“The Lost Secret of the New Covenant” by Malcolm Smith

Lost_Secret_of_the_New_CovenantAbout 40 years ago, Malcolm Smith was invited to speak at a church in Oregon. He preached about a God who is irritated and annoyed with lukewarm believers. At the end of his message, he called for people to rededicate their lives to Christ. And that was the last time Smith ever mixed grace with works. The next morning, Smith had a life-changing encounter with the love of God. For the first time he saw the gospel that declares the unqualified good news of God’s love. Changed by this revelation, he went back to his hotel room and destroyed his sermons.

I’ve never heard Malcolm Smith preach, but I get the sense he’s been preaching radical grace longer than some of us have been alive. If you want to learn some of the insights he’s acquired in his grace walk, then read The Lost Secret of the New Covenant. This book is possibly the definitive introduction to the new covenant. It’s outstanding.

Many of us are not intuitively geared to think in terms of covenants and this affects the way we receive the gospel. We may confuse covenants with contracts, but they have little in common, as Malcolm Smith explains:

A contract is the exchange and passing of property, possessions; a covenant is the exchange of persons. The contract says, ‘This is now yours,’ while the covenant says, ‘I am now yours.’ So God does not merely promise His impersonal blessings; His blessing is the gift of Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit. (p.252)

In Lost Secret, Malcolm Smith unpackages the key ingredients of covenant – the oath, the meal, the sacrifice, and, most importantly, the representative. Each party in a covenant has a representative. Who represents humanity in the new covenant? Jesus, our Advocate, Mediator and High Priest (1 Tim 2:5). The first thing you need to know about the new covenant, is that you played no part in setting it up:

The new covenant is not made with us as individuals. It is a covenant made by God the Father with God the Son. (p.75)

The new covenant is out of our hands and guaranteed by God Himself. This makes it an eternal, unconditional and unbreakable covenant for God cannot lie. In this arrangement we are like crippled Mephibosheth being shown kindness by King David because of a covenant made before we were born. We are the beneficiaries of Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s own oath. Dead religion is based on the worthless promises of imperfect men, but we stand on the unshakeable oath of God Himself. It is His promise-keeping – not ours – that provides a “firm and secure” anchor for the soul (Heb 6:19). What relief! What freedom to know that our eternal security rests in Him:

I had always thought of my relationship with God as being between God and me… I cannot tell you what it meant to know that my relationship to God was based on and dependent upon Jesus, who was acting as me. (p.224)

The single most important thing I learned about covenant from this book is that God doesn’t need one. He doesn’t need a covenant to prove His commitment to us, but He makes covenant in order that we might clearly see His eternal lovingkindness. The gospel is the good news of God’s love expressed to us in covenant. Why did He make a covenant where He forgives all our sin before we were even born? Because He loves us with no strings attached! There is no other explanation.

The Bible is full of covenant stories that help us understand the new covenant. Consider the Gibeonites who were Israel’s enemies. Through deceit they managed to trick Joshua and the Israelites into making a covenant guaranteeing their lives (Jos 9). As Israel was in covenant with God, the result was that Gibeonites were now also in partnership with God. When five Canaanite kings attacked Gibeon, the Gibeonites appealed to their new covenant partners for help. And you know what happened next; God intervened with one of the great miracles of all time and stopped the sun from going down. Gibeon was saved (Jos 10). This shows us that God’s covenant love is unshakeable, even to those who don’t deserve it. From the moment you put your trust in Jesus, you’re in God’s care forever. Just look at how vigorously this truth is expressed in Scripture:

For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Heb 13:5, AMP)

In Lost Secret, Malcolm Smith delves into the rich meaning of words like hesed (the lovingkindness of God as expressed in covenant) and agape (love that originates in the heart of God and is unaffected by the loveliness or unloveliness of the object of its affection). These words are essential if we are to understand the new covenant. Afterall, God is not human. He doesn’t love in the way humans love. We completely miss the gospel when we conceive of God as loving only those who are lovely or saving those who deserve saving. The good news, from start to finish, is God’s idea.

