Grace, law

The Complementariness of the Two Covenants

We must admit our limitations in understanding and appropriating the New Covenant, apart from the grace of God. What Grace is to the New Covenant is what Law is to the Old Covenant. The principles and purposes of God did not change because of the change in covenant. The Law God gave Israel is still the will of God in a general sense for mankind.
The Law (mainly the ten commandments) under the Old Covenant was resolved into one application with two expressions shortly before the New Covenant commenced: Love God and Love your neighbour (Matthew 22:37-40). “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (v.40). This is the heart of the entire law which becomes the focus of the human heart after that heart has been transformed – changed from a hard heart to a soft heart. And since this transformation was not available under the provisions of the Old Covenant, except for information about our sinful condition, God made a New Covenant that simply resolves the problem – God puts the law inside the heart so that there will be both a willingness and ability to obey.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Hebrews 8:7-8, 10
What then changed when God inaugurated the New Covenant?
Among other things, one keynote of the New Covenant is the change of priesthood that administers the Covenant. The priesthood itself represents the “life” that accompanies the Covenant. The sons of Levi were the priests under the Old Covenant, and the keynote of their lives is weakness. They themselves were not free from sin, which is the common problem of man. Therefore, as good as the Law of God, and the Covenant that brought it into effect was, the weakness of the priests themselves and the repeated sacrifice for sin became the common feature of life under the Old Covenant (Hebrews 10:1-4,11).
19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did (which is the New Covenant); by the which we draw nigh unto God.
23 And they truly were many priests (in the Old Covenant), because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death (lack of life that triumphs over sin and doesn’t die): Hebrews 7:19, 23 (emphasis & explanations mine)
The Law diagnoses the human condition
Let us bear in mind that the Law itself was given to reveal our problem. It was a sentence and confirmation of sin upon the entire human race. “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” (Galatians 3:22). The law is to confirm heaven’s position over the condition of man. There is no doubt here, all are concluded under sin. Everyone is found guilty of sin (Romans 3:19). This is done so that man can realize the reason for his predicaments.
After exhausting the options of psychiatry and psychotherapy, the very hidden cause, the first cause, behind all the wickedness, evil, lust, greed, avarice, corruption, jealousy, hypocrisy et al is sin. Unless we admit our sinfulness, we cannot make use of the divine remedy for our malady. This is the goal of the Old Covenant: to reveal the problem so that we can apply the appropriate solution.
The doctor diagnoses the patient first and then proffers the appropriate solution. Not knowing the cause of an illness is in itself a greater problem that can lead the sufferer to an earlier grave. Hence, the Law reveals our common problem as humans. Regardless of our diversities – racially, educationally, positionally, financially – all our peculiar ways of (mis-) behaviours come from one thing – sin.
The Law gives concrete evidence of our inherent sinfulness
Even though that is already self-evident in the Scriptures before the advent of the Law, God being just still fulfilled all righteousness by turning His principles into a legal document and allowed an entire dispensation for mankind to discover for itself its own depravity. So that man will be inexcusable before God, He showed man what to do (i.e. how to live), and it was soon clear that eating of that old tree of knowledge of good and evil, knowing right from wrong, is not the answer to the problem of evil.

The Law exposes the secret wickedness of our hearts

In fact, this knowledge has only made man selective and calculative such that we can behave ourselves when it is to our own advantage, and if otherwise, we can easily change our acts altogether. Hence, we realize that the tree of knowledge is not as helpful as we had imagined. It is a tree of options to the heart that is yet hard and untouched by the grace of God.
We can even use good things and good actions for questionable purposes, since the intention is hidden away in our hearts. For instance, as good as it is to give to those in need, there are all manner of premeditated evil that could accompany such “generosity”, anything between mildly controlling people’s choices to outright purchase of their conscience. A noble deed indeed, but corrupted by a well-concealed vice.
All of these, although exposed by the Law, remain unrestrained, not necessarily because man loves it so (although that is a very high possibility), but because he doesn’t know what to do to end it. This is the dilemma of everyman who has experienced the Old Covenant. (NOTE: There is a sense in which everyone goes through the Old Covenant (Law) first before entering into the New Covenant (Grace), because unless we experience (not just read about) the weakness of our human nature to obey God, we cannot have a proper valuation of the Grace of God).
Grace is the cure
And this is the very thing the Grace of God has been given for in the New Covenant to resolve in our lives. Therefore, that which is lacking in the Old Covenant is what is supplied in the New. Whereas the Law informs us only the Grace of God transforms us. Although, the Law offers an accurate diagnoses, that in itself does not treat the problem.
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
Those are two separate Covenants and Dispensations. However, we notice that what was the Law with Moses became Truth with our LORD Jesus Christ. Which means when we embrace the New Covenant, the Grace of God begins to work in us and the Law which alone can only bring us death (Romans 7:9) is converted to Truth which quickens us, makes us alive and keeps us from (spiritual) death. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1) Hallelujah!

