Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Archive for the tag “covenant”

Covenant: Signed, Sealed, Delivered; I’m Yours

We are a people of covenant, a nation of covenants. Whether we buy or rent a house, buy or lease a car, even the contract you signed for your cell phone activation or for an internet provider is dependent on covenants. The list of covenants you or myself have signed goes on and on and covers most areas of our lives. Even to vote in an election which is a right guaranteed by constitution is under covenant, you make a statement of who you are and a promise to obey the election laws.

What is a covenant?

An old paper scroll with quill pen and inkwell

An old paper scroll with quill pen and inkwell

A covenant is a binding agreement; a contract which is guaranteed in writing under seal, and may include a clause as to performance under such contract. A covenant usually includes the action to be taken in which damages are sought for breach of the signed (sealed) agreement. Often a lawyer or notary public will place a seal as witness to the signatories.

What are Biblical covenants?

First we must understand that God is one God, from the beginning, now and always, God eternal. The same God in creation as to the peoples of the old covenant as to those of us covered by the new covenant, one God. In Biblical history we read of several covenants.

The covenant given to Noah which applied to all humanity and to all living creatures. God promised never again to destroy all life on Earth by flood. Genesis: 9:11 God created a rainbow as the sign of this “everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth”. Genesis: 9:12-17

The destroying ‘flood’ and the sign of the ‘rainbow’. Both hijacked in the ‘modern’ society and church. I will leave that commentary for another day.

The covenant of circumcision. Circumcision to be practiced on every male child to be the permanent sign of this everlasting covenant with Abraham and all his male descendants. They will be God’s people and “I will be their God”. Genesis 17:9–14

The Kingdom covenant. The Mosaic covenant found in Exodus: 19, is God’s promises contained in both the written Torah and the Oral Torah. In this covenant, God promises to make the Israelite his “treasured” possession among all people. Exodus: 19:5,6 God will build “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” providing they follow God’s commandments. This was a covenant under law.

A New covenant. Jeremiah 31:30–33, God makes a commitment that one day a new covenant, a new agreement between God and mankind will be revealed or written. What isn’t really explained is; does this new covenant replace the previous one or is it to be an extension to the old with a greater level of commitment to Holiness. One reason for ambiguity is because the Mosaic covenant applied only to the people of Israel, the Jews and converts to Judaism, where the new covenant is extended to all peoples.

In the Gospel accounts of “The Last Supper”, Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:18-26, Luke 22:7-23, where Jesus celebrates the Passover with his disciples, Jesus foretells His crucifixion and blesses the wine as the blood of the covenant. In translation, many have added the word “new”.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25;
“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

What is important is Jesus words, “This cup that is poured out for you is the (new) covenant in my blood.” Christ Jesus has signed the covenant in His blood. Christ’s death and resurrection is God’s guarantee of the covenant between Him and the people of His Kingdom. Is this not a new realization of the old?
The replacement to the covenant given to Abraham is Baptism over Circumcision, now both men and women are independently covered. We are all God’s people.
Under the new covenant, God manifests his word to build; “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”. Under the ‘Moses’ covenant the ‘Kingdom’ was a rule by law. The new covenant is by rule of the “Holy Spirit” and the law is now written in our hearts. No one can claim ignorance of the Truth of God.
The transition from the old to the new was prophesied through Jeremiah. The transition from an earthly kingdom with an eye toward heaven to heavenly kingdom revealed on earth by His Church through Faith.

A point in law is that a binding agreement must be signed using the same ink, the same pen, as proof that both parties were present together and are each witness to the others signature. In like manner, since Jesus signed the covenant with His blood, by His death, so must each of us. How? By baptism. That is what our baptism is, our signature to the Covenant, our death. A signing by each of us unto death that we are in agreement with the covenant. Our old “man” is put to death. We are no longer as we were, sinners, ignoring God in our lives. As Jesus arose back to life, so then will we. Jesus became one in Spirit, a Spiritual reality, in confirmation of the covenant. By faith, we become born again in the Spirit of God.

Baptism Dove

the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” -Luke 3:21-22 The stained glass window art was photographed inside Saint Mary’s Church, Denville, NJ. Copyright 2009 Loci B. Lenar

Our lives, upon baptism, are to become one with Him in Spirit. We are now placed under God’s control not our own. God’s control, our acts of faith, are the visible confirmation to the world of the covenant between each of us and God. The law, or commandments are still in effect but, are manifest in Jesus’ words, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27.

Compare with the words given to Moses, Deuteronomy 6: 4-9,
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

I welcome your thoughts on my views of the covenant.

PS; Although I am not a Roman Catholic, I do appreciate a lot of the art work in their cathedrals.

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All Religion Is A Lie

My original title for this post was Death and Taxes.

John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Romans 1:18–21 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. ..

As we surf through the myriad of websites and blogs on the internet, we can’t help but come across a host of differing opinions and explanations telling us how in methods and ways to reach the ultimate goal in life, that being discovering the final answer – who, what and where is god.

