Tuesday, January 21, 2014


To explain the declaration contained in the title of this post, it will be necessary to look at a number of great verses that lay before us what it means to have a brand new covenant in Christ.

Hebrews 9:15 is a powerful verse. It says, “And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament [covenant], that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament [covenant], they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

Then Paul said this to the Roman Christian in his letter, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” [Romans 6:14]

What we see in these verses are references to two different covenants. There is first the Covenant of “the Law.” Exodus 34:27-28  shows it with these words, "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” was made with Israel specifically, and it was based on law or performance. What the Covenant of 'the Law' says is, “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 as we all know. So 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 by Dispensationalists as set aside for the church age, but, according to them, there is coming for Israel in the future a new land, and a new Temple, and a new peace. There was a time I agreed with this view but at present I hold a differing one and it is basically the result of my understanding of the New Covenant being presented here.

Reformed Covenant Theologians see the covenant of law as part of the one Covenant of Grace__the only eternal covenant__ and that covenant of 'law,' along with all other covenants, are simply different administrations of this one__ eternal Covenant of Grace.

I disagree with both Dispensationalists and Reformed Covenant Theologians. Here's why and what I believe about the New Covenant as it relates to the Old Covenant.

2 Corinthians 3:6 says this,  “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament [new covenant]; not of the letter [old covenant], but of the spirit [new covenant]: for the letter [old] killeth, but the spirit [new] giveth life.”

Again, 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 - “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.”

Then, 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.”

Through these verses, and many others relating to the New Covenant, we have shown to us that the Old Covenant  had a Mediator__Moses__but the New Covenant has a NEW Mediator__Christ.

The Old Covenant had a High Priest __Aaron__but the New Covenant has a NEW High Priest__Christ

The Old Covenant had a sacrifice of lambs, goats & calves but the New Covenant has a NEW sacrifice__Christ

The Old Covenant had a Temple__in Jerusalem but the New Covenant has a NEW Temple__ Christ in me and you and ALL of us collectively.

The Old Covenant had a Law Giver__Moses__but the New Covenant has a NEW Law Giver__Christ: “Hear ye Him”

It becomes quite obvious with a study of the text of the New Testament that the New Covenant is Christo-centric: “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.”

Further study will show that there is no mention of an eternal covenant as pre-existing because covenants relate to time only, and covenants are referred to in the plural in Scripture, not singular, as seen by these verses....

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.”

All of this becomes incredibly important as it completely changes our view of the cross. We see that the Cross really has redeemed us, sanctified us and glorified us. [Past tense in Romans 8] So all the lambs of the Old Covenant were simply a picture leading to the final Lamb of God. There are no lists needed to perform anything in order to get His blessings because, "We have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus."

It completely changes our view of the law as well. 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 but not life.

So, this means 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 think of going back to living by the 10 commandments than we would go back to offering lambs once a year. The purpose for it all has been fulfilled "in Christ."

Finally, this view of the New Covenant completely changes our idea of living life. 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.

The NEW COVENANT really does bring LIFE!

Paul B.


Aussie John said...

"The NEW COVENANT really does bring LIFE!"


At the moment I'm having conversations with a brother who has, for several years, experienced the truth of being set free in Christ. I mean TRULY SET FREE!

Sadly, his family,having been set free in Christ, like the Hebrews, only find safety in their feeble humanistic attempts at law keeping.(2 Peter 2:19ff)

It really grieves me, every time we meet, to see the pain this gives him.

As you say, "We would no more think of going back to living by the 10 commandments than we would go back to offering lambs once a year. The purpose for it all has been fulfilled "in Christ." "

When asked the question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40"

You are so right, "Hear ye Him."

Paul Burleson said...

I really do believe coming to an understanding of the New Covenant was and is the single greatest theological paradigm shift I've ever made and has born the MOST fruit in an understanding of and appreciation for true grace.

I have to also say that one of my pure delights is reading what you have to say in comments as they always reflect so much that same journey.

Compatriots we are in this journey in Grace!

Aussie John said...


There is no doubt in my mind that you have grasped the absolute depth of grace revealed in the New Covenant.

There have been many, almost superficial, statements about "Jesus plus nothing", the truth of which is negated by the law emphasis in most orthodox Protestantism, often accompanied by the ignorant charge of Antinomianism leveled at New Covenant teaching.

I have no doubt you have many "hits" on your blog site, but I would love to see more encouragement for you in the comments.

I have mentioned previously that grasping a small understanding of New Covenant,was a "eureka" moment for me, and, from my perspective, with the man born blind in John 9, "One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

Thank you for your fearless presentation of the truth!!

