Can you explain something to me concerning the books in the Old Testament, the law in the Old Testament and the Old Testament promises and how that’s incorporated into the New Testament church when Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and we are to be free of the law? How do you do the transition?
It doesn’t say that we’re necessarily free from the law. The Bible says we’re
free from the curse of the law and we’re redeemed from the curse of the law. In
other words, we’re no longer subject to those negative consequences of not
obeying everything in the Old Testament or those curses because Jesus became a
curse for us. The Bible says that “cursed is one that hangs on a tree.”
I think we need to understand, what are we free from? We’re free from having to
obey the law in order to be saved. We’re free from having to obey the Old
Testament laws in order for God to love us. We’re free from having to obey the
Old Testament laws in order for us to go to heaven and to be pleasing to God.
But we’re not free from obeying the laws that still pertain to us today. Like,
for example, the Old Testament says, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Well, we
still need to honor that even thought Jesus became the sacrifice for us.
So how do you make that transition? You realize that it’s through Jesus Christ
that you now have the power to do what’s right. You don’t have to do what’s
right in order to be saved or in order to be accepted by God, but you need to
have the power to do what’s right because it’s right. That’s the difference.
That’s where the transition is made. No longer are we on our own trying to obey
God in our own power. But now, when we’re saved, when we’re born again, Jesus
Christ lives inside of us. We have the power of the Holy Spirit and now we have
the ability to live for God. We have the ability to do what’s right and it’s
something that enables us and empowers us rather that something that we have to
do in order to be accepted by God.
And remember that Jesus fulfilled the law when he came on the cross. He
fulfilled the law and He obeyed all of the law on our behalf. There are some
things He declared that we don’t have to be obligated to anymore, like not
eating certain foods. He declared all foods clean. So there are specific things
He said we’re not under obligation to anymore, but then there are other things
where we are, like adultery. He’s written the law in our heart. Now it’s a part
of us. Now it’s not from the outside in; now it’s from the inside out. Think
about that and meditate on that.
Could you please clarify the differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. And when did the New Covenant begin? Did it begin in Matthew or did it take place at the cross?
That’s a great question and one that I think confuses people often. The
difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant – well, first let’s
talk about the similarities between the two.
A covenant is an agreement. It’s a contract. So there’s the old contract – and
the only reason it’s old is because there is a new one now. It’s not old just
because it was around longer; it’s old because it is no longer the means by
which we relate to God. We don’t relate to God based on the Old Covenant that
God made with Moses any more. We relate to God based on the New Covenant that
God made through Jesus Christ and His blood.
So, in answering your question, the New Covenant began when Jesus died on the
cross. When His blood was shed, that’s when the New Covenant went into effect.
And what is this New Covenant? It is an agreement between God and man, that God
would remember our sins no more, He will never leave us or forsake us, and He
will never bring up our past. He will constantly give us a new chance and a new
hope in life because of the blood of Jesus Christ. And we can approach God now
with the blood of the Lamb of God. The Old Covenant enabled men to approach God
based on the blood of a calf or a bull or a goat. But the New Covenant enables
us to approach God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, which is a perfect
sacrifice whereby we can come into perfect communion with God and into a perfect
relationship with God, no longer a veiled relationship, no longer a relationship
that’s just once a year or through a High Priest.
But now we can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and we
can come boldly to His throne of grace and obtain mercy and grace in a time of
need. Why? Because the Old Covenant was a relationship with God based on the
blood of animals but the New Covenant is a relationship with God based on the
blood of Jesus Christ. The Old Covenant blood was shed once a year so that the
people’s sins could be forgiven. The High Priest would go into the tabernacle
and shed the blood of a bull or a goat and that would cover the sins of the
people. But that’s all it ever did. It covered the sins of the people. But
Jesus’ blood, which is the new Covenant, doesn’t just cover our sins; it removes
our sins as if sin had never been and puts us into a right relationship with God
where sin is no longer standing in between us and God.
And when Jesus taught in the New Testament, it’s a mixture; it’s a combination
of both the New Covenant and the Old Covenant. He taught things that were from
the Old Covenant but He said that He was giving them a new law. For example, the
Old Covenant said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy or love those that
love you but avenge yourself with your enemy,” but the New Covenant says, “Love
your enemy. Pray for those that hurt you. Pray for those who use you.” He said
that in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Even though He hadn’t died on
the cross yet, it is still a part of the New Covenant, to love those that do not
love us. And Jesus said, “A new commandment do I give to you, that you would
love one another even as I have loved you. And so, it’s a combination.
