If we misunderstand the covenant that we are under with God, we are going to feel like He is pleased with some days and mad at us on other days. Some days we will feel qualified for His favor and some days we will feel like we need to earn it because we have not lived up to His standards.
That type of reasoning reveals a mindset that does not understand what has changed when Jesus stood in our place before God and took the entire curse that we deserved so that we could receive all of the blessing that He deserves. Understanding the change in covenants unveils the relationship God wants us to enjoy and the means by which we are qualified to receive His favor.
God’s grace does not have a beginning and it does not have an end. The covenant of grace is an eternal covenant that God cut even before time began and it was cut between the Father and the Son. The Bible says that Jesus Christ, the Son, is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the earth. (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:19-20)
If Christ is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world, it means that God never intended for us to relate to Him through our own righteousness, but His. That is why even before he created us He had already planned a way for us to receive that righteousness through Christ’s sacrifice, where He would take our unrighteousness and give us His righteousness. Not through anything we would ever do. Not through works, or keeping the law. Not through trying to please God or by obedience.
“So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or ashamed of me His prisoner but join with me in suffering for the gospel by the power of God 9who has saved us and called us to a holy life. Not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus.”
– 2 TIMOTHY 1:8-9 (NIV)
God’s plan was always for us to relate to Him by his own grace through Christ and not our own self-righteousness. God purposed before time began to save us and bring us into a relationship with Him (a holy life) by grace and never because of anything we would do.
The Making Of The New Covenant Had Nothing To Do With You
The New Covenant is better because it was made differently – it was made outside of you and the terms of the agreement had nothing to do with you. God made the covenant with His Son, Jesus. And then He brought you into it when He brought you into Christ. When you are placed and positioned ‘in Christ’, you become a co-heir with Christ, and He gives you the full rights of spiritual Sonship. (John 1:12; Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:5)
Paul teaches that ultimately the promises to Abraham were made to one (singular) Offspring, not to many (plural) offsprings (Galatians 3:16). Therefore, since Jesus is the rightful heir of Abraham’s blessings, those who are placed in Him are now automatically considered co-heirs with Christ of the same promises! The moment you have faith in Jesus, you are placed into Him. You are permanently placed and positioned in the One who is ‘the Seed’ and rightful heir of Abraham. You are baptized into, clothed and covered with, the One Who has the perfect pedigree. (Galatians 3:14, 26-29)
Because Jesus perfectly qualifies for Abraham’s blessings, so do those who are found in Him! The promise of greatness, fruitfulness, influence and significance; the promise of great reward, and a blessing that is contagious and world-reaching; the promise of protection, vindication and abundant provision; the promise of a great personal legacy, land-possession, and the privilege of walking blameless in His Presence, all belong to those who believe in Jesus. (Genesis 12:2-3; 15:1; 17:4-8; Romans 4:13)
Because God made the covenant with Jesus that also means that your relationship with God now is not based on your fluctuating righteousness and performance in keeping or breaking laws but on Christ’s righteousness and his perfect performance on your behalf.
As the spotless and faultless Lamb of God, Jesus also has the perfect performance. Although tempted in every way as we are, He was without sin. Peter says; ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.’ (1 Peter 2:22). In His life, the man Christ Jesus perfectly performed obedience to the Law. In His death, He also perfectly performed as a payment for every disobedience to the Law.
So Jesus, by His perfect performance, has been counted worthy of inheriting all of God’s blessings as promised in the Mosaic Law Covenant, and never again inheriting or experiencing the curse, wrath, anger and judgment the Law demanded for disobedience. His once-for-all complete payment for sin at Calvary means that He will never taste of that punishment ever again.
The same is true for those who are found in Him, who have been declared forever ‘holy’ by His sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10-14). We too, because of our position ‘in Christ’, are rightful heirs of the blessings of God as described in the Mosaic Law, and never of the curses or judgments! (Galatians 3:13-14. See Deuteronomy 7:11-15 and 28:1-68 for some specific examples of the blessings promised for obedience to the Law Covenant, and the subsequent curses promised for disobedience.)
What God promised Israel as reward for their obedience, is now the right and inheritance of the New Covenant believer because of Christ’s obedience on our behalf. The promise of a long and prosperous life; the promise of His special blessing and favor upon our families, economics, investments, possessions and health; the promise of ‘abundant prosperity’ upon all the work of our hands, making us ‘the head, not the tail’, ‘at the top, never at the bottom’; and the promise of God delighting in us―His people, His portion, and His most treasured possession (Deuteronomy 5:33; 26:18-19; 28:11-13; 30:9; 32:9). Because of Jesus’ perfect performance, these wonderful Old Covenant promises are “Yes” to those in Christ. If you are in Christ, you qualify for these blessings!
Also, the New Covenant a whole new set of promises become ours as well!
Through the Gospel of Jesus, God promises to forgive our wickedness and never recall or remember our sins again. In fact, not only are all debts forgiven and wiped completely clean, but our heavenly account is also credited with the perfect righteousness of Christ, meaning that we share the same right standing before the Father as does Jesus Himself! (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
As a result of His ‘everlasting kindness’, expressed in the suffering and sacrifice of His Son, God promises to never be angry with His people again, to never remove His unfailing love or this ‘covenant of peace’ from those who stand justified before Him because of their knowledge of Christ. Unlike the now ‘obsolete’ Law Covenant, this is an ‘everlasting covenant’ where God promises to ‘never stop’ doing good to His people. (Isaiah 53:11; 54:7-10; Hebrews 8:13)
The Security Of The New Covenant
Jesus can never break His end of the covenant. In fact He has already fulfilled it perfectly on your behalf, emphasized by the fact that He now sits in heaven (Hebrews 10:12-13). It is also complete in us because He has made us perfect (Hebrews 10:14) and we are seated with Him in heaven (Ephesians 2:6).