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Also, materials used from other sources does not imply endorsement. However, we are “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” with ALL believers (Ephesians 4:3).

Picture Credit: kcm.org

Advertisements
faith, Grace, Personal Growth, Relationship, Spirituality

The Glory of the New Covenant

2 Corinthians 3:6, 9-10 KJV

[6] 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. [9] For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. [10] For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

Nothing is yet to happen in the course of man’s history that has taken God by surprise. And nothing will. He who knows the end from the beginning will not be alarmed by anything in man’s struggle (reluctance and sluggishness) to accept His best for them. Everything we see today about the prevalent unbelief towards the true culture of the kingdom is not a new thing to God, because it is this same unbelief He has had to deal with right from the beginning of time.

The first man

Genesis 2:8, 16-17 KJV

[8] And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. [16] And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” 

When God finished the work of creating man, He settled him in Eden, a place that we could call a type of the kingdom of heaven. But as an embassy of heaven on planet earth, there has to be a way to make the quality of life and leadership that exists in heaven the same rule on earth (in Eden). The culture must be literally equal. And God told Adam, there is just one tree you shouldn’t eat from, to keep the flow between heaven and earth, to retain the quality of culture and reproduce the same level of effectiveness. To not eat from that tree is the test Adam must pass to have a genuine replication of God’s life and culture in his dominion (terrain). It cannot be genuine if it was not Adam’s personal choice; and the only way it could be his choice was for him to have an opportunity to switch to an alternative: which is, to do it his own way. 

When he chose to eat the forbidden fruit after his wife had eaten, he basically chose to reject the way of faith, to live by sight, which has, henceforth, become the prevailing rule or principle in the world system. Please note what this tells us about the natural man: he can ONLY thrive when he is outside God’s kingdom; once you put him inside the kingdom, he will seize to function because he dies. You must reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:11). The basic unbelief we see at work in Adam and Eve as they ate the forbidden fruit is the same inherited unbelief in every man ever since, that has no interest in God’s ways (but his own way), even if he is interested in God’s acts/works/miracles.

Psalm 103:7 KJV

He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

I personally believe we need both; God’s acts and God’s ways. If you look closely at that Scripture, you will see that Moses knew both the ways of God and His acts. He was also among the children of Israel, seeing and experiencing the acts of God; and most of the time being used to perform these mighty acts. Salvation is an act of God, for instance. Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:9). We become saved by faith (accepting what God has done in Christ); which means we are not the one working at the point of salvation, it is God. And you know, it is a miracle to be saved.

So, Moses and the children of Israel were saved from Egypt (salvation) but only Moses (and maybe a few others like Caleb and Joshua) pressed on to know God and His ways. Even though, it is incontrovertible that every act of God is permanent, even salvation, it is the choice to choose God’s ways over our own ways that is the true result of that salvation. The curse upon mankind is positionally reversed at salvation and practically reversed by choosing God’s ways. We use the word “practically” to show that God is not to blame if a person receives salvation and does not work out his own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). When we choose God’s ways that is when we have activated the full ramifications of salvation. That choice is what puts you in the kingdom of heaven where you are directly governed by God.

The nation of Israel

Hebrews 3:10-11 KJV

[10] Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. [11] So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Coming out of Egypt (a type of salvation), God’s plan was to settle them in Canaan. He wanted to showcase them to the world as a masterpiece among the nations and as an evangelistic tool to “colonize” or convert the gentiles into the kingdom of heaven. But the fruit or result of Adam’s feeding on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was still at work. Israel refused God’s offer of Himself to them and their calling into the priesthood and went their own ways. Egypt was still in them; and unbelief was their rule of life.

