The Spiritual Covenant

Under the Old Covenant, God promised to keep covenant with those who kept His commandments. If the commandments are not kept, God no longer has to keep covenant with you.

Again, we rejoice we are not under the Old Covenant because of this. But again, let us note carefully why this is so. Here is how the reality of the New Covenant is described in Ezekiel 36:27:

“And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

With the Spirit we fulfill the righteousness of the Law. The Law is not burdensome, it does not inspire sin and death. On the contrary, it is the evidence of true spiritual life.

Keeping the Law consists of loving the Lord your God and loving your neighbor as yourself. Love is the fulfilling of the Law. Christ is our example. The Gospel, the greatest demonstration of love, is our life.

Those who have the Spirit are those who are in true covenant with God. We meet our end because the Spirit is in us, working through us, stirring up gifts, producing fruit, etc.

The New Covenant is a better covenant because it meets all the conditions that God desires to be met. How great our God. How great His gracious provision received by faith.

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New Covenant Life

Jeremiah 7:23 says, “obey me and I will be your God.” We rejoice that we are not under the old covenant with this one! “Praise God, He’s my God whether I obey Him or not! Amen.”

Here’s the deal, that’s not exactly accurate.

The Old Covenant was not sufficient so a better covenant was brought in, according to Hebrews. “Obey me and I will be your God” is a fine Old Covenant statement. But let’s note carefully the nature of the New Covenant!

“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.”

The Old Covenant had a letter written in stone, the New Covenant has a letter written in the heart. God makes us be who He wants us to be–we be His people, He be our God.

This isn’t because disobedience is suddenly fine. It’s because God’s provision is so wonderful and complete. There is not an external law of judgment but an internal operation of the Spirit to lead us into doing God’s will.

Obedience is literally second nature–the fruit of the new nature from regeneration. This is life, peace, freedom and happiness.

“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

The ministry of death is removed and replaced with the ministry of righteousness and life. This is who God’s people are.

Fast Talking Lazy People

It’s amazing to me how resistant modern Christian ears are to hearing that they should do good. It’s puzzling how we’ve turned doing good, doing what God wants us to do, into sheer evilness.

Rather than doing good, we much prefer getting away with just saying nice stuff, having good intentions. As long as we say sweet things about Jesus what we do is irrelevant.

This is nothing new to human nature. It’s an ages old battle. People resist personal responsibility in every form. Jeremiah 7 contains a great passage about this subject. Here is the progression:

7:3–“Thus saith the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings
7:5–“throughly amend your ways and your doings
7:8–“Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.”
7:9-10–“Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?”

Israel went to their destruction singing the wonders of their great salvation, they had been delivered and were now free to sin, sin, sin! They trusted words over actions.

Granted, there’s another error on the other side which trumps doing good over faith. The answer is not to flip out to extremes.

The answer is to quit playing games with our words and start hearing God’s Words, which implies doing what He says. It is only by faith that a man is capable of pleasing God.

I fear for many who are caught up in word games, appeasing their conscience with happy Christian platitudes while their deeds deny they know anything about God.

The OT history of Israel shows that this attitude didn’t work for them and there should be absolutely no expectation it will work for us either. These things were written for our learning.

Changing God

Man is made in the image of God. This aspect of man has been used by free-will advocates as proof that man has free-will. God has free-will; we are made in God’s image; therefore we have free-will.

I like this argument. Calvinists do not. Therefore, I have seen Calvinists say, “God cannot do what is contrary to His nature, therefore He does not have free-will.”

In order to back up their doctrine, they change the nature of God, making God a slave to His own nature, which is odd to me.

God chooses to limit Himself, to not do things He does not like doing. This is not a restriction of free-will, but an exercise of free-will.

It bothers me to see people change Scripture so they might maintain a pet doctrine. Changing God’s nature to continue to hold a doctrine is just as alarming, and yet, actually it’s the same thing.

Those who change Scripture will have no problems changing God to fit their preferences. I like many aspects of Calvin’s doctrine; I dislike many as well. I like all aspects of God’s Word, so I try to go with that.

Grieving the Holy Spirit

Grieving the Holy Spirit is a biblical phrase that may evoke incorrect images. Exactly what does it mean? How does one grieve the Holy Spirit?

You may be surprised that grieving the Holy Spirit is not some recent New Testament thing. Isaiah 63:10 says that the people who Moses delivered “vexed the Holy Spirit.” Vexing the Holy Spirit means to grieve Him. It does, look it up.

It is rather self-explanatory how the people of Israel vexed the Holy Spirit in the wilderness–they rebelled against God, became stubborn and whiney and the Holy Spirit began working against them to their destruction.

Ephesians 4 tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit and this little phrase is stuck in a section of Paul’s commands for believers. Apparently, not doing these commands grieves the Spirit.

Not doing what God wants us to do is what grieves the Holy Spirit. So, on top of disobeying God, we also grieve the Holy Spirit when we disobey, making our offense double at least.

Those who are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. There is no condemnation to those who walk in the Spirit. Following the Spirit is a big deal with God. Don’t blow it like Israel did.

Whore of Babylon, Catholics and Protestants

Revelation 17 reveals the whore of Babylon riding on a beast with ten horns. The beast represents the one world government under a confederacy of ten kings. The whore represents the apostate church.

Revelation scholars have often seen the one world government as the Roman Empire and the whore representing the Roman Catholic Church.

Martin Luther strongly believed that the Catholic Church was the whore of Babylon to the extent he wrote a whole book about it.

Luther makes some valid points, the Catholic Church was indeed getting rich off people, providing certain spiritual services (forgiveness of sins, time off from purgatory, etc) for money like a whore.

Unfortunately, many protestants have come away thinking that the Whore of Babylon has everything to do with Catholicism and nothing to do with Protestantism.

Thus, we are not bothered by having huge churches with lots of money and highly paid church professionals. We assume only Catholics will be used by antichrist, certainly not our church.

I think we do ourselves a disservice to assume that all warnings of the Bible apply to “other people.” No matter how many theological frameworks you can devise to prove you are perfect to the extent you no longer need to “take heed lest ye fall,” you still need to take heed lest ye fall.

The Church, regardless of denomination, is a tool of Antichrist. Bank on it. Revelation starts with three chapters of warnings to churches. Funny how we’ve relegated them to past churches and not us as well isn’t it? Yup.

I Am Second

Are you aware of the “I Am Second” campaign? It’s a series of video interviews giving people’s testimonies of Jesus Christ. In many respects, the interviews are good, many are heartfelt, honest and inspiring.

Others are a tad humorous to my twisted brain. Some are just cool, angsty guys talking about “what God has been teaching me, man.” The camera work and the setting is hip. It’s cool stuff, and would be fun to make fun of.

So I did. Here is my new video campaign, “I Am Forty Second.”