The New Covenant of Grace
We are still busy with covenant and today I want to talk to you about the New Covenant of Grace, to many of God’s people don’t understand that we are no longer under the covenant of Law, but that we are now under the New Covenant of Grace.
John 1:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)17 For the Law was given through Moses, but grace [the unearned, undeserved favor and kindness of God] and truth came through Jesus Christ.
The Law was given by Moses, but Grace (the unearned, undeserved kindness and favor of God) came to us through Jesus Christ. As born again children of God we are no longer living under the Law (Or the covenant of Law) we are now under the New Covenant (Grace). Yes Pastor but Jesus didn’t come to abolish or stop the law, you have to remember that. Let’s quote Jesus correctly and in full. Jesus our Lord Himself said:
Matthew 5:17 (NKJV) Jesus said: 17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
Yes Jesus said he didn’t come to destroy the Law or the prophets, but He also said, I came to fulfill it. Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant of Law on our behalf. We are no longer under law, but under Grace. If I owe the bank money but I fulfill the payment to the bank,do I still pay them? No, it has been paid in full. Jesus paid in full for us, so we could live under Grace, yet many people are still trying to fulfill and live under law, what Jesus has finished under Grace. Maybe you are saying I don’t understand this law and Grace stuff Pastor, then listen to this, if the following is what you are saying, you are still living under law and not Grace: ’‘’Sometimes God is angry with me, sometime is happy with me. Sometimes He blesses me, sometimes He curses me.Sometimes God cares for me, sometimes He leaves me. Today He prospers me, but tomorrow He may give me poverty to humble me. Today He heals me, but tomorrow He may give me disease to teach me a lesson.Today He forgives my all my sin. Tomorrow I am responsible for my sins.’’ Welcome to schizophrenic Christianity! That is what many believers are hearing and believing today. Sometimes God is good, sometimes He is not. They are tossed to and fro, never anchored on the Rock of Jesus Christ. Such believers are living between two covenants- the Old Covenant of Law and the New Covenant of Grace. They believe a mixed message that tells them that there are times when God is angry with them and times when He is happy with them. When you ask them: When is God happy with you? They will say when I do right. When you ask them again does that mean that when you do wrong God is angry with you? They will say: Yes, God is angry with me when I do wrong. Beloved those who believe God is sometimes angry with them are still living under the Old Covenant of Law and not under the New Covenant of Grace.Under Law God demanded righteousness from man. In other words man was right before God based on what they did. Under Grace God provided righteousness for man, in other words man is right before God based on what Jesus Christ our Lord has done. Under law everything depends on man and His obedience, but under Grace everything depends on Jesus and what He did on the cross.The Law demands that you be right before God but will not lift a finger to help you, while Grace imparts what Jesus did on your behalf to you and makes you right before God. Like I said the Old Covenant of the Law is based on the Law of Moses; it is all based on what YOU had to do and not do. You can go read about in Exodus 20:
Exodus 20:1-17 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor [b]serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting[c] the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.13 “You shall not murder.14 “You shall not commit adultery.15 “You shall not steal.16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
The Old covenant demanded from you, in order to be right with God, you shall not have any other God, You shall not use God’s Name in vain, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not lie, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and not just outwardly but inwardly, Jesus said to us, if you just look at a woman in lust it is as if you have committed adulatory, there is no such thing as a white lie, if you say to your brother you are a fool or something similar, you deserve to go to hell. It was all about you shall not, you shall not, and If you did you were cursed with the curses of the law, which was terrible, just go read Deut 28:15-36. You shall not, under the New Covenant of Grace things change instead of God saying you shall not, He says I will….
Hebrews 8:8-12 (NKJV)8 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— 9 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. 10 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. 11 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.12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins [a]and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
I will is mentioned 5 times, 5 is the Nr of Grace.
