Timely News: The Old Covenant and the New Testament [‘It’s About Time,’ cont.]

Why is it important to understand time and how it affects us? Because understanding when we live (which age), affects our beliefs, which in turn affect how we relate to God, others and ourselves, which ultimately affects our behavior.

Through the Crucifixion, Jesus paid the debt once and for all. He removed all barriers through paying for all sins; at the Resurrection He became the Way to the Father, fulfilling His purpose on the earth and establishing a new covenant. It’s very important to note that the New Covenant begins at the Resurrection. Most of what is written in the Gospels and what Christ Himself taught was in fulfillment of the Old Covenant, the law. Before the New Covenant, His Testament, could be initiated, the old had to be satisfied. VICTORY OVER SIN came at the Crucifixion, but it wasn’t until the Resurrection that we gained VICTORY OVER SELF! Because of the New Testament, Jesus testifying that we are now in Him, we can boldly come before the very throne of God. We are now under grace, with nothing to achieve, prove or keep, which means that our success is measured by how much we let Christ live through us, not how much we do for Him.

Under the Old Covenant, our righteousness, or the ability to have relationship with God, was obtained through fulfilling the law. Under the New Testament, our ability to have relationship is based on being in Christ. Grace is receiving unconditionally what God gives unconditionally. This New Testament, like our Last Will and Testaments, went into permanent effect at the death of the testator (God), mediated by His Son. Remember, you can’t have two covenants in effect at one time; you can’t have two claims on one promise.

So as our soul and body begin to line up with our new identity, as a spirit being, we come more and more out from under the law. In the meantime, the law continues to have an effect on our soul and body, as it does on those around us, and everything else in the supernatural and natural realms. So in the spirit, we are no longer under the law. This is now who we are — we are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body. Though the law may affect or influence our soul and body, we are not under its control.

The old covenant was like a marriage covenant. These days we include the phrase “till death do us part” in wedding ceremonies; it was the same thought in Paul’s day as well. The idea was that if either the husband or wife died, the remaining spouse was free to re-marry. Death ended the contract, or covenant, leaving the door open for either entering into a new contract or none at all, remaining free from contractual obligations.

In Adam, we are all born “married” to the law. One of the characteristics of this present age is that the law is still in effect for those born into it. So someone in the marriage covenant has to die in order for the new relationship to be instituted. How did God handle this? Since the law was still in effect, and someone in the relationship had to die, God killed US!

In the spiritual realm, where eternity supersedes time, as we are quickened in life in Christ, we are not only crucified and buried with Him, but resurrected with Him as well. God takes us out of the time zone that we live in today, places us back onto the body of Jesus Christ as He is being crucified, and we die with Him, are buried with Him, and resurrected with Him as He is resurrected.

When did the first 11 disciples die to the law? At the Crucifixion. When did they become born again? At the Resurrection. When did Saul of Tarsus die to the law? Though Jesus did not reveal Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus until some time after He had already ascended to the Father, Saul died to the law at the Crucifixion. So when did you and I become dead to the law? 2000 years ago! We just didn’t know about it. And when do we become born again? Though we accept Jesus’s life in our present time, we actually became born again 2000 years ago, when we rose with Him in His life.

Say you were put up for adoption at a very young age and adopted by the Smith family. No one else knows you’re not a Smith, and you are raised as a Smith, treated as Smith, and think of yourself as a Smith. Then one day you discover you were actually born into the Jones family. Now, genetically, you’ve been a Jones all along, but because you didn’t know this, you believed and behaved like a Smith. Did discovering that you were really a Jones suddenly make you a Jones? No! You were a Jones all along. Likewise, finding out and finally believing who and what we are in Christ doesn’t suddenly make it true; because we are born into His family we have all the benefits that go along with it, not because we believe it, but because it’s true. So if you are a believer you are living in a new time zone, a new realm, eternity, whether you believe it or not. The battle is to believe it; the behavior will follow.

[excerpted from Practical Christianity]

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