This is the fourth in a series of writings by my dad, Joseph W. Gaut.
A covenant is a contract, the strongest kind of contract. A blood covenant is the strongest kind of covenant. Historically blood covenants have been used over the millennia by various tribes and cultures to seal critical relationships. For example, two men who respected each other might cut slits in their hands and then tightly grasp those hands together, co-mingling the blood. They then regarded each other as blood brothers and were to treat each other as such. Many cultures had such rituals in which covenant relationship was established by blood. Respect for blood covenants appears to be deeply embedded in the psyche of the human race.
The Mosaic Covenant, given by God to the ancient Hebrews at Mt. Sinai, was sealed by the blood of sacrificial animals and established one of the most important covenants ever made with man. It was a Covenant of Law that brought blessing when kept and curse when broken. This covenant, sometimes referred to as the Old Covenant, brought with it knowledge of God’s expectations for man and revealed man’s sinful nature. But it did not provide the righteousness of God. It was, as the apostle Paul said, a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. Though important in God’s plan for his children, it was the forerunner of the way of faith through Christ that would bring an entire new dimension to everlasting spiritual life.
With the death and Resurrection of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, a new and everlasting Covenant was given by God. It too is a blood Covenant given through the sacrifice of our Lord at the Cross of Calvary. His blood was shed for us and is sprinkled on our hearts, cleansing our consciences as we accept Him as Lord and Master of our lives. As the Mosaic Covenant was sealed by the blood of animals and the New Covenant was made effectual by an immeasurably better sacrifice through the very blood of the Son of God Himself, the New Covenant is forever established as the superior Covenant. It is eternal and imparts the very righteousness of Christ Himself to the believer. Since the Covenant is sealed by the Holy Spirit through the blood of Jesus Christ, it is inconceivable that a better covenant could be found. There could be no sacrifice that could be more sacred. There could be no life imparted that could be more precious. As His blood now flows in the believer, the believer has a blood brother in Jesus Christ and has become part of the family of God. The believer now belongs to a fellowship of multitudes of blood brothers and sisters who are partakers of the richness of life in our Lord. The blood of Jesus in our veins serves to break down all barriers of sectarianism, racism, and dogma as we find our eternal family only in the Spirit of God.
The Prophets of Israel had knowledge that such a Covenant would one day be given to the people of our Lord. They looked forward to that time with anticipation. Jeremiah made specific mention of it when he prophesied (Jer. 31.31-34):
“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 broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to 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 law in their minds
and write it 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,”
declares the LORD.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah spoke of several aspects of this New Covenant quite pointedly. The New Covenant was not to depend on external law, or rulebook relationship, so to speak, to express the will of God as had the Mosaic Covenant. Instead, the law, the Torah, was to be written in man’s innermost being — in his heart and in his mind. It would give man perfect union with God in which he would truly know His Creator through His Presence permeating his innermost being. The believer would no longer be reliant on man as his teacher, but would have God Himself as his Rabbi. He would know His Lord. He would know Him in a deeply fulfilling way. Further, he would know of a certainty that his iniquity had been forgiven, placing him in right standing with a most Holy God.
We have fulfillment of these promises through Jesus Christ. The believer may have the assurance of the Holy Spirit that his sins have been forgiven. Further, Jesus said that we have no need that any man teach us. He promised us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who would surely lead us into all truth. And by faith we may have our own personal Pentecost in which God immerses us in His Spirit, writing His New and Living Way on our hearts and minds. As we are given blood relationship with Christ Jesus, we have perfect union with Him made available to us through the faith imparted by Him to our believing hearts. We may follow Him and come forth in His very image.
The Prophet Isaiah provided additional vital insight about this life giving new Covenant:
I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. (Isaiah 42:6-7)
Isaiah spoke clearly that Christ Himself is given as the Covenant. Our Covenant is Jesus! Now we can understand that the Kingdom of God is within us as Jesus proclaimed. The very nature of God Almighty has been placed within us, the Life of Christ. The Holy One of Israel makes the Kingdom of God manifest in our lives. Isaiah adds emphasis to this knowledge of our Covenant:
Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people … (Isaiah 49:8)
This is astounding if we but reflect upon it. What God is promising with the New Covenant is the Gift of His divine nature.
What will God do for His beloved children, those to whom He has imparted His very Essence? Those who are His Sons and Daughters? Scripture is full of the promises of God that are made available to His children, the joint-heirs of Christ. But what gift could be greater than Christ Himself living in our hearts? Jesus promised us the Gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the Gift of His very Nature and enables us to be formed in the image of Christ as we walk faithfully with Him.
Isaiah writes further of the heritage of those who come into New Covenant relationship in Christ and partake of His righteousness:
Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.
Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
The Precious Gift
This New Covenant, identified with the righteous nature of our God, is what Jesus was speaking about when He promised us of the Gift of the Holy Spirit, as recorded in the gospel of Luke (11:13):
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Before Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He told His disciples that He was not going to leave them alone but would send another, just like Himself, as He spoke of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. He told the disciples that this Spirit had been WITH them but would be IN them. In other words, the Spirit would INDWELL them. It is the Holy Spirit that writes God’s Law on our hearts. By immersion into the Spirit of God, by baptism in His Holy Spirit, God comes to indwell us and make us partakers of the New Covenant relationship with Him. When some speak of or sing when Jesus came into my heart, to what are they referring? They are talking about the Gift of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. They are proclaiming the New Covenant in Christ Jesus.
The New Covenant was first given to the followers of Jesus on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out from on high. Fittingly, the Mosaic Covenant was given on the same Day of Pentecost many centuries before when Moses received the Law on tablets of stone. The Mosaic Covenant gave an external Law for man to follow. But with the New Covenant, the Law is written on the believer’s heart by our indwelling Lord. We receive the Law of Christ, the Law of Love, not an external rulebook of commandments and ordinances.
Several weeks after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, His faithful followers were gathered together in Jerusalem when the Day of Pentecost arrived and the promised New Covenant was given. The rejoicing of that day is remembered in the Book of Acts where the earthshaking event was explained by the apostle Peter as he quoted from the Prophet Joel (Acts 2:16-21):
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Is knowledge of what God has done for us important or should we just relax and coast through life, assuming He will work out all the details? After all, He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith.
No, let us not be lax but press in to the Kingdom of God… Knowledge is important! As the Author of our Faith, He has told us of His express will that we know the scriptures and His promises to us. In the book of Hosea (4:6) we read:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…
We are called to learn of these matters. We need not only knowledge of the New Covenant, but should have assurance that we are partakers of it also, Baptized in the Holy Spirit, indwelt by the living Christ.
May God richly reward your pursuit of such knowledge as you commune with our Lord knowing He is faithful in all His promises.
Read the entire series: