The Children of the Everlasting Covenant
Apostle Paul was trying to teach everyone something about a covenant that was made with the children of Israel. Many people look at the old covenant as an Old Testament thing and not relevant to us today but it is a relationship with God. He had brought them out of Egypt through the red sea which was a symbol of baptism and brought them to Mount Sinai to give them the ten commandments. He gives the invitation..
Exodus 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. 4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. 6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
This is the documentation. God didn’t just give them the law but he wrote it down as a solemn documentation and that solemn documentation was sprinkled with blood as a testament or a will. Because without the death of a testator, a will can’t come into force.
The will comes into existence when a person dies. Here is the death that qualified the agreement that God will be their God, and they would be his children. This sacred document sprinkled with blood:
Deuteronomy 26: 16 This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. 17 Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: 18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;
Avouch means to declare as a matter of fact or as a thing that can be proved. Vow/avouch it’s like a baptismal vow. A serious vow that the documentation is firmly agreed with. That relationship with God, as it said, you have avouched to keep my laws and I the Lord, have avouched thee this day to be my peculiar people. It was a solemn agreement.
Jeremiah 31: 31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
God didn’t tell the Israelites straight away he would put the law in their hearts.
Hebrew 8: 6 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. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 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:
The covenant he made was a covenant of a relationship with them and him. But that covenant was not faultless. Why? It was a combination of their promise and his promise.
It was a better covenant he was going to make established on better promises. What was faulty in the first covenant, was he found fault with them. They broke their promise. Now he says I’m going to make a new covenant.
Jeremiah 8: 9 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.
Romans 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
Romans 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
The very problem that the Hebrews experienced; they were alive without the commandments because they were in Egyptian captivity and came out and the commandments were delivered to them. What did they find? The commandments came into their life and that which was ordained for their life, they found to be unto death. We promise to God we want to do what is right, but there is something in us that we are discovering. The good I want to do, I don’t and the evil I don’t want to do, I do. That was the design of showing them there was something in them they didn’t know about. It is the same as Laodicea, you know not you are poor blind and naked.
God had to show the Hebrews that although he had taken them out of Egyptian captivity, they were still in captivity of their own sinful self. Apostle Paul describes in Romans that when the Ten Commandments came into their life in full impact, he discovered the good I want to do I can’t. It is a discovery that God wanted to bring them to.
The Ten Commandments they promised to keep, they discovered they couldn’t keep. This was the design for God to lead them into a better covenant. The commandments are given to bring us to salvation through Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The Ten Commandments come as a school master to teach you something. Teach you what? That we cannot keep the Ten Commandments. God then made a new covenant with them after they learnt that and the new covenant is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 8:6 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. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 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: 9 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. 10 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 into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Many read that to mean the old covenant is not necessary anymore and not required when the school has its done work because the school master leads us to Christ.
The covenant they made with God, is just as important for us today. Apostle Paul already knew the law but he said I was without the law once. What is he saying? He was a Jew. He said he was alive without the law but when the commandment came sin revived and I died. What was it? The solemn agreement to keep the law. I had the law as a theory before but now I made a solemn agreement to keep the law, but sin revived and I died.
This is the design of God he makes with every human being who comes to him. God saves them from sin and he opens to them the journey from salvation from sin. As he introduces that journey, he gives them the Ten Commandments. That’s a promise we all must make. We discover to our horror, we break it. He takes us into the promise of keeping his commandments and we fail him and now the school master has done his work to bring us to Jesus. Now through Jesus the new covenant can be made.
These words were recorded for the help of every striving soul. Paul holds up the standard of perfection and shows how it may be reached. “Work out your own salvation,” he says, “for it is God which worketh in you.” AA 482.1
The work of gaining salvation is one of copartnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God. On the one side there is infinite wisdom, compassion, and power; on the other, weakness, sinfulness, absolute helplessness. AA 482.2
Can you discover your helplessness unless you are trying to keep the law? Can you discover it? Can you be saved by working out your own salvation with fear and trembling? To understand what he is talking about, you need to understand the promise of the old covenant to try and keep the law. When you discover your utter helplessness, then comes the new covenant. Your promises failed and the promises of God come into activity through Jesus Christ.
The very subject of the gospel related to our need of salvation. What do we need to be saved from? We need to be saved from sin. What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law? How can I know if I am transgressing the law if I can’t make a promise to keep it? This is what this study about. God taking us on the journey from Egyptian captivity to perfect righteousness. The appreciation of Jesus as my saviour cannot be appreciated unless you’ve made the promise and failed. Only then can you appreciate Jesus because he died for that failure.
When you find Jesus, you are empowered to do what you failed to do. That is the issue. But you have to find Jesus, the school master has to first bring you to Jesus. People who do missionary work without this teaching, bring them to an imaginary Jesus as Jesus was an personification of the law. He said the law is written in my heart. The law is part of him. He gave the law from Sinai. He lived the law, he was in perfect harmony with the law. He had no sin.
