Many Christians do not know that there is a new covenant and that the new testament is not just the name of the latter half of the Bible but a radically, dramatic NEW AND LIVING WAY of being one with God and with ourselves. The new covenant is not a theology as one theologian observed. It is what God has achieved through Jesus and His cross.
'In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you' Luke 22. 20 NIV. This is the new covenant in Christ's physical death by which He becomes at His resurrection OUR LIFE IN THE SPIRIT.
CROSSROADS OF EXISTENCE
Many years ago, I ran each afternoon with a friend in the Cataract Gorge in Launceston. There is a well-made walking/running track along the edge. The river here is a cataract in name and spirit. We often talked theology as we went because both of us took Godliness seriously. My friend repeated to me what he had read in the scriptures - that the old covenant declared that to obey is to live. Having been raised in a law-culture I agreed. It was not until over 40 years later that I learned that we no longer lived in the old covenant auspices. The new covenant began at the death of Jesus. His cry, 'It is finished!' heralded the end of humanity's life in Adam and Moses and the beginning of our new life in the person of Jesus Christ. From now on 'obey and live' was not the order of the day. The law of the spirit of life as distinct from the law of sin and death was 'live and obey.'
'For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death' Rom 8. 2 ESV.
LIVE TO OBEY
In Jesus God had positioned us in Himself and Himself in us. In so doing He was empowering us to obey. Yet our continued fellowship, intimacy and communion with God is not contingent on our successful obedience or even our consistency in relying on Jesus. Our union with God is fixed for all time. Jesus has become in all things the personification and surety of our relationship with God. Theologians call this the vicarious humanity of Jesus. The new covenant is the title to your union with God - an agreement made not with any of us but between Holy Spirit, Father and Jesus Christ.
So you and Father are one. You don't have to earn it. Union with God is yours. God is not contained in holy places like churches and auditoriums. He is incarnated in you. His intensity is not restricted to a Sabbath Day. He is in you and with you always. You have a Sabbath life. There is today no sacred and secular division in time. (Such segmentation is an illusion of the fall). Jesus has made all things one. The knowledge of good and evil with its dichotomies has been undone and we have been drawn into the river of His spirit and life. Don't be seduced into a false holiness when all we are doing is being pedantic and misguided.
'And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ--everything in heaven and on earth' Eph 1. 1o NIV.
The religious person may live her life out of segments and compartments in various degrees of separation from God - striving to annul the separation that has already been annulled in Jesus because Satan has been clever enough to strategies the illusion of separation and inferior sonship as a present reality when this has been undone and the cross and waiting to be put into effect by our aligning ourselves with what God has done and He believes about Himself and us.
Stephen Crosby writes, "The Lord cut a covenant with Himself while Abraham was asleep. This is not a mutual agreement. This is not a "business contract." That is a one-sided promise. This is critical for understanding the New Covenant. It is precisely what has occurred in the Christ-Act for us. God took His own initiative, and secured His own interest in us while we were still asleep in our sin." (1)
The words 'Body of Christ' find their meaning in our new covenant union with God. The meaning of the new testament cannot be understood unless we read it in the framework of the new covenant. The truth always sets us free. We need not fear truth. Not unless we are hiding from something. Unless we are sheltering in a false identity and we fear exposure. Yet one is never exposed in Jesus: Simply drawn more securely into the comfort of His being and the fellowship of Father and Holy Spirit. The new covenant is life this. In fact it is this. It is our union not only with Jesus but in Him our union with the trinity and their union with us: 'On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you' John 14. 20. This is the meaning of the one loaf. There is no separation between ourselves and God. Nothing we must do to secure what has already been secured. We and our Father are one.
(1) Crosby, Stephen. How New is the New Covenant?: Discovering the Implications of: Jesus is Lord (Kindle Locations 1782-1784). Stephanos Ministries. Kindle Edition.