From the very beginning, the initiative for our salvation has come from God. Humankind has not asked Him for salvation, nor have we shown any desire to be saved. The newly fallen couple in the Garden of Eden did not show any signs of repentance… ‘men loved darkness rather than light’. (p.118)

One of the great themes in Lost Secret is how God has always loved us with red-hot, unconditional love. He didn’t have a change of heart after Calvary. The Old Testament is peppered with declarations and promises of God’s forgiveness and lovingkindness. Even before the cross God was reaching out in love to covenant-breakers like David, who murdered Uriah. David lived under the unforgiving law of Moses. David should have been stoned to death for his sin, but he appealed beyond the law to the covenant heart of God:

Have mercy (hesed) upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies… (Ps 51:1)

And God did! David lived, even though his  sin still had consequences. All through the Bible – both testaments – the unconditional lovingkindness of a God who is love is shown to undeserving, sinful people. His love is greater than any covenant, but is most clearly revealed in the new.

Lost Secret is really two books in one. The first half is describes the new covenant, while the second half tells us how to live in that covenant. There is practical instruction on how to work out your salvation, how to overcome temptation, and how to put on Christ. But ultimately this is more than a how-to book. The main takeaway of Lost Secret is the call to know God and revel in His love. Wherever we are in life, His unshakeable, unchanging, and limitless love is the true north by which fix our position. What is the purpose of the new covenant? To reveal His love that we might know and enjoy Him:

It is a shock to many who would settle for a life of serving God that, above all else, He fervently desires our friendship. He desires us infinitely more than we desire Him… He would rather die than not have you with Him. This is the wonder of the message of covenant. (p.279)

To a religious mindset that worships a distorted image of God, this is scandalous, even blasphemous. But for the rest of us, this is the greatest news in the world!

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22 Comments on “The Lost Secret of the New Covenant” by Malcolm Smith

  1. Susana Vivas // November 23, 2010 at 8:01 am // Reply

    Dear Paul,
    As always, I am so blessed with this post!!! Thank you for sharing! I posted most of it in my FB but I would also like to post the Whole teachings, how?
    Thank you once again🙂

    • Hi Susan – I’m glad you like the book review. I recommend the whole book! You can just click on the Share button at the bottom of the post, then select Facebook. This will send a link right to your wall. If that doesn’t work, click on the title of the post to go to a page with a link specifically for that post, then cut and paste the link onto your FB page using the “Link” button next to “Attach.” That’s how I regularly post to my own wall and the E2R page. If all that’s too complicated, and you just want to post quotes directly onto your wall, please put the generic link to the site in brackets: (www.escapetoreality.org)

  2. Susana Vivas // November 23, 2010 at 8:22 am // Reply

    Got it now🙂 Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the book suggestion! Through reading Amazon reader reviews, it appears that this same book was also published under the title, “Power of the Blood Covenant.” I am looking forward to reading it… Blessings!

  4. My thanks to Patricia Hughes Hux for recommending this 4 minute YouTube clip of Malcolm Smith’s preaching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDBYzaix3lU

    Watch it and be blessed!

  5. Awesome!

  6. Janne Vaisanen // December 1, 2010 at 9:59 pm // Reply

    Book under the original title is very expensive, but it appears that “The Power of the Blood Covenant: Uncover the Secret Strength of God’s Eternal Oath” is the same book, just with a reasonable price and different cover.

  7. Linde Nicolay // May 24, 2011 at 12:29 pm // Reply

    Thanks so much Paul. As always you are such a blessing to me. I forward your teachings to ny friends. God bless you.

  8. Hi Paul ,
    “Have mercy (hesed) upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies…” (Ps 51:1)

    (kheh’-sed) is the word Lovingkindness
    Thanks man .. love

  9. “What is the purpose of the new covenant? To reveal His love that we might know and enjoy Him”…this is how we glorify God. God is most pleased with us when we are most satisfied in Him. The giver get the Glory. We should try to get as much “joy” in God as possible.

