What is the New Testament or Covenant?

Understanding Christianity involves an understanding of what the New Covenant or New Testament is all about. A testament is really a synonym for a will, as in "last will and testament." When the last will and testament of a person is exercised, it is after a person has died that the covenant takes affect and the inheritance is received by those named in the will.

In the bible, this is also true for the New Covenant to go into affect.

In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. Hebrews 9:16,17

This is very important to understand the delineation of the biblical time-line. When Jesus was alive on earth, he taught under the old covenant or Old Testament. He taught under the Law, which included the ten commandments and all the teachings of Moses, which many years before were given to Moses by God.

When Jesus died, he brought into affect the New Covenant.
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9:15

So, we can logically place two different periods of time in history; one before the death of Jesus Christ and one after the death of Jesus Christ. This really is the dividing line of what the cross was all about.

Under the old covenant or Mosaic Law, there was no forgiveness without the shedding of an animal sacrifice.
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22

Since we all live today after the cross, from God's time-line perspective, we are living in the age of the New Covenant. The new covenant is one where God remembers our sins no more.
"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time," says the Lord. "I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Hebrews 10:16-18

Because our sins have been forgiven through the death of Christ, there is no more sacrifice for sin required. If we needed more forgiveness, Jesus would have to die again. We know from Hebrews 9:26-28 that Jesus died for sins once, and he is not going to die again.

Rejoice in the good news! Remember that Jesus taught under the old covenant, to show us that we could never do all that the law required. Now that we live under the new covenant, God expects us to accept by faith, that Jesus did it all for us, taking our sins away, not counting them against you and me, so that we can now receive new life.

Be careful about taking scripture out of context. Don't build an entire theology or doctrine (belief system) out of one verse of scripture. And always remember the old and new testament time-line.

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