So far we’ve seen that God established a priesthood through the Old Covenant and another through the New. And He gave a law to each priesthood that dictated the method for conveying His message to the world.
The Old Covenant’s law defined a set of dramas (or pictures) for the Israelites to predict Jesus’ coming and His then-future accomplishments. When He came –the Old was over –its purpose was completed. Now the New Covenant is in effect and its law tells us (Jews and non-Jews) what God wants said and done. (That’s the substance of the book of Hebrews.)
In essence, the Law of the New Covenant (our message to the world) is…
Jesus is the One who is described by the whole Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.
His story –recorded in the gospels– proves that He came and did everything that was predicted about Him.
Now, because of what He has done, anyone can approach God and receive His gracious, merciful and necessary gift of eternal life without any fear of reprisal.
Furthermore, God hasn’t set any expectations for us to meet –instead He’s developing a trust-faith-love relationship through this life’s experiences.
It’s essential to know the Old –at least its purpose and what Jesus did to fulfill it– else the New Covenant has no real meaning. Through it we learned that we were separated from God –we were lifeless. But there is a new, eternal life available. Upon receiving that life, we are transformed –made perfect according to His standard. All of the troubles that we encounter here are to lead us to be dependent on Him for everything. And it all starts while we’re here on earth.
An understanding of just a few Scripture passages can make our role simple. First, they give us a secure foundation for our own relationship with God. Then, after internalizing the implications for our own lives, we can explain our experiences to others.
Let’s start with this one in Second Corinthians chapter five…
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
A fundamental theme throughout the Bible is that of starting over –having a new beginning. It’s the sum total of Noah’s story –the old was washed away and everything was new. It’s what the Israelites experienced after the Exodus –the rebellious generation that left Egypt died in the desert and only their offspring were led into the Promised Land. Their Law declared every seventh year to be one of renewal –slaves were freed, loans were canceled, even the land rested from bearing crops. And of course there’s the famous discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus that stresses the second birth. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (in John chapter three).
Here it is again: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” That’s what God has made us –we’re new creatures in Christ.
Right there in the middle is the crux of our message: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” The Law of Moses showed every single morning and evening that a sacrifice had to give up its life so that people could live.
All of those sacrifices were foreshadows of Jesus’ doing just that. Now, “There is no longer any offering for sin.” That’s directly from the wording of the New Covenant that God has made with us ( ).
It’s not only are our trespasses, transgressions, sins, rebellious ways that have been reconciled by Jesus’ death –everyone’s have been and we’re supposed to tell them about it. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
Although this Romans chapter doesn’t give us a quote for our message, it does provide a sure foundation to rest on. It bluntly says that we all were sinners (rebels through and through) –we were God’s enemies. Even so, He reconciled absolutely every one of us to Himself through Christ’s death. Then the threshold is declared –salvation is through His resurrected life.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:8-10)
Lastly, the passage that named the New Covenant’s law also shouts out its glorious good news. Condemnation is no longer a worry… Sin and death are not in our future… We have been freed from our flesh’s control…
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin,
He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-2)
Our purpose in this new life is to tell the world that God is not counting men’s sins against them. He wants them to know Jesus –the Savior who gives life to those who believe Him.
God doesn’t remember our sins and lawless acts. He did –it was at the cross. He will never remember them again. Not only is that written in–it’s actually a quote from the Old Testament about what would happen after the Messiah came ( ).
The message that we ambassadors are to always have ready is found in that 2 Corinthians 5 passage (above). “God isn’t counting men’s sins against them. He took our sin so that we might become righteous in Him.” Furthermore, we’re to let people know that God has reconciled us all to Himself. In response, we’re to reconcile ourselves to Him –that’s to quit trying to improve what He has made perfect.
You’ve probably heard somewhere that the same 613 rules (laws, statutes, etc.) of the Old Testament are repeated in the New Testament so we’re to still follow them. Those laws have two purposes. (I hope you’re not getting tired of reading this because it’s truly essential.)
They describe Jesus as God –the One who gives life; and they tell us that we aren’t God –we desperately need that life.