Both Covenants Command Obedience

Friends,
God has had two covenants for His people. The first one has been done away with, and any who wish to, can sign up for the new. However, to sign up, a person must “repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15), and “repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” (Acts 26:20) Faith is then made complete by what we do (James 2:22), proving that we have truly been “born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) This proof comes in “that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Rom. 7:6)

Now, what is the manifestation of “serving in the new way of the Spirit”? It is serving under His control (Rom. 8:9), and having our “mind controlled by the Spirit” (v. 6), having taken “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5) “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Gal. 5:16) “Because those who are led by the Spirit of God [prove they] are sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14) Therefore, “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” (Gal. 5:18)

What then, is the manifestation of being led by the Spirit? It is obedience. Not to the old covenant laws, but to the higher law, Christ’s command for obedience (John 14:15) and perfection. (Matt. 5:48) It is to adhere to the cessation of sin (1 John 3:6-9), and to “be holy in all you do.” (1 Peter 1:15)

So, this is the command of the new covenant: Obedience.

God does not change. He commanded obedience in the old covenant, and He commands it in signing up for the new and in remaining citizens of it. The difference, and the great news is, is that in the new we have been given the power which abides right inside of us –inside our hearts and minds– in order to accomplish the obedience. And where does the power come from? It is “His divine power” (2 Peter 1:3) that has been given to us “through our knowledge of Him… [and] His very great and precious promises.” (v. 3,4) This begins by having His Spirit take up residency in us through our faith and repentance, “having been buried with Him [Christ] in baptism and raised with Him” (Col. 2:12) as a “new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

God warned in Jer. 11:3-17, “Cursed is the man who does not obey the terms of this covenant… [when] I said, ‘Obey Me and do everything I command you, and you will be My people, and I will be your God… Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them.’ …But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep… Therefore… I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them… [For] the LORD Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you.”

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7,8) For as Jesus warns in Matt. 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY he who DOES the will of My Father who is in Heaven.”

Therefore, friends, “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)

In other words, do what the words of the New Covenant command. Or you deceive yourselves concerning your entrance into the kingdom of heaven. Your cries and your pleading will not open the door once it is shut. (Matt. 25:10-12)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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~ by smilesback on October 8, 2009.

 
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