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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Response to SJS (Jack) [How Do We Know What Covenant We Are Keeping?]

Smilin’JackSprat,

My apologies; sometimes life just gets hectic and you can’t get things done as soon as you would like.

You said I answered incompletely with a partial quote from Hebrews 8:7 by not including V8. As I see it Verse eight says the same thing.

If there had been nothing wrong with the first, no place would have been sought for another
By saying ‘fault was found with the people’, it is saying there is fault with the OC. What I mean is, it shows what’s wrong with the OC, that it could not be kept perfectly, therefore condemning man; Gal 3:10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."
It is not mans fault that we are sinful. No man is without sin. We were sold as slaves to sin; Rom 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.
Only by keeping the OC perfectly can one be found righteous, but since no man is without sin – it shows that no man can keep it flawlessly. If there was nothing wrong with the OC and the fault was solely that of the people, it would mean people are capable of being without sin, that is; perfect, and therefore, could be found righteous by flawless observance of the OC, but that simply is not possible.
With the OC one is responsible for his own salvation, and condemned for his sins, because under the OC there is no remission of sins, Christ does not pay our debt. If one gathered wood on the Sabbath, he was to be stoned to death, no mercy, no forgiveness, and now that he has sinned he is condemned [Nu. 15:32-36]. He will not inherit the kingdom.
Since it’s not possible to be without sin, if God is to have a family, there must be another way for the debt to be paid, which the perfect Christ Jesus paid in our stead.
With the NC there is mercy and forgiveness, remission of sins. If we confess our sins, he will forgive us from all unrighteousness. [1 Jn. 1:19].
The OC did its job, it revealed sin, and it led us to Christ, through whom salvation could be gained.
Rom 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
Rom 6:16 Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Rom 6:17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
Rom 6:18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Rom 6:20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
Rom 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gal 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.


430 years after Abraham
Abraham was pre-Moses, what law did he obey? The Ten Commandments, the Law of Moses, had not been given yet. What law did the fallen angels break? Any word from God’s mouth is law, but it is only law for the one(s) it is given. If he tells Moses & Aaron to deal with Pharaoh, then it is their law, no one else’s. If he tells the Israelites to do something(s), it is their law, no one else’s, unless God says so. If He tells Ezekiel to do some specific things with hair and cooking food with human excrement in the site of others, it is Ezekiel’s law and no one else’s.
Abraham’s law was whatever God told him to do, and God credited Abraham with righteousness by his faith. God had not given a contract of works; this did not come about until 430 years after Abraham. It went from Faith in Abraham’s day (earlier and later), to a law of Works at Sinai, and returned to Faith upon Christ’s sacrifice of his life on the cross, for the payment of the debt we incurred by our sins.
Again; Abraham was credited righteousness by faith. Then, with the out-of-control Israelites, he gave them rules to follow. It didn’t matter if their attitudes were undesirable - they just needed to do what they were told to do. After Christ came, it returned to faith.
The NC is heart and mind – inner law. The OC is hands – outer law, about doing, regardless of attitude.
Paul tells us that with God’s contract, as with a man’s contract, you cannot add to or take away. This tells us that the NC is NEW and not an altered OC or the same OC. If there is no NEW Covenant what was Jesus doing in Mt. 5?
He said, “You have heard [this thing] but I tell you [this other thing]. Was he undermining the OC or was he preparing them for the difference in the NC from that of the OC?
He was telling them that actions were not enough – that it was ONLY washing the outside and leaving the inside filthy. The OC did not require purity of heart and mind – only obedient actions. Of course the actions could not be done flawlessly – thus cursing those, who were subject to it, to eternal condemnation.

