The more I study the Law of Moses, the more I see how eerily similar this system is to jolly old Saint Nick with his bag full of toys and coal.

Both systems have one striking similarity.

In order to qualify for the goodies, you have to be obedient to a moral standard.

I grew up with a very dark and twisted view of God. I knew Jesus died for my sins and loved me, but I felt like God was constantly disappointed with me since I never seemed to avoid sin for more than a week. To me, God was like Santa Claus. If I prayed enough, fasted enough, and lived holy enough, I could expect God to be jolly and give me goodies in my spiritual stocking. If I was bad, and neglected those things, I expected God to give me spiritual coal.

Eventually, I grew quite disgusted with my perception of God who appeared to be a moral monster that was only satisfied with me when I was operating in perfect behavior and absolute obedience.

Is this really who God is?

I found out later that our view of God will be greatly or even completely determined by which covenant we choose to identify with most. Either the New Covenant, or the Old Covenant.

The Old Covenant, or “The Law Of Moses” was known as a “Kinship Covenant.”

Kinship Covenant -A covenant when two equal parties came together, as in a marriage. Each party took on a small list of obligations in the covenant. This type of covenant had a small set of obligations and was very evenly divided between the two parties. A kinship covenant was also referred to as a parity covenant. 1

In the Law Of Moses, the terms where the 10 commandments.

If the Israelites perfectly obeyed the 10 commandments, they would receive blessings such as blessed produce, storehouses, livestock, land, offspring of their flocks, defeated enemies etc. (See Deuteronomy 28:1-14)

If they disobeyed the 10 commandments, look out! Their produce, storehouses, livestock, land, offspring, and flocks would be cursed, and their enemies would defeat them.

In addition, God would send confusion and rebuke until they were destroyed. God would make a plague cling to them and until they were consumed. God would strike them with fever, inflammation, sever burning fever, and with sword and scorching.

It sounds like those horrible side effects we hear on prescription drug commercials.

Wait, it gets worse.

God would change the rain of their land to powder and dust until they were destroyed. Their carcasses would be food for the birds of the air that nobody could frighten away. God would strike them with boils of Egypt, tumors, scabs, itchiness which cannot be healed, and with blindness and confusion of heart.

The list of curses is much larger than the blessings, and I only quoted a small portion of them. See Deuteronomy 28:15-68.

I would take a whole bag, no, 100 bags full of coal from Kris Kringle any day of the week over those awful curses!

But what about the New Covenant?

Has anything changed? Is God still blessing us for obedience and cursing us for disobedience?

The short answer is, no.

The New Covenant is known as a “Grant Covenant.”

Grant Covenant – A covenant when a greater and lesser person came into covenant, and the greater one took on all of the obligations. The lesser one only needed to receive the covenant. 1

The Old Covenant was all about what we did for God, the New Covenant is all about what God did for us.

The Old Covenant did not reflect God’s heart. God did not want to bless man based upon his good or bad works, which is why He called for a new and better covenant where the blessing is not based upon our obedience, so we can’t mess it up, and God can continually bless us through simply believing in His Son Jesus Christ.

When Jesus announced the New Covenant at the last supper, He did not include an “unless you mess up” clause.

“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:20

Hebrews 8:6 describes the New Covenant as a “Better” covenant established on “Better promises.”

Here are a few of those better promises of the New Covenant, and the way the Scriptures say we receive them. If you get time, go read the scriptures I quote, and you tell me if the emphasis is on faith, or works, to obtain these promises.

Promise: The Holy Spirit
Receive by: Faith
Galatians 3:14

Promise: Salvation
Received by: Faith
Ephesians 2:8

Promise: Eternal Life
Received by: Faith
Romans 6:23

Promise: Forgiveness of Sins
Received by: Faith
Ephesians 1:7

Promise: Righteousness
Received by: Faith
Romans 3:22

Promise: Sonship
Received by: Faith
Galatians 3:26

I can already hear those who object to the New Covenant saying “But what about good works, holiness, and obedience? Are you saying it’s ok to sin all you want, not do good works, and be disobedient to God because we are under a New Covenant?”

The good news is I don’t have to answer that question, because the Apostle Paul and James already settled this common misconception.

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer in it?” Romans  6:1-2

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17

The New Covenant reality is that we deserved coal in our stockings, but Jesus chose to fill them with incredible gifts and New Covenant blessings instead, despite our bad behavior, just because He loves us.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Now we should simply say thank you, receive the New Covenant promises by faith, and enjoy them!

Remember, in a Grant Covenant, which is what the New Covenant is, we are to simply receive the covenant blessings with no obligation to keep the blessings through obeying a set of terms, that’s Old Covenant thinking.

Of course we avoid sin, we do good works, we love people, but those things don’t qualify us for righteousness, sonship, forgiveness of sin, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit, believing in Jesus Christ does. They are gifts to be received by childlike faith, not toys to be earned through being a good little boy or girl all year.

I spent many years filtering God through the lens of the Old Covenant, and it greatly distorted my view of God and hindered my relationship with Him. Once I understood that God relates to man by covenant, and God now relates to man through the New and Better Covenant, my relationship with God was restored.

What would our lives, our families, and the church as a whole look like, if we could all relate to God through the lens of the New and Better Covenant, and abandon our Old Covenant filter that misrepresents the true character of God that was finally expressed through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the New Covenant based on simple faith?

Written by: Jordan Hardgrave

1 “Understanding The Whole Bible”. Page 164;165. -Jonathan Welton

For more information on Kinship Covenants please read “Kinship By Covenant” by Scott W. Hahn (Link Below)