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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Do We Know What Covenant We Are Keeping?

In this post we will be looking for answers to the question: How do we know what covenant we are keeping? What does the NC consist of?

 

The OC and the Ten Commandments

 

Would you say the Ten Commandments are part of the NC? Was God’s NC identical to the OC but with the ceremonies and sacrifices omitted? What is the NC?

We know the Ten Commandments were part of the OC.

De. 4:13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments

If they are not part of the NC, does that mean it is okay to murder, steal, lie, etc?, of course not. Here’s what Paul had to say on the matter;

Ro. 5:20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

Remember, this Covenant did not even exist in Abraham’s day. It came about, 430 years after Abraham time (Ga. 3:17).

21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ro. 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

 

 

From ‘Going Through the Motions’ to ‘Attitude’

Under the OC one just needed to go through the motions regardless of attitude, but not so with the NC, it, very much, matters what is in the heart. Here is what Jesus says; 

Mt.5:21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' [OC; Just about actions]

22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. [NC: All about attitude, about what’s in the heart.]

 

Was the NC written just like the OC only with the ceremonies and sacrifices removed? Based on these scriptures, the answer is ‘no’.

God said he would make a new covenant, and he said it would not be like the old one.                                                                                              

Jer. 31:31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
       "when
I will make a new covenant
       with the house of Israel
       and with the house of Judah.

 32 It will not be like the covenant
      
I made with their forefathers
       when I took them by the hand
       to lead them out of Egypt,
       because they broke my covenant,
       though I was a husband to them, "
       declares the LORD.


 How would this covenant be different?

 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
       after that time," declares the LORD.
[OC; all about actions, not the heart]
      
"I will put my law in their minds
       and write it on their hearts. [All about attitude/what’s in the heart]
       I will be their God,
       and they will be my people.


What was wrong with the fist one?

 Heb.8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant,

 no place would have been sought for another.

 2 Cor 3:7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone  

9 If the ministry that condemns men

13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.

14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.

15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.

 

 

What Does the OC Consist Of?

Jesus said;   

Mt.5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.   [And he did]

V18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. [It was accomplished, finished, fulfilled.]  

                                                                                                                            

The OC, (that which was engraved in stone), brought death. It condemns men. Unlike the NC, it doesn’t last, it had an expiration date. Paul said;

2 Cor 3:7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

Again, what was the OC? What did it consist of?

Deuteronomy 4:13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments

 

 

So What Does the NC Consist Of?

 

Look at what Jesus says in the Beatitudes. Here, he shows the difference between the OC and the NC.

Murder

Mt.5:21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' [OC; Just about actions]

22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. [NC: All about attitude, about what’s in the heart.]

 

Adultery

V27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’

V28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart…

V31 “It has been said, ’Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’

V32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her become and adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

 

Oaths

V33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’

V34 But I tell you, Do not sweat at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;

V35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

V36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.

V37 Simply let you ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and you ‘No,’ ‘No’, anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

 

An Eye for an Eye

V38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’

V39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

V40 And if someone wants to sue you and take you tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

V41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

V42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

 

Love for Enemies

V43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love you neighbor and hate your enemy.’

V44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

V45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sum t rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

V46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

V47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are doing more that others? Do not even pagans do that?

V48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

He goes on to cover Giving to the Needy, Prayer and Fasting, Seeking the Kingdom, Worry, and Judging Others.

 

Jesus shows how the OC falls short in Mt.5 and 23;

Mt. 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

In the OC it was about going through the motions. But Jesus talked about the difference between the OC and the NC. He talked about how the teachers of the law and the Pharisees kept the law, yet were filthy on the inside.

We learn in Mt. 5 and 23, that there was something wrong with the OC; (Heb.8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.)

Jesus tells how the OC whitewashes the OUTSIDE, leaving the inside full of dead men’s bones. He talks about what does matter; the INSIDE and that cleansing comes only through Christ.

We learn from him and Paul in Mt.22:37-40 and Ro. 12:10 that Love is the law, that love is the fulfillment of the law, and that the law and the prophets hang on love. But remember, the OC cannot gain you the kingdom.

 

Once, again, the OC included the 10 Commandments;

Deuteronomy 4:13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments

 

Again, I ask: Was the NC written just like the OC only with the ceremonies and sacrifices removed? Based on these scriptures, the answer is ‘no’.

God said he would make a new covenant, and he said it would not be like the old one.                                                                                              

Jer. 31:31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
       "when
I will make a new covenant
       with the house of Israel
       and with the house of Judah.

 32 It will not be like the covenant
      
I made with their forefathers…"
       declares the LORD.

 And again: How would this covenant be different?

 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
       after that time," declares the LORD.
[OC; all about actions, not the heart]
      
"I will put my law in their minds
       and write it on their hearts. [All about attitude, what’s in the heart]
       I will be their God,
       and they will be my people.

 

So, which covenant are you keeping?

I’m sure this ‘curfew’ analogy is getting old, but again, let’s look at it;

Teen ‘A’ has been given a 6PM curfew because he continually came home after 2 or 3 in the morning. Teen ‘B’ was never given a curfew because he was always home before 8PM. Six months later the curfew if lifted from teen ‘A.’

Here is my question; does teen ‘A’ need to continue coming home at 6PM, or can he come home any time he chooses as long as it is an appropriate time?  

Would he be correct if he said he must continue to come home at 6PM because to do otherwise would not be expressing love to his parents? It’s not about 6PM. 6PM is not sacred. It was important at the time that it was his law, but that law/curfew is obsolete now. It’s about coming home at appropriate hours. The curfew was a tool used to teach a teen about love for himself and his parents.


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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on my current understanding. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.