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Dispelling The Myth
Spirit Controlled Behaviour
Sodom And Gomorroh
Laws Of Moses
Romans
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Who are The Eunuchs?
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Is that You, LORD?
Beware of False Prophets
Leading The Flock
Understanding
The Baptism Of
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Understanding Covenant;
Dispensation of Grace

The Standard of Holiness
Righteousness
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Fire In The Hole
Getting All Fired Up
An Open Church Letter
Romans 12
1st Peter
Learning To Stop Taking Offense
Examining The Sermon On The Mount

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Understanding Covenant; Dispensation of Grace

The Hebrew word berith means primarily “a cutting,” with reference to the custom of cutting or dividing animals in two and passing between the parts in ratifying a covenant.  The two halves symbolically demonstrated that one without the other is incomplete.  The word appears 285 times in the Hebrew Bible.  In the New Testament, the corresponding word in the Greek is diathece, occurs 30 times and is frequently translated “testament” in the Authorized Version.  It most often refers to the Old Covenant and gives the sense that the New Testament or New Covenant is merely the continuance of the Old Covenant.  In its biblical meaning, it is a compact or agreement between two parties.  There are two versions:

1)      Covenant between God and man, e.g., God covenanted with Noah, after the flood, that a like judgment should not be repeated.  It is not precisely like a covenant between men, but was a promise, agreed to by God.  The principle covenants with God taught by biblical scholars with evidence found in the scriptures are:

 

a)       Covenant of Works – God promising to save and bless mankind on condition of perfect obedience to His commandments and laws.  Adam and Eve broke this covenant.

 

b)      Covenant of Grace – after making payment for the sin of mankind, God has promised to save people from death conditional only on their faith in Christ; receiving Him as Lord and Savior.  This includes the Old Covenant, from which we name the first part of the Bible, the Old Testament, the Latin rendering of the word covenant and the New Covenant, or New Testament.

 

2)       Covenant between two people, i.e., a solemn compact or agreement, sometimes between tribes or nations.  Joshua 9:6,15; 1 Samuel 11:1, or between individuals, Genesis 31:44, by which each party is bound to fulfill certain conditions and is assured of receiving certain advantages.  In making such a covenant God was solemnly invoked as witness, Genesis 31:50, and an oath was sworn.  Genesis 21:31.

As a kid, we played cowboys and Indians.  Hop-A-Long Cassidy, The Lone Ranger and Tonto were our heroes.  Out of those stories of the west came the idea of “blood brothers”.  Two men, who were not necessarily friends, would cut themselves on the hand.  Grasping each other’s hand, the blood from the open cut was allowed to mingle.  This symbolized that they were now one, with the same blood.  They had been enemies, but now, because of covenant, they had become closer than actual brothers.  This legend is a direct descendant of the covenants made in ancient times.

The phrase “blood is thicker than water” has come to mean that blood relationships – with kin – is deeper and more important than friendship relationships.  But this is actually the opposite of its original meaning.  Blood has always been an important part of Covenant-Making and always symbolizes a new relationship established that is closer and requires an even higher loyalty than kin relationships.

Competitive tribes in ancient times engaged in feuding.  Often these “wars” would last for generations.  Over time, the original reasons for the dispute were often forgotten, but the war would continue anyway.  Then a generation arises that decides to redefine the relationship with the other tribe and chooses peace rather than war.  So not unlike modern treaties, they made covenant.  Though it was like a peace treaty, it typically went beyond a mere signing of peace and bound the two tribes together into one.  It combined the strengths and swallowed up the weaknesses of each tribal group into a singular more powerful nation.

The covenant making in ancient times was often celebrated in feasting that lasted many days.  It was overdone so that all that attended would remember the events clearly.  Many demonstrative acts were performed as testimony of what was happening.  The events were all designed to declare the seriousness of the covenant vows recited.  Each member of each tribe was bound by the terms of the covenant to the eighth generation, on pain of death.  This was to insure that the unification would be permanent.  The death sentence was required for all covenant breakers.

