18 & 4:6. Moses also prophesied this promise as God’s intention between Himself and man in the act of giving His Word to them (Deut. 30:10-14).)
- He will no longer remember the sins of His covenant people. ALL SINS are eternally, and permanently FORGOTTEN under this covenant promise. (Cross reference: 2 Cor 5:18-21; Rom 3:22-28, 4:5, 5:1 & 8:1-4)
Multitudes of verses affirm both of these New Covenant promises, and the entirety of the revelation of Jesus Christ specifically rest upon these. Theses promises are BETTER than the previous covenant promises in that there is no mistaking the absolute spiritual integration of God with man. The previous covenant promised TEMPORAL rewards: increase of earthly offspring, and the inheritance of LAND.
The New Covenant nowhere promises either earthly offspring, or land – rather it establishes BETTER, and SPIRITUAL rewards: an intimate integration of the Spirit of God with man, and eternal salvation from the reprobation caused by Adam’s sin. These two covenant promises are the basis not only of entering God’s presence, but of actually being integrated into His person – to become one with the Lord (1 Cor 6:16 & 17). Just as a man leaves his father and mother so that he may become ONE FLESH with his wife, so Christ left His Father, so that He could become ONE with us.
The New covenant between man and God is much more like a spiritual marriage than was the first covenant. As some have speculated, the Old Abrahamic covenant was almost more like a business agreement. But in this new, and superior covenant, man is made ONE with God.
Jesus declared these words in John 15:4-6
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
It is interesting to note that one of the passages which plainly disavows the ‘doctrine’ of Eternal Security is a verse in which Jesus actually declares that our abiding in perfect oneness with Him will be ‘cast into the fire, and burned.’
So we see that not only is spiritual oneness with God a promise of the New Covenant, but is also a pre-requisite for salvation. That is to say: if we forsake this covenant of oneness with God, He is not bound to it – it is a voluntary contract. Some would declare that once you have accepted Jesus, and been saved, you can never lose your place of salvation, but that is to not understand Christianity as a covenant. Paul the apostle also plainly declared to us of the New Covenant, speaking of those of the old Covenant: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. (Rom 11:21)
But how does a human – the offspring of Adam even enter God’s presence, let alone become one with Him? Man is tainted by sin, and God is Holy – without sin. Man of sin is not able to enter God’s presence unless his sins are removed.
But then, the second promise of the New Covenant is that God will not remember our sins, anymore. When Christ died, His perfect blood was shed for the remission of our sins (Matt 26:20; Rom 3:25, etc.)
Jesus’ flesh and blood was the element which makes both of the promises of the New Covenant possible. By His blood, all of our sins are remitted. Only with all of our sins remitted can we enter God’s presence, and – indeed – become ONE with Him.
Even as it is written in the final quotation of these promises in the book of Hebrews:
16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. [(<–Baptism – the sign of the New Covenant (follow the link to a more thorough discussion)]
Just as circumcision was the sign of the Old Covenant, water baptism is the sign of the New (Col. 2:11-14). In receiving water baptism, the participant is covenanting his own life unto God, declaring that he, or she is dead to their own flesh, and desires and will thenceforth live only for God (it’s more than just an”‘outward sign of an inward commitment,” again, see the link above for a more thorough discussion.
Friend, if you don’t have a relationship with God, He has given us all an invitation, and He is waiting for a response from you. Jesus paid the cost for your sins so that you can be reconciled to God. Please receive His offer. I’d love to hear from you if you did, or if you’re thinking about it. Send me a message from my contacts page. God bless!
Series continuation: What is the Anointing?