A better covenant

2011 Autumn Lectures

“Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant”
Hebrews 7:22b (NIV)

Some Christians are confused because of misunderstandings about the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. Some wrongly drive a wedge between the two Testaments, leading to muddled ideas such as ‘the God of Old Testament was a God of wrath and law, but the God of the New Testament is a God of love and grace’. Others fail to see that the theocratic nation of Israel has passed away, leading to falsehoods such as thinking that the material blessings promised to the nation of Israel must mean there are ‘health, wealth and prosperity’ promises for modern day believers.

The continuity of the moral law, in particular, is a subject that is often misunderstood when the relationship between the Testaments is confused. This series of lectures aims to shed some light on these important matters.

1. The temple, the land, and paradise restored

By Revd Prof John L Mackay

This lecture covers the theme of divine immanence in creation, relating it to Eden, the land promised in the Old Testament, the city of Jerusalem, the Tabernacle and the Temple, and how all these move forward to culminate in Christ.The lecture helps to provide an understanding of how God dwells with his people, and the work of the Holy Spirit. It also sheds light on contemporary issues such as the health and wealth gospel.

2. A better covenant

By Revd Prof Robert McCollum

The Covenant of Grace is the common cord that runs through all of Scripture. It is an expression of the Covenant of Redemption, entered into by the Godhead in eternity. The Covenant of Grace was administered differently before the coming of Christ (Old Testament/Covenant) from after the coming of Christ (New Testament/Covenant). The Hebrew Christians were in danger of going back to ‘Old Covenant’ rites and ceremonies. The writer to the Hebrews points out, especially in chapter 8, how vastly superior (better) the ‘New Covenant’ is, as it is fulfilled in Christ, the mediator of the Covenant.

3. The gospel for the nations

By Revd Bill James

Israel in the Old Testament was called to be a nation set apart from the world, with clear rules about separation of the clean from the unclean. Jesus shocked the Jewish leaders of his time by sharing meals with sinners, and touching unclean lepers. Instead of Jesus being “contaminated”, his purity transformed their lives. He announces a New Covenant age of spiritual power where believers are called to be salt and light which reaches every part of society. The Gospel drives back spiritual darkness and brings hope to all the nations of the world.

4. Christ, the final revelation of God

By Revd Maurice Roberts

Throughout the course of salvation history God has progressively revealed more and more information about himself “at many times and in various ways” (Hebrews 1:1). This progressive revelation culminated in the person of Jesus Christ. He is God’s final word to all mankind. There is no other name by which we must be saved.

5. God’s law: The struggling believer’s gracious and trusty friend

By Revd Dr William Philip

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). Through his sacrifice on the cross, Christ’s righteousness is imparted to the believer. Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law’s demands on our behalf. Christ did not come to abolish the law. The law condemns the sinner, yet the law is good. It is a friend to all those who seek to live a Christ-like life in an increasingly hostile world.