Before the ceremony, the terms of the covenant were worked out ahead of time.  During the ceremony, hundreds, perhaps thousands of animals were sacrificed.  The two tribes would gather opposite each other where the sacrificial animals had been cut in half.  Between the halves of the animals a literal river of blood flowed.  This was called “the way of blood” and brings a fresh understanding of Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth and the life”.  Two tribal representatives were cut on their arms and bound together.  As they walked through the center between the two parts, through the way of blood, they held up their bound arms midst shouts of celebration, declaring the terms of the covenant to the two tribes now becoming one and consisted of all the promises being made, including both the blessings and curses of the covenant.

During a meal, members of each tribe exchanged clothing and other personal and expensive gifts.  They gave each other their armor and weaponry letting down defenses and becoming vulnerable to each other.  With wine they pledged their faith to spill blood if necessary to keep the terms of the covenant and with bread they fed one another symbolically promising to assume the responsibility of providing for each other.  A cutting around a finger, the forerunner of the ring, was made in such a way that it would leave an everlasting scar.  It served as a reminder that the covenant was eternal.  Finally, they would often exchange names giving up their identity for the sake of the covenant.

Today traditions still practiced in modern marriage ceremonies are descended from the ceremonial customs and covenant symbols of ancient times.  Anthropologists tell us that these traditions existed in ancient times and still exist in some more remote parts of the world.

The Bible is all about covenant.  From Genesis to the maps, the Bible expounds the terms of the covenant that God has made with mankind.  A foreshadowing event happened immediately following the fall, and as the story begins to unfold in first verses of Genesis, we begin to see that the redemption of humanity was always in God plan.

14.        The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;

15.        And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."

16.         To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you."

17.         Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.

18.         "Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;

19.        By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

 

Genesis 3:14-19 (NASB)

In verse 15 God reveals that He has planned the destruction of His enemy, Satan.  He will cause enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of Satan.  This hostility is the opposition between the Word, who is Christ Jesus (the seed of the woman) and sin (the seed of Satan).  The proclamation states that though Jesus would be bruised in the heel, a non-fatal wound, sin would be dealt a fatal blow to the head.

Because of sin, the death of Adam’s race was required.  Blood had to be spilled as payment for sin.  A type and shadow of this requirement was demonstrated almost immediately when God made the very first blood sacrifice.  He killed and skinned animals and gave them to Adam and Eve to cover the shame of their nakedness.

21.        The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21 (NASB)

The first occurrence of the term “covenant” is in Genesis, in the story of a man named Noah.  From this story we begin to see the essence of God’s grace covenant with humanity.  God seems to be compelled by care as He initiates and dispenses the terms of the covenant He makes with Noah.

17.        "Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.

18.        "But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark--you and your sons and your wife, and your sons' wives with you.

19.        "And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

20.        "Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

21.        "As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them."

22.        Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.

Genesis 6:17-22 (NASB)

It is important to note that this covenant did not interfere with the sovereign will of the people, but presented to Noah and his family an opportunity for relationship.  God offered a gift of grace to Noah.  Though all of humanity was condemned, God offered a way of escape from the sentence of death.  It was an opportunity that had conditional benefits based on obligatory actions by its recipients.  Sound familiar?

Obviously, Noah and his family were obligated to go into the ark in order to be saved.  Had they chosen to stay outside, they would have drowned with the rest of the people.  There was no “irresistible” characteristic about God’s grace.  It is provided as an option to come into relationship with God.  Those that do not want it simply can refuse it.

As we read through the scriptures, certain passages deal more directly with the terms of the covenant than others.  The characteristic giveaway that covenant is being discussed is the presence of propositional truth.  It is an integral part of covenant language.  The benefits or blessings of the covenant are always “conditional”, based on the actions of the participants (as are the curses of the covenant), but the original favor extended by God, called “grace”, is unconditional.  There is no conflict between the sovereign administration of grace and the ensuing obligation of those intended to benefit from it to receive the gift.

8. Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying,

9. "Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you;

10.        and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.

11.        "I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth."

12.        God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;

13.        I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.

14.        "It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud,

15.        and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16.        "When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."

