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Covenant (part 2)

As discussed in part one, all that is happening in scripture is because covenant relationship with God (law and love in harmony) has been broken by man and God is at work as the only one who can restore it.

Covenant of Works/Life: At creation, God’s relationship with Adam and his posterity whereby Adam was required, in his free estate, to obey and follow God, expressly evident in the command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Law is always present as God’s Holy character whereby Adam’s transgression is both a breach of legal precept and a personal offense. Because Adam despised the very heart of God in his disobedience, in the fall he lost his heart for God (and by consequence, a proper heart for man) in favor of his own self-determining pleasures.

Covenant of Grace: God eternal and triune relationship with His people (the church/elect in all ages), as they are united to Christ by grace, through faith. God’s Holy character will once again be written on/in the hearts (of flesh) of His people (not mere precepts), as regenerate and baptized by the Holy Spirit, in time. The relationship between God and His people is healed/redeemed by God. The legal breach and personal offense from Adam is satisfied by Jesus’ blood. The Cov. of Works requirement of perfect obedience and love is fulfilled in Jesus’ life. By substitution and mediation our guilt is credited to Christ and His righteousness is credited to us. This is the only means of salvation in both testaments of Scripture.

Covenant with Noah: God promises not to destroy the world by water again. The rainbow is given as a sign of remembrance. As a further clarification of the Cov. of Grace, those who find grace in God’s eyes are adopted and saved through even the most destructive circumstances of divine justice. Although Noah is said to walk with God, he is not credited for this as his own work, but it is instead a clear fruit of his already being a regenerate child of God, who follows God’s instruction and promises by the faith given to him.

Covenant with Abraham: A further clarification of the Cov. Of Grace, whereas the promises of inheritance, a son/linage, to be a blessing to nations and that God will be his God, are given to Abraham (and to his seed, by faith), but God assumes the responsibility of both parties to the covenant. The character of law and love, that man cannot live up to perfectly, God will absorb in Himself, yet God awards relationship to Abraham as if he had been perfect. By grace God promised all He did to Abraham, and yet God assumes the role of covenant breaker indicating Abraham (man) cannot possibly atone or pay the debt due for disobedience. In one sense the covenant is between God alone, as Christ is ultimately the Seed of Abraham in scope. In another sense the promises are clearly with man as to follow and believe that God will accomplish through time and flesh, His promises. Christ is clearly then the only one, as the God/Man, who satisfies both aspects of this covenant shadow in one person.

Covenant with Moses: Keep the covenant and be unto God a holy nation/people of priests. The dynamic of the mosaic covenant is that as God moves from identifying with individuals and families, they will now take on more of a national role in the world. They will be God’s people by name and as identified with a multitude of ceremonies and laws meant to indicate that because God lives among them, they must by Holy in all areas and ways of life. This external visual, is never meant to replace or augment the standing promises of God and walking with Him by faith. Yet over time the externals of the nation replace any heart felt zeal for God and the people continuously fall away, yet a remnant of faithful persons always remain, yet as always saved according to the Cov. of Grace. The mosaic covenant is usually incorrectly associated with the Covenant of Works, but as Paul indicates it is good if one uses it correctly. Law can never be removed from the character of God and thus to be in relationship with Him, there must be a spirit of love for God and His law always within us (holiness and righteousness). Yet people go wrong when they think the law keeping can result in or force their way into relationship.

Old Covenant (OC): A summary name for the Covenant of Grace as administered during the OT time period (Gen. 3:15), until the inauguration of the New Covenant. This Covenant was able to save by grace granting faith in the shadows of the messiah to come. It is still a work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, new birth yet the life and work of Christ is veiled in symbols, ceremonies and types.

New Covenant: A summary name for the Covenant of Grace as administered from the resurrection of Christ until His second coming. Greater revelation and fulfillment of all the promises and previously associated types and shadows in the Old Covenant. By way of Jesus’ fulfillment of all things from the OC and the greater work of the Spirit and the clarity of the message of salvation, it’s deemed “greater” than the OC, but it is still the same Cov. Of Grace.

