“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24).
“I will make with them an everlasting covenant. . . . And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me” (Jeremiah 32:40).
The Bible speaks of an “old covenant” and a “new covenant.” The term covenant refers to a solemn, binding agreement between two parties carrying obligations for both sides and enforced by an oath. In the Bible the covenants God makes with man are initiated by himself. He sets the terms. His obligations are determined by his own purposes.
The “old covenant” refers to the arrangement God estab- lished with Israel in the law of Moses. Its weakness was that it was not accompanied by spiritual transformation. Therefore it was not obeyed and did not bring life. It was written with letters on stone, not with the Spirit on the heart. The prophets promised a “new covenant” that would be different. It would be “not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6).
The new covenant is radically more effective than the old. It is enacted on the foundation of Jesus’ suffering and death. “He is the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 9:15). Jesus said that his blood was the “blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24). This means that the blood of Jesus purchased the power and the promises of the new covenant. It is supremely effective because Christ died to make it so.
The new covenant is radically more effective than the old. It is enacted on the foundation of Jesus’ suffering and death.
What then are the terms of the covenant that he infallibly secured by his blood? The prophet Jeremiah describes some of them: “I will make a new covenant . . . this is the covenant that I will make . . . I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. . . . For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remem- ber their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The suffering and death of Christ guarantees the inner change of his people (the law written on their hearts) and the forgiveness of their sins.
To guarantee that this covenant will not fail, Christ takes the initiative to create the faith and secure the faithfulness of his people. He brings a new-covenant people into being by writing the law not just on stone, but on the heart. In contrast with the “let- ter” on stone, he says “the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). “When we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). This is the spiritual life that enables us to see and believe in the glory of Christ. This miracle creates the new-covenant people. It is sure and certain because Christ bought it with his own blood.
And the miracle is not only the creation of our faith, but the securing of our faithfulness. “I will make with them an everlast- ing covenant. . . . I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me” (Jeremiah 32:40). When Christ died, he secured for his people not only new hearts but new security. He will not let them turn from him. He will keep them. They will persevere. The blood of the covenant guarantees it.
He will not let them turn from him. He will keep them. They will persevere. The blood of the covenant guarantees it.
*This is taken from John Piper’s book “The Passion of Jesus Christ,” which was later released under the name “50 Reasons Jesus Came to Die.”