"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

I Believe In The New Covenant - Message 2


Listen to I Believe In The New Covenant, the second in the series of messages entitled "What I Wished I Had Known Forty Years Ago," preached by Paul Burleson, on Sunday night, January 7, 2007. The outline is presented below to follow along as you listen.

“I Believe in the New Covenant”

Texts:“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14

I. The Covenant of “the Law”

Exodus 34:27-28 - “And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”

The Covenant of “the Law” . . . 1. Was made with Israel specifically, and 2. It was based on law or performance

What does the Covenant of 'the Law' say?
“If you” keep the Law, “then I, the Lord, will bless you.”
“If you don’t” keep the Law, “then I, the Lord, won’t or can’t bless you.”

Israel failed to keep the law. The sacrificial system was established, including the Temple and the sacrifices and the priesthood to point Israel, in picture form, to a coming Messiah/Redeemer.

This first covenant, or Covenant of 'the Law' has been viewed
1. By Dispensationalists: As set aside for the church age, but there is coming in the future a new land, and a new Temple, and a new peace for the nation of Israel.
2. By Reformed Covenant Theologians: As part of the one Covenant of Grace -- the only eternal covenant. The covenant of 'law,' and all other covenants, are simply different administrations of this one, eternal Covenant of Grace.

I disagree with both Dispensationists and Reformed Covenant Theologians.

II. The New Covenant

2 Corinthians 3:6 - “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”
2 Corinthians 3:14-16 - “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.”
Hebrews 10:9 - “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”

The Old Covenant had a Mediator - Moses.
The New Covenant has a Mediator - Christ.
The Old Covenant had a High Priest -Aaron.
The New Covenent has a High Priest - Christ
The Old Covenant had a sacrifice of goats & calves.
The New Covenant has a sacrifice - Christ
The Old Covenant had a Temple - in Jerusalem.
The New Covenant has a Temple - Christ in me.
The Old Covenant had a Law Giver - Moses.
The New Covenant has a Law Giver - Christ: “Hear ye Him”

The New Covenant is Christocentric:

“Love”- “as I have loved you” and “Forgive”- “as you have been forgiven”

1 Corinthians 9:20-21 -“And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.”

I do not hold to a Reformed Covental Theology because: 1. There is no mention of a covenant as pre-existing; covenants relate to time only, and 2. Covenants are also plural in Scripture, not singular.

Romans 9:4 - “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the COVENANTS, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.”
Ephesians 2:12 - “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the COVENANTS of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”

"Why is this so important that I wish I had known it 40 years ago?

1. It completely changes my view of the cross

The cross did…redeem me

The cross did…sanctify me

The cross did…glorify me

There are no lists needed to perform in order to get His blessings

2. It completely changes my view of the law

Ten Commandments – are “school teacher” to bring Israel to the need of a Messiah.

We, the church, have a new Law-giver -- Christ Himself. Hear ye Him.

3. It completely changes my view of living

All of life is … now a gift … and is sacred … and is to be lived ... as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving … because of His grace given in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Bryan Riley said...

Ahhhh, jubilee. That is where Jesus leads us. We see it throughout the Word, where in Colossians 2:6 he tells us to continue on just as we received. What is the focus? Jesus, our faith in Him. We see in Hebrews 3 that the lack of rest comes from what? A lack of faith in Him. Jesus. The new covenant is nothing less than Jesus. Peter walked on water when? When he focused on and placed his faith in Jesus. But as soon as the object of his faith changed he sank.

Thank you, Paul, for helping to connect these dots. Jesus frees us from ourselves, from other gods, from regulation, from hate, from all slavery to everything and gives us the grace to live just as He did, the perfect way that God designed for us to live. Hallelujah!!! We can rest! We can live in jubilee! We can love! Just as He is, we can be.

Jerry B. said...

A wonderful message that has helped me tremendously in my understanding of the Christian life.

Monk-in-Training said...

