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New Covenant

In case you haven’t heard, I might be running for President in 2020!  At least my son (who just turned 11 on January 2nd—where does the time go?) wants me to.  I told him I could never win but he insists that with him at the helm of the campaign I’d be a shoe-in.  Wonder what party I might be running in?  Not Republican.  Not Democrat.  I will be a Whigderalist!  I’m not sure exactly what that means but my potential campaign manager (the aforementioned precocious 11 year old upstart!) thought it’d be a good idea to begin a party that combines the Whigs and the Federalists, political factions from America’s past.  (Again, I’m not sure what a Whigderalist stands for necessarily, but I was highly impressed by the fact that Benji knew about the Whigs and the Federalists.  He must have a great history teacher!)  One of the most important things the First-Kid hopeful would like for me to do IF I win (WHEN I win if you ask him) is repeal the 22nd Amendment which limits a President to two terms.  (He’d like for me to rule for life!)

This constitutional amendment came after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to 4 terms to the highest office in the land.  He was a popular figure who promoted a set of initiatives called The New Deal to people going through a hard economic time known as The Great Depression.  FDR promised prosperity and jobs to the impoverished populace by using government money to start up infrastructure projects and welfare-like programs.  The people, at least the majority of the people, wanted a New Deal, pined for a New Deal, and reveled in the idea that the New Deal would bring hope and blessing beyond that of their “Old Deal.”  And they voted for FDR and his promised New Deal over and over for 4 presidential elections.  (Truth be told, historically it is very debatable whether the New Deal or World War II is more to credit for the economic turnaround the country experienced, but that’s a topic for another day.)…

People generally like a New Deal, especially because almost nobody thinks the Deal they’ve got now, no matter what its details, is as good as it could be.  This is certainly true for any earthly agreement or arrangement.  At best these deals are only temporary and are guaranteed only by the character and resources of fallen humanity.  However, there is a New Deal, a New Covenant, which is eternal and founded upon the character and resources of God Himself.

The Old Testament presented many Covenants, all of which were inferior to, but were integral in pointing to, the better Covenant, the New Covenant that would come through Christ.  The Edenic Covenant finds man in the Garden of Eden, being given dominion over all Creation (Gen. 1 and 2).  The Adamic Covenant comes after the first couple eats the forbidden fruit and then hides from God.  After judging mankind and the serpent, God promises that someday there would be One from the seed of woman (prophesying the Virgin Birth some 4000 years before it occurred) who would crush the head of the devil.  The Lord then covers Adam and Eve with animal skins from a sacrifice that He Himself performed (Gen. 3).  Genesis 6 begins the story of a man named Noah.  Humanity was full of sin and God brought judgment in the form of a flood that wiped everyone out except for Noah’s family and a representation of the animals on the Earth.  After the waters subsided, the Lord made the Noahic Covenant, promising that He would never again destroy the world by flood and setting a rainbow in the sky to seal His word (Gen. 9:1-17).

Beginning in Genesis 12 the Abrahamic Covenant begins to unfold.  From all the peoples of the world, God chooses a man named Abram (later renamed Abraham) through whose descendants the whole world would be blessed, and circumcision is eventually given as a sign for His chosen people.  In Exodus, approximately 500 years after Abraham, God raises up a man named Moses who would be used to lead the Jews out of the Egyptian bondage they found themselves in.  The Mosaic Covenant is then laid out where the Ten Commandments are issued forth as a binding sign and agreement between God and His people.  Some 500 years after Moses, Israel finds itself as a nation under the rule of King David.  Though not perfect, this man was a humble soul, being called in Scripture “a man after God’s own heart.”  He was honored by the Lord presenting what’s known as the Davidic Covenant to him.  This was God basically telling David that he would have descendants who would forever sit upon the throne (2 Sam. 7).  About 400 years after David, the Prophet Jeremiah was ministering during a time when God’s chosen people were especially sinful.  Jeremiah proclaimed the true message from the Lord that the people’s wrongdoing was going to bring judgment from God’s hand through the instrument of the Babylonians.  However, even in the midst of the terrible, though just, punishment that was about to ensue, Jeremiah prophesied the coming of a future New Covenant where the Law of the Lord would be written on the internal hearts of men instead of merely upon external tablets of stone, where He would be their God and His chosen would genuinely be His people, where believers would know God personally, and where the Lord would forgive iniquity and would remember their sins no more (Jer. 31:31-37).

