The Day of the Lord
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What Does It Mean To Be Saved

God's Eternal Purpose in the New Covenant - Part 3
Dr. Allen M. Barber

Hebrews 8:7-13 NKJV

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant , and I disregarded them, says the LORD. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

13 In that He says, "A new covenant ," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Notice three important things about this passage: (1) God disregarded Israel and the Old Covenant because of unbelief (2) "After those days" is a reference to the tribulation, that is, when the tribulation has ended (See Amos 9:10-15 - this is not the present nation of Israel in the Middle East); (3) the saved remnant of Israel must come into the New Covenant to be God's people; they are not presently the chosen people and will never again be a separate chosen nation of people over all others. The Israelites and Jews are chosen only as they come into the New Covenant - the One New Man and Church of the Lord Jesus. A bunch of Christians do not understand the New Covenant they read every day and certainly secular and religious Zionists do not even believe in the New Covenant.

God's word is eternal, efficacious, and is the basis of the covenants. The Old covenant was based upon the Law of God and animal sacrifices, but the New Covenant is based upon the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and the logos of the apostles and prophets - the revelation given to them in the gospels through the book of Revelation. Much of the New Covenant is based upon the Old Covenant (the logos), but the higher revelation as the Old is fulfilled in the New. Three things are included in the Word of God - His promise, His fact, and His covenant. Whatever God has said in His Word is fact whether it is believed or not. God's promises cannot be nullified for what He has promised will come to fruition. His promises are also fact - they stand as eternal truth throughout the ages of the ages. Everything God said on the day of creation still stands. Therefore, they are established by "fact" - the sun, the moon,  the stars, and the planets are doing today what they did on the day of creation - why? Because God said, "Let there be and it was so" (fact). The atheist whose body is warmed by the radiance of the sun and observes the light of the moon and stars is a witness to the fact of creation and the eternal word of God that can never return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11) even though they willing choose to disbelieve the obvious. They shall be held accountable for their disbelief (See Romans 1).

Those who understand God's covenant with man can truly praise the Lord for why would the eternal God want to come and dwell in humanity (John 3:16 is the answer)? 2 Corinthians 4:7 says, "God has put His treasure in earthen vessels that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God and not from man." Who can fathom the God who made heaven and earth possessing man in the form of Jesus Christ; then choosing to live in our earthen vessels (man was made from the dust of the earth, but he is more than dirt and grime).  In time past, God established the fact that He exist by giving us His Word. Based upon the fact God is and His Word inviolable, His promises are certain - they are yes and amen!  What contains the these inviolable promises - His covenant!

We seldom pay any attention how much our lives are governed by contracts (covenants), which are words or promises placed on paper documents. Both parties to the contract are obligated by law to perform their individual functions. The same is truth with God's New Covenant, which is founded upon the blood of Jesus Christ and the written (logos) promises of God. Man also has an obligation to keep his part of the covenant, which begins by believing it. Watchman Nee says, "God's covenant is even more glorious than His fact or promise" (The Finest of Wheat, Vol. I, Covenant). What does he mean by that since God's fact and promises are without parallel?  When God decided to covenant with man (Abraham), He chose to be bound and restricted by an agreement with man - ponder that for a while and allow the Holy Spirit to give you the revelation of what God has done in His covenant with man - it is truly amazing!  In covenant, God is willing to limit His liberty in order to allow us to possess Him (read that over again and understand what God has done in His covenant with Jesus Christ - you understand the New Covenant was first struck between God the Father and the Son before the Son established it upon his suffering, death, and resurrection and gave it to man). The great and awesome God stooped way down to make His covenant with man (See Isaiah 55:8-9). This grace is beyond our comprehension. Our position is to bow our head and knee and worship this wonderful God who was willing to be made like us and take our place in judgment. When you understand covenant there is no room for arrogance and pride - only humility. When I encounter prideful boastful Christians, I know one thing - they do not understand the New Covenant (sometimes that person has been me and I had to eat the cup of God's chastening for He will not allow a prideful Christian to go unpunished).

While there is much love in grace (God's unmerited favor with man), there is absolutely no room for selfishness, foolish pride and unforgiveness in God's covenant He offers us in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the epitome of the grace of God extended to mankind in His covenant based upon the shed blood of Christ. Covenant speaks of faithfulness and of legality, which we mentioned previously. It is not concerned with our pleasure and comfort, which many Christians mistakenly pursue as a guarantee from God, particularly the prosperity crowd. God's covenant is executed according to faithfulness, justice and law. If you ever understand covenant, you must come to grips with God's viewpoint in covenant, not how we perceive it as something we use for our benefit. Covenant is always first and foremost - Godward, then manward!

When we covenant with humankind in whatever way, whether a marriage contract, a mortgage, a job, etc. and do not keep the terms of the agreement, we are in essence breaking our word and are faithless! Such dishonors God and those whom we betray. The Church is full of covenant breaking Christians who divorce their spouses for non-biblical reasons, who lie and cheat on their income taxes, and who take short cuts on the job and fail to give their employer a full days work, etc. Such is dishonest and unrighteous. Involvement in such things lowers one's moral standards and will be judged by law as violators of covenant relationship. By this we can easily understand that when God makes covenant with man, He places Himself in a limited position. Watchman Nee further says, "That before covenant, God could treat us according to His own pleasure. He could deal with us in grace or without grace. He could either save us or not save us. Before he makes covenant, God has the sovereign right to do whatever He likes. But after He has made covenant, He MUST ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WRITTEN WORDS OF THE COVENANT FOR HE IS BOUND BY IT!"

Here is something you must understand, as far as covenant is concerned, it is a matter of faithfulness, not a matter of grace. "Viewing covenant from the standpoint of God's willingness to bind Himself in a covenant with man, is without doubt the highest expression of God's grace. God chose to condescend to man's level and thus place Himself in covenant with the same. Once God has made covenant with man, He is forever bound to keep that covenant and operate according to the restrictions He imposed upon Himself - whether He likes it or not." God cannot and never will violate His own covenant with man. This is why God's New Covenant in Jesus Christ is so awesome - God chose to forgive man all his terrible sin including his condition of being born a sinner and then coming to live in man. What man would do what God has done in forgiving man's sin by taking his place in suffering and judgment, then choose to live within the very people who are His sworn enemies? The answer is no one would and no one could.

Covenant is truly an awesome revelation and we must learn everything we can about it as well as distinguish the difference between the Old obsolete Covenant and the New Covenant based upon the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ lest we be confused on God's eternal purpose in the Church. God is not favoring an Old Covenant nor is He favoring an ethnic race of people known as Israelites or Jews. He has one chosen people today - the redeemed in Christ Jesus who is the New Covenant.

Some excerpts for the article were taken from The Finest of Wheat, Vol. I, Covenant by Watchman Nee.