Gangs are often noticed by colors and signs for easy identification. When I was in Virginia I went into a particular city and noticed the city had graffiti that I had never really seen before and asked a friend who was a State Trooper about them. He told me what gang he felt did the graffiti and then he told me somethings about the gangs in that area. We spoke of initiations getting so violent. He said once in the gang, it must be number one in your life. Christians don’t join a church (gang) we are the Church! We enter what is called a covenant- agreement between participants, in its most basic definition. God’s people are under the New Covenant because they have entered into a covenant relationship with God, in that we will be obedient to the terms of that covenant in order to receive the salvation offered to us by his grace and mercy! KJV several times translates the word covenant as “league.”
There are at least two types of covenants in scripture. First, you have the covenant between men. Abraham and Abimelech made a covenant over a well (Gen 21:22-34) Laban and Jacob made a covenant concerning Laban’s daughters and harming each other (Gen 31:43-55) David and Jonathan made a covenant to be loyal friends (1Sa 18:3; 23:18) This type of covenant is initiated by man. God is not a partner in these covenants. This is similar to the hand shake of today! Well, at least what a hand shake used to resemble. Today, a law biding contract may be more applicable.
The second type of covenant is a covenant between God and man. This covenant is drastically different from the previous in that man will never initiate a covenant with God. Nor will man determine the conditions of the relationship! There are two classes of this type of covenant. UNCONDITIONAL AND CONDITIONAL
1. Unconditional- Unconditional, in that, God initiates the covenant and is the one who will fulfills it. These covenants are not dependent on man and thus cannot be broken. God made an unconditional covenant with Abraham that his seed would bless the world (Gen 12:3)
2. Conditional- God initiates the covenant & the terms to be obeyed in order for men to receive the promised blessings. God established his conditional covenant with Israel (Gen 20-23) AKA “The Old Covenant”
So what is the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant? The Old Covenant is often referred to as the Law. They are basically the same thing. When God puts a Law or a Covenant in place only he can remove it! Heb 8:13 Where in the Bible does speak of a “new covenant?” Jer 31:31-34
This tells us that the Old Covenant was going to pass and God was going to make a new covenant. That Old Covenant must be annulled. It is important to understand that the Old Covenant had to be annulled in order to usher in the New Covenant because the Old Covenant did not remove sin! Heb 10:4 The removal of sin only comes through the blood of Jesus! Mt 26:28 If believing in God and being a good person was enough to remove sin there would never had been a need for Christ to make such a sacrifice. We cannot “draw near” to God without the blood of Christ! Heb 7:25 In order for the New Covenant to be in place, the Old Covenant must be annulled.
The Old Covenant was nailed to the cross. Col 2:13,14 The ink used in ancient times had no acid in it. Rather than take a bite out of the material it is placed, or written, on the ink dried on top and was easily erased wiped off with a sponge or cloth. If you have ever had a bad injury and got a significant amount of blood on your clothes you know blood doesn't erase, wipe off, or get removed easily! The New Covenant we have will not be erased because it is written with the blood of Jesus!
As Christians, we are a covenant people, nothing like the gangs we spoke of earlier. Although, we are to put God as number one in or lives. The question I have for you today is: “Are you in that covenant relationship with God, signed with the blood of Jesus, and sealed with The Holy Spirit as a pledge of our inheritance?” Eph 1:13,14 Have you, as of today, obeyed the terms God installed in the New Covenant?
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
We must hear the Word of God: Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4
We must believe or have faith: Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31
We must repent of our sins: Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30
We must confess Christ before others: Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37
We must be immersed into Christ (baptized) Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38
We must be faithful: Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22