In 1859, Charles Dickens wrote “A Tale of Two Cities.” The opening line begins this way:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
I was thinking about that story and the opening line recently when the Lord spoke to me and said, “In 2021, most Christians are living in A Tale Between Two Covenants. They mix the new and the old covenants together and are caught in the middle. It will be the best of times (they do good and think I will bless them) and the worst of times (they mess up and think – uh-oh, we’re cursed). This makes their life a mess.”
The old covenant was based on man’s ability to perform. God gave the rules and told mankind if they could keep them they would be blessed and if they didn’t they would be cursed. Man could never keep all of the law perfectly so they lived under a curse for thousands of years. This is why God sent Jesus. Jesus came to establish a new covenant based on better promises. These promises were based on His ability to perform and keep the law and not our ability to keep the law. Hebrews 8:7 verifies this as it talks about the transition to a new covenant. It says:
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
The first covenant was great, but it had a major flaw. It’s major flaw was that no one could keep it so it had to be replaced. Look at Hebrews 8:13:
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.
When Jesus went to the cross he rendered the first covenant obsolete. The Bible teaches one of His main purposes was to fulfill both the law and the prophets. Look at Matthew 5:17:
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
The old covenant was rendered obsolete because of what Jesus did at the cross. God doesn’t want us scared we are about to be judged or cursed because we sinned. Jesus paid for the fear, guilt, and shame of sin through His death, burial, and resurrection.
My favorite example of all time of how much wanted to replace the old covenant and get across to the Jewish audience the book of Hebrews was written to that keeping the law would never earn them right standing with God is in Hebrews 7. Before we read the verses, I will warn it’s a little wordy and kind of technical. I’ll come back and explain all that and I believe it will blow your mind.
11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
These verses remind us that under the law, the only people who could be priests were out of the tribe of Levi. The writer goes on to say how under the new covenant the priesthood was changed and our Lord Jesus came out of the tribe of Judah. Basically the writer of Hebrews is telling us since the priesthood had to change, the law had to change. Since God brought a priest from a new tribe, He was required to change covenants.
God has never called us to live between two covenants. He has called us to live in the new covenant that was established on better promises! The way we apply this principle to our lives today is to remove the things from our thinking the old covenant brought such as bondage, guilt, shame, and lack. God has now redeemed us from all of those things and they have been eradicated in His mind toward us! He wants us to take on His mind and enjoy guilt free new covenant living.
The Old has passed and the New Has come. Let’s learn to live in the New!
If you’d like to learn more about the new covenant, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.