The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been,—just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents,—perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperilled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of woe and misery, to be immortalized. SC 62.1
It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. SC 62.2
More than this, Christ changes the heart. He abides in your heart by faith. You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him; and so long as you do this, He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. So you may say, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. So Jesus said to His disciples, “It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Matthew 10:20. Then with Christ working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same good works—works of righteousness, obedience. SC 62.3
This is what is contained in the new covenant through Jesus Christ. So you can do the things that the law says.
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
That is the new covenant after those days. They were left without the sanctuary. They repented and asked for forgiveness. Those who were repentant were brought close to the Lord again. The others were slaughtered who did not repent. The repentance comes through the discovery of my sin and the acceptance of Jesus Christ that was shed breaking the law.
Deuteronomy 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
Already there according to Deuteronomy he had made the new covenant with them. Many people think the new covenant is only from the time of Christ. It is all through history. That same scenario is what God has operated in his people.
Isaiah 59:21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
The statement that was made – if you believe in Jesus you will be saved, this covenant is only possible as we believe in Jesus who is directly trying to bring us to that covenant. Before that covenant can be brought into action, we must be willing to obey even though we have failed. I have something to do. As I try to do it and then the power comes from the gospel, the holy spirit to give me the power to do it. That is what the whole aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ is – that is what it is all about.
Romans 10: 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Deuteronomy says it will be in your heart and mouth. Then the covenant takes place, it will be put in your heart and mouth.
Deuteronomy – heart and mouth
Isaiah – mouth
Romans – what you do with your mouth speaking of the love of Jesus.
The whole covenant of the law that you broke is now through Jesus Christ written in the heart. Jesus has died for me. What has he died for? Hebrews 9 – he died for the sins under the old covenant.
My appreciation of Jesus can only be embedded in me after I have tired to keep the law and failed. He died because I have broken that law. He died with my sin of breaking the law. He died with my sin trying to keep his law.
Hebrews 9: 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 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.
He is mediating the New Testament. The first testament is the first covenant. What is that saying? You can only get the meaning of this by understanding the old covenant in connection with the new. Apostle Paul knew what he was talking about but people keep on twisting his meaning.
Jesus died after I have promised and he died for the broken promise, Jesus means something to you. Now Jesus really is a practical impact in your life. He has proven as you look on him, he has died for your sins and broken promises as this is what he died for, he put it in your heart. The heart is overwhelmed with his love. He put it there. With your mouth you now express what he has put in there.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The law is now embedded in your life.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
With their failure he could die and destroy the power of Satan so that now he condemns sin in the flesh. As your heart absorbs that, the law is written in your heart and you realise I can’t let my flesh control me anymore. I’m now released from the condemnation. I’m released from the failure of the past, Jesus has condemned sin in the flesh.
Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
The nature of Christ is the avenue by which we can have the law written in our hearts.
Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
The new covenant is about the law written in the heart. Jesus is saying I have brought the law into the heart of the human being in sinful flesh. The whole story of the nature of Christ, is in sinful flesh he condemned sin and lived the law. That is the operative activity.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
I am in sinful flesh, I’m condemning sin in the flesh, this is the transaction of the old covenant that he is dying for. He is dying for our transgression and he condemns sin in the flesh and the law in his heart is transcribed into us because now we are in Christ Jesus. Our participation of Jesus of all the detail of him, makes it a reality to us. I’ve put it in your heart and mouth. We are to talk and think of Jesus of all that Jesus means to us.
The law was written in is heart and he is your saviour and he’s putting in your heart.
Jesus says I am the way, the truth and the life. My example to you is the way and that is how the law is going to be written in your heart through me.
John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
That light of Jesus that lights us, if we submit to that light, all aspects of the gospel then the work of the new covenant will take place in us. People have to submit to that light as they cling to the flesh instead.
Christ was the light of my life. But we go with the flesh.
Wherever there is an impulse of love and sympathy, wherever the heart reaches out to bless and uplift others, there is revealed the working of God’s Holy Spirit. In the depths of heathenism, men who have had no knowledge of the written law of God, who have never even heard the name of Christ, have been kind to His servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. Their acts show the working of a divine power. The Holy Spirit has implanted the grace of Christ in the heart of the savage, quickening his sympathies contrary to his nature, contrary to his education. The “Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9), is shining in his soul; and this light, if heeded, will guide his feet to the kingdom of God. COL 385.1
Jeremiah 31: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
The problem was with us. The people. Hebrews 8:8 God didn’t find fault with his perfect law. So how does God fix the problem with the people? He gives them a new circumcised heart of flesh so they will keep his law.
Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh. 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Hebrews 8:8 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:
God doesn’t change his law because we do not obey it. He changes our hearts. What God does is massively important. He gives us the heart and ability to do what we couldn’t do on our own. He gives us the Holy Spirit to live in us and the grace to do it.