Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Thankful in Light of Our New Covenant – Part 1 of 3
The Israelites didn't have the Holy Spirit available to them in the same way that He is available to us today. In the Old Testament days, the Holy Spirit visited specially appointed individuals. Usually those individuals had to fulfill a special role or convey a prophetic message. To have this kind of personal relationship with God was highly unusual.
Since Jesus, it is possible for everyone to have an ongoing and intimate relationship with the Father. By accepting His gift of salvation, we automatically receive His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our seal guaranteeing that we are God’s people (Eph. 1:13), like the seal made by a king’s signet ring. Once the seal is made, it can’t be broken.
Moses brought the Old Covenant (the Ten Commandments), which was written on stone, to the people of Israel. This Old Covenant was imperfect because it couldn’t make them righteous. It only pointed out the problem of sin in their lives. Jesus brought us the New Covenant, where the law is written on our hearts instead of on stone. This New Covenant also makes us right with God in that He paid the penalty for our sin with His blood.
The New Covenant, which is made through faith in Christ, is not a two-way covenant. It’s not a little bit of us and a lot of God. It’s all God. The Old Covenant, on the other hand, was a two-way covenant. It was all about keeping the law. It was up to the people to keep the covenant, and if they didn’t, curses would follow. In Old Testament days, the priests had to make daily and yearly sacrifices to keep covering not only the sins of the people, but also their own sins. No one was perfect, and no one was without guilt.
In contrast, God Himself takes on completely the requirements and fulfillment of the New Covenant through His Son. Jesus Christ became our one-time perfect sacrifice. He took all that guilt upon Himself and paid the penalty for our sins. When we do something wrong, we don’t have to beat ourselves up about it. He took that punishment for us. The focus is not on our ability to try to do things right all the time, but on Him having made us right.