The Baptist Beacon
THE NEW COVENANT
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: _ Hebrews 8:10
The English word 'Testament' (taken from the titles prefixed to the Latin Versions) and the word 'Covenant' stand synonymous in Bible interpretation. Old and New Testaments clearly express and identify a first and a second covenant (Heb 9:15; Heb 8:7). The conditions of the first covenant, contrasted with the second covenant, show only a change in it's nature and not in its purpose to identify the people of God. Christ kept the old and implemented the new by moving it inward and transformed the nature of the Old Covenant into a spiritual experience with God (something under the Old Covenant not all the people of God had). Only saved people are the people of God and in covenant with God because Christ redefined the original Covenant by keeping it (something the people of the Old Testament did not do). Christ changed the nature of the covenant but not the original promise of life. These differences are clearly given in Hebrews 8:1 thru 10:18. First, the change would be where God's laws would be written. He moved the laws of the covenant from external stones to internal souls. Under the Old Covenant the law was written by the finger of God on the table of stone when Moses was on Mt Sinai, but the New Covenant is different in that God's people are regulated by the laws being inscribed upon their soul by an operation of the heart. When He writes them upon the heart, He will forget their sins and their iniquities (Hebrews 10:17). No one is forgiven till this is done. You are saved and forgiven when He writes His laws upon your heart.
So, the conditions changed when the Covenant was redefined. The Old Covenant taught do and live thereby (Romans 10:5). However, this Covenant of God's moral laws and standards were beyond man's capacity to keep. No one was ever saved under the conditions given under the Old Covenant. Jesus was the only one who kept the first Covenant. All Old Testament believers were saved by trusting in this covenant keeper Jesus Christ. The second Covenant reverses the teaching from do and live to"live" (or be saved) and do thereby. The new Covenant was always COUCHED WITH IN THE OLD.
Major Misconceptions about the arrangements of this new covenant may prevent people from being saved. It's important to understand that the New Covenant is not the New Testament writings. It is not a book. It is an operation of the heart. Yes the Old Covenant was a book. It was written on tables of stone. But the New Covenant is written or inscribed upon an individuals inner most being. When God's laws are written in your heart, keeping them flows naturally from the inner being. 2CO 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
Another misconception is that The New Covenant is a new way of salvation. Those that teach the church began at Pentecost also teach the New Covenant as a "new" way of salvation. If no one was saved by the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is a newly introduced way of salvation, how did people get saved before Jesus? There never has been nor ever will be any other way but through Jesus. The Old Covenant was a school master that led them to Christ and Christ is the end (goal) of the Law to everyone that believes. It magnified their inability and brought conviction of sin. They would then look to Christ by faith and have the laws written in their hearts. All Old Testament people were saved under the conditions of the New Covenant not yet given (Gal 3:16).
The principle difference of the New Covenant is that "ALL" of God's people have His laws written in their heart, thus redefining the Covenant. Before Christ came, God had a people, some had the law written in their heart, and some didn't. However, they were all Israel, whether they had the law in their heart or not.
Under the New Covenant, EVERYONE from the death of Jesus called God's people or the children of God must have the law written in their heart (Read Hebrews 8:11 & Romans 9:24_25).
They don't have to say to their neighbor "Do you know the Lord" anymore because EVERYONE identified as the people of the God, know the Lord and whosoever believeth on Christ shall not be put to shame but called the children of the living God.
Many religious groups are still under a do and live Covenant relationship with God, stumbling at the stumbling stone and are lost. They continue to do in order to live eternally. They Do faith, Do repentance, Do Baptism, Do good works, and Do the Lord's supper trying to Do and live eternally. This is the Old Covenant system, that can not save, that system never did save and never will save. The Bible says that if there was a law that could have been given for eternal life, then righteousness would have been by the law (Gal 3:21).
The Bible teaches that when God puts His laws in our hearts, after we have repented and put our faith in Him ( repentance and faith are acts of the heart and not of the body) we are saved. We don't have to do anything else to be saved. Yes, we do a lot of things after that we get saved but it's because we are saved, and it comes natural to us. It flows from our heart where the change originated. God's laws have been placed there. God's love has been placed there and we WANT to please Him, and we WANT to work for Him. Not to be saved, but because we have been saved.