Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 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: 33 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. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:31-34
What Is The New Covenant
By a covenant we understand that it is an agreement or compact among men, by which the parties bind themselves, and each the other, to the fulfillment of certain conditions. The general meaning of the word covenant here is in regards to a Divine institution for man. It is not a pact found between two parties as we typically think.
Consider this, because we are now speaking of a covenant of God with men. There is one important difference that has to be observed here. In this case there is no natural equality found between the parties. God wills, and man must obey. But this revealed mind and purpose of God is called a covenant by God himself. Here is why:
- As in respect to God, realize that God has no rule of action other that His own will. God, for His own pleasure, has bound Himself, in His dealings with men, to the observance of certain specified terms.
- As we look at men, they have an obligation, or are bound to fulfill the conditions herein prescribed to them. Failure to so brings us under pain of forfeiting the offered benefits, and incurring the attendant penalties. The covenant under which all men are born, as children of Adam, is that of works. It must be evident to everyone, that if they individually are tried according to the letter of this covenant, there remains no hope for him before God. Why? Man is a transgressor of the letter of this covenant from the womb. The Scriptures everywhere testify to this point. We are led then to the inquiry: is there any other covenant of God for His creation, whereby (letting go the first, and laying hold on this) we may have that eternal life and blessedness which we have irrecoverably forfeited by the first? Such a covenant there is. The terms of it are fully made known to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the “glad tidings of great joy.”
Thinking in terms of commandments and obedience did not stop Jesus from enjoying the love of his Father. What’s more, Jesus expects that our thinking of him as one who commands will not jeopardize our love relationship with him. Jesus shatters any thoughts of absolute separation of His commandments and love. Notice what he says.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. John 14:21
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 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 15:9-10
This is so crucial to realize. When you look at the new covenant relationship that we have with God through Jesus Christ, you have to realize that it is not a covenant without commandments. The basic difference between the old covenant offered by God through the Mosaic Law and the New Covenant offered by God through Christ is not that the Mosaic Law had commandments and the New Covenant one doesn’t.
No. The key differences are this.
(1) Jesus Christ, the Messiah, has come and shed His own blood, the blood of the new covenant. It is because it was His own blood that was shed that Jesus henceforth is the Mediator of a new covenant. He is our “go-between” with God. This makes it so that our all saving, covenant-keeping faith must be a conscious faith in him.
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:29
(2) The old covenant has therefore become “obsolete”.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:7-13
The old covenant therefore does not govern the new-covenant people of God.
But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Corinthians 3:7-18
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:4-6
Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Galations 3:19
(3) The promised new heart and the enabling power of the Holy Ghost have been given to us through faith.
When looking at the old covenant, the gracious enabling power to obey God was not poured out as fully as it is since Jesus.
And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3 The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4 Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. Deuteronomy 29:2-4
What’s new about the new covenant is not that there are no commandments, because there are commandments. What’s new about the New Covenant is that God’s promise has come true!
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. Jeremiah 31:33
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Ezekiel 36:27
See our article God’s Covenant With Man to learn more about bible covenants.