Is there something different and new about the New Covenant? Are there benefits immediately available to Christians under the New Covenant that weren’t available before? Through the prophet Jeremiah, God promised a covenant that was coming, a covenant that was different than any other covenant made with Israel:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31–34)
Though believers living prior to the coming of Christ were justified by faith, did they have the internal power described by this New Covenant? Were they regenerated and indwellt as New Testament believers were?
The Bible used various terms throughout the Old and New to describe internal effects wrought by the Holy Spirit. For example:
- Circumcision of the heart (Deut 10:16, 30:6; Jer 4:4; Rom 2:29)
- A New Heart/Heart of Flesh (Ezekiel 11:19, 18:31, 36:26)
- The Circumcision of Christ (Col 2:11)
- A New Creation (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15)
- Being Born Again/From Above (Jn 3:3-5)
- The Washing of Regeneration and Renewal by the Spirit (Tit 3:5)
However, do all of these refer to the same event?
The Bible presents us with a story; in the pages of Scripture, we find the narrative of God’s redemptive plan culminating and centered upon His Son, Jesus Christ. As with any story, there is development, there is change, there is progress. The same holds true for Scripture. Yet the question must be asked: Has God’s Spirit interacted with believers in identical ways in the Old and the New Testament? If so, what is the purpose of the New Covenant? If not, what is different about the New Covenant compared to the other biblical covenants? This study seeks to examine and unpack the unfolding revelation of Scripture, so that as believers, we might give thanks to God for His blessing in our lives under the New Covenant.