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Friday: Further Thought ~ The Everlasting Covenant — 5 Comments

  1. It is only 3 months since we finished our lesson study series on the covenants. How time flies? I guess that reiteration is a good thing if we grow and develop for our return visits. In search of some inspiration, I went back of some of my comments I wrote for that series. I have copied one of them here, so many of you will have read it already:

    ================
    I have told the story before of how Carmel and I were in different countries throughout most of our period of engagement. I can still remember the enormous sense of loss I had when I heard the news that her first teaching appointment was to be in New Zealand, while I had to remain in Australia to complete my science degree. We had only recently become engaged and in fact had not even announced it to the rest of the family. And in those days it wasn't as though you could just hope across the ditch (that is the colloquial name we give to the Tasman Sea that separates Australian and New Zealand) It cost an arm and a leg! and back in those days, even a phone call was something you had to budget for and usually book ahead. There was no direct dialing in those days. How do you maintain a special relationship with a person you cannot see for a whole year? It wasn't easy and I well remember Carmel ringing me unexpectedly (her only phone call to me during the whole year) asking me if I still loved her. Of course, I reassured her and it was just as well because another man, who was a friend to both of us had just proposed to her.

    We both became good letter-writers during that period of separation. Letter writing was even more important than study and every week I would sit down and write a couple of pages about what I had been up to and likewise Carmel would write to me about what she was doing. It worked. Our relationship survived. Carmel arrived back in Australia at the end of the year and we were married 8 days later!

    The covenants: God wants a relationship with us. In some cases he has had a physical presence as in the exodus period, and at other times his presence has been through prophets and apostles. His letter writing (the Bible) is a communication constructed over several thousand years. Our communication back to him has sometimes been somewhat disjointed. What God really wants is the sort of heart relationship that affects everything we do. Here the parallel between my engagement experience and God's relationship with us is illustrative. Carmel and I loved one another before we were separated by circumstances. That love sustained us. It is why we spent time each week writing to one another - keeping the love alive. God wants that sort of relationship with us.

    Listen to how Paul describes it:

    And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.

    Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. May he be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because of his master plan of salvation for the Church through Jesus Christ. Eph 3:17-21 TLB

    I love that description of a spiritual relationship.

    The big idea of the covenant is that God, not only wants to keep the relationship going, he wants us to grow that relationship.

    (31)
  2. The Everlasting Covenant was progressively revealed to God's people.
    The essence was - I will be your God, you will be My people and I will dwell/live with you.
    The DNA of the renewed covenant is:
    Sanctification
    Reconciliation
    Mission
    Justification
    The law will be in their minds and hearts
    Jer 31:33-34; Heb 8:10-12

    I challenged myself to discover these DNA promises/provisions in the covenant given through Moses.
    Answers:
    Sanctification: Lev 20:7-8, Ex 31:13 I am the LORD who makes you holy
    Justification: Exodus 34:6-7 the first time the LORD says I will forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin. said to Moses who was holding the Ten Words in his hands.
    Reconciliation: Lev 26:1-46 an outline of His lovingkindness to those who surrender their will to Him, and a description of His tough love actions to get them to realize what life is like without His protection
    Mission: Deut 4:6-8, Ex 19:5-6, Ps 67:1-2 indications of their mission to share the good news of a powerful, loving and forgiving God.

    Deu 6:5-6 MKJV  And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  (6)  And these words which I command you this day shall be in your heart.
    Deu 11:18 MKJV  Therefore you shall lay up these my words in your hearts and in your souls, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, so that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. (revealed in your thoughts and actions)

    (12)
  3. All covenants were a reflection of God's original 'covenant' made with humanity: He would create us and provide or equip us with everything we would need to experience essentially the same abundant life (John 10:10 'zoe') as Himself so that we could share in that experiencing along with Him. This would happen as long as we lived in harmony with the way that is foundational to abundant life - a heart that is devoted to the best interests of all others.

    Why? Because this is the only way true life actually works (Deuteronomy 4:39,40; 5:29,33; John 14:6).

    (5)
  4. God has warned against trusting in man and making "flesh"(creature,rather than Creator) his "arm"(confidence/support/guide), "whose heart departs from the LORD"(Jer 17:5, Ps 118:8,9). Yet many who claim to believe in Truth depend on those whom many admire and follow, and do not study for themselves, even if their Bibles are often well marked, while accepting the interpretations and explanations of those who oppose the very Word they quote.

    Yet, among these are many which God calls "my people", whom He will call out of the confusion by faithful messengers of Truth(Rev 18:4).

    If relying on the word of God alone, we find the everlasting covenant/law remains unchanged, or there would be no need for the Gospel. Earth as it was before the fall will be restored, and those who by faith become transformed and restored through the gospel and everlasting covenant will receive the inheritance "with all them which are sanctified"(Acts 20:32).

    (5)
  5. Acts 20:32 - "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His Grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified." What is at the heart of the Everlasting Covenant, what is it's purpose? Paul states here that it is the "inheritance among all those who are sanctified." 

    I can see God's work on behalf of mankind only in context of this inheritance, no other purpose is apparent/stated for God to go to this great length; in the end, He will even make a new heaven and a new earth to reset the clock for humanity who will again populate this new earth.
    Though, I see the true Inheritance to be everlasting life for those who desire to live in God's Kingdom in Heaven and meet the hosts of heaven, living among the inhabitants of this heavenly kingdom.
     
    As Ellen White stated, the Creator Son and His Father had a long-range view for their Creation. This included preparing for these very circumstances mankind finds itself in. Remember, it was a heavenly, very powerful being given administrative responsibilities to watch over the welfare of man that went against established rules to replace them with his own; he challenged God's Authority! Mankind was caught in the middle of this struggle over supremacy governing His special creation - man.
     
    I hope and pray that God's long-suffering Love, together with His Son's compassioned understanding of our weaknesses and temptations, will provide millions and millions of others the buffer of His Grace and so lead them out of the darkness of this earth into the heavenly Light.

    (4)

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