The Qualities of the New Covenant Part 1

Pastor Mike will be speaking on The Qualities of the New Covenant Part 1. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 3:6-9.

We don’t have to worry about regulations or rituals, we focus on our relationship because all that is right before God and all that makes me right with God and before God is found in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Hello this is Pastor Mike Sanders from The Open Door Church. This is Hope Worth Having radio broadcast. We’re delighted that you could be a part of our broadcast today. We’re going to be in 2 Corinthians chapter 3 in verses 6 through 9.

This is part 1. We’re going to talk about the qualities of the New Covenant. You know the Bible is divided by the New Testament, the Old Testament, which simply has the idea of New Covenant, Old Covenant, and how is it that we apply it to our Christian life.

So I want you to get your pen, your paper, and I want you to take some good notes today as we study the Bible together in 2 Corinthians chapter 3. So when we come to 2 Corinthians chapter 3, we are talking here in the second part of the chapter about the qualities of the New Covenant.

And you remember that last week we introduced to you from the Scriptures this new concept of the New Covenant, the nature of the New Covenant. The Apostle Paul is helping the believers to not only understand the contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, but he also wants them to see the superiority of the New Covenant over the Old Covenant.

And so the New Covenant surpasses the Old Covenant. But as we understand the New Covenant, we remind you that a covenant is different from a contract, that a contract is based upon conditions. That is, that you do your part and I’ll do my part.

But if either one of us does not do our part, then it’s over. But God teaches us something better, something more beautiful, something more superior, and that is a new covenant. The old covenant based upon this idea God would bless Abraham, that God would bless David, that he would provide for them.

But in this new covenant it is not based on what I can do. It’s not based upon my performance and my abilities and my achievements. God is not saying you do your part and I’ll do my part because the truth is this, none of us could ever fulfill this contract if it was that.

We could never do our part completely. We would always miserably fail in our efforts to be what God wants us to be. And so it’s important and essential for us to understand that we have this new covenant.

that is given to us and it is paid for by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is affirmed and verified and accepted through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And God is saying to us that I love you, I will pursue you, I will draw you and I want you to be in a relationship with me and even when you miserably fail and even when you sin against me and even when you come short of what you ought to be that my covenant with you that is based upon what Christ has done and not what you have done, my covenant with you is everlasting.

This new covenant is introduced by the prophet Jeremiah. It is introduced by the prophet Ezekiel and it is a reminder to us that God has a love that is certainly not reckless but it is relentless. It is a relentless love.

It continues to pursue us and it continues to draw us. It is a love that is particular. It is a love that is compelling. The Bible says that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

As we learn about the qualities of the new covenant, there are actually eight qualities but you do not have to fear my friends for I am only covering two today but remember that as we look at these qualities that they are spiritual and that these qualities must be produced by God himself within us and through us.

It is not anything that I can manufacture. It is not anything that I can muster up. It is not turning over a new leaf. It is not somehow trying to be just a little bit better. and acceptable before God, but rather it is a complete reliance and surrender to God that God is fully working in me, that God is working through me, and that God is accomplishing his good work of his new covenant in my heart.

So let’s talk about this. What is the first quality? Number one, the new covenant gives life. The new covenant gives life. Now back up and look at verse 6, the Bible says, who also has made us able ministers.

Let me just stop there, meaning he has made us competent, he has made us sufficient, he has given us the capacity to be the servant that God wants us to be in this new covenant that he has called us to.

But Paul says God has made us able, competent servants of the New Testament, meaning the new covenant, not of the letter. but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit giveth life. I love that.

Did you see that phrase? The letter kills, the Spirit gives life. Later on, Paul the apostle would teach us about the ministry of death, that the old covenant is the ministry of death, but the new covenant is the ministry of the Spirit.

It is the ministry of life. Why would Paul say that? He is not only contrasting, he is helping us to understand that the new covenant is superior to the old covenant because our God is a God of life.

Jesus said, I’ve come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly, not just life in its physical realm, but life in its spiritual realm, that God would awaken your spirit and that he would put within you the river of his spirit, the overflowing of his joy and the overflowing of his peace and the overflow of his hope that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.

And so he introduces us to this new covenant. The new covenant is based upon Jesus Christ and it is a new covenant that provides for all who believe in Jesus, forgiveness. It provides for us grace, forgiveness for our sins.

