What does it mean to be a “New Testament” Christian? Often times the term is used to describe a believer or a church that is patterned after the book of Acts, or that believes in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit for today. But did you know that the word “testament” simply means covenant? So, a new testament Christian is simply someone who is walking in the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant is based on obedience to the Law while the New Covenant is based on the sacrifice of Jesus; His body broken and His blood poured out for us.
Hebrews chapter 8, quoting from Jeremiah 31, outlines the basic principles of the New Covenant:
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant, ” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
I see three main facets of the new covenant from the above passage:
Verse 10: “I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts.” In the Old Covenant you could obey the outward laws but not be changed on the inside. The Law does not have the power to change us, it only exposes the sin in our lives, leaving us condemned. Under the New Covenant we are changed on the inside.
Verse 11: “For all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.” Under the Old Covenant only the priests could approach God. Now, because of the blood of Jesus, all believers can enter into the presence of the living God and know Him personally. This is an amazing fact and we should not take it for granted.
Verse 12: “their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In the Old Covenant there had to be constant sacrifices for sin. But Jesus died once for all, to wipe away every sin. We are totally forgiven in this New Covenant because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
I want to walk as a true New Testament Christian; someone who is changed on the inside and truly desires to obey, someone who knows God personally and has intimacy with Him, and someone who walks in the amazing liberty of total forgiveness. Let’s believe that Jesus has paid the full price and walk as true New Testament Christians!