I stronly agree, Rev. Burleson. Very good post, may we rejoice and be glad in being a Christian and may we truely realize that All of life is … now a gift

† Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est
Where charity and love are, God is there

D. Sanders said...


Can you say enough about how the Lord has made so many things clear to your dad? I think not. I loved getting to know Paul in Greensboro. On a different note, I wanted to tell you, and the rest of the fan club, that if you take all the pictures in the post below and put them together, it makes some cool wallpaper. Your Earl-like likeness looks great in the middle :)

Debbie said...

Bryan said: "Peter walked on water when? When he focused on and placed his faith in Jesus. But as soon as the object of his faith changed he sank."

I really like this point Bryan made. That to me is a good illustration of what is being said.

I think the Bible from Genesis to Revelation points to Christ. Reading with that in mind, makes a big difference.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested two SBTS profs, Thomas R. Schreiner and Shawn Wright, have edited a book titled "Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ." It was published by Broadman and Holman and should be an interesting read. It may even prove helpful in some of our current discussions on Baptism.

Jeff Brock said...

I get it. I know many probably do. But I can't help but feel like Elijah who cried out to God that he was alone in I Kings 19. There just aren't many pastors who lead their congregations into this true freedom in Christ. The vast, vast majority of Southern Baptist Churches are mired in belief that they must earn the blessings and acceptance of God. Pastors, even those who are seminary educated, preach an old covenant message. It's affecting all of the Church's life, from discipleship to evangelism and missions. Can that change, or will that change?

Benji Ramsaur said...


Praise the Lord for this post and message!

It was so encouraging to me.

I am so excited at the thought that probably many SBCers will be exposed to this teaching on the New Covenant.

After I heard the message, I called my wife and told her that I loved her and wanted her and I to listen to your message together tonight.

Your message brought glory to Jesus, my brother.

Amy Downey said...

Seeing that you stated that you are neither a dispensationalist or a reformed covenantalist, I would like to know your position on modern Israel and the Jewish people. Do you advocate dual covenantalism in which the Jewish people are redeemed through the old covenant? Or do you advocate the view which states that the Church has replaced Israel as God's Chosen People?

Anonymous said...

Two wonderful messages. Paul, I was thrilled at the way you have let God lead you through the years. I am 83 and certainly am not the legalistic person I was 40 years ago, on the mission field, no less!

Bryan, thank you for some encouraging words. God is greatly to be praised! I am reading Richard Foster's book on prayer and am thrilled at his insight into how much God loves us, in spite of our weaknesses.

Florence in KY

Alycelee said...

Bro Paul,
I was so blessed by this message of the New Covenant.
I think Jeff Brock got it right when he talks about how many of our churches really get. I was reminded myself of how many times I vacillate between trying to win God's approval with my behavior rather than realizing what He has done for me, resting in that and responding in a relationship to Him.
What a blessing you have been to me.

Paul/Mary Burleson said...


I personally believe that, since Israel was separated to God through the Exodus and subsequent Mosaic covenant and all promises were intended to be fulfilled by the Messiah, Christ's obedience in death has constituted a New Exodus that is now separating a New Covenant people from ALL the nations of the earth.

Israel's hope of redemtion is "the seed of woman" which has been everyone's hope since the fall. All types pointed to Him. Since He has come, there is no reason for the shadows to continue. [Col.2:16-17

I'm sorry for the delay in response.

Paul/Mary Burleson said...

Sorry, make that "redemption." :)

Amy Downey said...


In reading your response to my question, I gather that you are stating that Israel has been replaced as God's covenant people. Am I correct in this assumption? I do not wish to misquote you. Thank you for your response.

Paul/Mary Burleson said...



But let me give a little help as to why I say yes.

The Mosaic covenant was temporary and was to be replaced/superceded by a New Covenant. [Jeremiah 31:31-33] and was not to be "after the manner of the old."

That New covenant replaces the old.

Those same days are spoken of in Joel 2:28-29 and Peter connects the dots at Pentecost, as does Hebrews, to the New Covenant mediated by our Mediator, Prophet, Priest, King, and Lawgiver, the Lord Jesus.

There are good and godly people who disagree with me and you may be one. Aren't we glad our fellowship is around the Person and Work of Christ.