Victorious said...

... but I would love to see more encouragement for you in the comments.

Count me in! I love Paul's blog and have always been blessed in reading his posts! Thank you, Paul!

I'm in agreement that there are no more "lists" to perform, but how does that relate to struggling with sins? I hear so many Christians laboring under guilt and shame because of their addictions or faults that they apparently haven't gotten victory over. This puzzles me as I know they have been forgiven under the New Covenant, and yet they are still in bondage to sin.

I don't know the answer. Can you shed some light on this for me when time allows? I'd sure appreciate it. No hurry.

Thanks again for sharing your journey!

Mary Ann

Victorious said...

Just re-read your post where you quoted Romans 6:14

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” [Romans 6:14]

But aren't many Christians (as I mentioned above) still laboring under sin's dominion?

Still trying to reconcile the scripture to the actual....

Paul Burleson said...


I wrote this a few days ago for my Face Book page. I don't know whether it speaks to what you've asked or not but I'll post it here as a comment in response to your request. It's lengthy but maybe helpful. I really do believe the basic problem for ANYONE who is addicted to ANYTHING, even religion, has an identity problem because we act on the basis of who we believe we really are as a person. It's that proverbial "As a person thinks in his/her heart, so is he or her in their actions or behavior."


The New Covenant message of the gospel is that God HAS ALREADY JUDGED “sin.” [ Paul here is referring to our state of being, not our acts of the will, and Paul is the first to make this distinction.]

This judgment was in the person of Christ and His work of fulfilling the law and dying on the Cross, with the resulting resurrection. Jesus Christ Himself bore that judgment on our fallen state of being.

It is good, in light of this, to remember that no one goes to hell because of their “sinful” action of lying, stealing, adultery, homosexual activity as opposed to heterosexual activity, or any other “action or activity”. Hell is the result of a FALLEN NATURE [our state of being] which is in rebellion against God.

ACTIONS are the interacting result of a mind and will that reveal the nature of the beast.

The need is the gospel which is the message of the One who has the power to change that nature. But, if and when the gospel is rejected, then judgment does follow after physical death. [Acts 17:30-31/ Hebrews 9:27]

It is good to also remember that no one goes to heaven because of their “holy” action of giving, attending church, telling the truth, faithfulness in marriage or having ONLY heterosexual activity as opposed to homosexual activity. Heaven is the result of a REDEEMED NATURE [our state of being] in relationship with God.

ACTIONS are the interacting result of a mind and will empowered by the Holy Spirit that reveal the nature of the beast.

Salvation is a CHANGED nature [spiritual-union with Christ] or state of being that only the gospel has the power to bring about. Actions follow, of course, but are not the cause of anything. They are, rather, the show-case of what is really there in nature. In the case of a believer, something really new. [11Corinthians 5:17]

The conclusion to all this is that when we talk about salvation, we are talking about LIFE or a new state of being and not some static doctrine about salvation at all.

The Christian message must never be, as I read one say, “A salvation entombed in categories of theological consequences,” but our gospel is a message of union with another Person.

In other words, salvation isn’t an “eternal package” placed on deposit inside you, but Jesus Christ Himself, living in union with us as our FOREVER ETERNAL LIFE, and Christian living is Him simply being Himself in and through our character and personality. That kind of new.

So, salvation isn’t at all that He merely makes us safe from bad thinking or safe from bad actions or safe from hell or even safe for heaven. But it is that He does save us from a rebellious, messed up dysfunctional human existence and produces the new kind of nature within that we might function as God intended through the presence and expression of Jesus Christ divine life flowing through our humanity, both now and ultimately in eternity.

Victorious said...

Paul, thank you so much for your response. I need to re-read both your post and your comment to me as there was a lot to digest (for me anyway.:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul for a profound article, and for a helpful answer to Mary-Lou's query, with which we all grapple at times.

It is this very problem that the Apostle deals with in Romans 6. His remedy is that we, as trusting believers, should continually apply our minds to recalling our death to the sinful nature, and our spiritual resurrection to Christ's new covenant life within us..... and then to willfully choose to starve the old nature into subjection and impotence.

This is best done, to my mind,in a positive manner by actively identifying ourselves with the service,suffering and sacrifice of our Savior. The Devil has no right to boss us around. Trust in Jesus every day to the end of life, until we are forever with the Lord.

I am stimulated by your articles and by the replies from the older men and young ladies.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, it should read : Mary Ann. My apologies.

Paul Burleson said...


You are most gracious. I am with you on being blessed by the older guys and young women who comment here. And you as well. While you don't qualify for either of those groups, you do qualify as one of my favorite commenters.