I am addressing the subject of New Covenant ministry and the need to be New Covenant leaders in the body of Christ. It is possible for some to experience New Covenant and some to experience Old Covenant from the same ministry. It is a matter of the focus of our hearts and the focus of our minds. The Old Covenant was one of information, while the New Covenant is one of transformation by the power of Christ within. When we minister to others we cannot hope for Christ to them, but Christ in them.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
The Old Covenant was a covenant that took people by the hand and led them. It didn’t have the power to take God’s people into the Promised Land in a way that people could become all that God had declared they would be. The Old Covenant was a testimony of light to darkness, while the New Covenant is a testimony of light shining out of darkness. I believe that the true Promised Land is the place of knowing righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit from within the human heart (Rom. 14:17). The kingdom of God is a kingdom that works from within the heart (Lk. 17:20, 21). The Promised Land of the kingdom is a place of knowing from our hearts that God is our God. This is true righteousness and it is empowered by the Holy Spirit. True peace is exhibiting the testimony of God in our lives because there is no gap between God and us in our hearts. This is also an empowerment of the Holy Spirit. True joy is to know the fullness of God’s presence in all things. It is to live with Him in everything. This is also a testimony of the Holy Spirit at work within our hearts. It is only by the power of Christ within that these things can be made real. They were shadowed in Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles in the Old Covenant, but made real by the power of Christ within the heart of the believer. These things cause the influence of God’s kingdom to be seen in every aspect of our lives. They work in any life, any geographical location, and in every circumstance of life. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit activates the human spirit, floods the human soul, and empowers the human life to reveal God to the world around them. As leaders in the New Covenant we must lead to see these things empowered in the hearts of those we lead. It is through this intimate relationship with Christ within that New Covenant believers are transformed to the ways of God (Jer. 31:31, 34). It is not a discipline of the flesh, but an impassioning of the Spirit. It reveals a letter being written by the Holy Spirit and it is true for individuals and for corporate expressions of Christ’s body. As New Covenant leaders we must lead to see this letter of life written corporately in whatever way Holy Spirit is revealing it.
2 Corinthians 3: 2-6 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
These words of the apostle Paul are clear reminders of our responsibility as leaders in the body of Christ. It is not our will that brings about the New Covenant. It is the power of the Holy Spirit at work among us. Teaching the principles of Christ alone are not enough. We must lead to see people empowered by the Principality Christ Jesus from within their hearts. We must all be motivated by the Principality Christ Jesus and not seek to live by mere discipline to Christian principles. Old Covenant ministry is dependent upon knowing the principles, but New Covenant is becoming a testimony of those principles. Ministry engraved on stones is a ministry of death and only a shadow of what is real.
2 Corinthians 3: 7, 8 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
There is a measure of glory in Old Covenant ministry, but it is a fading one. It is a ‘remember when’ covenant and it doesn’t produce the growing change of life that can only come from within. Old Covenant methods can give us instructions as to how to act and what to do, but only New Covenant empowerment brings an increasing glory of life from within. We must be New Covenant leaders in the body of Christ!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson