Building up believers and the New Testament church

Education of Children

The New Covenant

A third foundational issue is the provision that God has made in the new covenant. Some have tried to divide the ages of time into many different "dispensations" in order to explain God's dealings. Some of these efforts have probably gone too far, but we can say that clearly there is an old covenant, and there is a new covenant. We are living in the new covenant; thus, we must be careful not to mix the provisions or the dealings of the two. The promises of the new covenant are so much greater than the old that there is hardly any comparison. A full discussion of this is far beyond what is possible here, but consider just a few of the differences between the old and new covenants.

In the new covenant, God has come to abide within man by the Holy Spirit (John 14:23). The old could deal only with outward acts, but in the new, God deals with the whole heart of man (Matthew 5). The promise in the new is that He will write His law upon our hearts and minds (Hebrews 8:10). "No man will teach his neighbor 'know the Lord' for all shall know Me" (Hebrews 8:11). Christ did not just set an example for us to follow--He has become our life (Galatians 2:20). The old is called "a ministry of condemnation and death," while the new is what brings life (2 Corinthians 3:6-9).

All of these things and many more have tremendous implications when it comes to working out our salvation. We are on this side of Calvary, and the Holy Ghost has come. Those in the old were looking forward to the Savior; for us, He has come. Have we let this truth affect our thinking and our actions when it comes to raising our children? For example, sometimes we draw heavily from the book of Proverbs when teaching our children or considering how to deal with them. But the Holy Spirit is not mentioned even once in Proverbs. Why? Because the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:39). But now He has been given.

Have we let the truth of this fact affect our dealing with our children? God has not changed, but His dealing with men does change. We are not in the time of Moses, nor are we the nation of Israel. We are being built together "a habitation of God in the Spirit." Do we know what that means?