This shows me that faith is impossible without having a personal encounter with God.

Their rejection of God at Sinai when they told Moses that they could not enter the glory cloud to meet with God (Exodus 20:18-21) was an unfortunate seed they were sowing into their own hearts and it germinated in kind with unbelievable “strides” of unbelief later in their journey. 40 days became 40 years, the priesthood that was meant for the entire nation was divinely withdrawn to a tribe (the sons of Levi) and only Caleb and Joshua entered into God’s promise (God’s rest) out of about 600,000 men who left Egypt. (Number 26:65, 14:22-24, 29-31, Exodus 12:37)

Psalm 78:10-11, 22, 40-41, 56 KJV

They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; [11] And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them. [22] Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation: [40] How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! [41] Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. [56] Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:

Note: just as God began the entire human race by creating one man – Adam, and just as He began the New Creation race through one man – Christ, so also God began His kingdom on earth with one nation, Israel.

Seeing that Israel did not keep the first covenant (and there was just no way they could have, since they rejected a personal relationship with the God of the covenant), that covenant became abhorrent to God, it became corrupted, …decaying and fading. (Jeremiah 31:31-34, 50:4-5, Hebrews 8:7-13, 10:16-17). Having found fault with it, because of the way it was dominated by the unbelief of Israel, to the extent that the only thing it could offer anyone today is unbelief, He made a new covenant that only those who believe in Him can enter into it (Hebrews 8:8-9).

This new covenant cannot be corrupted because it can’t admit any un-believer. The old covenant admitted people through physical circumcision, the shedding of your own private blood, but the New Covenant admits through the shed blood of Christ, which as many as believes on Him, are washed and redeemed by it. 

The Church 

Amplified Bible 2 Corinthians 3:7-8

“Now if the ministry of death, engraved in letters on stones [the covenant of the Law which led to death because of sin], came with such glory and splendor that the Israelites were not able to look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, [a brilliance] that was fading, how will the ministry of the Spirit [the new covenant which allows us to be Spirit-filled] fail to be even more glorious and splendid?”

Adam failed and God promised a new founder of a new race when He said the seed of the woman will bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). By believing in Him, we become partakers of His life (of faith) and are permanently escused from the judgement of God on Adam and all who are still connected to him. Israel also failed to be the nation of priests He wanted and God allowed them to be broken off for a season so as to graft us gentiles in (Romans 11:15, 20), and now all those who come to Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile, have been made into a new nation of priests and kings (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6, 5:10)

The New Covenant has been ushered in by the blood of Jesus (Luke 22:20) and it is to make us all that Adam and the nation of Israel walked away from. The law is written directly in our hearts and minds, so that we can experience the ways of God that Moses knew, which made him different from all the people of his time (Numbers 12:3). He was a New Covenant man in Old Covenant times. Mind you, you don’t hear of Moses coming to the Temple to atone for his own sins; because the kind of life he had access to, which the children of Israel rejected, excused him from the rigours of such endless sacrifices that does not remove the guilt or conscience of sin (Hebrews 10:1-3). 

Knowing what is right and wrong has only achieved one thing: it established the sin condition of all men (Galatians 3:22, Romans 3:9, 11:32). So it is not just knowing God’s law that sets us free from sin and takes us out of the world system into the kingdom of heaven, it is knowing God Himself. The New Covenant allows us to be Spirit-filled, having the very Spirit of God within us, which will make us love righteousness and hate wickedness like Jesus did (Hebrews 1:9), and it will also make us to live a quality of life that is above the standard of the law (Matthew 5:20-22, 27-28).

That is worth repeating again and again. The life we will live in the New Covenant is higher in quality and glory than the life that was possible in the Old Covenant. 

Therefore, it should be unheard of among those of us who are born again, by the grace of God, that we are living by the low standards of the Old Covenant, even though our new birth actually ushers us into the New Covenant. God has permitted all who will be saved by grace to CHOOSE whether they will live by the full terms of the New Covenant or live by the Old Covenant or a human adaptation of both. Yet, only one of these will glorify Jesus: the New Covenant. The Old Covenant or a mixture of Old and New will only glorify the flesh. And “…they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8 KJV

Hence, every single effect of sin that plagues mankind today has no right to molest you who have been washed by the blood of the New Covenant, the blood of Jesus. Even if it is a generationally recurrent trend in your clan, “…if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You can choose to believe this, all that Christ has done for you, and enter into your rest or you can choose to doubt it and spend your time (which is your life) looking for those who will ask you to PAY A PRICE (as in fast and pray etc) for something that is already yours. The choice is yours!

