Regeneration: A New Covenant Blessing -- By: Zane C. Hodges

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 18:35 (Autumn 2005)
Article: Regeneration: A New Covenant Blessing
Author: Zane C. Hodges


Regeneration: A New Covenant Blessing

Zane C. Hodges

President
Kerugma Ministries
Mesquite, Texas

I. Introduction

The New Covenant relates to the doctrine of regeneration, that is, the new birth. But before this relationship can be clearly considered, it is necessary to deal with a problem that has arisen with regard to this Covenant.

II. Dispensationalism and the New Covenant

For a long time, the New Covenant has been a problem in dispensational theology. The problem seems to be centered in the statement of Jer 31:31, where the Lord is speaking:

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah…

From this statement the conclusion has been drawn that the New Covenant is exclusively an arrangement between God and the nation of Israel. Many Dispensationalists have feared that to say otherwise would threaten the collapse of any meaningful difference between Israel and the Church.

Yet at the same time, the NT appears to treat NT believers as objects of the New Covenant arrangements. A number of pivotal passages show this.

For example, the expression new covenant appears in all three Gospel accounts of the institution of the Lord’s Supper: Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; and Luke 22:20. Luke, for example, reports:

Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”

This statement of Jesus is repeated by the apostle Paul in his discussion of the Lord’s Supper in 1 Cor 11:25. Furthermore, Paul describes himself as a minister of the New Covenant in 2 Cor 3:5, 6 when he says,

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also has made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant.

Finally there is the book of Hebrews. The author of that book—whoever he was, Barnabas, I think—makes the New Covenant a centerpiece in discussing the high priestly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact he actually quotes the passage from Jer 31:31–34 in Heb 8:8–12

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