It provides for us hope, peace and joy in our life. And it is based upon the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. So the old covenant is characterized by death and condemnation. We see this as you look at verse seven, you see the phrase, the ministry of death.

Again, you look at verse nine and you note the ministry of condemnation. The covenant that came through Moses was one that brought condemnation. it brought death. Now many misunderstood the Old Testament.

They misunderstood the Old Covenant. They were looking for life in the Old Covenant, but the Old Covenant was simply to help us understand how much we fall short of God’s perfection and His righteousness.

And it was designed to push us towards Jesus Christ that the Old Testament believers would look forward to a Messiah. They would look forward to a Savior. They would look forward to someone who would live a sinless life and that He would bring eternal life as He gave His life for our life.

Now why would Paul say all this? Why would Paul teach about the New Testament as superior to the Old Covenant, but rather I want you to see that there is context. in what Paul is trying to communicate through the word of God to us.

You that have been with us from the beginning of going through 2 Corinthians, that you have followed with us as we’ve been teaching chapter by chapter and verse by verse. You know that there was a faction within the church and you understand that this group within the church very much did not like the apostle and wanted to do everything that they could to discredit the apostle and that there was false teachers.

And not only were these false teachers trying to undermine the effective and powerful and spirit moving ministry of the apostle Paul, but they also were trying to teach a doctrine that was not true. It was a doctrine of mixing the law and grace together to be accepted by God.

It was an emphasis on human achievement. They were encouraging people that they had the responsibility to not only believe in Jesus, but they also had to fulfill all of the ceremonial laws and they had to fulfill all of the dietary laws and all of the moral laws.

And they had to fulfill every aspect of the law. And so it was based upon them. It was based upon what they could do. So their salvation was rooted in the law. This is what the Judaizers, the false teachers taught.

Not only their salvation, but their spiritual growth, their spiritual formation was rooted in their ability to keep the law. And so for these false teachers living and ministering by the law depended totally on human performance.

Now Paul comes in and he is saying, look, I not only want you to see the contrast, but I want you to see how superior. The new covenant is to the old covenant and the first thing that he teaches us is the new covenant gives life where the old covenant gave death and how is it that the old covenant would give Death there are three ways.

The first way is that it kills joy in our hearts. That’s right Because it is based upon human performance. It is based upon human ability And achievements it takes away our joy all the rules all the regulations we know and understand that it is impossible to keep all that is required of the law all that is required of The old covenant and therefore it discourages us it defeats us it causes us to be defeated and despondent in our relationship with God Almighty and so The Old Testament, in all of its legalisms, and all of its liturgy, and all of its rules, and all of its rituals, saps the joy out of the believer.

You wonder why some Christians have no joy. It’s not only because they were baptized in lemon juice, which is a possibility, but it is because they’re legalists, and they’re trying to be accepted by God by the number of rules that they keep.

They’re trying to be spiritually mature before God by the rules and rituals that they keep. And they believe that they’re only pleasing to God if they follow the Old Covenant and their legalistic rules that they have.

The second way that the law kills is spiritual, that it not only takes away my joy, but it affects me spiritually in my wall with Jesus Christ. Think about this, the law is death, the Bible teaches us, the law condemns, it is the ministry of death and condemnation.

And so when I try to keep the law, and when I try to live up to the rules, and the regulations, and not being perfect, because nobody is perfect, you know about those people who think they’re perfect.

But I’m talking about Reelville, and I’m talking about you and I who live in a real world where people are flawed, and nobody’s perfect. And we stand before God in great need of Him. And so when you try to live up to these rules, you fail.

And here’s what’s affecting you spiritually. You always think you’re lost. You always think you’re not going to heaven. You have no confidence in what Christ has done in you and through you. You are not rejoicing as a believer, but you are discouraged because you wonder, have I lost my salvation?

It affects you spiritually in your life. You wonder, in your walk with God, am I doing the right thing? You are always questioning the will of God. You are wondering if you are following the plan of God.

It is because, friends, your relationship with God is not rooted in faith, but rather fear. Your relationship with Jesus Christ is rooted in a fear that he’s gonna smack you upside the head if you do the wrong thing, and that somehow he’s gonna lower the boom on you if you have a misstep.

But I’m here to tell you, friends, that when you live by the Spirit and you live by the grace of God, there is a fulfillment in you. There is a life within you. There is a joy in you. There is a spiritual vitality in you that you continue to pursue Christ and all that he has for you.