Here is the question you must now answer: which one glorifies God…for His word to come to pass in your life by simply believing (on) Him or for you to add your own works because you don’t believe, which will steal the glory from God? Please note that prayer and fasting is not been ridiculed; what is been dealt with is the motivation for praying and fasting. Is it in fear and doubt, thinking you need to achieve a sort of spiritual stamina before God can give you what He has already done or is it in faith and determination, saying you will not allow any benefit of your redemption to elude you? As you can see, these are two different motivations.

“…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

Only what is of faith brings glory to God because it simply means the work was not done by you or me, the work was done by God. And even when you have to DO things; it is as the LORD works it in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). And as such, it is being done by faith. Those who refuse to hear Him who is speaking now from heaven (Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant) cannot walk by faith because faith comes by hearing Him (Romans 10:17). And when you hear Him, you will dare all the odds on your way, looking on to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith; and you will refuse to be reduced again to the level of life of the Old Covenant that God abhors. It is time to enter into your rest!

Amplified Bible Hebrews 12:25 See to it that you do not refuse [to listen to] Him who is speaking [to you now]. For if those [sons of Israel] did not escape when they refused [to listen to] him who warned them on earth [revealing God’s will], how much less will we escape if we turn our backs on Him who warns from heaven?

Picture credits: J. B. Nicholson Jr., Pastor Walker, Pinterest, faithdebates dot org dot UK, beautifulng dot com

Grace, Spirituality

The Exodus

​Hebrews 12:25 KJV

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape , if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:”

Change is a difficult thing. It messes with all you have known so far. It disrupts your thinking, methods and, of course, your comfort zone…you just don’t want to think of all you will have to let go to allow the change that stares you in the face. This problem with change is as old as the entire human race. When Israel came out of Egypt, even though they could heave a sigh of relief and dance about their newfound freedom, this change of location came with a mandatory change of lifestyle. Jehovah has gotten His people for Himself and He will introduce Himself to them and show them the way of life in His government.

Turning down God’s offer of Himself

Fast forward to Sinai (same as Horeb) and Israel cringes before the Divine Majesty and begs to be excluded from the main privilege of their freedom: the privilege of drawing near to Almighty God without instant death. No nation on earth had ever experienced that (Deuteronomy 4:7, 33). Even Moses who initially met with Jehovah at the burning bush on Mt. Sinai was terrified still by His mighty presence this time (Deuteronomy 4:10-12, 5:4-5, 23-27; Exodus 20:18-21, 19:18).

Turning down God’s offer of priesthood

They were to be a nation of priests, that is, every single Hebrew was intended by God to be a priest, but their refusal to draw near to Him could only accommodate the priesthood to one tribe out of twelve. That was not God’s perfect will. Please check the scriptures. In Exodus 19:6, 22, we see that although God clearly stated that He wanted all the people to be “…a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation…”, we realize that only those people who actually drew near to Him were called priests in verse 22: “And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord…”. And when the people sinned against the LORD by making a golden calf to worship, those who chose to be on the LORD’s side, going to and fro the camp with their swords indiscriminately, were all from the tribe of Levi (Exodus 32:26-28).

Turning down God’s offer of a better covenant

Now, that was how the priesthood that was meant to be a national privilege became a tribal heritage for the Levites (Deuteronomy 33:8-10). Sadly this is still playing out today after God had completed His work of redemption and brought in a better covenant with a better promise (Hebrews 8:6). Although God holds out the same promise to all who are saved, regardless of their race, social standing and denomination; we still see that only a few are interested in God’s best. 

In spite of God’s clear declaration to the church that all redeemed saints are now “…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people…” (1 Peter 2:9), and not just the preachers alone, we see that many still carry the unbelieving heart of those Israelites by drawing back to the barest minimum it takes to serve God, while the remaining few press on to know their God. For these few, it is, “my utmost for His Highest”. They are the ones who take God at His words and accept their call into the priesthood of the believer. Whereas they love their fellow men, it cannot but come behind their love for Christ, and you know, they also love not their lives unto death (Luke 14:26, Revelation 12:11b).

