What is the New Covenant?

Jeremiah 31 says, “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.” When Jesus first gave the Lord’s Supper to His disciples He told them, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” What exactly is the New Covenant?

The short answer is that the New Covenant is another covenant with Israel made by God after the Israelites repeatedly showed themselves to be unable and unwilling to keep their end of the Mosaic Covenant. Unlike the covenant made at Mt. Sinai, the New Covenant is not conditional. The Mosaic Covenant required the Israelites to obey the Mosaic law to receive the blessings promised. The New Covenant requires nothing of the covenant people. God does everything required under the New Covenant.

Even while making the Mosaic covenant God spoke of the New Covenant. After prophesying the failure of Israel to keep the Mosaic covenant, Moses tells of the time to come when God will establish His people in righteousness. In Deuteronomy 30:6 it is promised that God will “circumcise thy heart” so the Israelites will love God with all their heart and soul. He says in Leviticus 26:44-45, “neither will I . . . break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sake remember the covenant of their ancestors . . . that I might be their God.”

According to Ezekiel 36:26-27 the new covenant will be fulfilled when God puts a new heart and a new spirit in the Israelites. God will give them His Holy Spirit so that they will keep the law of God. Their obedience will not be because of the external compulsion of the law but from the internal desire of the transformed heart. According to Ezekiel 36:28-30 the new covenant will be fulfilled when God restores the Israelites to the land and gives them the full extent of the promised land.

Through the death of Jesus Gentile Christians have been made beneficiaries of the new covenant. The New Covenant promises in Jeremiah and Hebrews are promises of forgiveness. God will not remember the sins of His people. When Jesus restores the Israelites to the promised land, the saved Gentiles will have a heritage in that land. They will be part of the people of God who enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is God’s restoration of Israel to their land and the transformation of all the redeemed so that they will desire and perfectly obey His commands.

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