A New Covenant
One of the things that has been responsible for keeping so many Christians in bondage, where guilt and condemnation are concerned, is not having a correct understanding of the new covenant that has been implemented through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Many Believers maintain a “sin-consciousness” because they are trying to submit themselves to the Law rather than receiving the liberty and freedom that comes from knowing that their sins have been forgiven through Jesus’ shed blood . We are now living under the dispensation of grace, which means that we are not subject to the Law implemented by Moses. Knowing this is critical to living a successful Christian life.
When we talk about the “Law” we are talking about the guidelines that were put in place in the Old Testament pertaining to how God’s people were supposed to live. The Law was implemented for the purpose of making mankind aware of his need for a Savior. Under the Old Covenant, God had a part and man had a part. Man’s part was to offer sacrifices to God for the purpose of covering his sins, and God’s part was to respond by blessing the sacrifice. This is why the Jews in the Old Testament repeatedly offered animal sacrifices to God. They had to because under the Law the only way to remain in right-standing with God was to offer a burnt sacrifice to Him. However, one of the effects of the Law was that it bred “sin-consciousness” in the hearts and minds of people. Because they were not born again, they were subject to this sin-consciousness, and there was nothing they could do about it. They had their sins on their minds and the idea that they had to do something to eradicate them.
Please understand, the Law was holy and good. But the problem with it was that no one could keep it perfectly. Although the sacrifices the Jews made to God allowed them to be blessed in spite of not keeping the law, those sacrifices had to be done over and over again. The truth is that God knew man needed a savior, an ultimate sacrifice to perfectly fulfill the law and make us righteous in His sight forever. This is why Jesus came to the earth. He became that ultimate sacrifice once and for all, throughout eternity. When we receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we enter into a New Covenant that is based on God’s grace, not the Law, which requires us to do something to gain righteousness before God.
Hebrews 8:6-13 paints a picture of this new covenant that we are part of as Christians:
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people…For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which is decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
For the born-again person today, there is a new covenant and, consequently, a new spiritual reality for us to partake of, as evidenced by this Hebrews passage. Because we cannot keep the Law in its entirety, God has made a new agreement with us in which He has put His Spirit in our hearts, enabling us to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. With the Holy Spirit within us, we become aware of God’s requirements, and God personally teaches us about who He is on an intimate level. He promises to be merciful to us and completely forget about our sins and iniquities! In this New Covenant, God’s part is to release the Blessing into our lives through Jesus Christ, who is our High Priest, and our part is to simply believe, receive, and give Him thanks for what He has done for us. It is a covenant agreement that is based on our faith in Jesus, and not our own efforts to become righteous in God’s sight.
Understanding the covenant of grace enables us to live free from sin-consciousness. When we know that God does not remember our sins when we confess them, turn away from them, and accept Jesus into our hearts, we no longer have to walk through life feeling condemned when we make mistakes. The blood of Jesus is continually working to cleanse us as we walk in the light of God’s Word that we know. All we have to do is believe in God’s love for us and know that He never goes back on His promises. If He has said that we are forgiven, then we are forgiven. Receive the freedom that comes from understanding the New Covenant!