Can one become a party to the New Covenant merely by “confessing the name of Christ?” Does one have to be a member of this or that particular church organization or body to be party to the New Covenant? Is the Covenant individual or collective? How long is the Covenant to remain effective? Once entered into, can it be broken? These questions must be answered if we are to know where we stand before God and with relation to His Covenant.
When God entered into the Old Covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai he told them that if they would obey his voice, his commandments, they would be to him “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). They agreed to the terms of the covenant, saying “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). But the Old Covenant failed, and a new covenant was to be established to fulfill the plan of God for mankind. Why did the Old Covenant fail? What was missing? And how is what was missing in the Old Covenant accounted for in the New Covenant, so God’s purpose may be fulfilled?
And, does the replacing of the Old Covenant with the New free us, as many believe, from the obligation to obey God’s voice? His commandments?
A covenant was at the heart of the relationship of Abraham with God. Likewise, a covenant was at the heart of the relationship of the people of Israel of old, descendants of Abraham, with God. And, a covenant is at the heart of the relationship of God’s spiritual nation, the Church of God, with him.
In our series on the two covenants, we have reached the point of asking, and finding the Biblical answer to, the questions of what was the problem with the Old Covenant that it had to be replaced? It’s not what most have assumed, or been taught by the purveyors of false doctrine.
Was spiritual conversion required under the Old Covenant? Was it Possible? These are key questions, the answers of which need to be understood if we are to truly understand where the Old Covenant, and its replacement, the New Covenant, fit in God’s dealings with mankind.
According to Scripture, the Old Covenant was given to Israel because of transgressions. Or, as the Bible in Worldwide English Version puts it: “Why then was the law [the Old Covenant] made? God gave it… because so many people were doing what was wrong” (Galatians 3:19).
But within that overall framework were at least five major reasons for the giving of the Old Covenant. Understanding what those reasons are will help us understand the mind of God, and can teach us vital lessons in how we, as Christians, or as human beings fit in with what God has in mind for us.
In this message we explore in some detail three major reasons for the giving of the Old Covenant, and how they relate to the New Covenant, and to lessons that relate directly to us and our relationship with God.