SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Sunday October 13, 1996

God's Everlasting Covenant
(Exod. 24:3-8; Ps. 89:34)

"Adam and Eve, at their creation, had a knowledge of the law of God; they were acquainted with its claims upon them; its precepts were written upon their hearts.  When man fell by transgression, the law was not changed, but a remedial system was established to bring him back to obedience.l  The promise of a Saviour was given, and sacrificial offerings pointing forward to the death of Christ as the great sin offering were established."--Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 363.

What does God say about His covenant?  Ps. 89:34.   God speaks of two covenants.  What was the first covenant?  What was the second covenant?   Exod. 24:3-8; Heb. 8:6-13; 10:4, 10.

God has always offered humankind the same covenantal terms--grace through faith in the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour (Gal. 3:16, 17). At every stage in history, god has offered grace to obey His requirements.  God has always offered the terms of this everlasting or new covenant.  By their faulty responses, humans have failed to receive God's grace and have fallen short of covenant fellowship with Him.  The result has been the "old covenant," based on faulty human responses.  God gave the ceremonial system as an imperfect means of leading humanity to faith in the Messiah to come.  Thus the "old covenant" was something bad (humanity's faulty response to God--Gal. 4:22-31)and something good (God's gift of the ceremonial law-- Heb. 9:1). Israel's own efforts to obey, without partaking of God's grace and power, nullified for them the experience of the everlasting (new) covenant (Rom. 9:31-33).

"If man had kept the law of God, as given to Adam after his fall, preserved by Noah, and observed by Abraham, there would have been no necessity for the ordinance of circumcision.  And if the descendants of Abraham had kept the covenant, of which circumcision was a sign, they would never have been seduced into idolatry, nor would it have been necessary for them to suffer a life of bondage in Egypt; they would have kept God's law in mind, and there would have been no necessity for it to be proclaimed from Sinai or engraved upon tables of stone."--Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 364.  Nor would there have been any need for the ceremonial law.  Paul repudiated legalistic human responses and the ceremonial law as binding after the cross.

Are you living in the liberating power of the new covenant?  If not, why not give your heart to Jesus now?  What practical benefits are provided by this new-covenant relationship?