Thursday, July 3, 2008

Abraham's Covenant-Our Covenant

What a shame it is that so many of us have been taught that the Old Testament is only relevant TO US as long as the NT repeats it. What a shame! What a theological nightmare if this were true. If this were true, then we should just throw out the OT all together. But we know this is nonesense and the OT reveals God in an equal manner and is the very foundation on which the NT is built and therefore if you remove the foundation stones the building will fall with it. Therefore the NT must be seen as the full unveiling of the Old; the coming of Christ transformed the law of Moses into the Law of Christ by which the physical manifestations are realized and completed in Christ and in Christ alone. Therefore, we then realize that the OT promises are ALL--YES--in Christ. If we have Christ--if we are IN HIM--then we have the promises. He obtains them for us and we may become coinheritors and coheirs with him. Now what are the implications for this? Re-read Genesis 17 in this light:

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God."
9 Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

Surely, we are Abrahams descendents according to faith (Romans 5-7). Surely this everlasting covenant did not end with Christ, but continues into everlasting and its blessing is distributed solely through him who obtained them, Christ Jesus. You will notice some beautiful things here:

1. As a Christian my children are born into a covenant that they should be God's people and God will be their God. Our children MUST be held to the covenant stipulations, to keep the covenant is to repent and believe (seen especially in Paul and James exposition on the matter of Abraham's turning to God in obedience by faith, and this turning and believing leads to the necessary fruit of good works); to NOT keep the covenant is to become a covenant-breaker, and the child will suffer the wrath of God upon their souls.

2. Secondly believers and their children should receive the sign of the covenant; in the NT dispensation this sign has been transformed by Christ from circumcision to baptism, so agrees Paul in Colossian 2:

9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Paul could not have made this more clear, the fact that baptism is circumcision of the heart--circumcision without hands. Baptism IS circumcision. The circumcision done by Christ. Christ takes our old man and crucifies him by uniting us with him in his death and God raises up a new man in us by uniting us to the resurrection of Christ--and its fulness of reality is yet to be seen in the future resurrection of our bodies to which will be a glorified state in the likeness of Christ--this is our hope and this is the completion of our salvation.

Now I am to ask--am I to hold my children to the stipulations of the covenant? Well, of course, I am commanded to according to Genesis 17. Am I to hold my children to the covenant stipulations even though they have not professed faith yet? Well, of course, I am commanded according to Genesis 17. Am I then to allow them to receive the sign of the New Covenant even though they have not professed faith, but yet they are still subject to the stipulations of the covenant? Well, of course, I am commanded according to Genesis 17. Abraham received the sign of the Old covenant AFTER he had displayed faith and this circumcision he received was a sign of his faith, yet God still commanded him to place the sign on all of his descendents after him even though it was before they have professed faith. So, shall we place the sign of the New covenant on our descendents and bring them up accountable to the covenant stipulation in obedience to God's Word. We are to set our descendents apart from the world. Our children should not and cannot be synonymous with the children of the world, they are the children of the covenant. They are children who God has mercifully placed into the home of believing parent(s) and truly "to whom much is given, much is required." Oh the hotter burning and bitter displeasure in this life and the next will occur to those who are covenant-breakers--to whom so much grace and glory has been unveiled for them, yet they still go about their own lusts and desires and desire the wants of this world in place of the eternal glories of the eternal Godhead.

Parents, give them the sign of the covenant and remind them without ceasing of the covenant that they must confirm in Christ Jesus by turning to him for all of their desires and wants and believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the loving Savior of their souls. Remind them without ceasing of the grave displeasures that will befall those who are covenant-breakers in this life and most importantly in the life to come.


Misty July 3, 2008 at 7:45 PM  

I was waiting for this post. Still praying for guidance! I love you!

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