OLD COVENANT VS NEW COVENANT
The New Covenant went into effect, not at the birth of Jesus, but at his death. The first mentioning of the New Covenant is in the last part of Gen. 3:15: 'he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.' The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel specifically predict the coming New Covenant. Jesus introduces it at the Passover: 'In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."' However, I have never heard any teaching on how this is significant.
The New Testament also known as the New Covenant is more important than the Old Covenant also known as the Old Testament, because that is what we are under today. If you begin reading in Hebrews 8:7-13, you will see that the writer first states what the New Covenant is; and then goes on to say that the Old Covenant or Old Testament is obsolete and aging and will soon disappear. This is analogus to using typewriters in the past, but now we use keyboards. Typewriters have become obsolete.
Because of incorrect teaching, most Christians would probably be shocked to learn that the Old Covenant was never addressed to the Gentiles. It was addressed to, and meant only for the nation of Israel. It says in Rom. 2:14, 'Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law'... We as Gentiles do not come into the picture until after the New Covenant has come into effect.
The New Covenant came into effect at the death of Jesus. Hebrews 9:16 says, 'In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.' The word will in this verse is synonymous with the words covenant and testament.
It has been the history of the Church in my lifetime, past down through tradition, to naturally assume the Old Testament was to be applied to all peoples. One scripture I see on billboards all over this Country, we are all familiar with is: 2 Chronicles 7:14, which states: 'if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.' God is saying this before the New Covenant came into effect and he is directing this only to the nation of Israel. You could say this is Israel's mantra scripture throughout their history. How many times over and over again did the nation of Israel turn from their wicked ways? The Old Testament is a story about Israel's failure, and Israel's failure to keep the Law. And as we learn in Romans from the Apostle Paul, that was never the purpose of the Law. Its purpose was to reveal sin and to be a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
Since the death of Jesus under the New Covenant, forgiveness of sin is not an issue anymore. The sin of the world has been taken away. God is not dealing with man on the issue of sin, but on the issue of life. Read Hebrews 9:25-28 and 10:12. The purpose of the book of Hebrews is threefold. At the time it was written, it was addressing orthodox Jews who did not believe in Christ, Christian Jews who could not let go of the Law, and the application for today, is addressed to Gentile Christians, who want to act like Jews.
In his dealings with mankind, the only thing that God cares about now, is what are we going to do with his Son. God the Father is offering the life of Jesus for all. Upon receiving the life of Christ, what is included in that package deal, is forgiveness, forever. Because of forgiveness, God is now able to give us 'everything we need for life and godliness' (2 Peter 1:3). We have been given: salvation by grace, reconciliation, justification, been made into a new creature, made at peace with God, made righteous, made perfect forever, freed from condemnation, made holy and blameless, freed from the Law, hidden with Christ in God, clothed with Christ, and loved perfectly. Thank you Jesus, for all that we are, and have, in you.
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