Fast forward some 600 years after Jeremiah and Jesus sits with His disciples at a meal we have come to call The Last Supper.  He gives them the cup to drink and declares that it represents the New Covenant which would be made in His blood (Luke 22:19-20); blood that would be shed a few hours later when Jesus died upon the cross, paying the penalty for all who would repent of sin and put exclusive trust in Him as Savior.  A New Covenant where man could become a new creation (fulfilling the Edenic Covenant).  A New Covenant where man’s sins would not be covered by the skins of an animal but cleansed by the sacrifice of THE Lamb of God (fulfilling the Adamic Covenant).  A New Covenant, where the Son of God would be the Ark of safety Who would take the arrow of the bow of God’s righteous wrath for all those who would be His children (fulfilling the Noahic Covenant).  A New Covenant where THE Seed of Abraham would indeed bless all in the world who would believe in Him and would provide circumcision for their hearts (fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant).  A New Covenant where the Commandments which every man broke were kept by the Son of Man who was also the Son of God and where His righteous resume could be imputed to believers who apart from Him only had an unrighteous rap sheet (fulfilling the Mosaic Covenant).  A New Covenant where the Seed of David would rise from the dead and be declared King of kings and Lord of lords, and He shall reign forever (fulfilling the Davidic Covenant)!  A New Covenant where the believer’s sin debt would be paid in full (note:  Jesus’ famous cry from the cross “It Is Finished!” literally means “Paid In Full!”), where the souls now cleansed from sin could be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and consequently have both the law of God written on their hearts and the Divine power necessary to follow after it internally instilled (fulfilling the New Covenant prophesy of Jeremiah)!  This New Covenant was not “New” in the sense of coming out of nowhere for it had long been prophesied, but it was “New” in the sense that it fulfilled to the utmost degree all of the covenants of God.  All those Old Covenants pointed to this New Covenant that was superior in every way! (read the book of Hebrews)  Thanks be to God for the New Covenant in Christ’s blood by which we are saved if indeed we have repented of sin and put trust in Him!…

No doubt many of you received some new things during the Holiday season.  Some got new clothes.  Maybe a new style than what was in fashion last year, maybe a new size than you were wearing last year (we won’t talk about whether the new size went in the larger or smaller direction—your secret’s safe with me!).  Some got new dvd’s (hopefully Gaither videos!), new games, new electronics of some sort because last year’s technology (or was that last month’s!) is now obsolete and antiquated.  Some got new cars.  (Okay, maybe not many of you or any of you got a new vehicle.  I always stand amazed at seeing those commercials where the husband and/or wife come out on Christmas morning and find a new ride with a big red bow attached on the front.  I, for one, cannot imagine bringing my Wonderful Wife out the front door of our house and basically declaring, “we got a big new car payment for the next five years and I didn’t even consult you—Merry Christmas!”  My Love is the sweetest person you could ever meet, but I’m afraid if I did such a thing it might get cold enough to snow in Florida!)  New things are sometimes necessary, as when the old has worn out.  New things are sometimes a blessing, as a gift is often an expression of love.  However, the new worldly things we get in this life may make us feel good temporarily on the outside, but if there’s nothing new on the inside then it’s just the same old person in a new style (and/or size) of clothes, playing with some new toy (yes I’m including technology here), and riding in some new automobile.  Give it a few years (cars), months (fashion styles), or days (technology) and you’ll need (or at least want) the next new thing.  Greater than any short-lived enjoyment we could receive from new worldly things are the “new” spiritual things that come to the believer through the New Covenant given by and in Christ.  Your sins forgiven, your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and your home in Heaven eternal.  These blessings, everlasting in nature, never grow old.  If you’ve not availed yourself of this New Covenant, do so by repenting of sin and placing faith in Christ.  If you have partaken of the New Covenant then rejoice and grow in holiness.  The New Covenant; no greater New Deal was ever made, no greater New Gift was ever given!