- Text Verse
Hebrews 8:12 12 for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
The Old Covenant of Law is based on ‘’you shall Not, you shall not, you shall not, while the new covenant of Grace is the Lord saying, I will, I will, I will. The emphasis and demand of the covenant of Law is on you performing, while the emphasis and demand of the covenant of Grace is on God Himself performing in you and through you. He will do everything on our behalf. The truth is because Jesus died on the cross for us; He has already done everything on our behalf. That’s why Christianity, the New Covenant of Grace is done, done done, not do do do. Jesus came to establish the New Covenant of Grace and under this New Covenant, God is no longer angry with you because all of God’s anger and wrath have already been exhausted on the body of Jesus on the cross. The only reason Jesus could cry out it is finished on the cross was because the full anger of God against sin had been totally exhausted on His body. Jesus cannot lie. And if the anger of God has been exhausted on Jesus body how will God still be angry with you today when He Himself has said: Your sins and your lawless deeds I will remember NO MORE! The New covenant isn’t about my performance it is based on what Jesus has done.
- Receiving VS Achieving
God’s ways are contrary to man’s ways. Many people think that in order for God to bless them, they need to deserve, earn and merit God’s favour and blessings by there own efforts. They thinks God’s blessings are based on their performance and good works. That is however not God’s way, God’s way is not about achieving but receiving
Romans 5:17 (NKJV)17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
According to this verse the secret to reigning in life, lies with receiving everything Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross. We will reign in life through Jesus Christ by receiving two things from Him, the abundance of Grace and the Gift of Righteousness. He promised that when we receive abundance of Grace and the gift of righteousness we will reign in life through Jesus Christ. Yet many Christians still live in that system of law that system of achievement. God did not say when we achieve Grace and our own righteousness will we reign in life, but for some reason most of us live based on that system of achievement. That system of achievement is the World’s system for success which is built on the twin pillars of self- effort and diligence. They tell us, there are always some laws we have to abide by or some method or technique that we have to keep on practicing before we can get results. The problem is we have been taught to focus on achieving, on doing, and on relying on our own self efforts. We are driven to do, do do forgetting that Christianity is actually done, done done! The world tells us that the more you do, the harder you work and the more hours you put in, the more success you will achieve, the worlds way is for you to work harder, that system of law and effort makes them forget about attending church on Sundays, they spend less time with their wife and kids, they spend more time working at the office working through nights, weekends and holidays, I am sure you have all heard the saying: No pain, no gain? What believers have done is to take the system of the world and applied it to there Christian life. Instead of depending on God’s Grace which allows God’s favour and blessings to flow in our lives, people depend on there self efforts to try and deserve God’s favour and blessing. Yet God’s way is not for us to be blessed by our own efforts. We cannot earn God’s blessing by our performance. God’s blessing is dependent entirely on His Grace. His blessing over our lives has to be undeserved, unearned and unmerited. In other words there is nothing we can do to deserve His blessings; they are based entirely on receiving Jesus and through His finished work, the abundance of Grace and the gift of righteousness. God wants us to stop trying to achieve and begin receiving the favour, the blessings and healing that Jesus accomplished on the cross. That is why when Jesus hung on the cross some 2000 years ago, He cried out with a loud voice: It is ‘’Finished’’.
John 19:30 so when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Everything that you and I need to reign in life was accomplished on the cross on our behalf. That is why we call the work that Jesus on the cross His ‘’finished work.Listen to this ‘’The only thing that will work in our lives is the finished work- that is the New Covenant of Grace living through the finished work of Jesus. We have to stop doing and start receiving what Jesus has done. The Word declares this about the finished work of Jesus on the cross:
Hebrews 10:12-14 (NKJV)12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified
His Finished work on the cross was offered as one sacrifice FOREVER and when we received Jesus Christ into our life we were perfected FOREVER.We were perfected forever! How long is forever? Forever means forever. We have been perfected by Jesus cleansing blood, not the blood of animal sacrifices that never take away sins. Many believers today do not believe they have been perfected forever by the finished work of Jesus Christ; they are still depending on their own self efforts to qualify themselves before God. They still bring themselves under the law. How can we be sure the Work is finished? That we don’t have to qualify ourselves before God any longer? Our scripture tells us. Jesus sat down at the Father’s right hand. Under the Old Covenant the priest was to daily brings sacrifices before God to make the people acceptable before God, yet those sacrifices didn’t take away the people’s sins, it just covered there sins, they were never good enough for God, that’s why the priest who ministered the sacrifices never sat down.