I said there’s three ways the law kills. It kills by sapping our joy. It kills by affecting us spiritually, the third way that it kills is eternally, because the Bible says the law condemns. Let me help you understand this in a practical way, is that some of you raised your children and you took them to church regularly, and you had all these rules and all these things that were important, but you never really focused on the heart.

And you know what, the law condemns. Yes, they conformed on the outside. Yes, they obeyed on the outside, but hear me, on the inside, they were far from Jesus Christ. The law eternally condemns people.

If you could be saved by your performance and your achievements, then friends, none of us could be saved. And yet many have grown up in these situations, and we wonder why aren’t they in church today?

It is because they are living by the law and the law condemns them, and they reject it. They don’t like that condemnation that’s over them. And rather than living by the Spirit, and rather than living by the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and salvation that Christ has accomplished on the cross, they are living by the letter of the law.

They believe that eternal life is based upon rules and rituals rather than a relationship with Jesus Christ. Now the Bible says in Romans 3 .20, for by works of the law, no human being will be justified in his sight.

Since through the law came the knowledge of sin. Do you understand, friends, that God never intended for the law to save a soul? That it was designed to help us to have this epiphany, to have this understanding, to have this knowledge that we are sinners before God.

and we are in need of a savior. The law helps us to understand that we could never achieve what is necessary to live with God forever. We could never have this righteousness in Christ or God by our own ability.

But people misunderstood. They thought God wanted the law to bring life, but God never intended the law to be the means of giving spiritual life. And that’s why there’s no rule. There’s no liturgy. There is no ceremony.

There is no ritual that will ever bring life into people. And unfortunately, there are too many churches that are wrapped up in ceremonies and wrapped up in liturgy. And they think that it brings life to God’s people.

But I tell you, they are the deadest churches in town. And the church that brings life is the church that is rooted in a relationship with God. Christ and it is built upon the Spirit of God that is working in us and through us and Around us the Bible says in Romans 7 6 now We are released from the law having died to that which he held us captive so that we serve We serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code There is a new way that has been Established by Jesus Christ and this new way brings to us life in Jesus the law was never given to impart life It was just to bring about the knowledge of our sinfulness the knowledge of our inability to achieve God’s righteousness the knowledge of our understanding that we are depraved and in need of Christ So the Bible says this in Romans 8 2 hang on to this one church Romans 8 2 for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of Sin and death.

I told you that the Old Covenant is a ministry of death It’s a ministry of condemnation. The New Covenant in Christ is a ministry of life It is a ministry of joy. It is a ministry of peace It is a ministry of hope and so it is that all of us need to make that shift in our life And we are not saying the law is evil or that is bad but what we are saying is that the purpose of the law is Accomplished as it brings about the knowledge of sin and that it drives us To look for the answer and the answer it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ So the qualities of the new covenant the first quality we said that the new covenant gives life.

But the second quality is that the new covenant produces righteousness. Jump down to verse 9 of our text. And notice what he says in 2 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 9, for if the ministration or the ministry of condemnation be glory, much more that the ministration or ministry of righteousness exceed in glory.

What’s he talking about? The ministry of condemnation? It brings glory, this old covenant. What is the glory of the old covenant? Back up a little bit. Notice again in verse 7, if the ministry of death written and engraven in stones was glorious.

so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away. How shall not the ministry of the Spirit be rather glorious or more glorious?

The point is, yes, when God gave the old covenant to Moses, when he gave the laws to Moses, that the glory of God shone about Moses, and that it was so amazing and so magnificent that the people could not even look at Moses, and that he had to have a veil upon him because they could not even be in the presence of Moses based upon the glory of God that was shining from Moses as a result of the law of God that had been given to Moses.

But Paul says, man, if that was glorious, how much more glorious is the new covenant in Jesus Christ? How much more glorious is it? Remember our context. We have these false teachers. We have these Judaizers trying to undercut the ministry of this great man of God, the apostle, and they are getting up before the church, and they are peddling a back to Moses righteousness.

They are peddling that you are only accepted before God if you not only believe in Jesus, but you’ve got to also go back to the law. You’ve got to go back to the rules. You’ve got to go back to the rituals.

You’ve got to go back to the ceremonies. You’ve got to go back to the dietary laws of the old covenant. And Paul is saying, wait a minute, the new covenant, it is more glorious than the old covenant, and it produces righteousness in our heart, for it is the ministry of righteousness, the ministry of righteousness, great phrase here in our Bible.