17.        And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth."

Genesis 9:8-17 (NASB)

The language used here by God leaves no doubt of what the essential nature of covenant is all about.  It shows us that covenant is not a compact agreement or contract based on the bilateral consent of each party.  Covenant relationship is best understood as an invitation from God to you to come and be where He is and do what He is doing.  He invites us to enjoin Him in intimate fellowship without fear.  Through the ultimate act of grace in giving His Son sacrificially, the barrier that blocked our path to relationship with God on intimate terms was removed forever.  It was through His actions that covenant was made and it is through His actions that it is sustained.  It is not and cannot be “earned” by those who participate in it.  No one is “good enough” to earn His favor.  All are invited to come; all are favored.

The Bible was written by men via inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  It is a collection of their testimonies (testament) concerning their encounters with Yhwh, (Jehovah) the God of the Covenant.  The eye-witness perspective of each writer helps us better understand who He is and what the covenant is all about.

In perhaps the most well-known biblical story about the covenant, God extends and further clarifies His intention to redeem mankind.  His plan involves Abram, a man who is later identified by his great faith in God.

1. Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you;

2. And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;

3. And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

4. So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

Genesis 12:1-4 (NASB

Abram was obedient to God’s command.  At 75 years old, he pulled up his roots and moved as God told him taking with him his brother’s son, Lot.  Over time, Abram developed a regular conversation with God.  Acquaintance became true friendship.  God told Abram that his descendants would become a great nation, too many to number, a promise that amended the covenant.  Nothing happened, however, and then ten years later . . . .

1. After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great."

2. Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?"

3. And Abram said, "Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir."

4. Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir."

5. And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."

6. Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 15:1-6 (NASB)

After placing faith in God and believing what He told him, Abram was given righteousness with God, right-standing.  This declaration initiated salvation by faith through grace.

Just after this declaration, God makes covenant ceremonially with Abram, something he would understand and further clarified the terms of the covenant.

7. And He said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it."

8. He said, "O Lord GOD, how may I know that I will possess it?"

9. So He said to him, "Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon."

10.        Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds.

11.        The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

12.        Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.

13.        God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.

14.        "But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.

15.        "As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.

16.        "Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete."

17.        It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.

18.        On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:

Genesis 15:7-18 (NASB)

Fourteen years later, Abraham is 99 years old and still has no heir.  He once again hears from God concerning the covenant.

1.      Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.

2.      "I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly."

3.      Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,

4.      "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.

5.      "No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

6.      "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.

7.      "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.

8.      "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

9.      God said further to Abraham, "Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.

10.   "This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.

11.   "And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.

12.   "And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants.

13.   "A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

14.   "But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant."

15.   Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

16.   "I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."

17.   Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"

18.   And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before You!"

19.   But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

20.   "As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.

21.   "But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year."

Genesis 17:1-21 (NASB)

God gives Abram a new name, adding the “yah” sound from His own name both to Abram and Sarai (Ab-ya-ham and Sar-yah).  He also stipulates that the covenant is tied to the land of Canaan and will be through Isaac, not Ishmael.  He also tells Abraham that the covenant is everlasting and finally commits to a date for the birth of Isaac.  From the first promise to the fulfillment is 25 years.  We often hear “God may be slow, but He’s always on time!”  This is probably one of those places in scripture where we get that idea.  For God the process of time has little meaning since He is eternal.  Linear time with God is an illusion.  He further clarified His covenant with Abraham, revealing that the blessings He had conferred on Abraham extended to all the nations of the earth.  This fact seems to have been missed by most Jews living at the time of Jesus.

8.            since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?

Genesis 18:18 (NASB)

The significant piece of what is called the “Old Covenant” is that it is continually built upon from Genesis to Revelation.  The New Covenant is really just more added to the one covenant begun in the Garden of Eden, embellished and re-established here with Abraham and finally fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Are there more parts?  Perhaps.  A good portion of prophetic scripture is yet unfulfilled.  The events surrounding the “Second Coming” or “The Day of the Lord” have not happened yet.  More pieces, it would seem, are forthcoming.

