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The Benefits of the New Covenant

A couple of weeks back, just before Waitangi, we opened up the exciting the subject of the New Covenant. Covenants are how God deals with mankind. In biblical terms a covenant is God’s promise to the human race. The Bible likens the New Covenant to a will. A person’s last will and testament only comes into place after they die. After they die the lawyer reads out the will and the benefactors receive their inheritance according to what is written in the will. The Old Covenant was in place until Christ died on the cross. He totally fulfilled the requirements of the Old Covenant. When He died the New Covenant was enacted. His will for mankind was activated. An inheritance was made available to those who enter into the New Covenant.

Old Covenant

The terms, conditions and promises of the Old Covenant are found in the first 39 books of the Bible. We call those 39 books the Old Testament – Genesis through to Malachi. There actually several covenants that God made with mankind over a 4,000 year period of history contained in those books.

Edenic Covenant

God first made covenant promises to Adam and Eve before they sinned.

  • They were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and had an open relationship and connection with God (Genesis 3:8-11).
  • They had dominion over all of God’s creation, including the devil (Genesis 1:26; 2:15). The Maori scriptures use the phrase “hei rangatira mo.”
  • They were fruitful and productive (Genesis 1:28).
  • They were innocent and unashamed (Genesis 2:25).
  • Mankind was a creative genius (Genesis 2:19-20)

God gave Adam and Eve four simple commands; be productive – kia hua (Gen 1:28), subdue and take dominion over creation – rangatiratanga (Gen 1:28), look after the Garden of Eden – kaitiakitanga (Gen 2:15) and don’t eat the fruit off the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17). This was the age of innocence.

Adamic Covenant

We know from scripture that Adam and Eve broke the covenant. God set in place another covenant in which He promised a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15)! The seed of the woman who would crush Satan’s head was Jesus Christ! For 1,656 years the human race was left to the dictates of our own conscience regarding right and wrong. They failed in this, to the extent that the whole race, except for Noah and his sons, became morally and genetically corrupted in a satanic plot to prevent the promised Redeemer being born through a woman.

Noahic Covenant

God’s judgement resulted in the flood. God made covenant promises to Noah after the flood. The rainbow is the sign of that covenant. God gave Noah certain laws to govern the human race with. This age of human government lasted for 427 years. The different races emerged in this age. The terms of this covenant were;

  • God would never destroy the earth again by flood (Gen 8:21; 9:11). This was a one off cataclysmic event. The next time God destroys the earth it will be by fire (2 Peter 3).
  • The earth would always have its seasonal changes (Gen 8:22)
  • Noah’s sons were to multiply and replenish the earth (Gen 9:1, 7).
  • The eating of meat was permitted (Gen 9:3).
  • God warned against shedding man’s blood (Gen 9:5, 6).

Abrahamic Covenant

At the end of this age God began to single out a branch of the human family through which His predicted Redeemer would come. In this He made a series of covenant promises to Abraham. There are 14 specific promises from God to Abraham from Gen 12 through to 22. Circumcision was the sign of that covenant. The descendents of Abraham broke the covenant and ended up in slavery in Egypt. We call this period of history the age of promise.

Mosaic Covenant

430 after Abraham, Moses led them out of Egypt based on those promises. God made covenant promises with Moses. He gave the 10 commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. Deuteronomy 28 lays out the blessings of keeping the covenant and curses or consequences of breaking the covenant. Praise God, that just as He promised, Jesus would die on Mount Calvary to redeem us from the curse of the law. Becoming a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), so that the covenant blessings of Abraham might come upon us in Christ (Gal 3:13, 14). This was the age of law. It lasted over 1,700 years from Moses all the way through to the preaching of John the Baptist, the last Old Covenant prophet.

Davidic Covenant

During the age of law, God made further covenant promises to King David, the ancestor of Jesus. These promises pointed towards Jesus and the eternal kingdom of God.

We can sum up the whole of the Old Covenant with one word, LAW.

Living under Law

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

If we were still living under the Old Covenant, the LAW would demand righteousness from you and me.

Under LAW, you would have had to earn God’s blessing.

Under LAW the test was obedience to God’s commands as a condition for salvation.

The New Covenant

Living under Grace

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

In John 1:14 it says that Jesus was full of grace and truth. Throughout the Old Covenant we say elements of God’s grace but Jesus brought the fullness of God’s grace.

When our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, as was promised all through the 39 books of the Old Testament; He brought in the New Covenant between God and man. This glorious New Covenant
fulfils, absorbs and supersedes all of God’s previous agreements with mankind. Therefore we not only claim and partake of all of these Old Covenant promises, we lay hold of and enjoy the even better promises of the New Covenant. This wonderful New Covenant is described in the 27 books of the New Testament. When we begin explore and un-package all the benefits of the New Covenant and we need to understand that all the benefits come to us because of God’s GRACE.

The word Grace is able to build you up and give you and inheritance among all those who are sanctified (Acts 20:32).

“Grace” means that we have been offered unmerited or undeserved kindness from God. When we receive grace, it also means that we receive the desire and the power to do the will of God in our lives. There was never a better time to be living than right now. We are now living in the time of Grace. This period of time is sometimes called the Church Age or the Time of the Holy Spirit. It is the time when the Holy Spirit is being poured out on the Earth. It is the time in which the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man is being revealed to everyone!

Titus 3:4-6 (NLT) 4 But—”When God our Saviour revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

But because of Jesus we are living under the New Covenant, and GRACE freely gives righteousness to you and me! Because things have been set right with us and God we can have relationship with Him.

Romans 3:21-22 (NLT) 21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

Romans 8:3-4 (NLT) 3 the Law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Philippians 3:9 (NLT) 9 … I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

We cannot take any credit for our salvation. It is not a reward for the good things we have done.

Under GRACE, blessings are freely given and we receive them all by faith.

Under GRACE the only test is accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ.

The good things we do are the fruit or the result of salvation. You know a tree by its fruit. People who are truly born again by the Spirit of God naturally choose to do what is right and their lives are transformed day by day by GRACE. They have the desire and the power to do God’s will. Grace produces in us good works (Eph 2:10).

You can grow in GRACE.

We are not talking about greasy grace. You can insult the Spirit of grace by sinning wilfully (Hebrews 10:26-29). Don’t treat grace like it is cheap.

Have you received the gift of Grace today?

Are you continuing to walk in Grace? Sometimes people start off with Grace and then slip back into Law.

The letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit brings life (2 Cor 3:5-6).

Pauls last words to the Ephesians (Acts 20:32).

Discussion Questions

  1. If you were to die tonight and stand before God and He asked you the question, “Why should I let you into heaven?” What would you say?
  2. How does living under grace impact your daily life?
  3. How does grace affect your relationship with other people?
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