Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Great Grace: A Better Covenant

33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33 NKJV

  We've been in an extended study of the great Grace of God. We have seen His Grace is greater than our failures. We've seen how forgiven we are. Continuing in this study of His great Grace I'd like to ask you some simple questions.

 Have you ever had a favorite restaurant? Now imagine your favorite restaurant said they were going to temporarily shut down to upgrade to a new and better menu. What if when they reopen, this "new and improved" restaurant had fewer items on the menu to include your favorite dish? Would you say the restaurant was new and improved? Would you say it is better than before?

 More than likely not. Imagine you're in an electronic store and you purchase a computer. You take it home and use it often. Then you hear about a newer model of your computer brand for sale. So wishing to upgrade, you purchase this newer computer. What if this new computer didn't do half as much as the older computer? Would you consider the new computer an upgrade or a better computer? Of course not.

A Better Covenant

 My point is simply to illustrate what defines better. It isn't better if what replaces the old doesn't do more than the old. Sadly, this is exactly what many have taught about the New Covenant. According to religious tradition, the Old seems to be better than the New. The Word thankfully disagrees.
But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Hebrews 8:6 NKJV

 Thank God, this New Covenant is established on better promises. Tradition doesn't seem to accept this. I've even heard fellow Christians say things like prosperity was an integral part of the Old Covenant, but that was for the Jews. Prosperity is not for us in this New Covenant. Wait a minute. If the New Covenant is better than the Old but the Old promised provision for the children of Israel, His servants, but under the New, provision for His sons and daughters isn't a part of the Covenant, how is that a better Covenant? 

 Think of it. If the New Covenant is a better Covenant, built upon better promises if Father God provided for the needs of His servants under the Old, how much more under the New will He provide for us? If prosperity was His Covenant promise under the Old, Then under the New Covenant God will do the same as the Old, plus some! 

 Under the Old, He covered sins. Those sins were covered for a year. Now under this new and better Covenant, He doesn't merely cover our sins for a year. Jesus precious blood eternally cleansed us and forgave us once for all time. We don't have yearly forgiveness. We have eternal forgiveness! 

 Sadly, under the New, religion thinks the forgiveness of our sins only lasts from the time between our last sin until our next mistake, misstep, and sin. Under the Old, the Israelites knew their sins were at the least covered for a year. This confusion exists because traditional religion blends the Old Covenant with the New.

Contrasting the Old and the New

Under the Old, sins were not forgiven but covered and the guilty conscience was always present. Under the New, our sins were cleansed by the blood of Jesus, forgiven, past present and future. Under the New, He is merciful to our mistakes and mess ups and remembers our sins and iniquities no more and grants us a clean conscience before God. 

 Under the Old, the blessings of God were contingent upon us adhering to and perfectly obeying the commandments of God. In the New Covenant, we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Heavenly places. On the Cross, He bore our poverty that we through His once for all sacrifice might be abundantly supplied. 

 Under the Old, healing came by hearkening diligently unto His commandments, keeping His statutes, and doing that which is pleasing in His sight. In the New Covenant, Jesus bore all our sickness and disease on the Cross. In His Finished Work, He took our pain and carried our sickness. By His stripes, we have been healed. Our healing is received by Grace through faith, because of His goodness and Finished Work, not our steadfastness or our good works and diligence to obey His Word. 

In this New and better Covenant, we have peace with God. We have perfect acceptance in the eyes of our Father. We receive His free gift of righteousness. We have been made worthy by His blood. This New Covenant is above and beyond better than the Old. 

What makes the New Covenant Better?

 Sure we know we have healing, provision, forgiveness, right standing and acceptance with Father God in this New Covenant and thank God for it. But what really makes it new and better?

 Under the Old, we had a high priest who couldn't sympathize with our weaknesses. The high priest wasn't eternal. He had to offer sacrifice for the sins of the people and himself. 
 Under the Old, the Law was the schoolmaster. It revealed the perfect standard. It tells us what to do but never empowered anyone to do it. It is good and perfect and holy but can not make anyone else good or perfect or holy. 

 Under the Old, they had the prophets to reveal the plan of God. These men of old often prophesied of the Messiah to come. The nation of Israel had to come to the prophets for direction and wisdom and guidance. 

 What makes the New Covenant better? It is simple, the New Covenant is better because of the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus makes this Covenant above and beyond better.

 Jesus is now our great high priest. He is eternal. He is sinless perfection. He sympathizes with our weaknesses and is there giving us strength. He is our eternal high priest. He sits upon the right hand of God praying and interceding for us.

 He fulfilled the Law. He gave us His righteousness and He dwells within us and leads us and guides us into all truth. We need not look to Law or Prophets for how to live our lives. He is with us and within us. He leads us in paths of righteousness. 

 Jesus is always with us. He will never leave or forsake us. When we feel lonely or broken, know Jesus has never left us. He is always there. Jesus is our friend and good Shephard. He comforts us in all times.

 In summation, we have a new and better Covenant because of Jesus, the person of great Grace. We are secure in His hand. He is our intercessor. He is our great high priest. He is our advocate whenever we blow it. When we sin, God simply sees Jesus and the Finished Work and says that's already been paid for. We have the Son, we have the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Almighty God as our friend and brother. Jesus makes this Covenant new and better. 
 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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