The New Covenant: Grace, Not Law

( [email protected] ) Jan 29, 2004 12:29 PM EST

I will make a new covenant . . . not according to the covenant that I made . . . the gospel of the grace of God. Jeremiah 31:31-32 and Acts 20:24

The old covenant of law was the covenant that God made with Israel "in the day that [He] took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt." The promise through Jeremiah was that the Lord would make a different type of covenant some day, "not according to [that] covenant." This new covenant would be a covenant of grace, provided by the Lord Jesus Christ. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).

The law of God was an impossible way to relate to the Lord. It required perfection, but it offered no perfecting assistance. It was able, however, to convince people of their need for the grace of Christ found in the new covenant. "The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ " (Galatians 3:24).

Now, we live and proclaim this new covenant of grace, the"new and living way which He consecrated for us" (Hebrews 10:20). This was the mission and message of which the Apostle Paul spoke. "The ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). The gospel is all about the grace of God, not about law. "The word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you . . . the grace of God" (Colossians 1:5-6).

Gospel means "glad tidings," or "good news." The good news of the grace of God provided through Jesus Christ is the preeminent message in all of creation. In fact, the gospel of grace is such good news that some unbelievers initially reject it as "too good to be true." Indeed, it is an astounding reality to consider that forgiveness, justification, and new birth are all available "by grace . . . through faith . . . the gift of God, not of works" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Perhaps we should not be surprised that some believers react in this same manner when they begin to consider the message of grace for growth and sanctification. To hear that the entire Christian life is to be "grace upon grace" (John 1:16) may at first seem "too good to be true."

At times, we may ask (or have others ask us), "Isn't there any human responsibility in God's plan of salvation?" The saved and unsaved alike must always be willing to respond to the offer of God's grace in Christ. We must all relate properly to the Lord Jesus for every work of grace, because it is "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 8:9). In all matters, we must seek Him and trust in Him.

Lord God of the New Covenant, how glorious is the good news of Your grace! I praise You for Your patience when I act as though transforming grace is too good to be true. I want to seek after the Lord Jesus and trust in Him this day, with all my heart, Amen.