“When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.” (Hebrews 8:13 AMP).
The Bible can be said to be a book of covenants. It clearly presents God as one who loves to make covenant with men. God delights not in having a casual relationship with men, but rather in having a covenant relationship with men. God is always faithful to His covenant!
God said in His Word, “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.” (Psa. 89:34 NKJV).
Paul queries, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every man be false…” (Rom. 3:3-4 RSV).
Paul affirms God’s faithfulness, saying, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13 NKJV).
God does not deal with people arbitrarily or haphazardly, but in accordance with His covenant with them. Therefore, it is very vital for you to understand God’s covenant with you, for this is what determines God’s dealings with you. You can know what to expect from God if you know and understand His covenant with you.
God is the same throughout the ages; however, God’s covenants or dealings with men throughout the ages are never the same. The Bible teaches that there are different dispensations or divinely ordered ways of God’s dealing with mankind throughout the ages.
A dispensation is simply a period of time in which God deals with mankind in a certain way. Each dispensation is based upon a specific covenant.
There was a period when God was dealing with men based upon the Law He gave the children of Israel on Mount Sinai through Moses. This period spanned about 1500 years, from the Exodus until the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. This period is called “the dispensation of the Law” and it was based upon what is called “the Mosaic Covenant” or “the Old Covenant.”
Under the dispensation of the Law or the Old Covenant, God dealt or related with the children of Israel based on their performance, good works, or obedience to the Law He gave them through Moses.
When the people of Israel abide by or obeyed the written code of the covenant, they prospered and enjoyed the blessings of the covenant. But, when they transgressed the written regulations, they came under the curse of the law and received condign punishment stipulated in the book of the Law (Exo. 19, 20, 24:1-8, Lev. 26, Deut. 28).
The birth, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ marked the end, completion or fulfillment of the dispensation of the Law or the Old Covenant, and ushered in a new dispensation, covenant, or ways of God dealing with mankind. This is called “the dispensation of Grace” or “the New Covenant.” This new dispensation will continue until the rapture of the Church.
The Lord Jesus clearly states, “Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfil them.” (Matt. 5:17 AMP).
Apostle Paul states, “For Christ is the end of the Law [the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled. That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him] as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him.” (Rom. 10:4 AMP).
The writer of the book of Hebrew also writes, “[Christ, the Messiah] is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an [entirely] new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance – since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the [old] first agreement.” (Heb. 9:15 AMP).
He further explains, “When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.” (Heb. 8:13 AMP).
In spite of the clear presentation and ample explanation in the Bible of the truth that God has made the first or the old covenant obsolete, yet many believers today are still serving God according to the old written code (the Mosaic Law), thereby missing out on the amazing benefits and blessings of the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ.
God is no longer dealing with mankind based on the written code or regulations of the Old Covenant. God has made the Old Covenant obsolete (put it out of use), and has established a New and Better Covenant with mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The New Covenant is not an extension, elongation, or modification of the Old Covenant, but an entirely New and Different Covenant. Sadly, many believers and ministers of God today are still confusing or seeking to merge these two incompatible covenants together.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'”
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (NKJV).
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says 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 did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD.
10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
11 “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.
12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (NKJV).
God does not demand or expect the born-again believers to serve Him, walk with Him, relate with Him, or respond to Him according to the old written regulations or requirements of the Old Covenant He made with the Jews on Mount Sinai.
The Mosaic Law is not made for the New Testament saints. Sadly, many New Testament believers today are still striving to live by the Law. What a sheer ignorance and foolishness!
Apostle Paul clearly presents this truth in his letter to Timothy.
1 Timothy 1:
9 Knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,
11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. (NKJV).
Unfortunately, many believers today are still ignorant of the truth that the Mosaic Law or the Old Covenant was not made for them. Many believers are still zealously serving God according to the requirements of the Old Covenant and striving to earn God’s love, acceptance, favour and blessing by their performance or adherence to the Law God gave the Jews through Moses.
Sadly, many preachers or teachers of God’s Word today are still passionately urging, pleading and advocating that God’s people should serve God or relate with God according to the written code of the Old Covenant, thinking that God’s love, approval, favour or blessing are still dependent on people’s performance or good works, and not solely on faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
As a born-again believer in Christ, you have been delivered from the law, having become dead to the law through the body of Christ. Therefore, you are no longer under the law or expected to serve God in the oldness of the letter as the Old Testament saints did.
Apostle Paul admonishes the believers in Rome not to serve God in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
4 Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.
6 But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]. (AMP).
The New Covenant believers have been discharged from the Law (that is, release from the old code of written regulations). As a believer in Christ, you are no longer a slave to the Law. You have been discharged, delivered, or released to serve God in the newness of the Spirit.
19 But we know that whatever things the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law; so that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may be under judgment before God. (MKJV).
14 For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy]. (AMP).
Beloved, if you are in Christ you are no longer under the Law as a slave. Christ has set you free from the old written code and curse of the Law. Therefore, you must ensure that you stand fast in the liberty that Christ has given you and allow no man to put a yoke of slavery on you again.
Paul warns the church in Galatia about the danger of becoming entangled again with the yoke of bondage (the Law).
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.
3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. (NKJV).
Unfortunately, many believers today have become estranged from Christ and the blessings of His finished work because they would not heed Paul’s admonition to stand fast in the liberty of Christ and not to submit again to a yoke of slavery or bondage (the Law).
If Christians are not to serve God or walk with God according to the Law, how then should they serve God or walk with God?
Find out in the second part of this piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus Christ. I am glad to be a New Covenant believer. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to understand better and walk deeper in the blessings and benefits of the New Covenant, in Jesus’ name. Amen.