Monday, 20 July 2020

Covenant Responsibility

Scripture:  Jeremiah 31 v 31 - 34: " Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 
33  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

A Covenant is a solemn, unbreakable commitment between two parties, and if God is party to it, it is written in stone.  This makes its promises and conditions permanent and not subject to change.  With Israel our Lord Jesus had a Marriage Covenant, as He says, I was a husband to Israel, but she broke the covenant.  This was back in Heaven before Earth was formed.

The first covenant God made with man was when He gave Adam stewardship of the whole Earth, over all of Creation.  Through disobedience to God, Adam then passed the stewardship to Satan and plunged the whole world into darkness.  It opened a Pandora's Box of unending problems.  It was Eve, the wife of Adam, who first tasted the forbidden fruit before encouraging him to participate.

This Eden covenant was now in tatters and God sent the first man and woman out of the security of this replica of Heaven, into a hostile world where they had to survive by their own strength and abilities.  This continues to this day for those living outside of God's covenant.

By the 6th chapter of the first book of the Bible, God was sorry He had made Man and sent a flood to wipe out all but 8 people - Noah and his family were the only righteous people left on Earth.  God will always preserve the righteous, and work with them.  The rest still have Pandora's Box to contend with.  God confirmed His covenant with Noah by sending the first rainbow as a promise never to flood the Earth again.

One of Noah's descendants was Abraham with whom God established the covenant of circumcision for the Jews.  It was a blood covenant that separated the Jews from all other races.  It gave God the legal precedent to send His Son to die for the sins of mankind.  Circumcision means to "cut off"  or death.  In covenant terms God had to bleed and die to make the covenant valid.  Jesus did that, He made God's will valid, as it only becomes valid after the death if the Testator.

(David and Jonathan, son of King Saul, had a blood covenant in which everything belonging to them had equal power of ownership with the other.  After the death of Jonathan, David found the crippled son of Jonathan and brought him into his palace to live with him forever.)

The exodus of the Hebrews after 400 years of captivity in  Egypt came after God poured out ten horrible plagues on Pharoah.   He relented and set them free to worship Almighty God when it had cost Pharoah his only son.  God's love for Israel caused Him to go to extreme lengths to deliver her out of terrible torments.  And He is not done yet.

Moses met God on Mount Sinai and was given the ten commandments written on tablets of stone by the finger of God.  They were kept in the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.  Israel's habit of breaking them is no secret, the Lord's faithfulness to her has never wavered.

In human sinful flesh it was impossible to keep all 664 laws that God gave to Moses.  So God made a new covenant with the Jews in which He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty of death for every person's sins on Earth.  One sacrifice for all time.  It was Israel, Jesus' estranged wife, who demanded He be crucified.  

Romans 7 v 2 - 3: "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man."  Jesus died to set her free of judgment of death under the law so she could live again.  Throughout the Old Testament Israel was accused of adultery. 

Those who believe in Jesus and all He did for us will be born again into a sinless state with the righteous nature of Jesus exchanged for our sin nature when we are baptised in water.  Infant baptism and Christening are meaningless in this New Covenant. These are religious exercises to ease the conscience, but are irrelevant to true salvation.

God's responsibility in the new covenant is complete in Jesus, a Saviour to anyone of any colour, creed or culture who believes that He was sent by God to save us from Hell.  The New Testament contains everything we need to reach our Heavenly home.  Every promise, gift, prayer, warning, exhortation, solution, admonition, and sermon is wrapped in God's love for us.

Our responsibility is to allow God to change us into the likeness of Jesus.  
- That we are ready and excited to walk in newness of life without fear or doubting.  
- We are filled with the spirit of truth, righteousness, love, peace, holiness that causes the worldly people to mock, persecute and reject us.  
- We are overcomers because we have Jesus in our hearts Who has defeated Satan and his Pandora's Box of evil.  
- We have learned to refuse his lies.

So our new life is without spite, malice, lies, theft, fraud, gossip, rebellion, pride, witchcraft, addictions, rioting, murder, striking, violence, sexual sin, blackmail, kidnapping, love of money, fear, sickness, curses, swearing or anything contrary to the nature of Jesus.

Jesus gave us two commands to replace ten.  Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.  He did deepen some aspects of the old commandments like if you look on any other woman with lust in your heart and mind you have committed adultery with her.  Satan goes all out to make this happen everywhere to pull people back into his evil kingdom.  So get self-control and refuse his temptations.

We are ambassadors for our Heavenly kingdom and should never miss an opportunity to promote it.  Jesus is with us to back up our words.  Even if it seems to fall on deaf ears, the Holy Spirit will keep it in their minds.  The love, peace, joy can draw those who are tired of Pandora's Box and its awful evils, into heeding the call of the Father to His estranged children.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are ever faithful to Your side of the Covenant, and if we stray in our commitment You pull us back.  We are so thankful for Your eternal love.  Use us to share Your promises with those who are afraid, lost, angry, confused and rebellious, and open their ears to hear our life-saving words.  We also pray for Israel to open her heart to Jesus' love.   In Jesus' name.  Amen.