Laura (Wilson) Nicholls
The New Covenant
“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes
of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying
of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who
through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to
God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living
God?” Hebrews 9:13-14
The motivating principle in understanding the difference
between the two covenants God has made with His people is
the condition of the heart and God’s method of dealing
with this. The Old Covenant was made with a people who had
within them hearts of stone—hearts hardened by circumstances
and attitudes. The New Covenant was made with people whose
hearts were also of stone, but with a promise to change those
hearts to hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).
In the Old Covenant the people had to continually go before
the priest for an offering of sin to cleanse them daily. Blood
had to be shed time after time, and they had to maintain the
cleansing daily by their works. The law was given to show
them how to live. The law was their guideline to the holy
life God required of His people. But even in directing them
in their everyday lives, there was an element lacking.
That element was given in the making of the New Covenant.
It enables God’s people not only to live a holy life
on the outside, but to have a holy heart within them. Where
works in the past had determined our “spiritual”
status, our status now is determined by our attitude when
performing these works.
The New Covenant was effected through the shed blood of our
Lord Jesus on Calvary’s cross. We enter into this Covenant
by receiving Christ as Saviour, and accepting His blood as
a sacrifice, once and for all, for our sins. By His blood
we are cleansed from all unrighteousness, and upon rebirth,
we begin to walk out our salvation, removing gradually from
our hearts unholy things and attitudes. His blood does the
initial cleansing of our hearts, but now we must begin to
allow Him to remove from us the things which caused our hearts
to become tainted in the first place.
This removal was done in the Old Covenant by sacrifice of
animals as a sign or type. It is done in the New Covenant
by the wooing of God’s Spirit, and our response to His
love. We in ourselves are weak and unable to change our hearts.
For this reason, grace is given in abundance.
Grace, however, is to given to cover over our mistakes and
make allowances for anything we seem to think should be okay
with God. We cannot presume upon God, and with a true understanding
of the purpose and provision of grace, we will not try. The
people under the Old Covenant had within them no power to
walk before the Lord in holiness and purity. Before Christ’s
death, He promised to send to us the Comforter, One who would
guide us into all truth, teaching us of the Father and of
The Holy Spirit is sent to comfort, but He is also sent to
convict our hearts and mold within us God’s truth. We
have heard so much half-truth in the church that we are often
unsure or unwilling to be sure of many of God’s ways,
for they are not ways we would choose for ourselves.
God’s grace is given to enable us to walk in the higher
standards of His kingdom. The New covenant is meant to make
of us a people whose hearts are imprinted with the law of
God, His highest law. We will no longer need to turn to one
another to ask, “What would God have?” for we
will know in ourselves what is His will (Jeremiah 31:33-34,
Hebrews 8:11). We can know Him in His fullness, and we can
be penetrated through and through with His righteousness.
He is seeking a righteous people in these days; people who
will turn to Him in holiness and purity and honesty. People
who are willing to put aside assumption and human desire for
the desire of God: “ . . . a glorious church, not having
spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be
holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).
God is requiring a hard thing of us, but hard only if we
refuse to put aside our desires and our ways to accept His
ways. His desire for our lives is so much more incredible
than we could ever imagine—so much more complete than
any of the things we seek for ourselves. The desire of our
heart must be to come to the place where He is truly the Lord
of all our life. We must come to the place where His laws
and statutes govern our thoughts and our actions, and people
see only what He has worked within us, becoming “. .
. conformed to His image, that He might be the firstborn among
many brethren” (Romans 8:29).