Salvadore Dali – Christ of St John of the Cross
Hebrews 10:16-20 (KJV) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
“This Is The Covenant”. What Is A “Covenant”?
It is a contract between two persons, an agreement that both parties enter into in order to obtain a mutual blessing. In our modern age morality has slipped so far that most “Covenants” or “Contracts” are written on paper, executed and witnessed by lawyers, and are filed in public records with warnings of dire consequences should either party welch on their word. Among the ancients Covenants were made between two persons where each person was expected by society to keep their word. Integrity was not for sale.
The Bible begins with a Covenant between God and man and between husband and wife. When God placed Adam in the Garden He made a conditional, one sided Covenant with Adam. God made a covenant with Adam.
Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Adam had the free and unhindered blessing of Eden as long as he agreed to NOT EAT that which was forbidden. The contract was very clear, and one sided. If Adam violated the Covenant of Eden he would “surely die”. Period. Then God made Adam a wife. Adam made a Covenant with his wife:
Genesis 2:23-24 (KJV) And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Again this was a conditional Covenant. It was one sided. Adam made a promise to his Eve, an unconditional promise to remain with her. Man and wife would be a unit, One. Adam promised to cleave to His wife.
Our Bibles are divided into TWO Covenants. You have the “Old Testament”, the word “Testament” an old English word for “Covenant” or “Contract”. You have the “New Testament” or “Covenant”. Our Bible is divided that way for a reason. There are a number of Covenants in the Old Covenant part of our Bible.
Noahic covenant [Genesis 9:8–17]
Abrahamic Covenant [Genesis 12-17]
Davidic Covenant [2 Samuel 7]
The largest Covenant – the one that overshadows the Old Covenant portion of our Bible – is the Mosaic Covenant. The Mosaic Covenant was very much a conditional Covenant. God gave Israel a set of laws to follow, a set of sacrifices and festivals to adhere to, a mandate they must follow or else. God emphasized the or else of the Mosaic Covenant when – directly following the giving of the Law – He commanded Israel to enter the Promised Land of Canaan. When the leadership of Israel balked at obeying God’s Voice the Lord told them:
Numbers 14:32, 34-35 (KJV) But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. …  After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and YE SHALL KNOW MY BREACH OF PROMISE.  I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
Why did God cause the first generation of Israel to die in the wilderness? Because of a BREACH OF PROMISE. They broke the contract, the Old Covenant they had with God. Under the Old Covenant God’s people were to love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their might (Deuteronomy 6:5). Their lives were to be marked by their love for God, not for themselves. They were to love God above all else. This is what demands of His people, and this has never changed. Jesus was asked the question one day:
Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
What is ONE over riding commandment, the one that defines the Old Covenant? Jesus replied:
Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.
The Old Covenant – with all its sacrifices, rituals, and festivals boiled down to just this.
Love the God you cannot see.
Love the human that God created that you CAN see.
If you loved God then you did what He said.
You did the impossible things God said.
You did the hard things God said.
You did whatever God said.
Why? Because you loved God.
If you broke this Contract of Love then you lost the blessing. As hard as man tried to follow this contract it seemed as if no one could quite keep it. Why? Because the contract depended on the HEART of both parties.
God’s heart is pure.
God can easily keep the contract.
Man’s heart is corrupt.
The Pharisees kept the rituals to look good among men.
The Sadducees picked and chose what they thought was sacred.
The Israelite kept certain festivals, but did not daily approach God
The Law by its very nature was issued to a people whose hearts were unable to fully receive it. Why? The Apostle Paul said:
Galatians 3:22-26 (KJV) But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
No one was ever actually “saved” by keeping the Old Covenant.
God does not offer eternal life to those who do not LOVE Him.
Abraham was “saved” apart from the Old Covenant.
Noah was “saved” apart from the Old Covenant.
Enoch walked with God apart from the Old Covenant.
David was “saved” because he loved the Lord his God.
Salvation has always been a matter of faith, not works. The Old Covenant was a school master, a teacher Who would bring us to Christ, a teacher Who would show us that we needed new hearts. In the midst of the Old Covenant God promised His people one day that He would bring us a NEW COVENANT. Through the Prophet God spoke:
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (KJV) 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:  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:  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.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, 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.
