New Covenant: The Definition
The New Covenant refers to the new promise made by God to His people. The word in the New Testament of the Bible is translated from the Greek word diathēkē, meaning “a contract or testament.” A very basic explanation of God’s New Covenant with man is the act of His giving grace to reconcile man to Himself. It is by a sacrificial action that atonement for rebellion and sin is made in payment for iniquity.
New Covenant: Old Covenant
In order to better understand the New Covenant, it helps to know the Old Covenant. In the Old Testament, God said (paraphrased) “This is my law, keep it and be my people.” It was to be through His people that the world would come to know God. But they didn’t keep their part; they couldn’t keep it. Man cannot even keep man’s own laws.
The Old Covenant showed that although God is perfect, man is not. None of mankind can fulfill the law, but God could and did, bringing about the New Covenant. God’s promises are never broken (Psalm 105:8; 145:13; 2 Corinthians 1:20). He cannot lie, nor can He break His word.
Many of God’s promises have already been fulfilled as we can see in the following examples of Old Covenant Scriptures:
- With Noah: Genesis 9:8-13 (promise through the 1st rainbow)
- With Abram [Abraham]: Genesis 15:18; 17:4-8
- With Moses: Exodus 19:1-9 (called Mosaic Covenant or Law)
- With David: 2 Samuel 7:5-16
New Covenant: The Promissory Word
God’s New Covenant was foretold in the Old Testament in the book of Jeremiah 31:31-33:
“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. 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 broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Since we are now under the New Covenant, we no longer have the penalty from breaking the old Mosaic Law. We have the grace of God to forgive us of our sins. It is God’s free gift to us (Ephesians 2:8). John 3:17 says “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” To remind us, Hebrews 9:15 declares, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” Learn More!
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