Why can we not agree with God?

Although God had much in store for Israel, He could only do what they were comfortable with. That is a nice way of saying, God had to find a way to accommodate their unbelief. Whenever we refuse to allow God to do as He pleases, to fulfill the fullness of His purposes, and especially, to establish the New Covenant with the concurrent effect of swallowing up the Old Covenant and all its shadows, we are reenacting the unbelief of Israel. The unbelief that turned a journey of 40 days to 40 years and made an entire generation stranded and wasted in the wilderness, save Joshua and Caleb.

This should lead us to understand the cry in the heart of God when He said: “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” Deuteronomy 5:29 KJV. That was the issue! We can say Moses had this kind of heart because he did not shrink from the presence of the LORD. Little wonder Scriptures say, “He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.” (Psalm 103:7 KJV). Apart from the fact that Moses was called to be a deliverer, he knew the ways of God because He personally knew God and walked with Him (Numbers 12:3, 7). Even God testified about His relationship with Moses. He told Miriam and Aaron that He speaks with Moses face to face and not in visions and dreams that other prophets may be bragging about (Numbers 12:5-8).

These clearly teach us that even in Old testament times, God could find few men whose life and pursuit of the LORD expressed the coming New covenant. Such men were Moses, David, Joshua, Abraham etc. Although the New Covenant was not yet available to all in the olden times, these men’s passion for God gave them a foretaste of what was to come.

So I wonder why you will refuse Him who is speaking from heaven today. I wonder why you will not believe God and pursue His promises in the New Covenant. I wonder why you will still struggle to obey God by yourself when Christ has offered to do the work in and through you. I honestly wonder why we cannot drop the shadows since the Substance is already here. The Author and Finisher of our faith is here now, why do we still want to continue the show the way we think it should be done? The show is not ours; it is the LORD’s! 

The Church does not belong to any of us; it is the LORD’s. Why can’t all doctrines give way to Christ? In fact, I must tell you, any doctrine that does not lead you to Jesus is a distraction, a mere mental exercise that lacks transformation. You can throw it away! How can the LORD God be in our midst and we still want to school Him in our peculiar teachings so that He can work according to our preferences? That will not be the LORD anymore, if we could instruct Him. He is not to conform to our image; we are to conform to His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26, Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10).

The Old is ready to vanish away

It is dangerous, really dangerous to refuse Him that speaks from Heaven now. Those who refused Him when He spoke on earth (that’s on Sinai) did not escape the consequences of their unbelief. Even when angels spoke, you dare not disobey or doubt (you can ask Zacharias, John’s father, about his ordeal with the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:18-20). If in the Old Covenant, every disobedience and unbelief was faithfully “rewarded”, how much more shall we not escape, if we allow what Christ is saying to us today to slip out of our hands and by so doing neglect such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:1-3)

We are not to keep looking down trying to protect our cherished traditions; we are to look up, longing for the King of the Kingdom Himself to take over, to shake what can be shaken until that which cannot be shaken will remain (Hebrews 12:27-28). That which cannot be shaken is the New Covenant and its very installment threatens the continuity of the Old. The inauguration of the New Covenant has already placed the Old one on “probation”, if you like; even though actually, it is already nullified.

That “probation” speaks of a time God has graciously given to allow us to gradually acclimatize to the New Covenant. That is why it says, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13 KJV). So, when it says, “…is ready to vanish away”, it means its tenure has expired but it is somehow left on the scene to naturally diminish in glory, until it totally vanish away, as the glory of the New Covenant dawns upon God’s people. 

The New Covenant is the answer…

It is this New Covenant that will solve the problem of unfaithfulness among God’s people. Endless rules and regulations might make a “goat” to behave like a “sheep” because they are like ropes that ties them to a certain expectation. So, the obedience of the goat is really due to self preservation, minimum discomfort and especially uniformity. The rope has defined what he can do and even if he loves to do something that is sinful, he cannot do it yet because he has been tied down away from actualizing his lust. Whenever the rope is removed, the “goat” will be himself and go ahead with all he had been longing for.

