One of the controlling concepts of the Bible is the idea of COVENANT.
God, as Scripture testifies, cannot lie. His word is always trustworthy. He says what He means, means what He says, and speaks only the truth to us. We however, are not as perfectly holy as He is. In our sin, we lie to ourselves, others, and in our fallen state, also sinfully doubt Him as though some of what He says is not trustworthy. It was that very doubting of His veracity that was at the center of The Fall in Eden. Had we believed Him and not the Enemy, or our own selves, we would have never taken the fruit He told us would be our death to Him in disobedience.
This is the reason why salvation is a matter of faith. A matter of believing the testimony of what Jesus did in His life, death and resurrection. Faith is the opposite of the unbelief that led to our destruction. And so His Word, all of it, must be received by faith. That is what reverses the Fall.
So good is our God, and so aware is He of how this matter of unbelief still infects Humanity, He condescends to not only make certain promises to us, but to swear to those promises over and above just making them. When He does this, it is called a covenant. He makes a formal act of it. So that our hearts and minds will drink in the seriousness and unbreakable nature of certain of His promises. The promises which are most vital to our relationship to Him.
Now in Jeremiah 31, we read that God declared to disobedient Israel (suffering exile for its sins) that one day He would make a new covenant with them. New, because He had made one with them as a people once before, but they had broken that one. Jer. 31:31-32 says it this way: Jeremiah 31:31–32 (ESV)“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.”
That Old covenant referred to is at its core, the 10 Commandments, and all that springs from, surrounds and supports them.
They were for that time.
And the prominent feature of those commandments is found in the repeated words: “Thou Shalt”, and “Thou Shalt not.” Do this, and don’t do that. Its focus was upon them. What THEY should and should not do.
But what about this New Covenant? Luke 22:20 has Jesus inaugurating it at the Last Supper. So we read that Jesus took: Luke 22:20 (ESV)“the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
And that is the covenant for this time. A covenant which does not have 10 commandments built around “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not”, but around 5 “I will”s. The only “they shall” issues from the “I will”s God promises to perform.
See the contrast?
The responsibility for maintaining this New Covenant shifts from us and our weaknesses, to His eternal strength and commitment. And this is the covenant all Believers in Christ live in now. We’ve gone from 10 to 5. That’s what time it is. Thus Jer. 31:33-34 reads:
Jeremiah 31:33–34 (ESV)this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
What time is it? We’ve gone from 10, to 5. Believers live under this New Covenant now; made, sealed and testified to in the blood of Jesus Christ.Don’t live back there – live here.
I’m Reid Ferguson, and this has been Today’s Reiding. Thanks for joining me.