Memory Verse: “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” —Colossians 1:17-18
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:1-12
As Christ is God’s only begotten Son, He is above all created beings, having preeminence (Hebrews 1:1-8; Colossians 1:18). By the fall of man, sin brought all his posterity into carnality that would be at enmity with God (Romans 8:6-8). But the “Plan of Redemption” from the beginning provided a way to bring man back into harmony with God (Ephesians 2:11-16). In the revealing of that plan, Christ is the central Character, and any plan for man and his relation to God’s law involves Christ. In Jeremiah 31:33-34 and Hebrews 8:10-12 we find that the new covenant has to do with the forgiveness of sins, the knowledge of God and the writing of the laws of God in the heart. And as Christ is the remedy for sin, He had a very important part in the Plan of Redemption. All through the Scriptures obedience to God’s law is emphasized as an essential duty (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Failure to obey made Satan the first sinner, he caused the sinless pair in Eden to sin and the inherited, sinful nature, became the sad fate of humanity with no escape possible by mere human efforts (1 John 3:4; Romans 6:23; Romans 5:12, 17; Jeremiah 13:23).
Redemption comes to man by the Spiritual birth. As physical life came through Adam, spiritual life comes through Christ, the second Adam. By the new birth, men receive the power of the Holy Spirit and become the adopted sons of God, adopted into God’s family which is the church, Christ being the Head. One’s former life which is controlled by their inherited nature is changed and a new way of life follows (Romans 8:14-17). When one understands the purpose of Calvary and continues in a life of sin, through his own choosing, he is under penalty of the second death. God does not require men to suffer for the sins of carnal nature inherited from Adam, but failure to accept the atonement made by Christ brings further condemnation to the one continuing in sin. Thus, every sinner condemned to eternal death will suffer for his own deeds and not the deeds of another. It is true that “by one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19, emphasis added). Adam’s sons cannot avoid sinning so long as the carnal nature is retained, but by the “new birth” the inherited nature dies and if through weakness or ignorance one sins again, there is the promise of the Advocate with the Father and by confession, pardon is obtained (1 John 2:1-2; 1 John 1:9).
The promises of the new covenant were made with Christ, the Seed of Abraham, the Root of Jesse, the True Vine; and by the new birth, the Spiritual birth in Christ, by faith men become children of Abraham; they become branches of the vine and receive life from the Vine—life in harmony with God and His law. Another part of the covenant is that “they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them” (Jeremiah 31:34). All that are known of God must come through Christ, a knowledge of God and His law is inseparable from the life of Christ. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ and by His sacrifice, God’s love is revealed. By the endless life of Christ, we live to manifest His life in our mortal bodies in hope of immortality at His appearing.
- In the “new covenant” what is promised concerning sin and the Law of God? Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:10-11; Hebrews 9:14-15. On what conditions are sins forgiven and what price was paid for atonement—remission of sins? 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 9:14, 22.
- What was Christ’s relation to the new covenant? Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15.
- What was required that confirmed the new covenant and made it effective? Hebrews 9:16-18.
- What knowledge is promised in the new covenant? Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:11. Through whom must that knowledge come? Colossians 2:2-5; Micah 4:2.
- What associated condition in question 4 is described in Isaiah 11:9? When will the ultimate fulfillment of the new covenant be?
- When was the “Plan of Redemption” made? 1 Peter 1:18-21.
- How many times did Christ have to die for sinners? Hebrews 7:24-28; Hebrews 9:26, 28. Would there have been forgiveness without the death of Christ? Hebrews 9:22. At His first coming as the Son of man He bore our sins, but how will He appear the second time? Hebrews 9:28.
- What knowledge concerning Christ was revealed to Paul? Ephesians 3:3-5. What did that mystery include? Ephesians 3:6. Who was to know the fellowship of this mystery? Ephesians 3:9-11.
- By continuing in Christ, a living connection with the Vine, what do we show to the world? 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, 15-18.