Study 10 Objective: What is the New Covenant and why is it of vital importance to the believer?
Most ancient covenants have a reciprocal quality. For example, desired behaviour is rewarded by blessings, etc. There is an element of mutuality expressed in terms of agreed conditions.
One type of covenant is a covenant of grant. In this a higher power, such as a king, grants unmerited favour to his subjects.
It is this type of covenant that is most comparable to the New Covenant. God gives His grace without preconditions for humanity.
In fact, the reconciliation made possible through the shedding of the blood of this everlasting covenant occurred without God’s imputing mankind’s trespasses to them (1 Corinthians 5:19).
Without any action or thought of repentance on our part, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Grace preceded Christian behaviour.
What is the basis of your relationship with God?
What about the other biblical covenants?
Most biblical scholars identify at least four covenants in addition to the New Covenant. They are the Noahic, Abramic, Mosaic and Davidic covenants.
In his epistle to the non-Jewish Christians at Ephesus Paul explains that they are “strangers from the covenants of promise”
but now in Christ Jesus they “who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13), that is, the blood of the New Covenant that enables reconciliation for all.
The covenants with Noah, Abraham and David all contain unconditional promises that have their primary fulfilment in Jesus Christ.
“For this is like the waters of Noah to me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so I have sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall
depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall my covenant of peace be removed” (Isaiah 54:9-10), says the Lord. Jesus is that covenant of peace.
Paul explains that Christ is the promised Seed of Abraham and thus all believers are inheritors of the promise of saving grace (Galatians 3:15-18). “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (3:29).
The covenant ideas concerning the line of David (Jeremiah 23:5; 33: 20-21) are realized in Jesus, “the Root and the Offspring of David” Revelation 22:16), the King of Righteousness.
The Mosaic Covenant, also called the Old Covenant, is conditional. The condition was that, if the Israelites obeyed the codified law of Moses, blessings would ensue, especially inheritance of the promised land, the vision of which Christ fulfils spiritually. “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 eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15).