Hebrews 10:11 and every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
Jesus sat down to demonstrate that the work is Finished.Only Jesus work is the finished work, and not only did He sit down at the Father’s right hand, He made us sit with Him.
Ephesians 2:4-6 (NKJV)4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
What is all this business of sitting down? Sitting down in the Bible is a picture of the believer resting in the finished and complete work of Jesus. He has finished all the work on the cross on our behalf and is now seated at the right hand of God. As all this has been accomplished on our behalf, this means that we can stop depending on our self efforts to qualify and earn God’s blessings in our life; we can sit down with Jesus at the Father’s right hand and enjoy everything He has purchased for us with His precious blood.
Now listen carefully to what I am saying, I am not saying we can be passive and lazy, and expect God to do everything, NO. I am saying we can take up courses, we can read, we can work diligently BUT our trust must not be in these things, our trust is in Jesus and what He has done for us. God’s Grace doesn’t make you lazy and unproductive; it makes us do more and work greater for His glory. His Grace magnifies our works. In the New Covenant God’s way is to bless us first, and knowing that we are blessed gives us the power to work harder. In other words I do not work to be blessed; I have the power to work because I have already been blessed. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
1 Corinthians 15:10 (NKJV)10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Many believers are defeated because they are struggling to qualify themselves for God’s blessings by there own works. Self effort will rob us from reigning in life by His Grace. We cannot earn our salvation, our healing or our financial breakthrough by our own efforts. If the greatest miracle- being saved from hell- comes by Grace through faith, and not by works, how much more the lesser miracles such as healing, prosperity and restored marriages. Beloved Jesus has accomplished everything on the cross, our part is to trust in His perfect work, receive with open arms the abundance of Grace and the gift of righteousness and begin to reign through the One Jesus Christ. Let’s stop trying to earn God’s Grace and righteousness, let Holy Spirit teach us to start depending on Jesus finished work and start receiving it by our covenant of Grace. This is God’s effortless way for us to have success, wholeness and victory in life!
- How do you see God today
The reason many believers are living a life of defeat is because they are still placing themselves under the law and they believe the lie that God is angry with them. The reason many people are not able reign in life and experience a life of victory is that they carry around with them this guilt and condemnation that God is angry with them because of something they have done or maybe didn’t do in the past. Many people today see God like an old Man with a big stick, who can’t wait to pour out his wrath on us when we fail to keep His standards. When I grew up that is exactly the picture of God that I had, an Old Man, with grey hair, a white beard, holding a big club waiting to hit me on the head when I sin, my picture was God who didn’t smile and was very old. Have you ever asked yourself why do we see God that way? Maybe because we think that is what Fathers look like. What we don’t realise is that growing old is part of the curse that came upon the earth because of Adam’s sin. In heaven there is no curse,in heaven people are forever young. So that is not what God looks like. God is a God who spoke to Abraham as a friend, who parted the red sea so the Israelites could walk through on dry ground to deliver them from slavery, who made a young shepherd boy David, King over all of Israel. God is forever young, forever strong and forever loving! He is not holding a club ready to punish you, His arms are spread wide open, ready to embrace you and love you. Do you still see an angry God today or a God who is smiling at you and ready to embrace you with His loving arms? Because of Jesus finished work, we are no longer under the covenant of law, where God is happy with you sometimes and angry with you at other times. Today because of the New Covenant of Grace God is always well-pleased with us because of Jesus Christ. We are accepted in the beloved:
Ephesians 1:6 (NKJV) 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
This verse tells us that by God’s grace (unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor), God “made us accepted in the Beloved.” In the original Greek text, the word “accepted” is the word charitoo, which means “highly favored.”So because God has placed us in Christ the Beloved, we are beloved and highly favored! We can look at ourself in the mirror every morning and boldly say, “Because I am under the new covenant in Christ, I am God’s beloved and I am highly favored. We can expect good things to come our way.” Let that just sink in with you and make you fall in love with Him all over again. Yes Pastor but don’t forget about God’s Wrath. What about God’s Wrath?
