You Can Know You Have Eternal Life
725 – The Divine Mystery Revealed (32)

by Jim Mettenbrink

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     The Old Testament (OT) primarily focuses on the covenant God made with ancient Israel (Exodus 19; renewed in Exodus 34) making them His chosen nation promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:14-18; 17:6-8).  For nearly 1500 years, all Israelites were born into this covenant.  Proudly they were Israelites, God’s chosen kingdom.  When Jesus walked the earth, they had been waiting for 500 years for a messiah king to restore their nation to greatness (Acts 1:6).  This OT covenant was called the “
ministry of death” (2 Corinthians 3:7) because the penalty of sin required death.

     Depending upon the nature of the sin, either the sinner or an animal was required to die to pay the penalty.  Forgiveness and ultimate restoration of peace between God and the sinner was never part of the covenant (Hebrews 10:4).  Jesus began His three years ministry startling the Jews, “
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).  The apostle Paul would later write that “ revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 3:3-5).

     The New Testament unfolds this mystery of a new covenant offered to every person, not only to Jews.  In fact, the old 1500 year covenant was fulfilled by Jesus, having kept it perfectly and thereby offering Himself as the sinless sacrifice for the sins of everybody (Hebrews 9:11,12).  In so doing, He established this New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15).  So why did God make the Old Covenant with Israel in the first place?  Why not just offer the New Covenant to everyone?

     The apostle Paul wrote the purpose of the Law (Old Covenant) was to convince us the necessity of a Savior to give us the victory over sin’s penalty of death (Galatians 3:19-25).  He said he would not have known sin if it was not for the law (Romans 7:7).  The law shows us (1) the tendency of humans to disobey God, (2) man could not keep the law perfectly as God commanded, (3) by sinning we deserve death, (4) we need someone to save us from the curse of the law.  If Jesus was human, how could he save us from death?

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      © Jim Mettenbrink; used by permission. rev.170507
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