Troublesome Topic: The Conditions of the New Covenant

Lesson 4 of 15

The conditions of the New Covenant are observed in the teachings of Jesus. Just as the “ten words” of Exodus 20 formed the summary conditions, and all the Torah gave the entire body of the conditions of the Former Covenant, so the Sermon on the Mount forms the summary statement for the New Covenant, and the rest of Jesus’ teachings fill out the rest of His covenant conditions.

We see in Jesus’ words the same three major emphases I have described for the Former Covenant. Whether He was dividing the Torah into categories or not we cannot know, but He did seem to lift these out as primary points of emphasis. He said,

Matthew 23:23


Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you pay tithe on mint and dill and cumin, yet you have neglected the weightier matters of the law – justice, compassion and faith.

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These it behooved you to do, without neglecting those.


Oh religious leaders who pretend to have it all together, you are in danger of severe judgment! For you have made up ways to look more righteous than everyone else, but meanwhile you have neglected to live out the most important aspects of God’s law – holiness, compassion and faith.

It is necessary for you to do these important things without neglecting the small details.

We will return later and take a look at the Sermon on the Mount to see how the elements of justice, mercy and faith were communicated there.

The next lesson in all three series on Covenants is: The Blessings and Curses of the New Covenant



Both “faith” and “faithfulness” are possible translations due to the case the Greek noun is found in. However, I strongly prefer to render it here as “faith” because Jesus is laying out those categories which are the “important matters of the law.” Justice and Mercy are distinguishable categories, as is faith, i.e. those things related to our trust in God. But if we translate it “faithfulness” it seems to overlap with the issues of justice as those things we need to be faithful in fulfilling. For the purpose of this study I will continue to cite the three “important matters of the law” as “justice, mercy and faith.”