- What about God’s Wrath
You see the Bible tells us God has wrath, but it never describes God or defines God as wrath. According to the definition of the Bible God is Love! You see many people still see God as angry today. We do see God angry in the Old Testament under the Old Covenant and in the Book of Revelation the Bible tells us about God’s anger against those who have rejected Jesus, but for us as believers under the New Covenant, we are not part of the Old Covenant or those who have rejected Jesus and we will never be punished because we have already received Jesus. God is no longer angry at us because all His anger for our sins fell upon Jesus at the cross. Jesus became the Lamb of God who takes away all our sins. On the cross Jesus cried out: My God my God why have you forsaken me, He cried that so that we would know specifically at that point in time, God’s wrath fell upon Him who became our sin offering and the fire of God’s wrath was exhausted on Jesus completely as He who knew no sin became our sin, so that we will never experience God’s wrath again. Our sins have been judged on the cross of calvary. Today many believers see God as a God of love, but at the same time they also believe God is a God of great wrath. When they read the Bible they are confused because they see an angry God in the Old Testament but a loving God in the New Testament. Is God really angry sometimes and loving at other times?
- Rightly dividing the covenants
It is important to realise that God works through covenants because this explains how God blesses people. Under the Old covenant if you obeyed the Ten Commandments you would be blessed, but if you broke the Ten Commandments you would be cursed and punished. Think about this for a moment. Where they cursed because God was a God of wrath? No they were cursed because they failed to keep the terms of their covenant. It was a covenant that was dependent on their ability to keep the law and they could not. We are no longer under the requirements of the Old Covenant. Through Jesus finished work we are now under the New Covenant and in this covenant we are blessed not because we are good or because we do good, to put it simply, we are blessed because Jesus is good and He made us good and accepted by washing away all our sins with His own blood. We have to rightly divide the covenants. Are we saying God has gone soft on sin? NO WAY. Listen carefully to what I am saying, God is holy and righteous and He hates sin, there is no question about that, but the full anger and judgement of God against sin fell upon Jesus at the cross. Jesus who knew no sin was punished for our sin, He became our sin, and the sins of mankind past,present and future were all put on Him and He was punished for our sin. How can we say all our future sins have been forgiven? When Jesus died on the cross we were not even born yet, we weren’t even an idea to our parents, so all our sins were future sins. So all our sins have been forgiven and was accomplished through one sacrifice by One Man, Jesus Christ. Jesus finished work was outside of time and His blood that was shed forgave all our sins- past, present and even future sins.
Colossians 2:13 (NKJV)13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
God didn’t just forgive a segment of our trespasses He forgave all- past, present and future. Does that make you go: Jippie, I can do anything I want and commit any sin because I am already forgiven? Or does that make fall in love with Jesus and makes you grateful for what He did for you and now you want to live a life that glorifies God who has loved you so perfectly and completely! If we truly encounter the complete forgiveness of the New Covenant of Grace through Jesus and the perfection of His finished work we will not desire to live in sin. It is His Grace and forgiveness that gives us the power to overcome sin.
Romans 6:14 (NKJV)14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
The more revelation we have of the Grace of God and His forgiveness, the more power we will have to reign over challenges and addictions.
Many Christians have been robbed of fellowship and intimacy with God because they believe the lie that God is still angry with them because of their sins. They avoid having contact with God thinking He gets angry with them whenever they fail. So instead of running to God they run away from God, instead of running to the solution they run away from it. The truth is God is no longer angry with you. His wrath towards our sin has been exhausted completely in the body of our Saviour Jesus Christ. All our sins have been punished in the body of another. Schizophrenic teaching that tells us that God is sometimes angry and sometimes happy with us based on our performance is unscriptural and will make us schizophrenic believers.It is time to get out of the confusion and to start seeing God for who He really is. We are under the New Covenant of Grace and God is (Present Tense) Love. Stop being robbed of true intimacy and relationship with your gracious and forgiving savior Jesus Christ.Instead of avoiding Him when we fail, know that He is the answer to ALL our problems. We can go to Him and receive Grace for our failures. His Grace is greater than all our failures and He loves us perfectly, so we can go to Him with all our imperfections. He will love us into wholeness.The more revelation we have of the New Covenant of the Grace of God and His forgiveness, the more power we will have to reign in life through Jesus Christ. Are you ready to live under the New Covenant of Grace?