This ministry of righteousness, get this, is a ministry that provides us to… stand right with God. How is it that I can be right with God? How is it that I can be right before God? How is it that I can be right with God and that I can live before God in a way that is honorable and pleasing to Him?

The ministry of righteousness that is brought about in the new covenant based upon Jesus Christ removes all guilt of sin in my heart. It empowers me as a believer to live the right kind of life before God.

The old covenant keeps condemning me. The old covenant keeps saying, Mike, you missed the mark. The old covenant keeps saying, you have miserably failed, but the new covenant. He keeps pouring grace in me and the spirit of God living in me and through me continues to work effectively in me that I might be more like Jesus Christ in my heart and more like Jesus every day.

And I don’t have this condemnation that is over me. I don’t have this guilt that is over me. Why? Because I’m not trying to please all the self -righteous people in the world. And I’m not trying to please God based upon my abilities and my obedience to God.

I am trying to please God through the power of the spirit and through the grace that he imparts to me. Romans 10, four, for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believed. You see, I’ve told you this so many times church you’re probably tired of, but his righteousness is my righteousness and his death is my death.

And his resurrection is my resurrection. And his ascension is my ascension. All that is found in Christ is mine. And it’s part of the spiritual inheritance that I have and will receive through the promises of God.

And so here is Christ. He lived the sinless, flawless, perfect life when he was on this earth. And he obeyed every aspect of the law. Every detail of the law was fulfilled in Christ. And therefore, guess what?

His righteousness is mine. His life is mine. It’s not that Mike is sinless. It’s not that Mike is perfect, but this robe of righteousness on the cross was exchanged. Scholars call it the great exchange that Jesus took my unrighteousness and wore it on the cross and that he gave me his perfection, righteousness and peckable life.

He gave me that robe of righteousness and he wrapped it around me when I believed in him, when I trusted in him, when I… called upon him for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness is to everyone who believes friend if you believe when God looks at you he doesn’t see all your mistakes he doesn’t see all your failures he sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ he sees the perfection so here’s what I want you to understand that this ministry of righteousness is a reminder to us that the law was a shadow of what is to come Christ is the substance of what has come the law was symbolic of what God will do as He reminds us that our spiritual formation will one day continue to mature.

It will continue to develop. It will continue to grow. We will become more like Christ as we are reliant and dependent upon the work of Christ and the power of Christ and the strength of Christ and the grace of Christ that as we rely on Jesus, He makes us more like God every day.

It’s not because you kept a checklist. It’s not because you kept a bunch of rules given by some religious leader. It’s not because of all the regulations that may have been in your home, but rather it is because of Christ and Christ alone.

The law foreshadowed what is to come. Christ is the substance of what has come. So the Bible says in Romans 3 21 that now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested being witnessed by the law and the prophets.

That is the law foreshadowed or proclaimed. The prophets proclaimed of what this ministry of righteousness would be found in Jesus. And so friends, we don’t have to worry about regulations or rituals.

We focus on our relationship because all that is right before God and all that makes me right with God and before God is found in my relationship with Jesus Christ. So get this the glory of Calvary, the glory of Mount Calvary, the glory of the work of Christ far eclipses the glory of Mount Sinai, the glory of the work of Moses, the glory of the old covenant.

It is eclipsed by the glory of the new covenant. And it is no wonder that when Jesus came on the scene, that in this great sermon on the mount, that he would teach the people in Matthew 5 .6, blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

And what it is that Jesus is teaching, that if you are hungry to be right with God, if you are thirsty to live right before God, it will be fulfilled in Christ in you. Meaning that as you place your faith in Jesus, the thirst for righteousness is quenched in Jesus.

That the thirst of being right with God is quenched in Jesus. That the thirst to live right before God and to be pleasing to God and glorifying to God in your life, it is quenched in your relationship with Jesus.

God’s glorious. Grace is a ministry of righteousness, which allows each of us who believe in Christ to draw upon God’s sufficiency. It is not me that saves myself. It is Christ who saves me. Now, the Apostle Paul is making every effort to teach the Corinthians about the superiority of the New Covenant to the Old Covenant.

We hope you’re learning and you’re growing. Next week, we’ll be right back at it, same time, same station. And we’re going to be talking about the qualities of the New Covenant, part two. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

Join Our Newsletter

Shopping Cart