We Must Not Mix Two Covenants
Even a superficial exposure to the Bible reveals that much is said about believing in relation to behavior. Much of the New Testament is dedicated to defining what God requires, not according to the law of Moses under the Old Covenant, but under the New Covenant taught and ratified by Jesus as the final agent of God, the prophet who was to supersede even Moses (Deut. 18:15-18; John 1:17).
Reflection over many years of teaching and study has brought us to the settled conviction that one of the mos fatal misunderstandings of Jesus and the New Covenant occurs when we try to mix two different systems, the Old and the New. God is no longer dealing with mankind in the terms He authorized through Moses. If, with full sincerity and a desire to obey God, we approach Him on a basis which He does not prescribe for us under the New Covenant brought by Jesus, we are liable to inflict upon ourselves a terrible theological wound. Ignorance of the New Covenant is as divisive as it is destructive of spirituality. But such misunderstanding often parades as “Christian.”
We must gain the freedom which Jesus promised, and it is a freedom based on the spirit of truth and not on our own constructions built on a confusing mixing of two covenants.
Mixing the Blood of Christ with The Blood of Bulls and Goats
Christians recognize Moses as the mediator of the Old Covenant established between the God of Israel and His people. Exodus 24 records the confirmation of the covenant arrangements, when the people agreed to comply with all the words written in the book of the covenant. Blood was then sprinkled on the altar and on the people; the congregation of Israel agreed to do “everything the Lord has said.” The blood then officially ratified the covenant on the basis of “all the words” Moses had received from God.
Jesus is introduced in the New Testament as the Messenger of the New Covenant. Jesus is contrasted with Moses. “The law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Matthew records five blocks of ’ New Covenant teaching, ending with the repeated phrase “when Jesus had finished saying these things” (7:28, etc.). Jesus then shed his own blood to bring that New Covenant into force.
There are matters of critical importance in this issue of discerning what God requires under the Christian New Covenant. Not to advance from the Old to the New is a very serious danger for believers. The tendency to revert to the Old Covenant and mix it with the New called forth the Apostle’s sternest warnings and indignation: “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified…Did you receive the spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?…It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again with a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you get circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace…The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Gal. 3:1, 2; 5:1-6).
Truth indeed makes us free, but freedom is attainable only when we discover what that liberating truth is. This means paying careful attention to the Gospel/words of Jesus and of Paul, the intrepid exponent of Jesus’ Great Commission to preach the one Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations, and who desired passionately that Jews and Gentiles form one harmonious church based on the freedom of the New Covenant.