OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE
God is a covenant-making God. A covenant is a contract or an agreement made between two or more persons or parties. The Scriptures contain and recognise two kinds of covenant:
The Scriptures record a number of covenants made by God, some of which are covenants of promise and unconditional, and some of which are agreements which require people to fulfil certain conditions. God is always a Party to each covenant that He makes, and graciously agrees to be bound by whatever are the terms of each of His covenants.
It is our earnest desire and intention to identify and distinguish correctly between all of God's covenants, and to understand the true purpose for each covenant that He has made.
Three covenants of Scripture are of primary importance because they particularly concern God's ultimate purpose to save the human race from sin and death. The three covenants are:
(1) The Covenant of promise to Abraham is God's sworn undertaking to "bless all the families of the earth". God alone is bound by this Covenant. But while sin and death still exist, this Covenant of promise has still to be fulfilled. (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:16-18)
(2) The Law Covenant was an agreement made exclusively with the nation of Israel to develop the people as a nation of kings and priests, provided they kept the required conditions of obedience and faithfulness. The Law Covenant did not accomplish its stated purpose because no individual, other than the Lord Jesus Christ, could keep it in its entirety. Therefore the consequences of sin and death remained on Israel and continued on the whole human race until the Law Covenant was abolished by God and the New Covenant was instituted and ratified. (Exodus 19:1-8; 24:1-8)
(3) The New Covenant is the means through which the kings and priests as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ are being developed, and the promised blessings of "all the families of the earth" will be achieved. The New Covenant is an agreement made by God with each individual believer in Him through Jesus Christ, and is the only arrangement by which sin and death can be taken away.
OUR UNDERSTANDING SUMMARISED
These brief comments do not attempt to discuss differing viewpoints concerning the New Covenant, but outline the understanding generally shared by the Christian Bible Students Melbourne, with relevant Scriptures on which our understanding is based.
1. The New Covenant is first promised and mentioned in some detail in Jeremiah 31:31-40. The New Testament states the application and fulfilment of this promise of God in Hebrews 8:6-13; and provides further support in Hebrews 10:15-17 and 12:22-29.
2. The New Covenant is the only arrangement that makes possible the forgiveness and taking away of sin forever. (Romans 11:27; Hebrews 8:12, 13)
3. The New Covenant is sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and He is its Mediator. (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25, 26; Hebrews 8:6; 9:11-15; 12:24; 13:20, 21).
4. The Church of the Gospel Age needs the blood of the New Covenant. (Ephesians 2:11-13).
5. The apostles, disciples, and believers after them are ministers of the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:2 - 4:1).
6. Jesus Christ is a surety or guarantee of the New Covenant (Hebrews 7:22-27; 8:6).
Any understanding of the New Covenant must take into account all of the eighteen or so references to it in the New Testament, especially the thirteen verses referring to it in Hebrews. (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; Romans 11:27; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Galatians 4:24-26; Ephesians 2:12; Hebrews 7:22; 8:6, 8, 9, 10; 9:15-17; 10:16, 29; 11:19; 12:24; 13:20 ).
Fuller comments and explanations concerning the Covenants of Scripture and the New Covenant in particular will be sent free on request. Please contact us.