From that finished place, Jesus now mediates this new covenant relationship between God and man. Under the old, the priests were inferior because they died and could only offer temporary sacrifices. So the people could never enter into a perfect relationship with God in time and especially not in eternity.
Christ is superior because He offered a perfect sacrifice that once and for all removes all sins for all time and is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek meaning He has an indestructible life and can mediate the covenant between God and man. This gives us absolute security and confidence in our relationship with God. That He’s not relating to us according to our performance-based righteousness but rather according to the righteousness of Christ that we have become (Hebrews 7:20-22).
The way the New Covenant works is that God the Father binds Himself to the covenant by an oath saying, “I promise that I will never relate to those in Christ through their righteousness but I swear by a covenant oath to always relate to them through the finished work of Jesus.” (Hebrews 10:16-19)
Under the old covenant, the focus is on you — Thou shall not… Thou shall not… Thou shall not… It is all about your performance, your obedience, your works. But under the new covenant, God says, “I will put My laws in their mind… I will be their God… I will be merciful to their unrighteousness… their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” It is no longer you working for God, but God working for you, in you, through you!
The new covenant works because of one thing only, and it is the last clause of the new covenant—Hebrews 8:12. To the measure that you have a revelation of this clause and all its blessings, to that measure you will walk in it.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12)
- The new covenant works because God says that He will be merciful to our unrighteousness, and our sins and lawless deeds He will remember no more!
“No more” means that there was a time God remembered our sins, even to punish them to the third and fourth generations (Exodus 20:5).
However, today, God says emphatically, “No more!” (double negative in the Greek). “No more” means that God will never again remember our sins against us because He remembered (to punish) all our sins in the body of His Son. Jesus bore God’s punishment of our sins on the cross. Now, we can walk in the new covenant and hear God say, “Your sins and lawless deeds I remember no more.” We can therefore boldly relate to God and continually live in His presence.
- Jesus also, ever lives to intercede for us. His blood speaks on our behalf that our sins are removed and we have been made the righteousness of God in Him.
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
– ROMANS 8:31-35
- Then, furthermore, the Holy Spirit is also our Advocate – meaning our legal defense. So when Satan, or the law, or other people or even you accuse yourself saying; “God, they broke this law or that law, how can you love them? How can You relate to them?” the Holy Spirit says, “Father remember, You swore an oath and promised to not relate to them through their performance, their righteousness or their shortcomings. You swore to relate to them through Christ’s righteousness.” Case dismissed!
14For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”
– HEBREWS 10:14–16A
In the New Covenant, God’s empowering and intoxicating Presence becomes our privileged portion, both now and for all eternity, and serves as the distinguishing mark of those who belong to Him. (Ezekiel 37:26-28)
And it’s not because we were born right or we behave right – it’s simply because we believe right. As Jesus Himself once said, we fulfill the work that God requires of us when we ‘believe in the one He has sent’. (John 6:29)
As a result of placing our trust in the One ‘who had no sin (but became) sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’, we can now ‘approach God with freedom and confidence’. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 3:12)
The privilege of free and uninhibited access to the supernatural Presence and Provision of God is ours, purely because we are placed and permanently positioned ‘in Christ’. In this everlasting and vastly superior covenant, God Himself has unmistakably and irreversibly ‘qualified you’ to share in the eternal riches of His promised blessings. (Colossians 1:12)
When you are established in the new covenant of grace, you will experience a tremendous sense of confidence and security in Christ. When your confidence is in His unmerited favor and not your performance, you will not feel as if you are constantly jumping in and out of His favor and acceptance.
It is unfortunate that some believers have put themselves back under the old covenant without realizing it. Sometimes, they feel that God is on their side, but at other times, they feel that God is far away from them. Sometimes, they feel that God is satisfied with them, but at other times, they feel that God is angry with them. All these feelings are based predominantly on their own evaluation of how they have performed, how they feel about themselves, and not how God sees them. Because there is no new covenant scriptural basis for such evaluations, they end up arbitrarily deciding if they are deserving of God’s blessings and favor in their lives or not, when in fact, they actually have access to His blessings all the time, simply because of Jesus and His finished work at the cross.
The question to ask today is not if God is satisfied with you. The question that we need to ask is this: Is God satisfied with the cross of Jesus? And the answer is this: He is completely satisfied! At the cross, our acceptance is found. There, Jesus cried out with His last breath “It is finished!” (Ioan 19:30). The work is complete. The full punishment for all our sins was exacted on Jesus at the cross. God will not punish the believer again, not because He has gone soft on sin, but because all our sins have already been punished in the body of Jesus. God’s holiness and His justice are now on your side! Today, God is not assessing you based on what you have or have not done. He is assessing you based on what Jesus has done. Is God satisfied with Jesus today? Yes, of course He is! Then, to the same extent that God is satisfied with Jesus, He is satisfied with you.
Sounds too good to be true? This good news gets you to the point where you realize that this new covenant reality came at a heavy price. God’s own Son had to be crushed at Calvary for this blessing to become a reality in your life. The gift of His unmerited favor and His righteousness is only a free gift for you today because the full payment for this gift was exacted upon Jesus’ body.
So, don’t let anyone hoodwink you into thinking that you need to pay for your own sins. Don’t let anyone deceive you with the lie that your eternal salvation in Christ is uncertain and shakable!