The New Covenant

Icyspark

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Let's take a look at the new covenant.

The promise of a new covenant is made in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Before the author of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah, he first details why there was a need for a new covenant in the first place (see vs 6-8):

Hebrews 8:6-13
6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.

9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.In the above passage I've highlighted (and color coded) some of the aspects of this prophecy which are relevant to drawing a correct conclusion about the new covenant. Let's go through the prophecy one verse at a time.
Verse 6
The author notes that the new covenant is superior to the old one. Why does he tell us this? Because he says that this new covenant is "established on better promises."

Ok, stop. Now, ask yourself a couple things. Does the God of the Bible ever make anything less than perfect promises? Can a perfect God make anything less than a perfect promise?

Verse 7
This verse also notes the fact that there was something "wrong with that first covenant," such that there was a need to establish a new one.

Verse 8
After taking into account what verse 6 said about "better promises," it is pretty easy to understand what verse 8 is saying. It tells us where the imperfect promises came from: "God found fault with the people."

What do you suppose these faulty promises were?

Exodus 19:8
The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.

Exodus 24:3
When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.”

You may be wondering, "Are the people's promises to obey really the faulty promises to which the author of Hebrews was speaking? Let's just bypass the rest of verse 8 for a moment and look at verse 9. The LORD says the people "did not remain faithful to my covenant." Basically, the LORD provided a perfect set of laws for His chosen people. The people responded together, saying, "We will do everything the LORD has said. And later, in Exodus 24, "Everything the LORD has said we will do." But they didn't do what they promised to do. Thus, God found fault with them.

Please note, the LORD did not find fault with His perfect laws which were the foundation of the agreement between Himself and the people. The text is clear: "God found fault with the people."

Let's look at another aspect of what verse 8 tells us. It records the LORD as stating who the new covenant is for. "I will make a new covenant with the people of ISRAEL and with the people of JUDAH." This new covenant is ONLY with Israel and Judah. Gentiles are not mentioned as part of this covenant.

Verse 9 says this covenant will be different from the one the LORD made with those He lead out of Egypt. Why? Again, "because they did not remain faithful to my covenant."

Verse 10
This verse echoes verse 8 in saying that the new covenant will be "with the people of Israel." No Gentiles mentioned here either. But then we come to an interesting point about this new covenant. The LORD says He is going to put His laws in the minds of His people and write them on their hearts. Consider again that the LORD is perfect and the laws He gave to the Israelites were likewise perfect. So why would you suppose that His perfect laws could get any more perfect than what they were to begin with? Why would the LORD need to compose a new set of laws to write on the hearts of His people?

The new covenant, I believe, is merely taking the faulty promises of the people out of the equation. It is no longer having laws written on stone tablets and having the people promise to keep them. Instead the LORD promises to write His laws on the fleshy tablets of human hearts. It is no longer "we will do." Now it is allowing the Spirit to live within us to do the law which He has written on our hearts. The law is internalized for those who truly love the LORD.

Romans 8:13
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

I pray this helps.

But for the grace of God go I,cyspark
 
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