Under the NEW COVENANT God promised to “put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people”. The OLD Covenant was written on tablets of stone. The NEW Covenant would be written on the heart. God promised that Israel and Judah would be under the NEW Covenant. That has not happened – yet. Israel today largely rejects the Christ that God sent. But the Lord grafted the Gentiles – that’s us – into the promises of Israel (see Romans 11:11-31). Christ came unto His own but His own did not receive Him (see John 1:11), but …
John 1:12-13 (KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
God today makes “sons of God” to those who turn to Christ. He writes His Law of love on our hearts. The standards we follow as Children of the King are those of LOVE:
Romans 8:3-4 (KJV) 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:  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 13:8-10 (KJV) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
The Law could not write on the heart. But Christ can. The Law stands outside the body. The New Covenant imparts the Spirit of God to live in us who are His. Embracing Christ, we are embraced of His love. He covers us. He indwells us. He empowers us. His Spirit speaks to us, guiding us into all truth as our Lord said:
John 16:13-14 (KJV) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
As we read of His Book – both Old and New Covenants – the Spirit guides each believer through God’s Will for his or her life. The Bible says:
Ephesians 2:10 (KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Do We Have Responsibilities Under The New Covenant?
Hebrews 10:16-17 (KJV) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
The Book of Hebrews tells us that YES we do have responsibilities under the New Covenant. God has promised under His New Covenant – a Covenant that the believer in Christ currently enjoys – to put His laws into our HEARTS and MINDS. God puts a knowledge of the holy in us. He makes us LOVE Him and LOVE one another. But God also promises to remove the breach between us. He says “their SINS and INIQUITIES will I remember no more”. This does not give us a carte blanch freedom to sin. God does not place us under the New Covenant so that we will be free to walk after the flesh. Oh Beloved, sin is still very much sin. But now instead of avoiding sin because it is written on a piece of paper we avoid sin because it hurts the God we love. Sin is a travesty against God and man. Sin is a destroyer. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). What God has deemed sin is not suddenly NOT sin nor NOT dangerous.
If it was WRONG under the OLD Covenant it is WRONG under the New.
If it was FORBIDDEN under the OLD it is forbidden NOW.
That which God despised is despised still, for God cannot change.
If we love God we will recognize this.
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not …
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
What are our responsibilities under the New Covenant?
We Are To Draw Near To God
Hebrews 10:22 (KJV) LET US DRAW NEAR with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
If God wrote His Laws on our hearts and minds then we should naturally – or supernaturally – draw near to Him. Under the Old Covenant the believer drew near to God by going to the Temple and offering sacrifices to God. Under the New Covenant we …
- Let Us Draw Near By The Blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13-16 (NKJV) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
The Old Covenant said “Go and do or be cursed”. The New Covenant “brought us near to God by the Blood of Christ”. Jesus Christ is not only the High Priest that we approach, but He is the Lamb slain for my sins. He paid the penalty of my failures, and brought me into union with God. I no longer go to Temple to draw near to God, but my Body is the Temple and God indwells me (1 Corinthians 6:19). When Jesus Christ died the Old Covenant Temple was desecrated, the veil ripped from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). Therefore the Scripture declares:
Hebrews 10:14 (KJV) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Hebrews 10:19-21 (KJV) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  And having an high priest over the house of God;
- Let Us Draw Near In Obedient Love To God. I have heard people justify continuance in sin because of their salvation in Christ. Yet this section of Scripture dealing with the New Covenant clearly states:
Hebrews 10:26-30 (KJV) For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Many today who PROFESS Christ do not POSSESS Christ. If you are born again you will, at times, sin. Yet you will not justify that sin. Why? Because God has written His laws in your hearts and minds. When you sin you will CONFESS that sin before God as soon as possible. You love God and despise sin in yourself and in others. You see sin as a poison that caused the death of Christ. You will not wallow in sin, for to do so is to prove that your heart and mind are yet stone, and that God HAS NOT written His Law of love in you. In short, if you are saved you will BEHAVE SAVED. Not all of Israel was saved in Moses’ day. If you are, you will love the Lord Who saved you.