#CovenantReformation

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Visual Catechism 

Table (PDF) Based on the ocular Catechism of William Perkins, but humbly modified by me.

Table

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Post-postmodern reduction of morals

Current notions of coexistence are being proposed and propagated by liberal thinkers that strive to limit morals so that no one is offended. But a moral principle of coexistence cannot be the forced reduction of all moral codes to where no one is offended, for then there is no civil ethic and only anarchy and chaos. At best it can forbid individuals from exercising discipline of their moral principles upon an individual or group outside of its own adherents. This does not forbid a group from having moral principles that differ from others, and although one group may judge those outside of its body to be more or less wrong, misguided or heretical, no group can claim superiority by mandating others drop their positions because of the offense felt in being outside the bounds of what another group accepts. This should give all groups room to promote, advertise and recruit as best they can to convince others. Seekers and others can create groups to support their positions, but cannot demand the approval or acceptance of other groups. 

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God, Love, Marriage & Loneliness

I love my wife so much! It’s not because of all the stuff she does, our commonalities, her sense of humor or her being smarter than I. I can just lover her, all those qualities about her and more because I can see in us the picture of God’s love for me (and us). Without God’s love first I’m sure we’d place those expectations upon each other and that’s a weight neither of us could bear. 
By way of advice, I know so many who want to just be “married”, as if that’s the cure for loneliness. It’s really not if you don’t have the right expectations and can really commit to someone without needing to get something from them. Something you should already be getting from God. 
I sarcastically imagine God hears prayers from young Christians all the time asking for spouses, love, success and the like, all the while He’s thinking “Sorry all you got in this gospel deal was Me.” Yet some have the guts to even get angry with God that He has not condescended to their will. I guess if your that angry with Him you can always nail Him to a tree, oh wait we did that already. 
If you say you trust God, then really trust that you have “God”. You shouldn’t need anyone else. If you ask for and He should grant you a spouse, don’t expect from him or her anything more than that their love and happiness are from God too. Then it’s an easy partnership and loving marriage where two people find themselves absorbed in serving and giving themselves in love to each other. A giving that I see in Whitney as God’s unfolding daily love. I love you Whitney. 

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You’re a normal sinner 

No one is a special class of sinner. We are all sinners in the same general way. This means that none of us should expect or need angelic visions or visits to help us put off our pet sins. Instead we should expect our general sin to be eradicated by the general means Christ gave us to take care of it, those being attending to the preaching and reading of Scripture, prayer, Lord’s Supper and Baptism. These are the simple prescribed means to build a heart and life for God, but like Namaan in 2 Kings 5, we are somewhat offended that 1) it should be so easy, 2) it is not accompanied by a face to face acknowledgement of our greatness 3) there was no payment allowed. 

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How to maintain your love for God: when sufferings for religion are placed upon you

Summary points from “Keeping the Heart” by John Flavel.

1. What reproach would you cast upon the Redeemer and his religion by deserting him at such a time as this. 

2. Dare you violate your conscience out of complaisance to flesh and blood. 

3. Isn’t the cause of Christ infinitely more important than any interest of my own, that I should prefer his kingdom 

4. Did the Redeemer th ink lightly of your interests when for your sake he endured  suffering 

5. Can you so easily cast off heaven to join Satan 

6. How do you hope to stand on the day of judgement if you desert him now. 

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How to maintain your love for God: when in spiritual darkness and doubting: 

Summary points from “Keeping the Heart” by John Flavel.
1. The appearance of hypocrisy does not prove the person who manifests it to be a hypocrite 

2. Consider what might be well said of you, not just the evil

3. The unstable grounds of your peace is not the sure as stable ground of our religion 

4. The soul is not at all times suitable to pass a right judgement upon itself

5. Whatever the distress it should drive us to Christ not away from

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