Transformed by God: New Covenant Life and Ministry

What we call the New Testament is a collection of documents explaining how God has established a new covenant with his people through Jesus Christ, in fulfilment of the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and related passages in the Old Testament.

There have been scholarly articles and monographs examining the way the promises of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34 are alluded to in the New Testament and influence teaching about Christian life and ministry. I  go further than others have done, providing a more comprehensive, integrated and applied study of the issues. The book is aimed at clergy, students and other theologically literate readers. Each chapter contains a concluding section of pastoral application.

This biblical-theological study reveals the way God relates to us through his Son and his Spirit and promises to transform us. The contents are as follows.

Chapter 1      The New Covenant in Jeremiah

The New Covenant oracle is examined in the context of Jeremiah’s other messages of hope and parallel predictions by Isaiah and Ezekiel. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between this covenant and previous divine commitments. In addition to the key themes of spiritual renewal and covenant faithfulness, issues such as the reconstitution of Israel, the blessing of the Gentiles, the Davidic hope, and the renewal of worship are examined. The rest of the book shows how these themes are taken up and expounded in different ways by selected New Testament writers.

Chapter 2      Israel and the Nations Renewed

Jesus’ reference to ‘the new covenant in my blood’ (Lk. 22:20), and his commission to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations in his name, beginning from Jerusalem (24:47), is the starting point for examining the way Luke-Acts portrays the fulfilment of Jeremiah’s promises. In particular, the way Israel is renewed and Gentiles come to share in the blessings is the focus of attention.

Chapter 3      The Renewal of Worship

Hebrews sees Jeremiah 31:31-34 fulfilled primarily in the high-priestly work of Jesus the Messiah, making it possible for a new pattern of acceptable worship to be established. Special attention is paid to the way the finished work of Christ is meant to impact the hearts of believers. The vexed issue of ‘falling away’ is considered in the light of Jeremiah’s assurances and the teaching of Hebrews about God’s covenant faithfulness.

Chapter 4      New Covenant Ministry

Paul’s teaching about his ministry of  ‘a new covenant’ in 2 Corinthians 3 introduces a study of the way gospel and Spirit bring transformation to believers. The moral, relational and physical aspects of this change are explored. The relationship between the law of Moses and the New Covenant is considered in the light of Paul’s argument in this chapter.

Chapter 5      Hearts and Lives Transformed

Paul’s use of new covenant expectations in Romans 11:26-27 and Galatians 4:24-31 is first considered. The rest of the chapter explores the way Paul uses ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ terminology in Romans to explore the need for transformation and the way transformation takes place through God’s new covenant provisions.

Chapter 6 The Transforming Knowledge of God

Extensive teaching about knowing the Lord in the Gospel and First Letter of John is related to Jeremiah’s prophecy. The link between knowing, believing and the work of the Holy Spirit is explored. In view of the claim that ‘you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge’ (1 Jn.2:20), the tests of a true relationship with God are discussed. In view of the claim that ‘you have no need that anyone should teach you’ (1 Jn. 2:27), the role of Christian teaching in promoting the true knowledge of God is examined.

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