Covenant / Law
Matthew 26:28, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
Mark 14:24, “And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.”
Luke 22:20, “Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”
1 Corinthians 11:25, “In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
And then we are told we are to minister the new covenant !!!
2 Corinthians 3:6, “who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
So, what is this new covenant, what was the old covenant, or covenants? And, in fact, what is a covenant?
In plain English: a covenant is an agreement or contract entered into by two or more parties, stipulating the terms and conditions of the agreement. Thus, things like a loan contract between you and a bank. There are two types of agreements which can be called ‘covenant’.
The common form is like the bank loan, it explains who is involved in the agreement, what the agreement is about, any penalties if either party fails in fulfilling their part of the agreement, how the agreement may end, and is sealed by a declaration or oath of some kind. This type is conditional on all parties keeping the agreement. In the scriptures these ‘conditions’ and their stated benefits or penalties we term ‘laws’.
The other form of covenant is not conditional on all parties, but purely on one side of the agreement fulfilling their stated terms with there being no penalties to either party for it being unfulfilled, though there may be loss of benefit to the receiver, and loss of trust for the benefactor. The oath in this case is made only by the benefactor. A Last Will & Testament is usually of this type.
When we speak of ‘covenant’ in the scriptures, it is necessary to identify who the parties are to the agreement, whether the covenant is conditional or unconditional, and what are the terms of the covenant, including any possible penalties. Let us now consider some of the covenants found within the scriptures.
For the covenants that are conditional, those conditions have been made into laws. These laws do not change our relationship with God, but as cited in Deuteronomy 5:33, “you shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall posses”. These conditions are made so that we may ‘live well’, much as a loving parent gives us guidance so that we may not come to harm, and may even need to be chastised to learn our lessons. Yet the love of our Father is always.