Grace, Order & the New Covenant


Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:8)

Imagine what it must have been like for the Israelites. After a series of divinely-ordained plagues which devastated their Egyptian overlords but spared them, the Israelites were freed to leave Egypt and the bondage of slavery behind, taking much of the wealth of Egypt with them.

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Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

After traveling to Mt. Sinai, they were told to consecrate themselves. On the third day that followed, thunder, lightning and a thick cloud settled over the mountain as God descended to meet with Moses, the representative of God’s people.

God then initiated a special agreement or covenant with His people. He already fulfilled His part of the covenant by bringing them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. The Israelites’ part of the covenant, in response to what God had done, was to allow God to form them into a new people as they lived within the divinely-ordered life He was giving them.

We need God’s grace and order in our lives so we can thrive. By nature, we want to go our own way, and it seems right to us to do so, but in the end our way always leads to death. God’s grace keeps pursuing as we go astray, and it draws us back to He who loves us most so we can be welcomed back home. God’s order builds into our lives a framework upon which our life, enlivened, fed and nourished by grace, can glow and thrive. Like a grapevine, we need the lattice of God’s order so we can be fruitful in His grace.

After reading the terms of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23) to the people, Moses took blood from sacrifices that had been offered to God, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Ex. 24:8)

God came near to His people and offered them a special covenant relationship through which He would form them into a new people who would be a light to the entire world, radiating the Good News that there is a God above all who loves all and wants to save all by His grace.

As powerful as that moment in human history must have been, it points forward to an even greater moment when Jesus took a cup of wine in His hand and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Lk. 22:20)

In this new covenant, the God-human Jesus has fulfilled both the divine and human aspects of the old covenant. He offered Himself up as the one perfect sacrifice which set us free from our bondage to sin, death and condemnation. In him, we have new life, not only as His people in this world, radiating His love, grace and mercy into a broken and hurting world, but we are also in Him and He is in us. We live as royal priests to the world, subjects in His Kingdom and as beloved, forgiven children of the Great High King of Heaven.

Nothing in this world can ever take that away from us.

Dear Jesus, thank you for bringing me into Your kingdom through Your suffering, death and resurrection. Please help me to always remember who I am in You. Amen.

 

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