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Do we live under the new covenant? 

16-06-2011 - Posted by Marlijne

From time to time, have I been asked if we, today, as believers, live under “the new covenant” or not. Since a simple yes or no, in my opinion, will not be enough, I would like to present the following for your consideration:

According to Jeremiah 31:31ff, God will in future days, make a new covenant with the same people (Israel and Judah) as He made with them the old covenant, in the past (at Mount Sinai). As of today, this is still ‘music’ for the future.

Paul says concerning the Israelites, “theirs are… the covenants” (Rom. 9:4). I.e., not only the old covenant, but also the new covenant belongs to Israel. How can a new covenant be made with the present Ecclesia, if there never has been an old covenant with them, to begin with?

One of the features of the new covenant will be that YAHWEH will not impose His laws on Israel, but He will write them in their hearts. Is that what the Lord is doing at this time, now that, through the fall of Israel, salvation has gone to the Gentiles (Rom.11:11ff)? Does He write His laws in our heart, so we will celebrate the sabbath and all of Israel’s feast days, eat kosher food, and maintain Israel’s worship, etc.? We better not let Paul hear about this… (Gal 4:11).

Although the establishing of the new Covenant will take place in the future (Heb.8:8), the consecration of it has already happened, two thousand years ago, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, “the Mediator of a new Covenant” (Heb.12:24, 13:20; cp 9:18). Therefore, the cup which Jesus, during the Passover in the evening before for His death, shared speaks, according to His own words, of “the new Covenant in my blood” (Luke 22: 20).

Although the new covenant, itself, will be a future reality, Paul, in 2Corinthians 3 asserts that we are now, nevertheless, already sharing in the blessings of a ‘new covenant’. For example, we unconditionally know God and serve Him; God Who remembers our sins no more and Whose Spirit ‘writes’ in our hearts, etc. All those fruits, which Israel will soon reap when the new covenant with them will be established, are now already for our enjoyment. For that reason, Paul writes that God makes us able servants of a ‘new covenant’; not “of the letter, but of the Spirit” (2Cor.3:6).

“Covenants” in Scripture never are established with (groups of) individual persons, but always with families and their generations. Think of God’s covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David. The new covenant in Jer.31:31 does not deviate from this. That is one reason why, with the Ecclesia, “the body of Christ”, no covenant has been made. In the Ecclesia, carnal kinship and bloodlines, play not a single role. Believers are ‘forged’ together (Jew, Scythian, Greek or Barbarian) in one Spirit, into one Body. #7 One of the essentials of the secrets which Paul in his letters brings forward is that the Ecclesia of our days is “the body of Christ”. While Israel will soon, as a bride, be in a covenant relationship with her Husband and Maker, we are now connected with Christ as Head and body. His position and all His privileges are ours! A bride is, through a covenant, closely affiliated with her husband. Between a body and a head, by nature, no covenant is possible, because they together form an organic unity. They exist only by virtue of their unity.