The journey from the Old to the New Covenant

By: Peter Youngren
From: September 2009
Found in: The Gospel of Grace

Welcome to this month’s Global Grace teaching.  Each article will point us towards Christ. As we make our personal journey from the Old Covenant religion into the New Covenant, we often have a “death experience.” The old religious performance-based life must be left behind as we enter life in the Spirit. Interestingly, as the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, we see several powerful spiritual death and resurrection symbols.

The grave of Moses represents death to the Law. Moses could not enter into the Promised Land, just as legalism can never bring God’s people into the promises of God. “For the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope” (Heb. 7:19). Right at the entrance to the Promised Land we find Moses’ grave; legalism can never enter into the inheritance in Christ.

Secondly, there is the grave of Jordan, picturing our identification with Christ, and death to self. As Israel crossed the Jordan, the waters became a symbolic death and burial. This was a very definite moment. At one time Israel was in the wilderness and minutes later they were in the Promised Land. Similarly, there is a moment in our life, when we reckon ourselves truly dead to self and alive to Christ. The crossing of the Jordan required the priest standing in the middle of the river assisting the people. This depicts our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, and without Him we can never enter into our Land of Promise. If we try to crucify ourselves we are always very selective, and we will be sure to let certain areas escape, but “by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13). Once we have reckoned ourselves dead to our own ability there is no going back, just like there was no going back into the wilderness for Israel.

Thirdly, there is a grave of Gilgal – a practical death. The generation that had been born during the wilderness needed to be circumcised. This depicts the practical working out of the new life in Christ. After this mass circumcision, every male would have a clear mark in his body that the old wilderness life was left behind. All of us have had “Gilgal-experiences” where the Spirit of God deals with us in such a way that it becomes evident that the old life with its goals, pursuits and desires is behind us. We now belong to another - Jesus Christ Himself.

Finally, at the entrance to the Promised Land you find Joshua’s symbolic grave, representing death to our own ability. As Joshua stood before the city of Jericho, he experienced a symbolic death, “...a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand” (Joshua 5:13-15). That drawn sword over Joshua’s neck is a picture of death. Joshua, who was a captain of the Lord’s people, discovered that there is a Greater Captain, most likely an appearance of Jesus Himself. Joshua’s strength could never bring the victory; true victory is through someone immensely greater. It reminds us of these words “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14). Just as Joshua laid his sword at the feet of a greater Captain, so we lay our abilities at the feet of Jesus.

The purpose of this teaching letter is to help pastors and leaders – yes, all believers - to let go of “wilderness religion” based on our own merits, and instead experience the new life and a “promised land” that is ours by the grace of Jesus Christ.

God bless you,

Peter Youngren

By: Peter Youngren

As founder of World Impact Ministries, Celebration Bible College, Way of Peace and the Celebration Churches in Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara, Canada, Peter is committed to equipping believers to fulfill their purpose before the return of Jesus Christ.

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