Jesus often taught doctrinal truths in stories to illustrate and give a picture of His kingdom to His followers. This helped illuminate and solidify His ways in their hearts and minds. It’s with that thought in mind that I want to share with you a picture of the new covenant that will help you see what God has done for of us in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 8:6-7 says that the old covenant had fault so God had to replace it with a new and better covenant that was established on better promises. The reason the old covenant had fault was because it was tied to our performance. If we did well we were blessed and if we sinned we were cursed. Ultimately, no one has ever been able to consistently do well enough to earn God’s blessings. That’s why God sent Jesus. God saw that as good as the old covenant was, it had a defect so it had to be replaced.
Since man couldn’t do his part to earn God’s blessing, God had to find a different way to bless us. God sent himself to the earth as Jesus to fulfill all the righteous requirements of the law. In a sense, God made a covenant with God. This is why the new covenant is a better covenant established on better promises.
My favorite picture of this comes from Genesis 15. God took Abram to a field and told him that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. Genesis 15:6 says Abram believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness. Abram was given credit for being righteous based on what he believed, not based on what he did.
In keeping with the tradition of the day, God immediately made a covenant with Abram. In that day when two people made covenant they would sacrifice animals and lay out the carcasses on the ground. Both parties would then walk between the bodies of the animal sacrifices which ratified the covenant.
In Genesis 15, God told Abram to bring Him several animal sacrifices and to cut them in two. God didn’t let Abram walk between the animal sacrifices, however, as He waited until Abram was asleep to begin the walk. Look at Genesis 15:17-18
17 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 18 On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram.
God walked through the pieces in the form of a smoking oven and a burning torch. God did all the walking while Abram slept. Abram wasn’t a part of establishing this covenant. Why? Because God knew Abram couldn’t have kept his part of the deal and would have messed the whole thing up.
God made a covenant with God that He would bless Abram. Abram’s only responsibility was to believe as the entire covenant was based on God’s performance and not Abram’s. This story is a prophetic picture of the covenant you and I live in today.
God never made covenant with you and me because He knew we couldn’t keep our part of the deal. According to Galatians 3:16-20 God made a covenant with Jesus and Jesus satisfied the requirements of the covenant for us. Just like Abram all we have to do is believe! To learn more about the new covenant, check out this message from Grace Life Church.