Now, there are other things that He said, pertaining to marriage and to
different laws that Jesus talked about that He was speaking to people that were
under the Old Covenant and He was not inaugurating new things unless He actually
said, “A new commandment I give you” or “a new covenant I make with you.” So,
it’s a combination of old and new. But we know that whatever Jesus did is a part
of the New Covenant. When He healed the sick, when He raised the dead, when He
cleansed the lepers, when He cast out demons, when He forgave people freely,
that is a picture of God’s attitude towards us when Jesus’ blood is shed.
Everything that Jesus did in His earthly ministry is something that God wants us
to experience in the New Covenant.
Why did God choose a blood sacrifice as opposed to something else? Whether it was the lamb or Christ Himself, why did He choose blood? As far as the lamb, they were innocent. I know Jesus Christ gave Himself up for us, but the lambs, I don’t think they gave themselves up for us.
Here’s why God chose blood as the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins.
Number one, the Bible says the wages of sin is death. That’s the first thing we
have to accept. Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” Number two, God is a
just God that cannot overlook a trespass without a fair and equitable judgment
for that sin. He cannot overlook sin. The sin must be paid for. Since the wages
of sin is death, the only compensation for sin can be life. A life has to be
given to pay the price for the death that is the punishment of sin. Life has to
be offered so that death can be overcome by life. Death has to paid for by
something more powerful than it and that is life.
Why blood? Why does blood represent life? Because if you take the blood out of
your body, there will be no life. The life of the body is in the blood. The
reason we are alive today is because we have blood. If you lose all your blood
today, you will lose your life. There will be no life without blood. Blood is
the essence of the life that is in the human body.
And so why did God send Jesus? Because Jesus had the blood of God and the blood
of man in his body at the same time. 100% God and 100% man. And the life of the
body is in the blood. Therefore, blood being shed means life has now been given
to pay the price for death. Blood representing life has been shed so that it can
overcome and pay the price for the death that represents sin. Sin is represented
in death, life is represented in blood, blood overcomes sin even as life
And that is why Jesus had to die on the cross and that is why blood had to be
shed. The blood of lambs was shed as a precursor or as a foreshadowing, to give
us a picture that the Lamb of God’s blood would eventually be shed, which would
be much more powerful than the blood of a physical lamb. We needed the blood of
God Himself and man, all at the same time to be shed for us so that it could
overtake death and overtake sin.
What’s the difference between a miracle and a blessing?
Well, that’s a great question. I think that a blessing is an overflow of
doing the Word of God. The Bible says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in
the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the
seat of the scornful.” The Bible says, “Blessed is the man that believes the
Word of God.” “Blessed is the man that trusts the Word of God.” The blessing,
therefore is the God’s overflow of our obedience to His Word and our obedience
to faith in his Word. That would be how I would describe a blessing.
Now, a miracle is an instantaneous manifestation or an instantaneous arrival of
something that God promised. There may be obedience attached to it or there may
be nothing attached to it, it may simply be somebody prayed for you and a
miracle took place. A miracle is an instantaneous arrival of God’s power
ungenerated, not generated by something that we’ve done whereas a blessing is
something that is an overflow or an effect of something that we caused by acting
on the Word of God, doing what God’s Word says and then God blesses us because
we’re following His Word. Blessings come in all shapes and sizes as do miracles.
They’re both great, so welcome them both. Study them both in your Bible and
you’ll grow in experience them in your life.
Are godparents biblical and do you know a Scripture that can show support for that? And also, having a child christened because I see so many times people who are not saved and have the baby in white and they may not even go to church again after they get their baby blessed or whatever. And what’s the difference between christening and blessing for a baby?
Clearly the biblical pattern is that children should be dedicated to the Lord
because Jesus was dedicated to the Lord. Simeon grabbed Jesus and dedicated Him
to the Lord. Samuel was dedicated to the Lord. So you can call that christening,
you can call that dedication. It doesn’t matter. It’s a matter of the heart that
makes sure that you are saying, “God, we want to present our baby to you and we
want to declare to You that we will raise him in the way that he should go with
all our heart, mind, soul and strength. That’s the most important thing.
Now, are godparents biblical was your first question. They certainly are not
unbiblical. It’s good to have people that would be responsible to take care of
your children if there were something that were to happen to you, if the Lord
took you up like He took Elijah up, took Enoch up. Enoch walked with God and
then he was no more. What if I was walking with God and then I was no more? I
would want to make sure that I had some people in my life that were responsible
for my family, responsible for my children and would carry out my will to the
“t” so that they would carry it out the way that I would.
So, yes, I think it’s biblical. I wouldn’t necessarily call them “godparents.”
Maybe put them in your will as executors of your will, recipients of your will.
You’ve got to do that legally because just calling them “godparents” in a church
service is not going to give them the legal right to be responsible for your
children. Make sure that you consult your lawyer and make sure that you cross
all your t’s and dot all your i’s.