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•THE NEW COVENANT• At the Last Supper, Jesus, after giving thanks over the meal, gave the cup containing wine to His disciples, saying: ‘ “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the (new) covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” ‘ MAT. 26:27. The disciples had little knowledge of what was being done then, at the Last Supper. Why Jesus shared bread and wine with them, the former representing His body, and the latter representing His blood, eluded them. Little did they know that the long-promised, long- standing covenant of God was about to be fulfilled. The new covenant about which Prophet Habakkuk prophesied that many would not believe, because of its greatness that would make it look like an impossibility (HAB. 1:5 (ACTS 13:41)). To these new covenant Prophet Jeremiah attested in JER. 31:31-34: ‘ “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their Husband, says the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days ,says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. “And no longer shall each man teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” ‘. That were the words of the Lord Himself, revealing the mysteries of the work He was going to wrought. He revealed in the Old Testament, to prophets, and also other favoured, godly men, that a covenant was coming, better than the then present covenant, which was the covenant under the law (HEB. 8:7&8; 8:13; EX. 34:10; 24:3-8). The legal covenant which the Israelites in the Old Testament failed to keep up with, profaning it time and again (JER. 31:32). And as a result, they were virtually spiritually dead as they generally dwelled in sin. Apostle Paul wrote concerning them: ‘But that Israel who pursued righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in fulfilling that law’ ROM. 9:31. So then, God planned, even before creation, to replace the failed covenant with an everlasting one, that is sure not to be broken by those drawn to it (JER. 32:40). And brethren, do you know how any God-laid covenant get broken? In answer, that is because the other party involved in it (man) fails to keep up with (JER. 2:13; 5:5). The aim of every God-given covenant is to make man godly (holy); that is, to make man align with the ways of God so that the wrath of God will be averted over man. But yet, the Israelites so profaned the legal covenant that they become too sinful, for the traditional ways of purgation did not even go well with God anymore. Time and again, in the scripture, God refused their sacrifice (PSALM 50:7-11; JER. 6:20-21; 2:22). And so the covenant became severed, and as an implication, man was destined for wrath. But this same God that gave the first covenant, came up with another one-the new covenant, that aimed at cleansing all the sins of man once for all. For He said ‘…for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”. It then required a perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind to be cleansed once for all, as Apostle Paul wrote: ‘…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins’ HEB. 9:22. That is, without sacrifice, there is no forgiveness of sin, for something has to fill in the void place sin creates between man and his Creator. As you well know, sin separates man from God (COL. 1:21; 2COR. 6:14-15). That was why for the perfect sacrifice, Christ, the own Son of God, in whom the wholeness of God (all God’s holy virtues, characteristics, principles, etc.) was pleased to dwell (COL. 1:19); He was the only One God accepted as perfect for His appeasement after man had grieved Him for years, and accordingly, after He had rejected the imperfect, sub-standard sacrifice of man to Him (HEB. 5:8-10). And so Christ replaced all earthly, conventional sacrifices, becoming the sacrificial Lamb Himself (JOHN 1:29), to wipe away the sin of man once for all before God, that man might die to sin. So, the Last Supper was a great time, as it was very near the day of His sacrifice. He broke and blessed the bread, blessed also the wine, and told His disciples that the new covenant, much prophesied about, is about to be established, in which man would be cleansed of all his sins (MAT. 26:26-29). On that same day, Christ’s travail began when He was arrested; He was mocked, scourged, beaten, taunted, slandered against, despised…every process of this, as God established, was the public shaming of sin by men themselves, as a prophecy of how they would come to be against sin, after receiving the Holy Spirit, when they would have believed in Christ (ISA. 53; ROM. 8:3-4). Eventually, Christ was crucified, shedding His blood at cavalry; also, He became the first-born of the dead by resurrecting from the dead, rendering death powerless against all those who believe. And at last, He established the new covenant based not on any legality or works or power other than the faith in Him. For He Himself declared ‘ “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” ‘ MAT. 28:18. What authority brethren? The authority to forgive all sins, subdue all sinful forces, redeem every faithful soul, and establish the hope of eternal life (HEB. 7:25; 10:12-18; 1PET. 1:3-5; ROM. 10:4). That is the new covenant established in Christ Jesus, to which the Holy Spirit is a guarantee and an affirmation (EPH. 1:13). Brethren, we, who are believers, upholding and spreading the faith of Christ, and enjoying the privileges under it, are rightful partakers of this new covenant, established in Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit. For this reason, Apostle Paul exhorts us: ‘Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary (presence of God in heaven) by the blood of Jesus (Christ’s sacrifice), by the new and living way which He opened for us (The New Covenant)…Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith (be steadfast in your faith)…Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful…’ HEB. 10:19-25. THE GRACE OF THE LORD IN CHRIST BE WITH YOU (AMEN).

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•THE NEW COVENANT•

Aside

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