We’re wrapping up the final part of our mini-series, Too Good + So True, where we’ve been learning all about the good news of the far better and far superior New Covenant. Pastor Beth brings another incredible message packed with revelation about the reality of this New Covenant that’s filled with better promises and far better glory!
In Part 2 of How Good is the New Covenant?, we’re discovering the answers to questions like:
What do we do with the Old Testament?
What does the “IF/THEN” of the old and the “BECAUSE/THEN” of the new look like?
What about believers who don’t want to sin, but still do?
We will all be encouraged by Pastor Beth’s message, insights from other biblical leaders, and of course, the Word of God!
If you’re caught up on Part 1 of our mini-series, you’ll remember that throughout the series, we’ve been considering questions like…
Here’s a quick summary of the Old Covenant: God basically instructed the people to obey all of His commands in the Old Testament. But they weren’t able to do it (and neither are we!). The Lord knew their unfaithfulness would happen, and those laws were given so that we would recognize our absolute need for a Savior! The Bible even calls the law a tutor to lead us to Christ. The Old Covenant was impossible to fulfill. Thankfully, Jesus came along and perfectly fulfilled the law in our place!
Hebrews 8:6-8 (NLT) 6But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. 7If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. 8But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.
God promised to make a new, fat better covenant that is based on better promises. The Old Covenant was based on man’s faithfulness to God, but the New Covenant is based on God’s faithfulness to Himself because there is no one, no thing, higher than Him. Jesus is the guarantor of the New Covenant!
Hebrews 10:10-14 (NLT) 10For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. 11Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
Be encouraged! God is not going to undo all the perfectness that He did for us. We’re in a process of sanctification for the entire rest of our lives. Our spirit has been made perfect! Does that mean we won’t ever sin? Of course not. We are not perfect in the sense of our behavior or our performance, but in our identity. This is the good news of the New Covenant!
Which of the questions from above still feels challenging for you to answer?
What seems to be the best part of the New Covenant to you personally?
Does the New Covenant seem believable? Are you able to fully accept this free gift?
- What do we do with the Old Testament?
- What does the “if/then” and “because/then” look like?
- What about believers and sin?
- We learn creation and history
- We gain wisdom for life, relationships, marriage, success
- We see how to have an intimate relationship with God
- We get prophetic words about Jesus first and second coming
- We learn about types/shadows (feasts, sacrifices) pointing to Jesus
- We see faith principles in action
1 John 4:15-17 (NKJV) 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
Blessings + Curses – Deuteronomy 28
Benefits – Psalm 103
God’s Presence – Hebrews 13:5
God’s Will – 1 John 5:14-15
Galatians 3:1-6 (MSG) 1You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a spell on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.
2-4Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!
5-6Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don’t these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.
How would you describe the difference, in your own words, between the if/then and because/then of the old versus new covenant?
What are some of the benefits for your life under the because/then truth of the New Covenant?
Based on the New Covenant better promises, what do we know about God’s character?
Romans 6:1 (AMP) 1What shall we say [to all this]? Should we continue in sin and practice sin as a habit so that [God’s gift of] grace may increase and overflow? 2Certainly not! How can we, the very ones who died to sin, continue to live in it any longer?
If God’s salvation and approval are given on the basis of faith instead of works, won’t we just say “I believe” and then live any way we please? From a purely natural or secular viewpoint, grace is dangerous. This is why many people don’t really teach or believe in grace and instead emphasize living by law. They believe that if you tell people that God saves and accepts them apart from what they deserve, then they will have no motive to be obedient. In their opinion, you simply can’t keep people on the straight and narrow without a threat from God hanging over their head. If they believe their position in Jesus is settled because of what Jesus did, then the motivation of holy living is gone.
-David Guzik – Bible Commentary Author, Pastor
- I avoid sin; I want to obey God = Forgiven praise God and enjoy life
- I don’t want to sin; but I do = Forgiven, tell God and rest in His finished work
- I like to sin, but I know I shouldn’t = Forgiven, but face consequences
- I don’t want to sin, how do I stop = Forgiven, live from heart dead to sin
- I might as well sin, I’m forgiven = Forgiven, living with no peace or joy (or not forgiven and not saved)
- “I avoid sin; I want to obey God…”
- “I don’t want to sin; but I do…”
Luke 7:47 “I tell you, her sins–and there are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
- “I like to sin, but I know I shouldn’t…”
- “I don’t want to sin; how do I stop…”
- “I am living in sin, I feel guilty…”
“The grace that does not change my life will not save my soul … God has so changed your nature by his grace that when you sin you shall be like a fish on dry land, you shall be out of your element, and long to get into a right state again. You cannot sin, for you love God. The sinner may drink sin down as the ox drinketh down water, but to you it shall be as the brine of the sea. You may become so foolish as to try the pleasures of the world, but they shall be no pleasures to you.”
Hebrews 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season...
Galatians 6:7-8 (AMPC) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. 8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
John 8:3-11 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
- “I might as well sin, I’m forgiven…”
“You’re allergic to sin. You’re addicted to Jesus. You’re going to prove this truth one way or another: by sinning and being miserable or by trusting Jesus and being fulfilled. Either way, you prove sin won’t work for you. God has empowered you to live in a new and better way. ... In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11) This isn’t about you naming or claiming something to make it true. This is about you living in the reality that you don’t want to sin. That’s right: You don’t really want to sin. You may feel you do, but you don’t. You have a new default setting. You have a new normal. You’re allergic to sin and addicted to righteousness! You may feel like you want to sin. But you’re going to prove your new identity one way or another: by sinning and being miserable or by expressing Jesus and being fulfilled You can’t escape your destiny of displaying Christ.
-Andrew Farley – Pastor, Bible Teacher
1 John 3:6-10 (NLT) Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on
sinning does not know him or understand who he is. 7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live
righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
“To treat being under grace as an excuse for sinning is a sign that one is not really under grace at all.”
-F.F. Bruce – Theologian
Hebrews 10:26-27 (NKJV) For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
What is the “willful sin” that Hebrews talks about? The willful sin is the sin of rejecting Jesus and unbelief in His finished work on the cross. Jesus calls it "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" and resisting His truth. This is the one and only sin that will keep someone from what God has planned for them in heaven. To be sure that doesn't happen, all we're called to do is believe! Whosoever would believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. Amen!
Acts 13:38-39 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
To believe in Jesus means to:
- Turn from (repent) your own self-effort and good works and trust in His effort and works
- Believe that Jesus and His shed blood is the only way to salvation
- Receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior
- Trust that all your sins (past, present, and future) were punished on the cross
How does truly, fully believing in Jesus differ from simply acknowledging His existence?
What does it mean to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?
How is it possible that God can forgive our sins that we have not yet committed?
Mark 14:22-26 (NLT) As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many. 25 I tell you the truth, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.” 26 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Father, thank you so much for your goodness, your mercy, your grace, your kindness, and your faithfulness to us. Thank you for our church family. We pray, Lord, today by the power of the Holy Spirit that you will speak to us and enlighten us. Please open the eyes of our heart to understand more fully what this new and better covenant is all about and what it means to us. Thank you for the eternal fruit that will be the result of our time together. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray, Amen!