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Tag Archives: New Covenant

The Blood of Covenant

In this post, I’m going to continue looking at the Last Supper as recorded in Mark’s Gospel.  Last time I talked about the bread, in this article we’ll see the cup of the covenant.

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.  “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
Mark 14:23-25

It should be clear from this verse that the communion cup causes us to remember the covenant.  We’re in covenant with God.  Unfortunately, many Christians don’t understand what that means.

In our society, we understand contracts.  There’s a big difference between contracts and covenants.  Contracts have an ending date, covenants are in effect forever.  A contract will usually cover a specific item or job.  A covenant covers every area of our lives.

But the biggest difference is that a contract simply requires a signature for it to be valid.  A covenant requires the shedding of blood from both parties.

Communion remembers the blood of the covenant between God and us.  Hebrews, chapter 12, talks about where we’ve come by faith.

…to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:24

Jesus is the Mediator, or literally the go-between of this covenant.  On the cross, the blood of God and man was shed by one person – Jesus Christ.  He offered it for us so that we could have a part in the New Covenant.

But, more than that, we need to understand that the blood SPEAKS.  Jesus was killed just like Abel.  But Abel’s blood spoke of revenge and justice.  Jesus’ blood speaks of forgiveness.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Matthew 26:28

Now that we’re in covenant with God, there’s a responsibility upon us to remember it and keep it.  In a covenant, everything that either person has is available to all parties.  In the natural, it would usually be two powerful people who would covenant together.

But, in our case, an all-powerful, holy God cut a covenant with us.  For our part, we were unrighteous, sinful, imperfect, weak, and poor.  I can’t list everything He provides for us.  On His part, He simply asks for 10% of our wealth, some time, fellowship, and some of our strength.

This is the part of the covenant we fail to think about sometimes.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant– not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:6

In our churchy way of speaking, minister means to have authority over something.  In Scripture, it actually means to be a servant to something.  This verse really means that God has qualified us to serve the covenant.  The good news is that we don’t serve by the letter, but by the spirit.

When we come to the Lord’s Table we’re remembering this covenant.

“I’m in covenant with God.  It’s my whole life I’m giving over for Him.”

Question: What should our attitudes be when receiving the Communion elements?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Faith and the Law

I’ve been posting about Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  We’ve been looking at the covenant we have through Christ.  It all started with Abraham – the father of faith.

According to Scripture, the covenant of blessing that God made with Abraham is still in effect.  We have access to it in Christ.  In my last post, we saw that even the Law of Moses did not set aside the covenant!

For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
Galatians 3:18

This verse is a great summary of everything that we’ve learned so far.  The covenant of blessing that God gave to Abraham was passed down through his descendants.  Now, in Christ, all who believe become a part of Abraham’s family.

But there’s still a question in the back of many people’s minds.  It concerns the law.  What’s the place of the Law in the life of a believer?  Paul anticipates this question and deals with it for us.

What, then, was the purpose of the law?  It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.  The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.  A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
Galatians 3:19-20

Before we can understand our relationship to the Law, we need to know its true purpose.  According to Paul, it was added to the covenant.  This means that in legal terms, the law is an addendum to the covenant that God made with Abraham.

That begs the question; why was an addendum necessary?  Again, according to Paul, it was because of transgressions.  Transgressions required a temporary addendum until the promised Messiah arrived.

Of course, in order to understand this, you need to know what, specifically, a transgression is.  When you read the Bible, you’ll find many different words for the general word, sin.

Transgression is a word that means the particular sin of breaking the terms of a covenant.  Since Israel was the only nation in covenant with God, you’ll find that they’re the only ones ever accused of transgressions.

Abraham was the first one in a personal covenant with God.  He trusted God in a way that kept the covenant unbroken over a few generations.  Over time, the children of Israel neglected the covenant.  They didn’t live up to the faith that Abraham originally possessed.

The reason that the Law was given, was so that Israel could see, in writing, the things that Abraham did out of love for God.  It was because they didn’t live this way that they needed an addendum to explain it.