James 4:7-8 (KJV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
When you sin, dear Christian, do not try and work your way out of it. Return to God. Recognize the Blood of Christ, and confess your sins to Him Who loves you. Draw near to God, repent, and through His Blood be cleansed to love Him evermore.
- Let Us Practice The Presence Of God Daily, Not Just At Church. He is with us through all we encounter.
Hebrews 10:8-10 (KJV) Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.  By the which will WE ARE SANCTIFIED through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
The Christian is a person who is SANCTIFIED, being SANCTIFIED, and will be SANCTIFIED. The word “SANCTIFIED” in the Greek is also used for HOLY or HOLINESS. To be “SANCTIFIED” means to be “set apart for God”. When you were saved God set you apart so that you can walk with Him on a daily basis. What has God promised in Christ:
Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
I read a book several years ago which deeply effected my walk with God. It was called The Practice Of The Presence Of God. A Catholic Monk by the name of Brother Lawrence wrote how God convinced him that the Lord was with him not just in the special “holy” places or “holy” moments, but in every minute of every day. I never thought of my walk with God that way. God has said “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”. To God, NEVER meas NEVER. He is with us when we go to bed. He is with us when we wake up. He is with us in the restroom, in the shower, in the marketplace, where ever I am there my Lord is. He rides with us. He flies with us. He is with us at work, in the hospital, and even if we are in the nursing home. He promised:
Matthew 28:20 (KJV) … I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
I read two articles the other day, one encouraging and one discouraging. The discouraging article talked about a couple named George and Shirley Brickenden who recently committed suicide together by having their doctor administer lethal injections. They did this with the encouragement of the Dean of Toronto Canada’s St. James Anglican Cathedral.
Ontario, where recently threw a “bon voyage party” for their families, before committing suicide together by having their doctor administer lethal injections. LifeNews reports that no one tried to stop them. And more shocking still, the dean of Toronto’s St. James Anglican Cathedral not only attended and blessed the procedure but then said he’d be honored to give the couple an Anglican funeral. The couple – married 73 years and neither of which were in terminal condition – just decided they wanted to die together. Their Church endorsed their suicides. Jesus Christ has given us eternal life, and every day is a gift from Him. Life has purpose and meaning because of Him. We live our lives for God, even when life is tough. We love our God first and foremost.
The other article I read was encouraging, a paradigm of faith. Dr. D.A. Carson wrote about an Anglican Bishop who was a great and godly man. This man was often referred to as the apostle to Tanzania. Yet later in life this great man suffered from Parkinson’s Disease so severe that he could neither walk nor talk. He communicated by shaky writing on a tablet he kept nearby, often having to write the same word several times to make it legible. Dr. Carson wrote:
“We “talked” about a number of matters close to his heart — at least, I did the “talking,” and tried to ask most of my questions in a form where he could signal merely yes or no. In the short time I spent with him, I sensed a man of unshaken faith, and I had the audacity to ask him how he was coping with his illness. After decades of immensely productive activity, how was he dealing with his own suffering, with the temptation to feel he was now useless and fruitless? He penned his answer twice before I could make it out: THERE IS NO FUTURE IN FRUSTRATION.”
God was with this precious man when he ministered in Tanzania, and is with this precious man now.
- Let Us Gather With Other Believers To Intentionally Love One Another. I have heard people say “I can worship God just as well in the woods hunting deer as I can in a Church building”. Yes, that is true. However the Law written on our hearts DEMANDS that we Love God first and foremost, and love others as ourselves. We are told:
Hebrews 10:23-25 (KJV) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
We come together as Christians so that we can first of all share our profession of faith. The Bible says “a threefold cord is not easily broken”. Jesus emphasized the family of God when He told us
Matthew 18:20 (KJV) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
When Jesus sent disciples out to witness, they always went in minimums of TWO (Luke 10:1). John said “no one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us”. God’s Presence is magnified when two or more of us gather together in His Name. We come together to
provoke one another to love and good works
We work together as His Body (see 1 Corinthians 12) and His Family. We encourage one another, teach one another, and live out the life of Christ in the presence of one another for God’s glory. We worship our Lord both privately and together. We are obedient to Him Who loves us. We are called to be His People, His Light to a lost and dying world. May God touch your hearts with His Word!