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Sabbath School Lessons on The Promise - God's Everlasting Covenant
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 10: The New Covenant *
Introduction: All this quarter when we have bumped into the topic of
the "new covenant" I have asked you: "Is it really new?" If not,
what is it? If it's not new, why would God call it "new?" Our lesson
this week is devoted to the topic of the new covenant, so let's dive
into the Bible and see what we can learn!
- New Covenant
- We have been discussing covenants all this quarter. Let's
review a moment. What is a covenant? (A contract, an
agreement, mutual promises.)
- Read Jeremiah 31:31-32. At the time of this writing, had
God yet made a new covenant with His people? (No. He says
a time is coming.)
- Is the new covenant like the old covenant? (Verse 32 says
it is not like the old covenant.)
- What is the old covenant? Is there any way to
identify it? (It is the Ten Commandments because it
is identified as being given during the Exodus from
- What did God envision would be different about the new
covenant? What was wrong with the old covenant that needed
fixing? (Verse 32 tells us the problem was that the people
did not keep their side of the covenant, their side of the
- Let's stop just a minute and consider this. Assume I
agree to sell you my car and you agree to pay for it.
I hand my car over and you do not pay me as promised.
Is there anything wrong with my car? (No.)
- It turns out you still want my car and I still want
to sell it to you. Since you breached the old
contract with me, I say we need a new contract.
Because it didn't work last time, I say "Our new
contract cannot be like our old contract." What
should be changed in the new contract? My car or the
way you pay for it? (The way you pay for it.)
- Read Jeremiah 31:33. What does this suggest is changed in
the new covenant? The Ten Commandments or how they are
obeyed? (God still writes of his "law." What is new is the
way the people obey the law. In the parallel to our car
discussion, it would be the way the person pays for my
- How is obedience to the law changed? (God says "I
will put my law in their minds and write it on their
- What does that mean?
- Read Deuteronomy 6:4-6. Whoa! Remember two weeks ago we
studied the story about the Jewish leaders challenging
Jesus to identify the greatest commandment ( Matthew 22:34-38)? You remember Jesus' answer? Turns out Jesus' answer
is found right here in Deuteronomy 6:5. What other "new
truth" do we find in these verses? (The "new" part of the
"new covenant," that the law should be in our hearts, is
exactly what God had in mind for the "old covenant." This
is a point we discussed several weeks ago.)
- Read Deuteronomy 6:7-9. Is this God's prescription
for writing His law on their (our)hearts? On the
hearts of our children?
- Or, is this just something that should be done
in addition to writing the law on our hearts?
- What obligation do we have to do this today?
(This is a logically difficult area. If you
agree that verses 5-7 apply to us today, why not
verses 8-9? The correct answer cannot be
"because if we did this tying stuff we would
look like dorks." We will get back to this issue
- The "New" in "New Covenant?"
- So, after all this, what do you think, is there anything
"new" in the "new covenant?" While I recommend that you
read all of Hebrews 7, let's specifically read Hebrews
7:18-19 and 22-26. What does this suggest about the Ten
Commandments? (They are called (v.18) "weak and useless.")
- This sounds much different than what we have been
reading. Why does this text say the Ten Commandments
were weak and useless? (They did not make us
- What does make us perfect? (Our permanent High
- What does v.22 mean when it calls Jesus "the
guarantee of a better covenant?" (This is the most
important point. Remember, we needed a new covenant
because we didn't keep the law, we didn't "pay for
the car" in our example. Jesus obeyed the law for us.
He thus became the "guarantee" that this time around
we would be able to keep the law. Do you see how a
regulation is useless if you do not observe it?)
- Read Matthew 5:17-18. What part of the Ten Commandments
was done away with under the new covenant? (None of it.)
- Why would you leave it in place if it is "weak and
- What does Jesus suggest is the "new" in the new
covenant? (This is extremely blunt talk by Jesus. He
says that none of the law is abolished because of His
life. Instead, Jesus tells us that He came to fulfill
the law. What is new is the fulfillment.)
- What does it mean for Jesus to "fulfill" the
- Read Romans 3:20-24. This text tells us that the
law testified about something. What is that? (A
righteousness from God.)
- Is this "righteousness from God" the fulfillment
of the law? (Yes! Remember the problem is that
the people could not pay for the car. Romans
3:20 essentially tells us that they never could
have afforded the car - they never could have
kept the law. Instead, the purpose of the law
was to make them (us) conscious of sin. Jesus
fulfilled the requirements of the law by living
a perfect life. Once the law is obeyed, it no
longer is weak and useless. Because of God's
grace ( Romans 3:24) we can be justified because
Jesus has redeemed us from our sins. Praise
- Let's go back a minute to Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Do we have a
better answer now about why we don't do this tying on the
wrists stuff? Do we have a better answer than we don't
want to look like dorks? (Notice that it was the law that
was tied to their hands and forehead. Since Jesus has now
fulfilled the law, if we should be tying anything to our
hands and foreheads it should be the symbol of what Jesus
has done for us: the cross. Jesus is our new reminder of
the importance of the law. Jesus' sacrifice is what puts
the law in our hearts and our minds.)
- Read Hebrews 10:8-10. What is the "first" that has been
set aside by the "second?" (This is an important part of
the new and old covenant discussion. Part of the old
covenant was the system of animal sacrifices that pointed
to the sacrifice that Jesus would make. When Jesus came to
earth, lived a perfect life, and then died in our place,
He forever fulfilled and ended the system of animal
sacrifices. He fulfilled the requirements of the law. This
is at the heart of the new covenant.)
- Read Hebrews 10:3-4. Why did they have animal
sacrifices under the old covenant if they did not
take away the sins of the people? (The animal
sacrifices not only reminded the people of their
sins, they foretold the sacrifice of Jesus.)
- We have now released you from tying the law to your
hands and your forehead to remind you of the law. We
have released you from sacrificing animals to remind
you of your sins. What, under the new covenant, has
taken the place of these reminders? (Read 1
Corinthians 11:23-26. The Lord's Supper (Communion)
is the symbolic way we are reminded of the importance
of the law and Jesus' fulfillment of its
- What importance is left to the Ten Commandments after
this? (Read Matthew 5:19-20. If you are reading this
lesson because you are teaching it to others, Jesus' words
are for you. Nothing in this lesson eliminates our
obligation to try to obey the law. What is eliminated is
our obligation to keep the law in order to obtain
- Friend, Jesus has given you a way to "pay for the car," a
way to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law. Will
you accept what He has done for you by accepting Him as
your Lord and your Redeemer?
- Next week: New-Covenant Sanctuary.
* Copr. 2003, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.