After participating in this discussion blog for several months, I've become discerned that many of my seven day Adventist Brethren are unaware of what the new covenant means. So I ask the question; What does the new covenant mean to seventh day aventist in the context of Hebrews 8: 7-13.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. 8 For he finds fault with them when he says: "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 9 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. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more." 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
What I understand this to mean is that the Holy Spirit is indwelling us and gives us guidance as to what to do and say. Also that when our sins are forgiven they are forgotten. Christ's death on the cross took the place of the sacrifices that were needed in the past to forgive sin. Christ's death took care of it all because He said, "It is finished."
Leon I know you know more about the new covenant. Please tell us more. I didn't get in on any other discussions on this topic so not sure what was said. Anyone else have anything to add? I need to learn more. Good topic.
'The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah . . . (Jeremiah 31:31
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5-7.
The focus on the new covenant in my study is the redemptive work of Christ through his sacrifice, and the innerworkings of the Holy Spirit to create a new heart and mind which represent the character of Christ. Under the new covenant the focus is not on attempting to meet the requirements of the law according to the limited understanding of man. But, we are able to fulfill the spirit of the law through reflecting the perfect love of Christ.
This can be difficult concept for some Christians because they have trouble distinguishing the old from the new. The old covenant Christians are focused on works based salvation through adhereance to the law. New covenant Christians are focused on grace produced through the sacrifice of Christ. To truly keep Gods will one must be motivated internally by the Spirit which allows them reflect the love of God.
As sinners we cannot hope to keep the law, because it is not our nature. However, when we are born again the law becomes a part of who we are, people of the Spirit who have the laws written on their hearts.
This means that the intepretation of the law motivated by the Guidance of the Spirit and not the written letter of the law. This also requires a greater reliance on the Spirit, and less so on mans intepretation of the law.
That being said, which I believe, where does our teaching of the Sabbath being the only last test fit in?
Hello Brother Keith
In the light of the bible holding any one commandment as the litmus test for salvation is difficult to subsantiate. Thus, our teacing that the sabbath as the seal of God would not hold up to scriptural evidence. The bible teaches that the seal of God is the Holy Spirit (In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,) ephesians 1:13
This verse is consistent with the new covenant in that we are born again of the Spirit, and sealed by him. If we depart from the Holy Spirit and refuse to follow His direction we fail to abide in Christ and thus are by our own action rejecting the free gift of Grace.
The core inner workings of the spirit are exemplified not in doctrine but in actual action. We must display the Characteristics of Gods Character (the fruits of the Spirit,) which are a reflection of our willingness to succumb to the Spirits direction.
The Sabbath can help Christians become closer to God, but is not a requirement for salvation, nor it is a litmus test for true faith in God. The Sabbath means nothing if we are unable to display the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. Those that who fail to keep the Sabbath but are abiding in Christ are fully saved. And those that keep the Sabbath but do not abide in Christ will not be saved. Abiding in Christ through the Spirit is the key to the new covenant.
I want to be clear, I keep the Sabbath because it is helps me focus on abiding in Christ, and it enhances my relationship with my family. That being said, it does not in secure me a place in heaven and I am no better than my Sunday keeping brethren who in many cases have done a lot more for God than I have.
The mark of God is on your forehead only, see Rev. 7. The Mark of the beast is on the forehead or in the hand.The marks are similar but Gods mark can not be in the hand.
Question: why does God not have His mark in the hand?
I believe he is with us on this one: he believes that it is because we are not saved but works...
The mark in not on the hand because it is our choice to follow the Spirit (free will,) it is not forced like the mark of the beast (right hand.) The in Jewish culture the right hand is a symbol of strength or control. Thus, those who are under the influence of the beast are under his control. God never forces. He is always beckoning but never imposing.
Amen to your answer, I have the same belief on this, now let us take it one step along.
Leon: In the light of the bible holding any one commandment as the litmus test for salvation is difficult to subsantiate. Thus, our teacing that the sabbath as the seal of God would not hold up to scriptural evidence
In the light of your earlier statement what would be the test on our Loyalty to God. If you say it is not the Sabbath what else could it be?
Herbert said, "The Sabbath can help Christians become closer to God, but is not a requirement for salvation, nor it is a litmus test for true faith in God."
Hmm... Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my commandments". God's people in the last days are defined as being those who "keep the commandments of God". All the Christian faiths claim to be keeping the Commandments but the majority of them also claim that the commandments were nailed to the cross and they follow the RCC and honour the Sabbath of man rather than the Sabbath of God.
In the OT the Commandments were a seal, and we are promised that God will put His commands in our hearts and cause us to do them. In the NT commandment-keeping defines God's people and in the middle of the Commandments we find the 4th one, the only one beginning with the word "Remember". The word "Sabbath" is constructed of three component parts which means "the dwelling place of the sign or seal of the Father". It is the only commandment that can be described in terms of forehead and hand versus hand only.
Commandment-keeping cannot get you into heaven but it is a described characteristic of those who will go to heaven. So it is a bit like saying that not committing adultery or not killing won't get you into heaven - absolutely true. However, committing adultery or committing murder may keep you out of heaven. If it is true for one of the commandments I suspect that it is true for all.
Commandment keeping does get you into heaven, if you are converted by the Spirit and abiding in Christ. The question is what are the commandments under the new covenant? Are they the collective will of God in the expression of service to our fellow man. Or are they the letter of the law, and keeping those commandments as we see fit. As you quote John 14, you must remember the commandments of Christ, and how He introduced the new covenant under the Holy Spirit. The question to you was; How to you as an Adventist view the new covenant. So what is your answer?
If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
Christ referred to the 10 Commandments. These were His commandments inasmuch as He delivered them.
Christ also reduced them down to two basic principles and, as He said he did not come to change them. The NT makes it clear in Revelation that God's people are identified as Commandment keepers and they keep the commandments not to be saved but because they are saved. Indeed if they were not saved they could not keep the commandments as it is God that causes them so to do. It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that causes us to keep the 10 Commandments.
I don't see that there is any need to try and redefine the 10 Commandments as Christ said that He had not come to change them but to fulfil them.
According to you, what is your understanding of the New covenant?