Our goal in this lesson is to discover the essence of God's Kingdom, which so many have mistakenly interpreted, and to understand the relationship of the Old Covenant to the New, focusing mainly on the Christian's obligation to the Law as seen in light of Christ's redemptive work in the hearts and lives of those who truly believe.
To do so we will first consider the primary differences between the Old Covenant and the New. Second, we will attempt to grasp the Bible's teaching on the problem of sin. And finally, we will seek to understand what it means to be a "new creature in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:17), or, to be "born again" (John 3:3).
There are 2 major divisions in the Bible: The Old Testament and the New Testament , or the Old Covenant and the New Covenant .
I. The differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant
The Old is Temporal , the New is Eternal - Heb. 8:6-13, 10:8
The Old is established by the Blood of Goats and Bulls , the New by the Blood of Christ - Heb. 9:11-28
The Old is a Covenant of Law , the New a Covenant of Grace - John 1:17
The Old was written upon Tablets of Stone , the New is written upon our Hearts - Heb. 8:8-10, 10:15-16
The Sign of the Old is Circumcision of the Flesh , the Sign of the New is Circumcision of the Heart - Gen. 17:11; Deut. 30:6; Rom. 2:28,29
The Old was based upon 10 Commandments , the New upon one Commandment - A New Commandment - Exo. 20:1-17, 24:12; John 13:34
II. The Problem of Sin
A. First, let's define Sin - Sin is the transgression of the Law
1 John 3:4 (KJV)
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
B. Secondly, let's define the Law. All the Law is fulfilled in one word - LOVE
Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Galatians 5:14 (KJV)
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Romans 13:8 (KJV)
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
We can conclude, therefore, that if sin is the transgression of the Law, and all the Law is fulfilled in one word - the word "Love" - sin is simply acting in a way that is inconsistent with the expression of Love. In other words, any time I act in an unloving way, I am guilty of sin. And to the degree that I love any less than God loves, I am guilty of Sin.
We may also conclude that the opposite of Love is sin .
C. Thirdly, let's define Man's dilemma - We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God
Romans 3:23 (KJV)
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Galatians 3:22 (KJV)
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
But man's dilemma is that we are also spiritually dead:
Ephesians 2:1 (KJV)
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Ephesians 2:5 (KJV)
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Colossians 2:13 (KJV)
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
The very reason God gave the Law is because we do not love as we ought to love, nor can we, because we are dead in trespasses and sins. The Law simply does 3 things: (See Gal. 3:19-29)
1. It exposes our true nature
2. It binds us under its curse
3. It points us to Christ
III. The Meaning of the New Birth
A. The Existence of LOVE
1. Love Emanates from God's Character
1 John 4:8 (KJV)
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
2. The Divine Community - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
The Law is not some arbitrary set of rules and regulations to simply govern the conduct of man; it is the very standard or essence of conduct by which God Himself is self-governed. There is a love relationship that exists between the persons of the Godhead. This is one of the fundamental truths that Christ came to reveal as we shall see shortly in John 14.
3. God's Law is an extension of His character
B. The Experience of LOVE
1. The Love of God is shed abroad in our Hearts - Rom. 5:5
2. Love is the Fruit of the Spirit - Gal. 5:22
3. We are taught of God to Love one another - 1 Thess. 4:9
4. Love is the crowning proof of our Relationship with Christ - John 13:35; 1 John 4:7
This is what it means to be a "new creature" in Christ, that "old things have passed away," and "behold, all things have become new." This is what it means to be "born again." This is what it means to be a follower of Christ! To love one another, even as Christ has loved us!
C. The Emminence of LOVE
1. "...the greatest of these is Love." - I Cor. 13:13
D. The Expression of LOVE
Love expresses itself 4 ways:
1. Humility - prefer others before ourselves - 1 Pet. 5:5
2. Obedience - obey God's laws from the heart - John 14:15, 21; John 21:16,17
3. Sacrifice - greater love hath no man than this... - John 15:13 (See also Heb. 10:12)
4. Mercy - forgive one another - Matt 6:14,15; Mk 11:25,26 (See Matt 18:23- 35)
We find this perfectly modeled in the life of Christ- Phil. 2:5-8
See I John 4 to see how Love is to be expressed - See 1 John 4:7,11 "We ought to love one another.
Love is to be expressed...
1. From the Heart - 1 Tim 1:5 "The end of the commandment.
2. According to the Truth - 1 John 3:18
3. By our Actions - 1 John 3:18 (See previous verses for example)
4. Unconditionally - John 13:34 "As I have loved you.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 (KJV)
12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
And consider Jude's admonition:
Jude 21 (KJV)
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.