New covenant theology, or progressive covenentalism is a hermeneutic, a lens as it were by which the scriptures and the gospel is viewed and understood. The essence of the this paradigm is that Jesus is the new lawgiver. How the covenants relate to each other is neither a “dispensational” view, nor a truly “classic covenantal” view. This perspective speaks to seeing the Old Covenant, not the Old Testament, as that which has been satisfied, completed, accomplished, and now obsolete.
“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.” Hebrews 8:13
The 10 Commandments
The 10 commandments were surely a law, but that law was nothing more than a document of the covenant that God made with man. That document established an objective righteousness providing then a means for Jesus to visibly satisfy all righteousness. When Jesus accomplished the work of the law vicariously for His people, He then vicariously died to atone for their sins and thus established a New and Better covenant–a covenant of faith and not of works. The ramifications on the believer’s life are huge and alter many known doctrines. Because Christ has established a New Covenant and if then the old has passed away, then the rule of law falls not to Moses, but to Christ, which is exactly what we find in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.
What’s the Point?
The point of making this distinction is to rightly understand the facets of God’s grace and the work of Christ on the Cross. It’s also to rightly understand the demands upon us and what those demands are. If we still have the Old Covenant looming, then eating pork, keeping the sabbath, etc are all things we must be vigilant in. If however, the Old Covenant is truly Obsolete, then the New Covenant is what guides and directs us–or at least it should.
Listen below to a sermon preached by one of our elders, Josh Bishop, on the subject.