Preaching and the New Covenant

I can’t help pondering the implications of the New Covenant on the ministry of preaching. After all, if we are living under the blessing of the New Covenant, then it would make sense for us to ponder what it might mean for us today.

Interestingly, an alarming number of Christians don’t seem to ponder the New Covenant much, if at all. But surely anyone reading their Bible with hearts open will spot the significance of this issue.

After all, there are more than one or two New Testament passages that engage with a contrast between some aspect of Old Covenant and the New. There’s 2Corinthians, and Galatians, and Hebrews, not to mention Romans, Colossians, Philippians, and others.

But it isn’t just in the New Testament that the Old Covenant is critiqued in favour of the New Covenant. Consider the prophets too. In their bleakest pronouncements against a collapsing nation, what is the focus of the hope offered? There New Covenant is that which the coming Messiah will bring into force – consider Ezekiel 11 and 36, Jeremiah 31, Isaiah, well most of it, but certainly 40-66. Then there are others like Joel and Micah too.

But actually we can go back even further. Even within the Law (Pentateuch), we find hints that the Old Covenant would one day be replaced. The man of faith, Abraham, succeeded where the man under law, Moses, failed.

So what are the key features of the New Covenant? After all, serious minded Jews memorise extensive passages, even including all 613 specifications of the Law. I wonder why we don’t have the key features of the New Covenant on the tip of our tongues?

Let me list the five core features of the New Covenant, although I’d encourage you to chase the passages and formulate your own list. Then tomorrow I will start to ponder the significance of these features of the Christian life to our preaching. So, five core features:

1. Sins forgiven. Fully. Finally. Freely. Forever. Not temporarily covered.
2. Hearts of flesh. Enlived, brought to life, alive . . . from the inside out.
3. Law on the hearts. Not on external stones, nor written guidelines, inner desire to please God.
4. Indwelling Holy Spirit. Not on some for certain tasks at specific times. Spirit poured out on us all.
5. Personal knowledge of the Lord. Not just knowledge about the Lord, but personal relationship with God Himself.

That little list alone should get our hearts pumping! What might these core features mean for our preaching? Let’s ponder that tomorrow.

One thought on “Preaching and the New Covenant

  1. Your third sentence resonates with me: ”Interestingly, an alarming number of Christians don’t seem to ponder the New Covenant much, if at all.” You might have begun this sentence with a different adverb, e.g., ”sadly”, or moved ”alarming” to the foreground as ”Alarmingly a number…”. I say that, because, in my opinion this neglect is more than interesting. It is indeed alarming. On the theological side, I presented a paper to a small ”Thnk Tank” group in 2009 titled, ”The Silence of the New Covenant: Fallow Ground in the New Testament”. I surmise that the ”silence” on this subject I address amongst theologians and exegetes – especially in the literature and schools – might have a direct cause and effect relationship with what you are exposing in the homiletical realm. I am looking forward to more from you on this subject. Thank you for directing attention to it. For my paper (audio, video and PDF) see New Covenant Baptist Fellowship (Evans, NY) at [accessed 4 JUL 2012].

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