WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 10, 2021
TOPIC: UNDERSTANDING THE NEW COVENANT
BY T. O. BANSO
“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’” (Luke 22:20 New King James Version).
Covenant is one of the major words in the Bible. There is a covenant between God and man and between human beings, such as a marriage covenant (Proverbs 2:17). There are also different examples of these two covenants in the Bible.
We have God’s covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:1-17), Abraham (Genesis 12:1-19; 17:1-127), Moses (Exodus 19; 24), and David (2 Samuel 7:1-17), and the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 22:20-21). However, covenants in the Bible are mainly classified as old and new covenants.
The Hebrew word for covenant is berith and its primary meaning is “a cutting.” This refers to the custom of cutting or dividing animals in two and passing between the parts to ratify a covenant. In the New Testament, the Greek word for covenant is diatheke. It means covenant, will, or testament. Therefore, the old and new covenants also mean the old and new testaments.
A covenant is a solemn compact or agreement by which each party bound himself to fulfill certain conditions and was assured of receiving certain advantages. In making such a covenant, God was solemnly invoked as a witness and an oath was sworn (Smith’s Bible Dictionary).
The new covenant refers to “The new agreement God has made with mankind, based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary). The first use of the term “new covenant” is in Jeremiah 31:31-32 thus: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD” (New King James Version)
In the New Testament, the Bible says about Jesus Christ, “Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’” (Luke 22:20 New King James Version). The new covenant came into force because the old covenant was inadequate. The old covenant is obsolete and the new covenant, which is superior, more glorious, perfect, and excellent, is everlasting.
The old covenant is a covenant of works but the new covenant is a covenant of grace. We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 New King James Version).
Because we are under the new covenant, it is necessary to highlight some truths about this covenant for better understanding.
1. Jesus Christ is the surety of the new covenant, a better covenant than the old. Hebrews 7:22 says, “By so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant” (New King James Version).
2. Jesus is the testator of the new covenant. In other words, He made the covenant that came into effect after His death as it is the case with a will. “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives” (Hebrews 9:16-17 New King James Version).
3. Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant, which is established on better promises. “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6 New King James Version).
The writer of the book of Hebrews said further, “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15 New King James Version). Also, Hebrews 12:22 refers to Jesus as the Mediator of the new covenant.
4. Jesus is the High Priest of the new covenant and is unlike the High Priests of the old covenant who needed to offer up sacrifices daily, first for their sins and then for the people’s sins. Jesus is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from the sinners. He offered the sacrifice of the people’s sins once for all when He offered up Himself.
Hebrews 7:26-28 says, “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever” (New King James Version).
5. The sacrifice under the new covenant was Jesus Christ Himself, not bulls, goats, or other animals. He offered His blood as a sacrifice. Hebrews 9:11-14 says, “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (New King James Version).
The new covenant was sealed by the blood of Jesus. “Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’” (Luke 22:20 New King James Version).
Hebrews 9:18-22 says, “Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.’ Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (New King James Version).
6. The new covenant is the ministry of the Spirit and is more glorious than the ministry of death, the old covenant. 2 Corinthians 3:7-8 says, “But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?” (New King James Version).
7. The new covenant is the ministry of righteousness while the old covenant was the ministry of condemnation. 2 Corinthians 3:9-11 says, “For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious” (New King James Version).
8. Under the new covenant, the believers’ minds are not blinded unlike the minds of the people under the old covenant. The veil is taken away in Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech — unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ” (New King James Version).
Paul continued his comparison of the two covenants: “But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (verses 15-18 New King James Version).
9. The new covenant is unlike the old covenant which was faulty and is obsolete. Hebrews 8:7-13 says, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. In that, He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (New King James Version).
10. Under the new covenant, the law is written in the minds of the believers in Christ unlike the laws of Moses that were written on the tablets of stone (Exodus 24:12; 31:18; 32:15-16, 19; 34:1-9, Deuteronomy 10:1-5).
Hebrews 8:10-12 says, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (New King James Version). This scripture is quoted from Jeremiah 31:31-34. Similarly, verse 33 is also quoted in Hebrews 10:16.
11. The punishment under the new covenant is worse than the punishment under the old covenant. Under the new covenant, the punishment for trampling on the Son of God and treating the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy was worse than the punishment of rejecting Moses’ law, which attracted death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Hebrews 10:26-31 says, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The LORD will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (New King James Version).
12. The new covenant is everlasting. The writer of the book of Hebrews prayed, “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21 New King James Version).
The ministers of the gospel today are ministers of the new covenant. We are saved under the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). Have you surrendered your life to Jesus? Have your sins been washed away by the blood of the new covenant? Come to Jesus today. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You for the blood of the new covenant. Thank You, Jesus, for washing away my sins by Your blood/Jesus, I surrender my life to You today and come to the blood that You shed for the forgiveness of my sins. I receive forgiveness today and promise to worship You forever.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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