Three conditions have to be dealt with if the Abrahamic Covenant or promise is to bring a permanent
blessing to “all the families of the earth.” These are
- the “sins of the past” both of Jews under the Old Covenant and of Gentiles under no covenant;
- sins committed, whether through weakness or wilfulness, after the past sins have been remitted;
- the tendency toward sin in all the race.
For the first two of these conditions the Law Covenant made some provision in various offerings, such as those of the Day of Atonement, which were for the whole nation, and the individual sin and trespass offerings from time to time brought by transgressors. All of these, however, never actually took away sin, but served only as reminders of the sinful conditions. (Heb. 10: 1-4.)
For the third condition there was no provision in the Law Covenant. Its arrangements could not meet the requirements of the case, and could not overcome the difficulties for those who desired to lead righteous lives. (Gal. 2: 21; 3 : 21).
The New Covenant makes ample provision to deal with these three conditions.
- It provides an efficacious atoning sacrifice, which has not only redeemed the Jews, who are under the curse of the Law, but which is also a propitiation for the sins of the whole world. (Heb. 9: 15; Rom. 3 : 22-20; Gal. 3 : 13; 4: 4, 5 ; John 3 : 16; 1 John 2 : 2 . )
“This is My blood of the New Covenant,”
said our Redeemer, when offering the cup at the Memorial Supper to His disciples;
“drink ye all of it.” “And they all drank of it.” (Matt. 26:28; Mark 14: 23, 24; Luke 22: 20; 1 Cor. 11: 25.)
This cup represents the blood shed for many (all the world ) for the remission of sins. The disciples, being sinful men, must eat his flesh and drink his blood, else they would have no life in them. (John 6: 47-58). So must all do who would have life. All who would have everlasting life must, believe on him, for no other way has been provided by which God can justly remit the sins that are past, both for Israel and all nations. (John 3: 36; Acts 5: 3 1 ; 13: 38-49 ; Luke 24 : 47 ; Rom. 5: 1.)
- The New Covenant arranges not only for remission of past sins, thus passing the believer from death to life, but also for clearing away such future transgressions as shall result from the weaknesses and imperfections of our fallen nature. This is all provided for in the blood of Jesus.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:9,7.) Here is manifest the intercessory work of the High Priest on behalf of all who have entered into this covenant relationship with God, through his mediation.
“If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.”
“We” who have the advocate are not the uncovenanted, but are those who have made a covenant with God by or over the sacrifice of His Son, and so have come into the household, being no longer aliens and strangers. (Psa. 50: 3 ; Eph. 2:12, 13, 19.)
It is not supposed that our Mediator intercedes for each transgressor by name, each time one sins. Rather, the fact of his finished sacrifice constitutes the intercession. Moreover, the presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart also constitutes an intercession for him in such a time of need; for if God is accepting the will and effort, notwithstanding the weakness of the flesh to the contrary, the fact that he has the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2: 12, 16; Phil. 2: 5) must, under “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” constitute a powerful intercession on behalf of the believer who has been overtaken in a fault to which the mind of Christ in him gave no consent. (Rom 5: 2,26, 27; Gal. 5: 25; 6: 2).
The New Covenant deals effectively with sins committed wilfully by those who have come into the relationship with God which it provides.
“That servant which knew his Lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him will they ask the more.” (Luke 12: 47, 48.) A just discrimination is made in respect to all wilful transgressions. No doubt, the master of the house takes into account that some of the wilfulness which needs correction, and which is susceptible to nothing else than painful experience, is hereditary, and is to that extent, when confessed, covered by the precious blood. He knows the hearts of His people, and suits the correction to their need.
The sacrifice of Jesus does not cover the intelligently wilful transgressions — small or great — of those who have entered into the New Covenant arrangement and have been sanctified by its blood.
“If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remained! no more sacrifice for sins.” (Heb. 10 : 22-26.)
The Scripture then tells of the extreme measure of wilfulness, and of a “knowledge of the truth” far beyond the merely having-heard-it stage. This is made plain in v. 29 >
“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the spirit of grace?”
