We will now turn to a second essential characteristic of the New Covenant. Not only is the New Covenant heavenly in nature, as discussed in part one, it is also spiritual in nature. As we shall see, the fundamental character of the Old Covenant was, and is, soulish and external, whereas the New Covenant is essentially spiritual and internal. Or put another way, the former works from the outside in, while the latter works from the inside out. It is vital that we understand this distinction, for it is possible as Christians to be justified according to the provision of the New Covenant, and yet to attempt to work out our sanctification according to the principle of the Old Covenant. The inevitable result is spiritual limitation, frustration and bondage.
It is likewise possible as the church corporately to fall short of a living, spiritual expression of the ekklesia according to the life of the New Covenant and end up living in an outwardly-imposed religious form of the ekklesia according to the deadness of the Old Covenant. Such a thing is not only possible, but the long history of the Church shows that, given enough time, it is all but inevitable. Only a deep revelation in the heart as to the essential nature of the New Covenant can deliver us from the persistent and perilous tendency towards Old Covenant-style personal and corporate religion.
Two Men, Two Trees, Two Covenants
In order to clearly discern the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant,…