How NEW is the New Testament? Or better yet, how NEW is the New Covenant? Does New mean new? Or does it just mean a little newer? Well, then if the New Covenant is just a moderate improvement on the Old, then it isn't new and either God is lying or the writers were lying or they were trying to get us confused...and Jesus' work in ministry and on the cross would not have been able to fulfill the law like it has. However, we are now under the authority of the New Covenant because Jesus came as our forever Priest and His arrival made everything new! He came to fulfill the law, the prophets, how sin is dealt with, how sinners are viewed and sin paid for.
Christ came to pay for our complete salvation while we were still in sin, which means we are not to look at people by human standards anymore. (2 Cor. 5:16). In the OT people were stoned or put to death because they were defined by their sin...not only because of their sin nature, but because the law was punitive and sin had to be punished! Therefore the only way to deal with the sin was to punish the sinner. However, Christ's life and death gave humans back their worth...so unbelievers as well are to be viewed as people that Jesus loves and are in the process of being drawn back to Him.
The New Covenant is "New" for another reason...because now the overwhelming factor is that we are new creatures in Christ, so essentially we are just like new born babes that have never sinned. It is just-if-I'd never-sinned! Some Christians say they are, 'sinners saved by grace'...but that is not biblically true. We are not sinners anymore. We are not just bandaged up...or renewed, no...we are completely new - justified before God!!
The following section of scripture does not contradict the fact that we are completely saved by grace...
1 John 3:4"Those who live sinful
lives are disobeying God. Sin is disobedience. 5You know that Christ
appeared in order to take away our sins. He isn't sinful. 6Those who live in
Christ don't go on sinning. Those who go on sinning haven't seen or known
Christ. 7Dear children, don't
let anyone deceive you. Whoever does what God approves of has God's approval as
Christ has God's approval.
8The person who lives a
sinful life belongs to the devil, because the devil has been committing sin
since the beginning. The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what
the devil does. 9Those who have been
born from God don't live sinful lives. What God has said lives in them, and they
can't live sinful lives. They have been born from God. 10This is the way God's
children are distinguished from the devil's children. Everyone who doesn't do
what is right and love other believers isn't God's child."
We are saved by grace!! The above scripture does not contradict that...altho many Christians still think that even tho we are saved by grace we still have to work hard at not sinning so we are accepted by God. However, they are misinformed. BTW, God does not contradict Himself, so if we ever come across a contradiction, then there is something we don't understand. So, the problem is with us, not Him...so this would be the time to seek God and do further study.
Believers have been cleansed of sin and are now completely new people, with the Holy Spirit living inside! Therefore what we all need to learn is that when scripture either speaks about the believer having a new nature or the indwelling Holy Spirit, it is the same thing as saying that a believer does not keep on sinning. In fact they can be interchanged.
It is just like if you were talking about a butterfly. You could call it a butterfly, or an insect that does not perpetually crawl on it's belly any longer. Each would be equally true!!
A believer could not keep on sinning without being convicted by the Holy Spirit. Then the conviction would begin a change in the opposite direction via the power and guidance from the Holy Spirit. However, if a person does not have a new nature as well as the Holy Spirit, then their sin would not be interrupted by conviction and therefore the desire and power to begin a change would not occur...which means they could easily keep on sinning.