Entering God’s New Covenant
Summary: Jesus made it possible for us to enter the new covenant with God.
The Old Testament describes several covenants God made with people and other covenants made between people. The most important of these is God’s first covenant with the nation of Israel, which included the Law of Moses. As we’ll see later in this series, two of the main purposes of the Law were to define sin and reveal man’s total inability to approach God because of it. At the appropriate time, God promised to make a new covenant with Israel, unlike the first one which Israel was unable to keep. (Jer 31:31-32)
That first covenant was only with the nation of Israel, so it excluded Gentiles. (Ex 19:3-6) It even specified how they were to treat foreigners differently than their fellow Israelites, which created an ethnic barrier between them. (Deut 14:21; 15:3; 17:15; 23:20) Gentiles were excluded from citizenship in Israel and the covenant God made with them; therefore, they were totally separated from God. (Eph 2:11-12)
The new covenant God promised to make with Israel is totally different, even including Gentiles and changing their relationship with the Jews. Through his death on the cross, Jesus destroyed the barrier between Jews and Gentiles — by abolishing the Law of Moses with its commandments and regulations — and reconciled them both to God. (Eph 2:14-16) That was such a radical departure from the first covenant that, in the first few years after Jesus’ death, the first believers or Christians were all Jews and had difficulty believing that Gentiles could become Christians. (see Acts 10:1-11:18) Today, Gentile Christians far outnumber Jewish believers, or Messianic Jews.
In other words, by dying for the sins of the whole world, Jesus removed that which separated us from God and made it possible for anyone to enter covenant with him. (1 Jn 2:2) Gentiles may now enter the new covenant God made with Israel, and he uses that to make the Jews envious. (Ro 11:11)
Now let’s consider how God made this covenant and how we enter it.
God Made Covenant With Jesus
The Son of God became Jesus, the Son of Man, born of a woman under the Law of Moses. (Gal 4:4) His mother was a virgin who became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Mt 1:18) Unlike every other human born since the time of Adam, Jesus was born without sin. How was that possible? “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (Jn 3:6) That is, Mary gave birth to Jesus’ body, but the Holy Spirit gave birth to his spirit and it is the sinful human spirit that must be born again or regenerated for a person to become righteous before God. (Jn 3:5) Since Jesus’ spirit was formed by the Holy Spirit instead of by the spirit of a sinful human, he was born free of sin. As he matured and grew, he faced all the temptations and tests we do but didn’t sin. (Heb 4:15)
Jesus came to earth as mediator of the new covenant between God and man. (Heb 9:15) But he served as more than a mediator or reconciler between the parties entering covenant, because as a human he also represented humanity in the covenant. He could only do that as a human, which is why his being the “Son of Man” was so significant. Jesus, the only sinless human since Adam sinned, entered covenant with God, as evidenced by God’s statement, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” (Heb 1:5; 5:5) Becoming a child of God, or having God become your Father, is an essential element of the new covenant and Jesus the man experienced this as a representative of humanity. Because he was totally without sin, nothing separated him from God so he could enter that covenant voluntarily. As a human, he represented humanity when he entered the new covenant with God and died for the sins of the whole world, making it possible for others to enter the covenant.
We Enter God’s Covenant
Jesus stated that his blood, which was poured out for the forgiveness of sins, was the blood of the covenant; that is, his blood sealed the new covenant for us whose sins prevented us from entering covenant with God. (Mt 26:28) The key for us is believing that Jesus is the Christ and that he died for our sin, and receiving him as Savior. (1 Jn 5:1) When we do, we immediately enter the covenant and become God’s children. (Jn 1:12)
Our entire relationship with God is based on this covenant. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life, and no one can enter this covenant relationship except through him. (Jn 14:6)