Berean Baptist Church > Blog > Let’s Talk about the New Covenant

Let’s talk about the New Covenant in just a few paragraphs. To study the NC, you will want to read Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36, Luke 22, 2 Corinthians 3, and Hebrews 8-10. The NC is the new covenant as it stands in stark contrast to the old covenant—the one God made with Israel through Moses on Mt. Sinai (Exo 19). The old covenant is a “if you, I will” covenant. The new covenant, in contrast, outlines what God is going to do. We see this first in Jeremiah 31:31-34 with seven “I will” declarations in 5 verses. 1) 31I will make a new covenant, 2) 33I will make with the house of Israel, 3) I will put my law within them, 4) I will write it on their hearts. 5) I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 6) 34I will forgive their iniquity, and 7) will remember their sin no more.”

This is what Yahweh is going to do; He will make this happen. The failure of the old will not be repeated with the new. At the “last supper,” Jesus stated that the cup (of his death) would bring into effect the NC (Luk 22:20). Thus, the covenant went into effect when Christ said, “It is finished,” and he breathed his last breath. At that moment, all believers everywhere on the planet were no longer under Moses’s law. Moses was no longer their mediator—Christ was! Moses’ law was no longer their law—the law of Christ was! Through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, their sins were forgiven—no longer would sacrifices and offerings be made by priests with the blood of goats and bulls. Christ’s death was the once for all atoning sacrifice (Heb 7, 9, 10).

Truly, the heart of the New Covenant is what Yahweh will do. Again, we see this in the “I will” declarations of Ezekiel 36:24-30:

  1. 24I will take you from the nations and gather you,
  2. 25I will sprinkle clean water on you,
  3. I will cleanse you.
  4. 26I will give you a new heart,
  5. and a new spirit I will put within you.
  6. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh.
  7. 27I will put my [Holy] Spirit within you,
  8. 28I will be your God.
  9. 29I will deliver you from all your uncleanness,
  10. I will summon the grain, and
  11. 30I will make the fruit of the tree.

The NC is radical in what Yahweh declares He will do for those in the NC. Each of the “you’s” are those in the NC—are you in or out?

Yahweh puts His Holy Spirit in those whose faith is in Christ and promises to take them from the nations and gather them. Let’s unpack just one aspect of that. The great commission is the mission of bringing the gospel to the nations, and the gathering is the active evangelism of seeing individuals come to faith in Christ. But it doesn’t stop there. Yahweh promises to summon grain and make the fruit of the tree, and the reader of Revelation 22 thinks about the 12 kinds of fruit from the tree of life for the healing of the nations. And, I believe the ultimate fulfillment of the land promises in Ezekiel is the land Yahweh will create anew as promised in 2 Peter 3:13. And the ultimate in gathering (2Th 2:1) is when the dead in Christ are resurrected to live on the new earth for all eternity where He will be our God, and we will be His people (Rev 21:3).

There seems to be a cognitive disconnect prevalent in many churches concerning what it means to be in the NC! Let’s say it plainly, as a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, I am NOT under the law of Moses. The law of Christ is my law. Jesus gave me a new commandment. He said, “Love one another just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another” (John 13:34). This is my law—it is not my only law—but it is the #1 commandment that guides my interaction with other humans. Again, I am making a clear distinction—the Ten Commandments—the law of Moses is not the law of the New Covenant.

But what about the moral law? What moral law—what is the moral law of humanity? According to Wikipedia, the common man’s encyclopedia, the moral law in Christianity is the Ten Commandments. But is Wikipedia correct? Does the Bible teach that the Ten Commandments are our moral law? No. Neither Christ nor His Apostles refer to the Ten Commandments as our moral law. Digitally searching through all major and many minor translations I could not find any single reference to the Ten Commandments being referred to as God’s moral law. Furthermore, the dividing up of the OT laws into 3 divisions, moral, ceremonial, and civil laws is a grid outside the Bible being superimposed on the OT. Nothing in the OT identifies a law as moral, ceremonial, or civil. Nothing. This is a man-made system of division completely foreign to any Jew. Jews see all of the laws in the OT as being part of being under the law of Moses.

Why does this matter? Christians are routinely charged with inconsistently adhering to some OT laws while ignoring others. For example, you eat shrimp but condemn homosexuality, yet both are condemned in Leviticus (see 11:12 vs. 20:13). The rationalization for this inconsistency is often grounded in the moral, ceremonial, and civil division. But this argument completely ignores the reality of the covenant change that took place when Christ died—old to new. The wrong of homosexuality is grounded not in Leviticus but in Genesis, within creation. In other words, it was wrong before God gave the law to Moses. But the same cannot be said about shellfish. In Genesis 9:3, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” Shellfish is living, moves, and falls under the umbrella of “everything.”

But what about homosexuality? There is an implied condemnation from Genesis 1-2. Man is directed to be fruitful and multiply. This sexual activity will never lead to pregnancy. This is contrary to the divine order God created. Adam was found to be missing someone fit for him and was not given the choice of another male or female. God gave him a helper of the opposite sex/gender. The helper fit for man is always, always a biological female whose gender is the same. The prelaw-Sodom is condemned for its great wickedness as demonstrated by the men of the city desiring to be sexually active with the men in Lot’s house (Gen 19:4-5). Then post-OT law, Paul in the NC, writes Romans 1 strongly condemning homosexuality as a violation of that which is natural. Natural is that which potentially leads to reproduction.

Finally, all the same applies to the Sabbath. I am not obligated to keep the Saturday-Sabbath or Lord’s Day-Sabbath—because I am not under the law of Moses. Nothing said by Christ or His Apostles obligates me to keep the Sabbath. (But I set aside times for rest.) This is the same reason I don’t religiously circumcise a baby or baptize him ceremonially as a means of keeping the covenant.

What questions do you have?