The New Covenant does not typically appear on top 10 lists.
It is the substance of the current agreement between God and Christians, and yet it seldom elicits much attention in Sermons or in group bible studies.
Our family bible study through the instructional guide book Wineskins just crossed the halfway mark (we are up to page 116 now). The current chapter is highlighting scriptural distinctions in how Jesus’ words trump all other commands. Because our Lord repeatedly states that those who truly love God “will obey my commands”, it is important to seek out how Jesus’ commands differ from Mosaic commands.
This brings us face to face with the New Covenant.
I asked my kids what they thought would happen between their parents if neither mom or dad understood what marriage was about. If we were casual about our agreement or felt that it was good enough to just dwell together with feelings of love, what then?
“What, my wife? Oh yea, her. I almost forgot. I suppose I love her,” was my daughters dramatic answer. It would be more a relationship of convenience and comfortability. We probably wouldn’t stay together when difficult times developed. Why should we? Under such attitudes, we would only be together for mutual benefit, not because of anything official, binding, or important like a covenant.
The idea of “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, til death do us part” is passe’ for those unwilling to keep their commitments. So it is for Christians who disregard the importance of the New Covenant upon their claimed relationship with God.
The New Covenant in Christ details the expectations of God upon those who profess faith in his Son, Jesus. Both conditional and unconditional aspects of this covenant impact the walk of faith for those who desire salvation.
“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain” (1 Cor 15:2).
Just as there is no other way through which believers can be saved but through Christ, so it is that the New Covenant operates as the legal contract of restitution between sinner and God. Those who diligently seek out the divine expectations within the covenant are those who demonstrate God-given hunger for salvation in Christ. Those who dismiss it as unnecessary restrictions upon their claimed freedoms reveal their disdain for submission to Christ as Lord.
“Teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20).
The New Covenant, made available through the blood of Jesus upon the Cross, defines God’s commitment to you. It details what to expect in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, til death do us part from this fleshly waystation. It highlights what will be recognizable in the faithful, what a true Christian looks like versus the glitz and fanfare of impostors. It records the lifestyles, behaviors, attitudes, and character choices evidenced in Spirit-filled believers. The New Covenant reveals the commands of Jesus, the expectations he taught his followers, the relational requirements for those who want to be saved.
The better we understand the New Covenant, the more likely we will be able to honor our Lord to whom we have been eternally covenanted.
Wineskins was written to help remove invalid covenantal stumbling-blocks, what has become a yoke of oppression interfering in our ability as Christians to rightly cling to our Lord and Savior.
In what way has the New Covenant been elevated in your religious experience?