Your Bible is made up of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. These are different covenants that God made with different people.
As much as there are similarities in general between the covenants, there are also major differences.
Most of the charges Bible-doubters launch at Christians is due to not understanding the differences between the covenants.
But you don’t have to be a Bible-doubter to mess this one up. Many Christians mess up the covenants, particularly in applications.
As simply as I can put it, here is the main difference between the covenants:
The Old Covenant stressed the physical
The Old Covenant was between God and the physical, racial nation of Israel. There were 600+ laws, most of which were about physical actions, summarized in the Ten Commandments written on physical stone. There were physical blessings and physical curses associated with obeying or disobeying those physical laws. There was a physical city with a physical temple where God physically (at least temporarily) met with His physical people. They needed physical priests to go between their physical selves and God. They needed physical sacrifices with physical blood and physical grain offerings to maintain their physical covenant.
The New Covenant stresses the spiritual
The New Covenant is between God and all those who are spiritually reborn and spiritually placed into the spiritual Body of Christ. Members of this new covenant have all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. They don’t serve in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the Spirit. The Spirit, along with the exalted Christ, intercedes, not a priest. They live for a spiritual and eternal country. They walk in the Spirit. They bring forth spiritual fruit as they exercise gifts of the Spirit.
If you understand this basic concept, you will be set free from many incorrect applications of Scripture. Allow me to demonstrate:
Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans because of God’s judgment on the sins of Mardi Gras.
Nope, sorry. Hurricane Katrina happened in New Orleans because the city is built on a swamp in a place known as Hurricane Alley. God does not judge in such ways for sin under the New Covenant.
If America returns to God, He will restore our land.
Nope, that was for Israel. God is no longer dealing with physical nations, nor physical blessings and cursings like He was in the Old Covenant. There is no longer Jew nor Gentile in the New Covenant.
If America rejects God, He will judge our land.
Nope, that was for Israel. If God kicks us out, pray tell what godly nation is going to replace us? There are consequences for sin, we reap what we sow, but God is not dealing with cursing nations due to rebellion because He has no such agreement with nations in the New Covenant.
If I skip my quiet time I’ll have a bad day.
You’d probably have a bad day anyway! Again, thinking that a spiritual act will result in a physical blessing is an Old Covenant concept. It’s probably also mostly superstition! Again, there are natural consequences for sin, but God will not purposely nail you for not doing quiet time.
If I obey God I will get money and health.
Nope, no such agreement is in the New Covenant. Health and Wealth doctrine is largely fixated on Old Covenant promises given to Israel. The New Covenant says anyone who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, in fact.
All my physical stuff is a blessing from God.
Not necessarily. A large amount of physical things is a warning sign in the New Covenant. It might mean you have sold your soul, that you are building bigger barns because you are ensnared with the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this world. Lay up treasure in heaven. Work for eternity, not for temporal blessing.
All such applications, which are thrown around by the vast majority of evangelical churchdom, are a misunderstanding of the New Covenant and the Old Covenant.
If you are hearing something about judgment or blessing and it’s physical, perk up those ears! If you are hearing something about nations, hold up! If you are told that money means you’re doing it right, watch out!
Is the application primarily physical? Then you’re probably not dealing with the New Covenant correctly. It’s not that the physical is unimportant, it’s just not stressed. It’s not what drives the member of the New Covenant. Physical things are more or less irrelevant–“I have learned in whatsoever state I am in, to be content,” says Paul.
Physical results can be an indicator of performance, but they are not always. Sometimes horrible physical results means you’re doing something wrong–you keep ending up in jail for breaking the law. Sometimes horrible physical results mean you’re doing something right–Christ was physically crucified after all, and He tells us His followers will get persecution.
Old Covenant stresses the physical; the New Covenant stresses the spiritual. If you mess these up, you will get messed up applications.