  10. I read the (The Power of the Blood Covenant) by Malcolm, it really open my eyes to the truth of God’s words.

  11. After reading the review here I finally got a copy of “The Power of the Blood Covenant” to check out. I am a little over halfway through but in one of the chapters I read something that caused me to raise an eyebrow and wanted to express this. In the chapter “Entering the Covenant” the author seems to be indicating a need for water Baptism as a Believer. Now reading some of the passages I was trying to determine whether he was talking about Baptism as in the Spirit only vs talking about both. I believe the author was indeed trying to say that both are important. He says on page 150 “The New Testament speaks of baptism both as an act performed in water and also a work of the Spirit connecting the believer to the work of Christ”.
    On page 145, his lead in to baptism, he clearly states that in the early church during baptism, “the dipping of a person in water, or pouring it on them” and then goes on to say “bear with me” as he explains his viewpoint on the importance of water baptism.

    This seems to indicate Malcolm Smith’s perspective that water dipping is vital. I’m not so sure I agree with his ideas on this subject however. Near the end of this chapter he tries to clarify by suggesting the question “is a person saved if he or she is not baptized?” and goes on to say questions like this turn the grace of God into law. But then turns around and says “God commands it; so do it”

    Perhaps he wasn’t as clear as he could have been on this subject. I have no issue whatsoever with water baptism. I see it as an outward expression of ones new found faith and/or a means to help activate ones faith…BUT, I also see it as a public event(ceremony) for others to witness(if they so desire) and NOT NECESSARY in any way for us to be seen as fully Righteous to the Father.

    • Water baptism is important it relates us to dying in Christ and been Raised in him.If you would bear with me a little on this I will explain what happen to a young lady who was in a witch covenant and her partner was a warlock.She came to Christ and even they where a distance apart he knew and travel to were she was with a couple of believers.They knew he was coming to get her the first thing he said when he got of the bus was that she didn’t belong to Christ as they had not baptized her in water.They stalled him while one of them went to the cafe were she was waiting with some other believers they were informed of what was said and ask her if she wanted to be baptized of course she said yes and was.As soon as she came up out of the water the warlock knew and ran out of town screaming.Sometimes we are filled with the Spirit before the water baptism and Malcolm does mention this as well.In my own personal experience I was baptized with the Holy Spirit first then after water baptism.Hope this help’s keep asking question’s and thinking about these thing’s and in time you find your answers.Blessing.

  12. Just ordered my copy of “The Power of the Blood Covenant”. Sounds incredible! Thanks for the suggestion!

  13. I just ordered that book. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been wanting to read a book about the love of God, our covenant with him, withOUT the universalism slant. Thank you so much!

  14. There is only one thing that God holds above his name, his word.Insight into this reveals the basis of the new covenant, it was the hyper grace revealed to King David.Law mixture is no more than trying to put Gods name above his word. Psalm 138:2

    • I have a question that has been bugging me. How did King David understood hypergrace? I’m a bit confused on the whole thing. Hypergrace doctrine seems to teach there are no consequences for our actions and we clearly see them in King David’s life. God punished him so harshly after murder and adultery. He was also highly favored and a man after God’s own heart – yet he did not escape consequences for his actions. Obedience is still important. Why doesn’t hypergrace teach on it all?

      • Hi Stephanie, hypergrace preachers certainly do teach on obedience. (Here’s a post.) What we don’t do is try and force obedience using carrots and sticks. God’s children are not donkeys.

        King David had a wonderful revelation of God’s grace and lovingkindness and wrote about it in his Psalms. David was the one who said the Lord “does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Psa 103:10).

  15. Paul,
    First of all, I really enjoy your website. I’m a frequent visitor, but first time commenter. Fifteen years ago my wife and I heard a Malcolm Smith message that altered the course of our Christian walk forever. It was our introduction into the radical Grace of God. Though we had both been saved since childhood, we both had dysfunctional relationships with God. Of course everyone we knew probably did as well. She struggled with insecurity in her salvation and I with constant guilt and condemnation. Through that one message, the blinders began to come off, and we plunged headlong into the Grace of God. We’ve heard some awesome teachers of the Gospel since that time, but Malcolm will always hold a special in our hearts. I’ll be getting this book. On a side note, my wife recently published a children’s picture book based on one of Malcolm’s stories, and he was gracious enough to write the forward to the book.

  16. This book is out of print, but can still be had used, but for a steep price. On the other hand, I am told this same text has been re-released under a different title by Malcolm Smith (available on Kindle as well as paperback on Amazon): “Power of the Blood Covenant: Uncover the Secret Strength of God’s Eternal Oath”. Happy reading!

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