Jesus was showing the difference
He was showing that purity of heart and mind were of utmost importance – clean on the inside, also clean on the outside, unlike OC; clean on the outside only – filthy on the inside. Under the OC one is cut off from Christ and therefore there is no remission of sins. Only through the NC, through Christ, is there remission of sins; grace, mercy, forgiveness, cleansing.
So again, because the OC cursed man to eternal condemnation, the debt would have to be paid in a different way if God is to have a family. That is where Jesus came in. He would keep the OC law perfectly (impossible for anyone else – since no man is without sin) and thus be found pure, and therefore, worthy to pay man’s debt in full.
The OC proves we cannot save ourselves. All of this teaches us that we need God, that without him we are nothing, and can do nothing. We are saved ONLY by him; by his grace, mercy and forgiveness in the payment of our debt, by Christ Jesus.
The OC and NC are not the same covenant. God said it was a NEW covenant and he said the NC would not be like the old one. How can it be a NEW Covenant if the only thing that’s changed is that it is now written in the hearts and minds of the people? It can’t, not if it won’t be like the old one.
Our actions do not, and cannot, save us
But our belief, our faith produces actions. It is the belief, our faith that saves us.
Keeping Sabbath or a Saturday Sabbath, observing holy days – those don’t save us. Keeping TEN COMMANDMENTS don’t save us. There is NO action that can save us. Only by our belief and faith in Christ Jesus are we saved – because that means we acknowledge that our value is in his love for us, that without him we are nothing and can do nothing and that we accept HIS payment of OUR debt. No action can save us, because no man is without sin. The penalty for sin is death. There is NO way around it. The debt must be paid, so, either we pay it (eternal death), or Christ does (eternal life).
We all sin. If we fail in one single way, we are guilty. We are no less sinful than a murderer, or an adulterer or idolater. It doesn’t matter the sin – it all results in eternal death --- unless we believe in Christ Jesus, in which case, our debt is paid in full.
There are two different contracts
Jesus showed the difference in Mt.5, and we see that the Law of Moses has long been a stumbling block in; 2 Co. 3:1-18
V15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Were the Pharisees or teacher of the law on the path to the kingdom of God? No, MT. 5:20, 23:13.
Mt. 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
The OC would have to be kept flawlessly –or- turn to Christ and the NC.
Mt. 23:13 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Do We Know What Covenant We Are Keeping?

In this post we will be looking for answers to the question: How do we know what covenant we are keeping? What does the NC consist of?

 

The OC and the Ten Commandments

 

Would you say the Ten Commandments are part of the NC? Was God’s NC identical to the OC but with the ceremonies and sacrifices omitted? What is the NC?

We know the Ten Commandments were part of the OC.

De. 4:13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments

If they are not part of the NC, does that mean it is okay to murder, steal, lie, etc?, of course not. Here’s what Paul had to say on the matter;

Ro. 5:20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

Remember, this Covenant did not even exist in Abraham’s day. It came about, 430 years after Abraham time (Ga. 3:17).

21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ro. 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

 

 

From ‘Going Through the Motions’ to ‘Attitude’

Under the OC one just needed to go through the motions regardless of attitude, but not so with the NC, it, very much, matters what is in the heart. Here is what Jesus says; 

Mt.5:21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' [OC; Just about actions]

22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. [NC: All about attitude, about what’s in the heart.]

 

Was the NC written just like the OC only with the ceremonies and sacrifices removed? Based on these scriptures, the answer is ‘no’.

God said he would make a new covenant, and he said it would not be like the old one.                                                                                              

Jer. 31:31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
       "when
I will make a new covenant
       with the house of Israel
       and with the house of Judah.

 32 It will not be like the covenant
      
I made with their forefathers
       when I took them by the hand
       to lead them out of Egypt,
       because they broke my covenant,
       though I was a husband to them, "
       declares the LORD.


 How would this covenant be different?

 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
       after that time," declares the LORD.
[OC; all about actions, not the heart]
      
"I will put my law in their minds
       and write it on their hearts. [All about attitude/what’s in the heart]
       I will be their God,
       and they will be my people.


What was wrong with the fist one?