So what we see is that the law was not a covenant in and of itself.  It was a temporary addendum to the eternal covenant God made with Abraham.  That’s why Jesus said…

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
Matthew 5:17-18

His purpose was not to do away with the Law, but to completely fulfill its requirements once and for all.  That’s the blessing of being in Christ.  We’ll continue to look at this over the next few posts.

Question: How does knowing that the Law is already fulfilled affect your walk with God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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You are not like Moses

MountainThe Apostle Paul explained to the early church about the fallacy that obeying the Law of Moses will give you access to the power of God.  In my last post we looked at this verse…

We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.  But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read.  It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.
2 Corinthians 3:13-14

Paul says that their minds, or literally their perceptions, were made dull, hardened, and callous.  Then he makes a statement that we miss the implications to altogether.  He says that to this day the veil remains when the Old Covenant is read.  IT HAS NOT BEEN REMOVED.

I have heard preachers talk about this and refer it to Jews who don’t understand that Jesus is the Messiah.  The truth goes so much deeper than this.  Remember, Paul is writing to believers in this passage.  He makes no qualifications as to who the veil is covering.

He says, without any adjusting of the statement, that whenever the Old Covenant is read, the veil remains.  Even if a Christian reads it there remains a veil that only Christ can remove.

The reason is that the law veils the truth about righteousness.  The law sounds logical.  If I will do this, then God will do that.

If I will bring the whole tithe to church, then God will rebuke the devourer and pour out a blessing.  If I will walk in righteousness, then God will manifest His power in me.  This veils the truth that under the New Covenant this is not the case.  Paul goes on in more detail.

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
2 Corinthians 3:15-16

EVEN TODAY!!!  It’s so clear.  Right now if I read the Old Testament, a veil covers my heart.  There’s a cure, however.  The word turns in this verse is actually a Greek word that means turn again.

What this says to us, is that when anyone reads the Old Covenant a veil blocks their view of New Covenant righteousness.  But when you turn again to Christ, the veil is cast off.  How can you turn again to Christ if you were never looking at Him in the first place?

Paul is warning us that as New Testament believers, we cannot read the Old Testament without constantly looking back to what Christ did on the cross.  He fulfilled it all.  Everything I need to walk righteously before God has been supplied to me by the Savior.

Question: Why do many believers still live as though they’re under the Old Covenant?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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When Fasting Changed #spiritualfast

Fine DiningI’m taking a few posts to talk about fasting.  I believe that fasting is one of the most neglected sources of spiritual power in the Christian walk.

In my last post I said that the New Testament fast is totally different than that of the old.  I base this upon the words of Jesus Himself when He was questioned about fasting by the disciples of John the Baptist.

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
Matthew 9:14-15

When asked why He didn’t make His disciples fast, Jesus replied that they were not going to mourn while He was here with them.  The Old Testament fast was a humbling process before God for the forgiveness of sin.  Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was the fulfillment of this.  Humiliation for sin was finished – God’s provision had arrived.

The Lord then goes on to talk about the “new patch” and the “new wineskins” in the next verses (v16-17).  Most Christians have no idea that Jesus was talking about fasting when He gave these illustrations.

It’s obvious to me that the Lord didn’t want the disciples to get confused.  This would have happened if He made them fast according to Old Testament tradition, and then later on tried to teach them the New Covenant fast.  He must have felt it was better to start them off correctly right from the beginning.

That’s also why I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the Old Testament fast.  Under the law, fasting was a whole different thing than in the New Testament church.  Unfortunately, many Christians have no idea what the fast is all about now.  It’s my prayer that you will by the end of this series.

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:16-18

The first thing we see here is that Jesus said, “When you fast…”  Preachers are always quick to point out to their people that Jesus said, “When you pray…” They explain that it means Jesus expects prayer to be a regular part of the Christian walk.  They do the same thing with “When you give…”  What happened to fasting?

It seems to me that the Lord wants fasting to be just as much a part of our lives.  Many of us ignore it and think our walk with God will not suffer for it.  Jesus assumed that fasting was to be a regular part of the Christian walk.  I believe that most of us don’t understand it, and that’s why it is not practiced.

Question: How important is fasting in your walk with God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Fasting, Spirit of Excellence

 

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