Christ has met all of God’s righteous requirements and God does not need anyone to try to prove righteousness apart from Christ’s righteousness. He has promised a new Heart and Spirit for every one of us who come to Him and believes. That means, He will remove the nature of a “goat” and replace with that of a “sheep”, so that it will no longer be by a rope on our necks, restraining us, that we able to obey God. Without the ropes, moving freely in life, we are able to live like a sheep following the Shepherd of our souls with a desire to please Him in our inward parts and greatly helped to carry it out outwardly.

Hebrews 8:10 KJV

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

This is definitely a superior Covenant because it transforms us from within, making us right with God and as we renew our minds to understand the privileges of the New Creation Man, we become desirous of God’s will and we are able to proof it by our obedience. The ropes of dos and donts are not necessary for this kind of person, because he freely and willingly obeys God. 

Hence, we see that what God wanted in the beginning will still be achieved. God will have a people who will choose the tree of life over the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He will have a people who will choose Christ over the law. He will have a people who will trust and obey rather than struggle and still disobey. If anything is worth living for at all, it is living in the fullness of God’s New Covenant, and watch God Himself defend His finished works in your life.

Image credits: Ligonier, I will follow on WordPress

Leadership, Mystery, Relationship, Spirituality

Church in the wilderness

David was concerned for the LORD. He wanted God to dwell in a proper house instead of the tents. God dwelt in tents/tabernacles in those days because His people were still moving from place to place. They had not yet been settled and He could not yet dwell in a permanent place. Now, that God had settled His people in their own land, God cannot remain in a temporary dwelling or location among His people. A house must then be built for Him.

Likewise, I believe that at this particular point in history, more than any other time, we need to build God a permanent house. There was a time when God’s work on earth was on a “movement” basis. A movement is a good thing. It was an exodus from sin and worldliness to the Canaan of God’s promise. This is signified today by the general search among God’s people of the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Churches today are full of people who have been in other systems or denominations before now. Even my own self, I have been moving from place to place. From C&S to CAC, from CAC to Methodist… to Winners …to RCCG. And I have moved from parish to parish (within RCCG) too due to change of location and a clear leading in my spirit in the last 20 years.

You can register for the seminar here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/monthly-teaching-seminar-tickets-31088604854

A movement is an indication of the slow progress of the church or God’s people to settle into the Promise (-d land) of God for them. A movement is a ministry in the wilderness. It is a work to a people who are reluctant to enter into God’s rest (Hebrews 3:10-11, 18-19; 4:6,11). While they have been saved from Egypt (sin), they refuse to go into the Canaan of victory and overcoming life. Most of God’s people and workers are content with this erratic movement (that does not arrive in the overcoming life), where they have been saved from sin but they have not entered into rest…where they can only offer the barest minimum of their time, resources etc to the LORD and have no need to offer their entire life as living sacrifice.

A wilderness ministry is not an effective witness to the nations, even though there are many signs and wonders. Since the expression of God is limited, the tent or tabernacle continues to be folded up when the people need to move, to be reset again when they stop, there is no effective testimony of God to the world. This constant folding up of the tabernacle to be reset again is the constant feature of a movement and is seen in the folding up of works and ministries and setting up of new ones. Another key feature is the incoherence of the picture, witness or testimony of God we are presenting to our generation.

Now that David is sitting in His house, now that Christ has been sitting at the right hand of God, God’s house must be built. He is no longer interested in “movements”. The church to be caught up… and that He is coming for is one without spot or wrinkle. It is a church, not a scattered movements of “saved” souls.

First, for God’s house to be built, each believer must now accept all the terms of the New Covenant and do away with the old (Please note that it does not mean to do away with the first 39 books of the bible; it simply means to now do away with every shadow where the New Testament has clearly provided and updated us with the substance). The house of God that needs to be built is the temple that God has declared as resident in the hearts of those who are saved. Each believer must now immediately become a disciple of Jesus Christ, following Him to enter into the rest He has provided, a life of constant victory over sin. That in itself is a testimony for God. In movements, people keep cooling off in their devotion to Christ and then another movement arises that wakes them up. That is only possible because God has not had a permanent place among us.

