The new old

The Old Covenant (aka the ‘Old Testament’ or the Hebrew Bible) refers to the agreement in the Bible between God and Israel that happened on Mt. Sinai. Moses was the one who presided over this covenant. The agreement essentially states that if you obey God’s commandments (and hey, who can argue with not killing, lying, stealing, etc.), God will love you.

The New Covenant refers to the new agreement (or maybe it was the old eternal agreement that was more accurately stated) arrived at by God alone in an upstairs room in Jerusalem. Jesus presided over this covenant by raising up his cup and saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood...”

Jesus was in full agreement with Moses that God loves those who obey God. 

But he took it further...

He said that God loves even those who DON’T obey God’s laws (aka all of us). Because God’s love is not reciprocated, and because we inherently suffer when we don’t follow God’s law (turns out that killing, lying, coveting, etc. aren’t good for us) Therefore, God’s love is a suffering love.  

The cup of wine is symbolic of how God bleeds for us BECAUSE we don’t care about God’s law, caring for the earth, our neighbor, ourselves, etc. We are bound to instead attempt to be our own little gods where we make all kinds of new laws to supplant God’s simple laws. We create loopholes that justify us in our awful ways so that we can make ourselves end up on the ‘right side’ of the law. 

This isn’t rightness. It’s us making rightness out of our wrongness. We do this with Jesus on the cross. We hang him up there and justify ourselves through our self-made laws. 

On the cross, we see that this new covenant isn’t just an abstract concept from God’s side of things. God keeps God’s part of the agreement even though we don’t. God puts God’s money where God’s mouth is and God’s blood is poured out. Even there, God loves and forgives us. 

God has done God’s part by not holding that against us. The rest is up to us to lay down our self-justified wrongness. And trust that our rightness has been granted, not earned.