The New Covenant

The New Covenant begins with a period of silence.  For four hundred years God had not chosen to reveal Himself any further through the office of the prophets.  Israel has grown up after Abraham into a nation, just as God has promised.  It had been something like 5,000 years since the time of Adam and Eve in biblical time, when Jesus, the “seed of the woman” finally “became flesh and dwelt among us”.  Abraham had been dead for probably about 3,000 years.  The coming of Jesus was a direct fulfillment of the amended covenant of God with mankind.  His coming had been foretold by the prophets and the people of that time (2,000 years ago), were oppressed and looking for the so-called messenger, God’s Messiah, to appear.  The common belief of the Messiah held at the time had been distorted by the people’s hatred toward the Romans.  This caused them to misread what the prophets were really saying about the Messiah.

In Luke’s gospel, the story of Jesus dedication in the temple shows us that not all the people of Israel had been misled and were hardened in the heart.  Simeon, the Jewish priest that performed circumcision on Jesus, had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had beheld the Messiah, the promised Savior of the world, with his own eyes.  When he saw Jesus and held Him in his arms he quotes from Isaiah in Luke 2:32 and declares that He is “A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES” which is a partial reference from Isaiah.

5. Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it,

6. "I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations,

7. To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.

8. "I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.

9. "Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you."

Isaiah 42:5-9 (NASB)

The prophet clearly says that the Messiah, rendered Christ in the Greek, is a covenant (or testimony) to the people.  He further states that He would be a light to the nations, i.e., Luke 2:32.  John’s take: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. . .  .  . He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:4-5,9,10)

John tells us further of Jesus: that although Moses gave us the Law and started us out in understanding the covenant, Jesus is the fulfillment of the covenant promises.  “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).  The passages of scripture where God amends His covenant to the next phase have three things in common: signs, sacrifices and a solemn oath.  All three of these accompany the revelation given to us in Jesus Christ.  At the completion of His ministry, on the night He was betrayed and delivered over to the Jews, He celebrated the Passover with His disciples.

19.        And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

20.        And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Luke 22:19-20 (NASB)

The events for the next 87 hours following that Passover celebration dealt a final blow to the ancient problem of sin for Adam’s race.  The relationship that had been destroyed by Adam and Eve’s sin was restored.  The final piece of the covenant had been put in place.

1. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

3. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

4. so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:1-4 (NASB)

Just like the covenant made with Abraham, God did what was necessary, the hard part, to bring about redemption.  Through Jesus the truth of grace had been introduced.  As Paul pointed out, “grace through faith” was not really new, but the truth of it was finally understood through the ministry of Jesus.  All those who preceded Jesus were saved by His blood along with those that have come after.  They all have been justified by faith.  No one will receive or ever has received justification by works.  Remember it is God, by His unconditional love that has brought about redemption.  He alone has declared the guilty innocent by providing the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ.

19.        Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;

20.        because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

21.        But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

22.        even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

Romans 3:19-22 (NASB)

Even Abraham was justified by his faith.

1. What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

2. For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

3. For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Romans 4:1-3 (NASB)

The addition to the covenant of the Law of Moses was designed to show men and women that they were in need of a Savior.  By the time the Messiah came on the scene, the faith of Abraham had become distorted and favor with God was understood to be for only the elite.  When Jesus arrived, He made it clear that the real beneficiaries of the covenant that God made with Abraham were not necessarily those who were related to him merely through their ancestry.  The real children of Abraham are those, who like him, live out their lives by faith, counting on God’s unconditional love and receiving it by faith.

13.        For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.

14.        For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified;

15.        for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.

16.        For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

17.        (as it is written, "A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

18.        In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE."

Romans 4:13-18 (NASB)

Jesus’ tangle with the Jews in John the eighth chapter also bears this out.  All the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant are realized by those who do the deeds of Abraham (faith), not because they were merely descendants.

39.        They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus *said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham.

40.        "But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.