 Heb.8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant,

 no place would have been sought for another.

 2 Cor 3:7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone  

9 If the ministry that condemns men

13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.

14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.

15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.

 

 

What Does the OC Consist Of?

Jesus said;   

Mt.5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.   [And he did]

V18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. [It was accomplished, finished, fulfilled.]  

                                                                                                                            

The OC, (that which was engraved in stone), brought death. It condemns men. Unlike the NC, it doesn’t last, it had an expiration date. Paul said;

2 Cor 3:7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.

13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

Again, what was the OC? What did it consist of?

Deuteronomy 4:13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments

 

 

So What Does the NC Consist Of?

 

Look at what Jesus says in the Beatitudes. Here, he shows the difference between the OC and the NC.

Murder

Mt.5:21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' [OC; Just about actions]

22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. [NC: All about attitude, about what’s in the heart.]

 

Adultery

V27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’

V28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart…

V31 “It has been said, ’Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’

V32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her become and adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

 

Oaths

V33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’

V34 But I tell you, Do not sweat at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;

V35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

V36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.

V37 Simply let you ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and you ‘No,’ ‘No’, anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

 

An Eye for an Eye

V38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’

V39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

V40 And if someone wants to sue you and take you tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

V41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

V42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

 

Love for Enemies

V43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love you neighbor and hate your enemy.’

V44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

V45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sum t rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

V46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

V47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are doing more that others? Do not even pagans do that?

V48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

He goes on to cover Giving to the Needy, Prayer and Fasting, Seeking the Kingdom, Worry, and Judging Others.

 

Jesus shows how the OC falls short in Mt.5 and 23;

Mt. 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

In the OC it was about going through the motions. But Jesus talked about the difference between the OC and the NC. He talked about how the teachers of the law and the Pharisees kept the law, yet were filthy on the inside.

We learn in Mt. 5 and 23, that there was something wrong with the OC; (Heb.8:7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.)

Jesus tells how the OC whitewashes the OUTSIDE, leaving the inside full of dead men’s bones. He talks about what does matter; the INSIDE and that cleansing comes only through Christ.

We learn from him and Paul in Mt.22:37-40 and Ro. 12:10 that Love is the law, that love is the fulfillment of the law, and that the law and the prophets hang on love. But remember, the OC cannot gain you the kingdom.

 

Once, again, the OC included the 10 Commandments;

Deuteronomy 4:13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments

 

Again, I ask: Was the NC written just like the OC only with the ceremonies and sacrifices removed? Based on these scriptures, the answer is ‘no’.

God said he would make a new covenant, and he said it would not be like the old one.                                                                                              

Jer. 31:31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
       "when
I will make a new covenant
       with the house of Israel
       and with the house of Judah.

 32 It will not be like the covenant
      
I made with their forefathers…"
       declares the LORD.

 And again: How would this covenant be different?

 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
       after that time," declares the LORD.
[OC; all about actions, not the heart]
      
"I will put my law in their minds
       and write it on their hearts. [All about attitude, what’s in the heart]
       I will be their God,
       and they will be my people.

 

So, which covenant are you keeping?

I’m sure this ‘curfew’ analogy is getting old, but again, let’s look at it;

Teen ‘A’ has been given a 6PM curfew because he continually came home after 2 or 3 in the morning. Teen ‘B’ was never given a curfew because he was always home before 8PM. Six months later the curfew if lifted from teen ‘A.’

Here is my question; does teen ‘A’ need to continue coming home at 6PM, or can he come home any time he chooses as long as it is an appropriate time?  

Would he be correct if he said he must continue to come home at 6PM because to do otherwise would not be expressing love to his parents? It’s not about 6PM. 6PM is not sacred. It was important at the time that it was his law, but that law/curfew is obsolete now. It’s about coming home at appropriate hours. The curfew was a tool used to teach a teen about love for himself and his parents.


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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on my current understanding. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.