The Old Year has passed away. It was full of challenges, successes, failures, rewards and consequences. The Old Year placed its demands on us and we either met them or we did not.
Today is a fresh start, a new beginning.
When I think about what it must of been like for those living in the day of Christ, I sympathise with them. A New Covenant. Everything old needed to be put behind them so they could start with a clean slate.
I struggle with being late. Not that I tend to be late…the opposite. I am almost NEVER late and when I am it makes me feel sick to my stomach. The stress that accompanies being late, for me, is almost dehibilitating.
What if one day, someone said to me, “I am here to take away all of your need to be on time. I think you are amazing and even though I know that sometimes you will be late, I want to be your best friend. If someone is hurt or gets mad at you for being late, I will forgive you. I want you to be happy. I want to give you everything I have. It does not make me happy when you are late but if you love me and are willing to let me be part of your life, we can work on your lateness together.”
What if I replied, “Being on time is more important to me than you are!”
The people in Jesus’ time were taught based on centuries of tradition. Everything they knew told them that they had to “be…” or “do…”. When Jesus told them that there was a new covenant available to them, they could not see beyond the conventions of their customs and their culture. They were so tied to their rituals and the Law of Moses that they could not (or chose not to) accept a new Way.
“They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of me.” And He said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions…Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.”
The Old Covenant declared that the “wages of sin are death” Romans 3:23a
But the gift of God is eternal life! Romans 3:23b
Jesus Christ is the New Covenant. The Old Covenant required repeated blood sacrifices and offering. The New Covenant requires accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour. His blood on the cross at Calvary was sufficient.
“The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband toe]’>” declares the LORD.
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
The New Covenant means that we are free from the bondage of the Law. We will fail – God knows that – but a Way has been provided for us to be set free from our failures.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Today is a new day, a new opportunity. If you have not opened your heart to the New Covenant, to the Lord Jesus Christ, take time today. Jesus is not a set of rules or impositions. Jesus is not a means to an end or a justification to have your own way or a judgement on anyone else.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, sent to us to enable us to have a relationship with our Creator. Open your heart to Him today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,