John 8:39-40 (NASB)

The terms stipulated by the covenant outlined not only blessings, but also curses that would follow those who did not abide by them.  This is important for us to understand.  Just because we live in the dispensation of grace does not make us immune to the consequences of breaking covenant.  Paul clearly teaches what Jesus began, “that all who commit sin, are slaves of sin.” (John 8:34)

14.        For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

15.        What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

16.        Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

Romans 6:14-16 (NASB)

Though the eternal consequence of sin has been eliminated, the temporal consequence has not.  Covenant is all about dying to the old way and walking in newness of life.  The true child of God cannot continue to live in sin as a lifestyle.  We often hear about people who gave their life to Jesus as a child and then lived “like hell.”  Or they lived for themselves, never considering Him in all their decision-making.  They may have attended church from time to time or even regularly, but only gave lip service to the work of redemption in their lives.  Later some of these people claim that they finally came to the end of themselves, surrendered their hearts to Jesus and He became Lord of their lives.  A question arises that since no life change accompanied the initial acceptance, did salvation really occur then?  When a person comes to Christ through the blood of the new covenant, they become a new person in Christ Jesus.  Old things pass away.  All things become new because “the love of Christ controls us . . . one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)  If there is no desire to be freed from sin, there is no acceptance of the good news of freedom in Christ from sin and you are not ready for salvation.

The church today rushes people into salvation, to which they quickly respond by getting “fire insurance.”  But they are not familiarized with the Holy Spirit’s mission to bring conviction for sin, righteousness and judgment.  Instead they hear of eternal fire, forgiveness of sin, help from God, and the hope of heaven, and they want it and buy it to add to their already stressed and chaotic lifestyle like they are shopping at Walmart.

The terms of covenant are unconditional in consequence, whether it be the blessing or the cursing.  Those that die to themselves receive life, but those who try to hang on to their lives will not be able to and it will result in death.

16.         "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Matthew 16:25 (NASB)

 

10.        If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

11.        But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

12.        So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—

13.        for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

 

Romans 8:10-13 (NASB)

This is propositional truth, covenant language.  It tells us that continuance in fleshly living will result in death.  Those who are trying to make it on your own, trying to live, will only find death.  As Jesus explained, in order to live we must die.

8.            "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it."

Mark 8:35 (NASB)

So we can better understand Paul’s statement in Philippians, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Listen to some of the promises of the covenant, yours through adherence to its terms:

Romans 8:14               You are Sons of God.

John 1:12                  Potential to become children of God

Romans 8:16-17            Fellow heirs with Christ.

Ephesians 1:11                  We have obtained an inheritance.

Galatians 3:29               Heirs of promise.

Romans 8:28               All things to work together for.

Philippians 4:19                  All my needs are met.

1 Corinthians 2:9            God has prepared unimaginable things for those who love Him.

Colossians 3:4             Will be revealed with Him in glory.

1 Corinthians 2:16            We have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 4:13                  I have His strength.

Colossians 1:11                  Strengthen with all power.

Romans 3:23-24            Justified by grace.

Ephesians 1:4             Holy and blameless before Him.

Galatians 5:22               The fruits of the Spirit are the characteristics of our life.

Colossians 1:6             Bearing fruit and increasing.

Ephesians 1:7             Forgiveness of trespasses.

Colossians 1:14                  Forgiveness of sins.

Romans 5:1                 We have peace with God

John 14:27                Peace of Jesus.

Colossians 3:15                  Peace of Christ.

Ephesians 2:14                  He is our peace.

Philippians 4:7             Peace of God guards our hearts.

Romans 5:5                 Hope produces the love of God in our hearts.

Ephesians 6:11                  Able to stand against the devil.

Ephesians 6:16                  Able to extinguish the devils flaming arrows.

Romans 5:9                 Saved from the wrath of God.

Colossians 1:13                  Rescued from the darkness.

Colossians 2:10                  Made complete in Him.

Romans 5:17               Reigning in Life.

Romans 6:23               Eternal Life.

John 3:16                  Eternal Life.

John 17:3                  Eternal Life.

Philippians 3:11                  Resurrection from the dead.

Colossians 2:12                  Raised you up with Him.

Colossians 2:13                  Made alive.

Ephesians 2:5                     Made alive.

          John 10:10                     Abundant Life.