Monday, May 23, 2011


We have had a lot of discussion about the law in our last post. I thought I would give you an outline of a message I brought to Wade's fellowship over four years ago in a series of messages he asked me to do in conference style entitled..."What I wish I'd known forty years ago." This particular message was entitled, "The New Covenant." It is ONLY an outline but presents my thinking on the subject. Enjoy it, use it, reject it, whatever you choose. It's my studied opinion only.

“I Believe in the New Covenant”

Texts:“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14

I. The Covenant of “the Law”

Exodus 34:27-28 - 
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” 

The Covenant of “the Law” . . . 

1. Was made with Israel specifically, and 
2. It was based on law or performance

What does the Covenant of 'the Law' say?
“If you” keep the Law, “then I, the Lord, will bless you.”
“If you don’t” keep the Law, “then I, the Lord, won’t or can’t bless you.”

Israel failed to keep the law. The sacrificial system was established, including the Temple and the sacrifices and the priesthood to point Israel, in picture form, to a coming Messiah/Redeemer.

This first covenant, or Covenant of 'the Law' has been viewed.....

1. By Dispensationalists: As set aside for the church age, but there is coming for Israel in the future a new land, and a new Temple, and a new peacel.
By Reformed Covenant Theologians: As part of the one Covenant of Grace -- the only eternal covenant. The covenant of 'law,' and all other covenants, are simply different administrations of this one, eternal Covenant of Grace.

I disagree with both Dispensationists and Reformed Covenant Theologians. Here's why.....

II. The New Covenant

2 Corinthians 3:6 - 
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” 
2 Corinthians 3:14-16 - 
“But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.”
Hebrews 10:9 - 
“Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” 

The Old Covenant 
had a Mediator - Moses.
The New Covenant 
has a NEW Mediator - Christ.

The Old Covenant had a High Priest -Aaron.
The New Covenent 
has a NEW High Priest - Christ

The Old Covenant had a sacrifice of goats & calves.
The New Covenant 
has a NEW sacrifice - Christ

The Old Covenant had a Temple - in Jerusalem.
The New Covenant 
has a NEW Temple - Christ in me.

The Old Covenant had a Law Giver - Moses. "If you obey..then I am free to bless.."
The New Covenant 
has a NEW Law Giver - Christ“Hear ye Him” "I're free to obey.."

The New Covenant is Christocentric:

“Love”- “as I have loved you” and “Forgive”- “as you have been forgiven”

1 Corinthians 9:20-21 
-“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.” 

I do not hold to a Reformed Covental Theology because: 

1. There is no mention of a covenant as pre-existing; covenants relate to time only, and 
2. Covenants are also plural in Scripture, not singular.

Romans 9:4 - 
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the COVENANTS, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.” 
Ephesians 2:12 - 
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the COVENANTS of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” 

"Why is this so important that I wish I had known it 40 years ago?

1. It completely changes my view of the cross

The cross did…redeem me
The cross did…sanctify me
The cross did…glorify me

All the lambs of the Old Covenant were a picture leading to the final Lamb of God.
There are no lists needed to perform in order to get His blessings... 
"We have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus."

2. It completely changes my view of the law

The Law [Ten Commandments] was a “school teacher” to bring Israel to the need of a Messiah. 
When the Messiah came He fulfilled the law of Moses which had brought condemnation not life.

We, the church, have a new Law-giver -- Christ Himself." Hear ye Him."  
He has established His own Law which is the expression of new life in Him.

We would no more go back to living by the 10 commandments than we would go back to offering lambs once a year. 
Their purpose and need have been fulfilled "in Christ." 

 3. It completely changes my view of living

All of life is … now a gift … and is sacred … and is to be lived ... as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving … because of His grace given in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Every day is truly a Sabbath day as we rest in His grace and live by His law written in our
 hearts FROM a place of acceptance rather than FOR a place of acceptance.

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


Hallelujah! That's certainly the Scriptural truth of the matter as it began to open up to me about twenty years ago.

I sure wish I'd understood it,and preached that very message some forty years ago, instead of what tradition taught.

So many times I've caught myself thinking,"How I would like to go back to the congregations I've taught to live as pardoned prisoners, under a good behavior bond to perform according to law".

I've spent much time writing about this truth and sending it to those I still have contact with.

Thank you again for sharing your notes with us.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

My favorite way of saying it is that I used to live an Old Covenant lifestyle in a New Covenant relationship and was miserable in the doing of it. But the freedom of living a New Covenant lifestyle in a New covenant relationship really is "life more abundantly."

Aussie John said...


You said a mouthful!