It has been said that there are only two things you can be sure of – Death and Taxes. That is basically true, for secular living. Both are part of the two most divisive topics – Religion and Politics. The two taboos for congeniality.

In politics the debate is: Resolved, We have a debt problem, who will pay?
In religion the debate is: Resolved, We have a debt problem, who will pay?

But, one might say, they’re both the same debate. That is absolutely true. On the human plain it’s called politics, on the spiritual plain it’s called religion. We cannot separate the two; Our politics will become our religion and vise versa, our religion will become our politics.

Both Political and Religious resolutions depend mostly on compromise, basically a halfway solution that only mitigates the immediate emergency, the present problem. “We will deal with it as best we can for now.” Although compromise is often a necessity to reaching political agreement, compromise is not truth, it is a cover up.

Compromise in religion comes from not knowing the truth. Let us make up some explanation, decorate it with what people want to hear and call it “XYZ”. People become so used to being told lies that they can no longer discern the truth. There is the manifestation of the problem – lies sooner or later can and all too often become believable, especially when they contain an element of truth. In reality, they are all a covering up for lack of truth.

Covering up is what people do best. They lie. Soon, knowing that compromise, or half truth, is always a way out, compromise becomes the norm, lying becomes the norm. I recall a sales seminar I once attended, the speaker stated; “When dealing with a prospective customer, stretch the facts but never say an outright lie.” Lying is the reason advertising sells. Not that all advertising or promotion are lies, it is that everyone is looking to resolve a situation or a problem. Everyone is looking for an easier way out and advertising promises a solution in the product it promotes, whether true or not.

Cover up, or lying is the number one blemish on the human character. Every one of us is guilty and is what gets nearly every person into hot water at some point in their lives. Lying can be causal to; the disgrace of politicians, the ruin of corporate profit, the demotion of rank or position, the blemish on reputation, the break up of marriage and family, the end of friendships, the down fall of church leaders.

After the lie comes the denial. The inability to come clean, admit the mistake, confess. Then comes the defense or excuse making. His fault, her fault, I was under pressure, the devil made me do it, etc. Lying to amend the lie can be endless.

Every religion comes to the same crucial point of dogmatic failure, the inability to get past personal debt, our sin, who will pay and how. Every religion has to come to a compromise of one mode or another to either allay the penalty of sin or deny the debt of sin altogether. Every religion needs a lie to be believable.

There are mystic religions that depend on contortions and meditations that will transform you to a whole new consciousness. “Everybody say Oohm”.
There are cosmic religions that promise the powers of universal goddesses who will transform your life to peace and serenity. “It’s all in your mind, think harder.”
There are reincarnate religions that promise rebirth in another form. “Can I be a tortoise next time around, they live longer.”
There are destiny religions that place your life on the shuffle of a deck of cards. “I don’t like your reading. I demand a re-shuffle.”
There are planetary religions that place your destiny in the cosmic alignment of the stars at birth. Or is that conception? “What sign was I born under? – It said Maternity on the door.”
There are prosperity religions that promise riches and great wealth as long as you pay in accordance of your desire. “You need more faith son, donate another hundred”.
There are penitence religions that require one to earn the reward of forgiveness. “Hey, Senor, how much for impure thoughts?”
There are ‘sign’ religions that ask you to develop a certain sign of faith. “Keep babbling, soon it will come.”
There are ceremonial religions than demand traditions and laws be obeyed. “Here is your path to heaven.”
All these religions are no better as a path to God and Righteousness than the agnostic, god is unknown and unknowable, or the atheist  the rejection of belief in the existence of deity.

What all these religions miss is the reality of God. God doesn’t want ceremony, he doesn’t rule in law, he is not one with or part of the universe, every star is a work of His hand. He is not a god of chance or luck, He doesn’t give out rewards for being good. His favor is not conditional on signs or practices of penitence. He doesn’t reveal Himself to any special class of believer or show favor one over the other.

God is a God of grace, it’s all free, and all He wants of you or me or anyone, anywhere, is be in honest relationship with Him. All of the guilt, all of the penalty, is paid in full, by Him, in the person of Christ Jesus, God who came to live with us, paid the ultimate price that we might have free and complete access to God as one with Christ, a part of the Family, the Holy Brotherhood, a kinship in and through His Spirit. As a bride is one with her husband, we, the church, as members of the body of Christ are one with God and in full inheritance of the Kingdom of God.

Through Christ Jesus, God has shown us His relationship between God and man, His promise, His covenant:
2 Corinthians 3:6 “He (God) has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Christianity is a relationship not a religion. Christianity is a relationship between God and man, demonstrated man to man and has as the foundational fabric – love. Love of God, love for each other. An unconditional love, forgiving, comforting, forbearing, providing, as a bride is to her husband, husband is to his bride.

Matthew 22: 35-40;
“One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

John 13:35 quotes Jesus saying, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I Peter 4 says, “Love each other; share with and care for each other; serve each other.”

Tertullian, 3rd century Roman historian, reported that the Romans would exclaim about Christians, “See how they love one another!”

If you feel that I am off track with what I have said in this post, please, I want to hear from you.

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