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Friday: Further Thought ~ God and the Covenant — 5 Comments

  1. When I was a lecturer at Avondale College, we would have several days at the beginning of each year for professional development. The faculty would all attend a series of workshops on teaching strategies and techniques. In my last few years of teaching I also ran Moodle the online learning system that the College used, so professional development often involved teaching staff how to use Moodle. The staff used to get quite excited as new techniques were explained to them and they had a chance to try out the techniques for themselves. The camaraderie of the workshops was encouraging and there were many exclamations like "That's really great. I am going to use that!". And then the staff would go back to the ordinary everyday humdrum of lectures and tutorials and the techniques that they had learned were too hard or forgotten.

    In my job as Moodle manager, I had to champion the cause. This often involved long hours of helping staff to assemble their teaching activities into Moodle. There were others too who were Moodle champions and together we encouraged staff by example to develop their online teaching strategies and activities. It was relatively easy to become enthusiastic when you are in a workshop, but in the end, that enthusiasm needs to be maintained in the workplace. And that is the hard bit.

    The Israelites found it relatively easy in the enthusiasm of completing the city wall and the Temple, to make pledges and agree to covenants, but those promises had to be carried on through out life to be really effective. How many of us have been warmed and challenged by a powerful sermon at a Big Camp or Regional Meeting, surrounded by a crowd of fellow believers, only to find that the enthusiasm wanes when we get home to our little church, faced with the ordinariness of everyday life?

    Perhaps we need to become champions, encouraging others, because in doing so we encourage ourselves.

    Amen!(25)
  2. I have relatively recently come to learn the significance of the daily and Day of Atonement 'rituals' (object lessons: Hebrews 10:4) more clearly and fully.

    Here is a brief summary of what I can now see for those who may be interested:

    * these object lessons were designed to help people realise/remember that sin is a big deal - it has significant real world consequences to the sinner, often to innocent others and to access to/connection with eternal life. It is sin itself - by fact of the nature of what it inherently is (ie lawlessness: 1 John 3:4) - that 'punishes' and destroys (Jeremiah 2:17-19; 4:18; Psalm 7:14-17; Galatians 6:7,8; James 1:14,15).

    * closely related, the sacrificial system object lesson/s also illustrated that a sinner is incapable of rectifying sin in and of themselves - another innocent party (ie Jesus) would need to get involved and thus also be massively personally impacted by this involvement (Isaiah 53:4,5).

    * it also demonstrated the only means by which sin is actually resolved - ie, restoration of self-renouncing love back into humanity. Thus, Jesus as the 2nd Adam did what the 1st Adam needed to have done but unfortunately failed to do - ie, hold on to self-renouncing love as the foundational principle of his life no matter what temptation was thrown at him. Hence, it was Jesus life of faithfully holding on to self-renouncing love even to the point of being put to death (eg Philippians 2:8, Romans 5:19; Isaiah 53:12) that actually addressed and fixed the sin problem for humanity. Consequently, it was not so much Jesus death on the cross that made our salvation possible but rather Jesus faithfully holding to a life of self-renouncing love even to His death on the cross!

    When we are able to see more and more clearly what has taken place and is taking place within the salvation process, our motivation to change becomes stronger because we realise that sin is a terminal condition that we are all afflicted with that actually needs to be resolved by restoration and healing (note how Isa 53:5 describes the mechanism of salvation as healing rather than legal pardon). When we come to see/realise this, we become motivated to participate in the salvation/restoration process that God invites us to take part in by an awareness of the absolute necessity of doing so rather than a sense that we 'should' do so.

    No wonder Satan has worked tirelessly since Genesis 3 to get humanity to misperceive the reality of salvation - getting us to see God as the sinner's greatest threat rather than the actuality of sin itself. During Old Testament times, Satan successfully influenced people to see the sacrificial system through the misperception of pagan religious world-views. More recently since the New Testament, Satan has successfully influenced people to see salvation as a primarily legal process carried out by God rather than the healing/restoration/redemption process it actually is.

    Amen!(9)
  3. Seal - 13 And in Him, having heard and believed the word of truth— the gospel of your salvation— you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, We Christians are sealed for eternity bound in Christ.
    Marriage - The Bride of Christ is a prominent symbol and metaphor used in Scripture to describe God’s relationship with his beloved bride, the church.
    Covenant - Father, when I think about the Covenant you've made with me I am overwhelmed. When I think about your love extended to me, I am amazed anew. Your heart's desire is to know me and love me intimately. May that be my true heart's desire towards You.
    Covenant Structure - Blessings and curse were employed in God’s covenant. God is just which means there will be a day of judgement.
    Pledge - When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.
    Temple - it appears that the Corinthians took a liberty to themselves in outward things, that it was necessary to restrain and bridle. The reproof therefore is this he allows that the body is subject to God no less than the soul, and that accordingly it is reasonable that both the body and soul be devoted to his glory.

    The Christian religion must be understood covenantally, for that is how God has chosen to relate to man, whether in the garden or after the entrance of sin into the world. The goal of all divine–human covenants is summed up in the words found throughout the Bible: “I will be your God and you will be my people, and I will dwell among you”

    Amen!(7)
  4. The covenant made with us even before we were born is the covenant of love. God had this plan even before we agreed to it. What a message from our Creator! What a comfort!

    Amen!(7)
  5. In summary, I do believe the most important lesson we should have  learned this week is that  the Sancuary, or Tabernacle if you will, draws us to Him, in the spirit of a contrite sinner.   For if we allow the Holy Spirit to give us a contrite and humble heart,   good things happen to us.  Isaiah 57:15.   

    Isaiah 57:15.   coupled with:  Romans 8:26.  Answers our prayer.  " Lord, take our heart; for we cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for we cannot keep it for Thee. Save us in spite of ourselves,  our weak, unchristlike self. Mold us, fashion us, raise us into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through our souls."

    Second important lesson from the Sancurary or Tabernacle the better we understand it the better we can share the good news of the gospel of Christ(let the rich current of His love flow through our souls, and shining on those we come in contact with).  Which is in a nut shell: He came to seek and save the lost.  I do believe that means all of us.

    Amen!(2)

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