You can register for the seminar here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/monthly-teaching-seminar-tickets-31088604854

Second, God needs an expression of the body of Christ in every place. A new and true expression of Christ that works gradually to leaven the whole lump of God’s predestinated remnant (elect and saints) everywhere (Galatians 5:9, Revelation 5:9). David (Christ) is already sitting on the throne (2 Samuel 7:1) and His kingdom has been made everlasting (Psalm 145:13, Daniel 4:3, 2 Peter 1:11); the New Covenant has kicked in and it can never be reversed (Hebrews 8:13) hence it is time to build God a permanent house. God has no church to “rapture” yet if we remain in the wilderness of “movements”. The end is here and the LORD is near, very near. We must drop our petty doctrines that divide us and puts us in pockets of movements, and build what will last, i.e. enter into the promise of God’s rest, an overcoming life that is a testimony to the fact that Jesus came in the flesh and made the life of God available to all who will simply trust and follow Him.

Image credit: christthetruth dot wordpress dot com

faith, Grace, Spirituality

Biblical or not biblical?

What does it mean for something to be biblical? 

First, it is not just that it is in the bible. This is one major way the devil sponsors false teachings. Remember that he used the very Scriptures to tempt Jesus. And my LORD didn’t just say, “oh yes, that’s in the bible, I’ll do it, it is biblical” No. He will not fall for that deception and you should not fall for that neither my friend.

To be biblical is for a teaching to manifest the purpose of God, to bear the approval of God and to uphold the unity of Scriptures. Jesus knew the will of God for Him, so no one, even the devil, could sway Him out of God’s purpose by using genuine Scriptures, but wrongly and deceptively applied, against Him. A teaching is biblical if it harmonizes with the thoughts of God and if it aligns with the whole counsel of God.

How do we know this?

Christ is the last Word of God to man and it is by Him that all earlier utterances of God is understood (Hebrews 1:1-3). He is the full manifestation of the whole counsel of God. All acts, performances, principles and persons in scriptures must be brought under the lens of the completeness of Christ. Whatever comes out on the other side is that which God updates us with by Christ. This is how the shadow gives way to (the arrival of) the substance. The shadow being the law, prophets and all observances stipulated in the old testament and the substance being the revealing of the Son of God, in the New Testament, Who gives meaning to all former things and permanently replaces every shadow. That is what it means to be biblical.

Test every teaching with God’s full purpose

So, you must test all claims of men, even when scriptures are copiously quoted, with the full purpose of God. For instance, there are many things we are still doing today that only shows we have not fully acknowledged the Substance that has been given, even after 2000 years. While most of us Christians know that Christ has been offered once for all for us and there is no need to bring goats and bulls again for sacrifices, we still hold on to many other things of the old, as if Christ has not yet come, as if we are still in Judaism, and as if Christ is not enough!

This is the kind of dishonesty (or may be just ignorance) that keeps us out of fully experiencing the New Covenant. One mark of the old covenant is that obedience does not always include desire to obey and love for righteousness. Even if you hate the law, if you act accordingly, it was OK. But not in the New Covenant! Simply doing what God says is right without loving it and desiring to do it is not acceptable. It is dead works (Hebrews 9:14). In the New Covenant, we LOVE to do first before we actually DO because it is God that is now working in us, unlike the old covenant where we are the ones working without His help.

Philippians 2:13 KJV

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Hebrews 8:10 KJV (Jeremiah 31:34)

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

Christ is our only High Priest

Although it is in the Bible that men could be high priests like Aaron and Eli e.t.c, it is not biblical to call a fellow man today our high priest. In fact, it is treasonable and forbidden. We only have one High Priest now, which is Christ (Hebrews 3:1, 4:14). That system of priesthood has been totally discarded because of the unprofitableness of it and Christ has been “…made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” Hebrews 7:16 KJV. Please confirm also from Hebrews 7:18, 22 – 8:2

All the rest of us who have been saved by Him have been made priests (Revelation 1:6, 5:10; 1 Peter 2:9) and Christ alone is the High Priest among us (Hebrews 10:21). So, you see, something is not biblical simply because it is in the bible or because you have examples for it in scriptures. We must read the word of God in the context of the full revelation of God that we now have in Christ, then we will know what is biblical and what is not.

John 5:39 KJV

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Image credits:

centre for leadership and spiritual formation.org, evangelical outreach.org, cwblueprints.blogspot.com