Memphis Belle

"Which Covenant Are We In?

New CovenantRomans 3:27 What ABout the Law?

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A Simple Explanation"  

The new covenant is defined by Paul in Hebrews 8:7-13, "For if there had been nothing wrong with the first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.  But God found fault with the people and said: 'The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.  This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.  No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.  For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.' [Paul quoting from Jeremiah 31:31-34.]  By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear."  [Paul wrote this before the Temple had been destroyed, which when destroyed put an end to the Levitical priesthood performing the rituals called for in the old covenant.]  The apostle Paul gave the central theme of the new covenant just quoted in Hebrews 10:16 where he stated, "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord.  I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."  That is the central core of the new covenant.

By simplest definition of what we see Paul saying in Hebrews 8:7-13, the core of the message is that those living in this new covenant would fit into this condition:  "I will put My law in their mind and write them on their hearts..." [vs 10]  If the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we have this ability--the law of God has been put in our minds and written on our hearts.  That by Paul's definition, places us right in the new covenant, even though as originally quoted from Jeremiah 31:31-34, the new covenant does not come upon the House of Judah or the House of Israel until after Jesus Christ's 2nd coming.  But for the Church, the body of Christ, we're in the new covenant right now if God's Holy Spirit dwells in us.



Next question raised by this Scripture in Hebrews 8:7-13 is: Which laws of God are being talked about here?  The old covenant law of God was ratified by God under Moses, but this is talking about a new covenant, ratified in the blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  So naturally, it would have to be the laws spoken of by Jesus Christ and the Apostles in the New Testament. Don't forget, Jesus is God in the flesh, the one who was YHVH of the Old Testament, the one who gave the Law to Moses on Sinai (read John 1:1-11)--The Torah. What do we find Jesus saying or quoting about what the law of God is in the New Testament?  Mark 12:28-32. "Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?'  'The most important one,' answered Jesus, 'is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'  The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  There is no commandment greater than these.'"  Jesus was quoting Leviticus 19:18.  And these two laws are a summation of the Ten Commandments.  The first one mentioned by Jesus, that we are to love God with all our hearts, is a summation of the first four of the Ten Commandments.  The second law mentioned, loving our neighbors as ourselves, is a summation of the last six of the Ten Commandments, which tell us how we are to love our neighbors (i.e. not murdering them, not committing adultery against your neighbor's wife, not stealing from your neighbor, not lying to him or her, and not coveting their belongings.)  So Jesus indicates the Ten Commandments are the law of God.  Did Jesus say anything, give any commandments, or re-affirm the law of God, the Ten Commandments, or which ones were to be followed?  Yes he did.  Let's look at Matthew 5:17-30, 38-48. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."


"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.  Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin.  But anyone who says, 'You fool!'  will be in danger of the fire of hell.  Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

        Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.  Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown in prison.  I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."


"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." 

An Eye for an Eye 

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'  But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." 

Love for Enemies

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.'"  Here you find some of the basic Ten Commandment law of God being magnified to a higher plane by Jesus.

        Basically, if you search from one end of the New Testament to the other, you will find all the Ten Commandments mentioned and re-commanded by Jesus or the apostles except for the Fourth Commandment, the Sabbath Command (Exodus 20:8-11).  The Sabbath is mentioned in the New Testament, but not in reference to any command that we should keep it.  (The apostles used the Sabbath as an opportunity to evangelize amongst the Jews, and kept it as a custom, they're being Messianic Jewish Christians in the Jerusalem Church of God--the very first Christian congregation, and Headquarters church for many years.)  If you look at Leviticus 23, the chapter which commands God's Holy Days, the Sabbath Command is the very first Holy Day mentioned, so the Holy Days of Leviticus 23 are integrally linked to the Sabbath Command.  But the New Testament is strangely silent about any re-iteration of the Sabbath/Holy Day commands as far as re-commanding their observance.  Have they been abolished?  The Sabbatarian churches take Matthew 5:17-19 literally and think not.  The rest of Christianity isn't sure or thinks they have been abolished. But if the Holy Days and Sabbath were really so important a part of the Ten Commandments, what is said about them in the New Testament to help explain this strange silence, especially about Sabbath observance?  Have they been abolished, or has something more profound happened to these commandments?  I hope to thoroughly answer that question for those seeking a clear and simple answer.  What follows is a listing of where most of the Ten Commandments are re-iterated in the New Testament, and brought to a higher plane spiritual level.


The Ten Commandments That Are Re-Affirmed and Re-Commanded in the New Testament:

As we saw, Jesus himself mentioned the first commandment in Mark 12:28-32. 

2nd Commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain

    Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifyng, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

        Colossians 3:8, "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blashemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."

3rd Commandment forbidding idolatry:

        1 Corinthians 10:14, "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry."

        Galatians 5:19-20, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

        Colossians 3:5, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry."


5th Commandment: Honor thy father and they mother:

       Matthew 19:18, "He saith unto him, Which?  Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother..."

        Luke 18:20, "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and they mother..."

        Ephesians 6:1-3, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."


6th Commandment: Thou shalt not murder:

        Matthew 19:18, "He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said,

Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and they mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as theyself."


7th Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery:

        Mark 10:19, "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother..."


8th Commandment: Thou shalt not steal:

        Mark 10:19, Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal...

        Luke 18:20, "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal...

        Romans 2:21, "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?  Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?"

        Ephesians 4:28, "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."


9th Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness:

        Ephesians 4:25        , "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another."

        Colossians 3:9, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds."


10th Commandment: Thou shalt not covet:

        Ephesians 5:3, "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints."

        Colosians 3:5. "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the eath; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry."  Paul actually makes the connection between the 2nd and 10th Commandments, linking them together, saying if you're breaking one, you're automatically breaking the other. Also realize now that it is no longer we in our own puny efforts or works that accomplish the keeping of this Ten Commandment law which we see re-iterated in the New Testament (with the one exception of the Sabbath Command).  It is the Lord dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit (John 14) who writes these laws in our minds and hearts (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16).

I don't see the Ten Commandment Law of God being done away with in the New Testament or new covenant at all, not after reading these plain statements.  The only commandment which never seems to be re-commanded in the entire New Testament is the 4th Commandment, the Sabbath Command.  Also notice that we don't see any of the ritualistic laws re-iterated in this law of Christ which we find in the New Testament writings.  Missing are the dietary food laws of Leviticus 11.  And although those food laws may not just be ceremonial but for health as well, some teach that it isn't necessary for a new covenant Christian to observe them.  The command of not eating the fat, found in Leviticus, has long been proven to be a to be a health law, and has been quoted by none other than the famous heart doctor, Dr. Paul Dudley White on numerous ocassions.  So don't discount the Torah's health dietary laws as merely being ceremonial laws.  Heart doctors often recommend abstinence from foods listed as "unclean" in Leviticus 11 for their heart patients, whether they realize these foods are listed in the Torah or not.  The quarantine laws found in the Torah predate modern medicine's knowledge by thousands of years, yet they're active and real. Some teach that it's not necessary that you as a new covenant Christian keep them, but they're active health laws nonetheless.  But what did Jesus say, teach about the Law of God?  Read Matthew 5:17-19. But now back to the Sabbath Command, the 4th Commandment.

What do you think happened to the Sabbath Command?  Let's find out. So what happened to the 4th Commandment?  Was it discarded like some old dishrag, or did something far more interesting happen to this commandment of God.  And remember, God calls the Sabbath a Holy Day in Leviticus 23, and he calls these Holy Days, His Days.  They're not Jewish, they're his.  So let's find out.


content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
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