I have this strange idea that we should preach nothing but the gospel. Two reasons why: (1) Jesus told us to and (2) it’s the only thing we’re really good at. Any club or religion can teach you about good works and charity and seven steps to financial freedom, but the church has a monopoly on grace. You will never hear about the good news of grace except from someone who knows Jesus.
The gospel of grace is such a matchless message that any time we preach something different, we are giving less than our best. “But Paul,” you may say. “There are so many needs.” Then preach the gospel! Need healing? Then let me tell you the good news of Christ. Are you facing financial difficulties? Here’s the gospel. Are you worried, frustrated, confused and lost? Then I have good news for you!
Good news agents
Paul said he was shameless about the gospel because it was the only message empowered by God to save those who believe it. We need to have the same attitude as Paul. We need to realize that we are called to be good news agents and nothing less. So let’s clear the shelves of old covenant clutter – all that stuff that says we have to jump through hoops to be accepted/blessed/holy/etc. – and make room for the new and better message of grace: Jesus has done it all!
To help you proclaim the gospel, I want to highlight the top 12 new covenant claims made in the Bible. You can use these claims in your advertising. Two-thousand years of market research has proven that they work. How did I choose these particular scriptures? Well, to be honest, some of them are simply my personal favorites. Others are those that have drawn a positive response from readers over at GraceQuotes.com. I’m not claiming that this list of verses is in any way definitive so feel free to add to it in the comments underneath.
The Top New Covenant Scriptures (in reverse order)
(12) I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Rom 1:16, NIV)
Salvation in the old covenant hinged on your perfect law-keeping performance; in the new, salvation is a work of God. This is why it’s called good news – it’s an announcement of a finished work. It is the declaration that God’s saving power is available to all who would receive it. And what power! It can literally turn a sinner into a saint, or a dead man into a living one…
(11) I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (Joh 5:24, NIV)
Prior to the cross we were subject to the law of sin and death but now there’s a new law in town! The law of the Spirit of life means we can live free from sin and all its fatal effects. Jesus didn’t merely save us from our sins; He gave us new life. How do we enjoy this new life? By trusting in the one called Mr. Grace…
(10) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (Joh 1:14, KJV)
If Jesus only brought truth, we would all be dead meat, but since He came full of “grace and truth” we have abounding life! Truth without grace (e.g., old covenant law) is a hammer; but truth with grace is good news for the poor and needy.
(9) I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! (Jer 31:3, MSG)
Most people are surprised to find this scripture in the Bible, but that’s what everlasting love is. It is love that never quits. As Paul said, “Love is patient, love endures.” That means God will never give up on you! He loved you into existence, He loved you when you were a sinner, and He will always love you. You cannot exaggerate the love of God. What does this have to do with the new covenant? Everything! The new covenant expresses the loving-kindness of our Father. Since God never changes, this explains why the new covenant is sometimes called “the eternal covenant” (Heb 13:20).
(8) “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Is 54:10, NIV)
See? I told you it was an eternal covenant. Unlike the old covenant which stands on the brittle promises of men, the new covenant is underwritten by the unshakeable oath of God. You can take His words to the bank! And that probably explains why Isaiah 54:10 is the most popular prophecy on GraceQuotes.com.
You’ve got to love the math of the new covenant: How many sins did Jesus commit before He was made sin? None. And how many righteous acts did we do before we were made righteous? None. God did it all! We are merely the grateful beneficiaries of His mighty work.
(6) If God is for us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things? Who will accuse God’s chosen people? God himself declares them not guilty! (Rom 8:31-33, GNB)
In the old covenant, the law stood against us but in the new, God is for us. God is for us! God is for us!
(5) How great is God’s love for all who worship him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! How far has the LORD taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west! (Psalm 103:11-12, CEV)
Preachers who are confused about what happened on the cross will look at this list and say, “You are not emphasizing sin enough!” That’s because it’s hard to talk about something that Jesus has done away with. Jesus is here; our sins are there. They have been removed as far as the east is from the west. This is what it means to be completely forgiven! In the old you examined yourself for sin, but in the new you examine the Lamb without blemish. You want to fix sin? Then preach grace. Grace is the cure for sin.
(4) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20, NIV)
That’s the key to Christian living right there. It’s not about sweating for Jesus or improving the flesh, but resting in His finished work. Reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to Christ and live!
(3) Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. (Eph 1:3, GWT)
I have listed the top 12 blessings of the new covenant elsewhere. Rather than repeat them here, I’ll just echo Paul who says that we have been blessed with everything! If God has already given us His Son, what will He withhold from us? Nothing! (I love answering rhetorical questions raised by the gospel.)
(2) Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Mt 11:28-30, MSG)
I’d rather be married to Mr. Grace than that old perfectionist Mr. Law. Incidentally, this paraphrase of Jesus’ words is one of the most popular scriptures on GraceQuotes.com. Nice work Eugene Peterson!
(1) The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luk 4:18-19, NIV)
And that year of favor will prove to be the longest year in history! It’s 2000 years long and counting. It will never end!
What did I miss?
There are so many great scriptures that are not on this list. (If you’re wondering what happened to John 3:16, wait for my next post!) If you think there is a scripture that definitely should be included in the Top 12, let us know in the comments below.
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