#DailyDevotion The New Covenant Is For Gentiles Too
Act 11:15-18 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. (16) And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ (17) If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” (18) When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
It’s kind of surprising even after Pentecost many of the disciples didn’t understand the Mystery of Christ, which is the Gentiles would be joined to Israel. Jesus, after all, did say Mat 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” To be honest I guess the bit surprise was the Gentiles didn’t have to be circumcised. That was the real problem of the circumcision party. We still see this party active in the Christian Church. They always rear their heads. They demand that Christians obey the Mosaic Law (excepting the sacrifices). But the whole law was fulfilled by Jesus. The whole Mosaic Covenant was fulfilled by Jesus. Jesus instituted a New Covenant.
Now if the Old Covenant has been fulfilled by Jesus and Jesus has instituted a New Covenant, then the Old Covenant has been set aside. It has been abrogated in total. There truly is nothing left in it for us TO DO. It still stand there though as a witness to Jesus Christ who said, Mat 5:17-18 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (18) For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” On the cross Jesus said, Joh 19:30 “It is finished,”… Indeed it is finished. Everything has been completed by Jesus’ work on the cross. Heb 8:13 “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
Many of the Jews didn’t accept John’s baptism and the same didn’t accept Jesus’ baptism. For their baptisms said in effect, “Your circumcision is no longer good. It is an old wineskin. You must be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, which is the circumcision of the heart.” On Pentecost, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. Later when the Samaritans were baptized he gave an overt appearance of the Holy Spirit coming upon them. Now in the house of a Gentile, he sent the Holy Spirit openly again to demonstrate baptism is how we are joined to Christ who is the Israel of God. These manifestations of the Spirit show us that when we are baptized into Christ Jesus he gives us the Holy Spirit as well. Before Pentecost the Holy Spirit was with the people of God. Now in the New Testament he makes their hearts, our hearts, his throne and dwelling. Now he puts the Law upon our hearts, i.e. the desire to keep and do the will of God, to love as he loves us. (John 13:34, 15:12).
Baptism is now the sign of the New Covenant. In it Jesus sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts that we may confess he is the Christ, he is the Lord of the Old and the Lord of the New Covenants, who has come in the flesh, fulfilled the Law for us, sacrificed himself and become the atoning sacrifice for our sins and gives us the gift of eternal life. The Spirit he gives to us bears witness to this fact. May we always make manifest the witness of the Spirit which is upon our hearts, Jesus Christ is Lord.
Dearest Jesus, you have fulfill the old covenant and instituted a new covenant, sending your Holy Spirit into our hearts confessing you are Lord. May we always trust in your completed work, never trying to add to it works of the old but fulfilling the law planted in our hearts to love others as you have loved us. In your precious name we pray. Amen.