Greeting once more from Dallas, Texas! What is the New Covenant?
The New Covenant is the foundation of the Christian faith and life. If the New Covenant can be encapsulated in a phrase or sentence what would that be? You may have heard it said that the Bible does not need interpreting, it interprets itself. So, the encapsulating phrase of the Covenant can found in this passage of scripture:
“Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Gen1:26-27) So, the New Covenant is a reminder of God’s promise to remake man into His immortal likeness and Love.
The New Covenant is ratified in Jesus blood, as God further promised, “For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18; also Heb.9:12-15).
“National Covenant.” Believed to be the original from which copies were made for distribution of the fifty-two words long Preamble to the Constitution of the United States (1787) echoes phrases in the National Covenant – “We the People…” Photographed in subdued light. (Wiki Commons)
Two Broad Objectives
So, the Covenant has two broad objectives in humanity, the first is God’s Love (God’s character image, 1 John 4:8), and the second is God’s Sovereignty and Rule (God’s image of reign over His creation, Neh.9:6). Man’s stewardship of the earth (rule/dominion) and his relationship with others of his kind (Love), were the principles upon which life was going to be lived on the earth. Man is to rule the earth under God (Love, for “God is Love” – 1John 4:8). Incidentally, the Old Covenant had the same twin objectives, but through a different route by way of the nation of Israel. Israel was not faithful, hence, making the New Covenant necessary. (Heb.8:7-9)
Let’s now read the New Covenant:
“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel* after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Heb.8:10-12, emphasis added; also Jer.31:31-34)* (Gal.3:26-29; Rom.2:28-29)
The message of the Bible has never been complicated, but simple. Man once lived in perfect union with his Creator in Eden as we saw in Genesis 1:26-27. Then rebellion set in and Adam and Eve were evicted from Eden. (Gen.3) And man’s journey has always been to return to his Eden-like life with his Maker. Until man does return to the life he had with God in Eden, his life and the life of those around him, will remain unfulfilled and empty. Man was made in His Creator’s image, so his well-being and state of existence is forever tied to the One in whose likeness and temperament he was fashioned. It’s about living in harmony with God (Love) in order to obtain harmony in himself and with others, and his domain over the earth under God. It’s that plain, it’s that simple! And because of the absence of man’s covenantal state of existence today, we see evil so prevalent in the world.
Relationship not Rulership
For humans, rulership or dominion carries with it a proviso. Man’s rule precludes humans. We are to have dominion over all creatures and the earth and its resources under God, but not over another human. The Scripture makes that abundantly clear. (Gen.1:26, 28) Only God has the prerogative to rule humanity whom He created in His image. God ‘rules’ mankind in Love and gave His Son to save humanity. Paul said we are to “owe no man anything except the continuing debt of Love.” (Rom.13:8) Jesus restated the Genesis ‘dominion mandate’ precluding humans, after His own disciples argued about who was greater or more dominant among them (Matt. 20:25-28). He said, “those who exalt themselves will be humbled; those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:8-12). Jesus washed His disciples’ feet to show the humility that ought to govern our relationship with each other. (John 13:12-17) It’s about relationship, not rulership!
So the covenant establishes God’s promise to bring humanity back to “Eden,” not a literal physical Eden, but a spiritual one, for God’s image is ultimately spiritual, not physical.
* By stating, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (V.12), God the Father promises a Savior to make man’s forgiveness, and freedom from the prison of sin possible. That Savior was and is His only Son, Jesus Christ. (John 3:16)
* By saying, “all will know Me, from the least of them to the greatest” (V.11), He gave man the gift of the Holy Spirit to make this union with Him possible through the Spirit’s work of regeneration. The Spirit also bring man’s gift and calling in life, which provides the way humans rule and communicate with God. The Holy Spirit brings a new birth into God’s Love-nature. (Rom.5:5; John 3:3-7)
* By declaring, “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts” (V.10a), God the Father has received and accepted the mediatory life of Jesus’ as the vicarious substitute for all human responses. This is what Paul meant when he said, “It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30; also Phi.3:9) Paul said further, “For it is God who is at work in you to make you willing and able to obey His purposes.” (Phi.2:13) Then in a sense of finality he told the Colossians, “You are complete in Christ.” (Col.2:10, KJV)
* When God said, “I will be their God, and they will be my people” (V.10), He promises humanity a new birth in the resurrection to immortality to make mankind His eternal children. (1 Cor. 15:51-58) Jesus said, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day. For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:39-40)
In these provisions, we see the fulfillment of the two broad objectives we read earlier in Genesis 1:26-27. The first three show what God does, and how He does it, in order to make man into His image of Love, and the fourth provision shows how He gives humans eternal life so humans can become His children and live in joyous existence with Him forever. Careful read of the Covenant will make us realize that the basis of the Covenant is the miraculous life the believer is privileged to live. Not one of the provisions can be executed successfully to its desired end without the direct immersion of the Trinitarian God in the life of man. The Covenant makes the miraculous life a reality in man. The Covenant is the source of the “Triune Life” believers live in heaven even in this earthly sojourn. Paul said this, “For the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” (1 Cor.4:20)
Man today is still in this journey back to ‘Eden.’ God has handed Jesus reign “over all rule and authority, power and dominion” upon this earth, so it is He who will restitute all things back to God from Adam’s rebellion. (Eph.1:21; 1Cor.15:24-25) Take Jesus’ hands and let’s return to our true roots as humans created after God’s own image of Love and to reign with Him.
Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessing of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you today and give you strength for authentic creative “Triune Living” as a Bula man-river.*
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kiang (Your Servant in Christ)
*The “Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. Man is the “riverbed” and the Spirit is the “living waters” that cover him and flows to all in his valley (destiny). (John 7:37-39)