The shed blood of Jesus, which is the blood of the New Covenant, and which alone is able to make the comers thereunto perfect, is here referred to. In verses 10, 14, this is described
—”By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
What shall we suppose, then, of those who are proclaiming that the blood of the New Covenant is not that of Jesus only, the one offering, but is the joint sacrifice of the Church with Jesus? The Apostle has predicted precisely this most grievous error. The word translated ”unholy” in Heb. 10: 29 is koinos, which means, according to Strong’s Concordance, “common; literally, shared by all or several.” In a ceremonial sense, this word also means “profane;” but that definition does not
apply here, because the Apostle is dealing not with ceremonies, but with vital facts.* If we believe the words of our blessed Master, that the blood of the New Covenant is “my blood,” let us hold to that precious truth at all cost; and let us not constitute ourselves candidates for the “much sorer punishment,” by wresting our Lord’s words, and saying that the sacrifice is “primarily His, and secondarily ours,” thus counting the blood of the covenant, the “one offering,” a “common
thing,” “shared by several.” When the disciples drank the cup handed them by our Lord, at the institution of the Memorial Supper, that ceremony was not intended to represent the disciples and other consecrated believers as sharing with Jesus the honour of being the propitiatory sacrifice, but it represented how they shared among themselves the benefits of the “one offering.”
This is made plain by the fact that our Lord drank none of the Memorial Cup. And our Lord’s
concluding words are significant also:
“This do in remembrance of Me”
— not this do in remembrance of yourselves.
- The New Covenant is so arranged as to thoroughly eradicate from those who come under it, and
are faithful to the end, all tendencies to evil doing, substituting for these a character established in righteousness.
The Old Covenant wrote the law of God on tables and in books, and required the people to obey.
These writings, being external to the people, were antagonistic and condemnatory, and were a ministration of death to the people. The New Covenant not only puts away out of remembrance the past sins and iniquities, and shows mercy to present and future unrighteousness, but it also puts God’s laws into the hearts and minds of those under it. This means more than learning by rote; it means that obedience to God becomes constitutional with the New Covenant people,
and that their “stony” hearts are displaced by hearts of flesh; that is, their naturally stubborn and rebellious “stony” hearts or dispositions are gradually transformed into more susceptible, human-like hearts.
In the case of the Jews, it had been foretold,
“They shall be all taught of Cod,
and Jesus was set forth, as God’s representative, to be the Teacher, as well as the Saviour. (John 6: 27-29, 44-47.) It was his mission to reveal the Father. (John 14: 17; Matt. 11: 27.) Those who become pupils of the meek and lowly Jesus learn to love him for his character as well as for his offering of himself as their Saviour; and they are also made acquainted with the character and plans of the Heavenly Father. They know Him not by hearsay only, and not by observing what He is to others, but each one as he understands more and more of God’s character and disposition, and as he imitates that character, is transformed into the same image, He thus knows God experimentally. A person lacking in conscientiousness cannot understand or know a conscientious person, for the reason that the principles on which a conscientious person acts are unknown to him. So one in alienation from God, and living in sin, cannot know God, His character or the principles governing His acts. But those who repudiate sin and accept the terms of the New Covenant are so transformed by the renewing of their minds that they are able to prove by practice the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom. 12: 2.)
In them is our Lord’s prayer fulfilled
— “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3.)
Those who know God in this way need none to say to them,
“Know the Lord,”
for each one knows Him for himself. And as the gracious terms of the New Covenant are more widely circulated, during the Gospel Age and during the Kingdom Age, this blessed experience will be the portion of the vast majority of mankind. It is written concerning the New Covenant ministry during the Gospel Age
— “Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters,’ saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 5: 18-21; 6: 16-18; Heb. 8: 10.)
Concerning the New Covenant ministry of the Kingdom Age similar language is used
— “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and lie will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Rev. 21: 3; Heb. 8: 10.)
‘The word koinos is translated “common” in Acts 10: 14, 28; 11: 8. 9; ” defiled ” in Mark 7: 2 ; ” unclean ” in Rom. 14: 14 ; in all of which cases it is used ceremonially. It is translated “common ” in Acts 2: 44; 4:32; Titus 1 : 4; Jude 3; “unholy” in Heb. 10: 29. in all of which cases it is used literally.
These are all the occurrences of koinos in the New Testament.