In reflecting on the new covenant, and on carrying out the law of Christ, the role of theempowering presence of the Spirit cannot be emphasized enough.The prophets foretold of a coming new covenant/new age/new exodus/new creationthat would be characterized by the Messiah and the Spirit. New Testament scholar MaxTurner writes,
The future was thus to be an epoch characterized by the lavishoutpouring of God
The Lord, through Jeremiah, spoke of a day when hewould make a new covenant with his people (31:31).
It will not be like the Mosaiccovenant (31:32). This bears repeating: It will not be like the Mosaic covenant. It seemsclear to me that the Lord means a new covenant, not a renewed covenant.
(you read me right) Michael Horton writes,
The point could not be clearer:the new covenant is not a renewal of the old covenant made at Sinai, but an entirelydifferent covenant with an entirely different basis.
The Lord will put his law withinhis people, and write it on their hearts, and he will be their God and they his people(31:33). All within the covenant community will know the Lord (31:34)
and there will be full and final forgiveness (31:34).Isaiah spoke of a coming Servant who would uniquely bear the Spirit (11:1-2, 42:1,61:1). But this Messiah will not be the only bearer of the Spirit; Isaiah 32:15 says that theSpirit will be poured out upon us, and when the Spirit is poured out, the new creationwill come: the wilderness becomes a fruitful field.
Isaiah 44:3 says,
For I will pourwater on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit uponyour offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
Since Isaiah 44:3 mentions both blessing and the Spirit, Paul is probably alluding to this passage when he writes that the
of Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) is the promised
Both Ezekiel (39:29)and Joel (2:28-29) also promise a day when the Lord will pour out his Spirit. Joel writes,
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh
(2:28a).One of the key distinctives of the new covenant is that the Spirit will no longer belimited to certain prophets, priests, and kings, but everyone in the covenant communitywill have the Spirit.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 says,
And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will putwithin them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of
The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996), 6.
Jeremiah 32:40 calls this an everlasting covenant.
Introducing Covenant Theology
, 53, cf. 55, 69, 75, 101, 134.
My anachronistic, theological paraphrase: The people of God will shift from a Presbyterian ecclesiology (mixedcommunity) to a Baptist ecclesiology (regenerate community).
Barry G. Webb,
The Message of Isaiah
(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 138-39; J. Alec Motyer,
The Prophecy of Isaiah
(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 260; Fee,
God’s Empowering Pre
Showing the Spirit
(Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1987), 152-53.