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Understanding the “Kingdom and Covenant”

A. INTRODUCTION

When we enter the Kingdom of God, we do so by entering into a Covenant relationship with God. All the great blessings of God are finished and complete, but they are not mine until I enter into a relationship with Him on the basis of His covenant. God’s personal dealings with His children, is in exact accordance with His Covenant. This New Testament Covenant as a written code has turned into a most personal and precious possession in my relationship with God.

As a child of the Kingdom of Christ, the discovery of the Covenant means a full knowledge of what God wants to do, the assurance that it will be done, and that you will be drawn to God Himself.

  1. His Covenant was always a revelation of His purposes. It held out, in definite promise, what God was willing to work in those with whom the Covenant was made. It was a divine pattern of the work God intended to do in our behalf so that we might know what to desire and expect.

The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, `Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” {Jer. 31:31-34} By calling this covenant “new”, he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear.” (Heb. 8:8-13.)

  1. The Covenant was meant to be a security and guarantee. It was to be as simple, plain, and humanlike as the Divine glory could make it. Surely the Covenant is meant to be the anchor of our soul pledging the Divine truthfulness, faithfulness, and unchangeable for the certain performance of what had been promised. In this way the Covenant was, above all, to anchor man as a new creation in Christ to God the Father, as the Covenant-keeping God. It is to link us to God in expectation and hope.

“Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.” (Isa. 55:5.)

  1. B. THE TWO COVENANTS; THEIR RELATIONSHIP

“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants.” (Gal. 4:22-24.)

God confirms this when He speaks of this very distinctly in Jeremiah where He says; “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel….. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers” (Jer. 1:31-32.) This is quoted in Hebrews, with the addition; “By calling this covenant new, He has made the first one obsolete.” (Heb. 8:13.) Our Lord Jesus spoke of the New Covenant in His blood. In His dealings with His people and in working out His great redemption, it has pleased God that there are two Covenants. The clearer our insight into the reason and the divine reasonableness of their being two Covenants and their relationship to each other, the more we can understand what the New Covenant means to each of us.

The Covenants indicate two stages in God’s dealing with man. There are two ways of serving God; an elementary one of preparation and promise; and a more advanced, better and everlasting one of fulfilment and possession. The reason is found in the fact that in all fellowship between God and man, there are two parties. Each of them must have the opportunity to prove what their part is in the Covenant.

 

OLD COVENANTNEW COVENANT
In the Old Covenant man had the opportunity to prove what their part is, and to prove what he could do. That Covenant ended in man proving his own unfaithfulness and failure.In the New Covenant God proves what He can do with man, unfaithful and weak as he is, when God is allowed and trusted to do all the work.
The Old Covenant was dependent on man’s obedience, which he could and did break. (Jer. 31:32.)The New Covenant is one in which God has promised will never be broken. He Himself keeps it and ensures our keeping it, so He makes it an Everlasting Covenant

° ISHMAEL and ISAAC : The New Testament proves, in some of its most important epistles, especially those to the Galatians, Romans and Hebrews, how it is still possible to be held fast in the bondage of the Old Covenant. Ishmael and Isaac are both found in Abraham’s home. One was after the flesh and the will of man, the other through the promise and the power of God. One was to be cast out; the other was to be heir of all.

° GALATIANS : It was a picture held up to the Galatians as to the life they were leading, as they still trusted the flesh. They made a fair show and yet proved that they were still held captive to sin. Only through faith in the promise and mighty quickening power of God could any of them be made truly free and stand in the freedom with which Christ has made us free.

° CHURCH HISTORY : Two classes of Christians are found not only among the Galatians but also throughout Church history. Some are content with the double life, half flesh and half spirit, half self-effort and half grace. Others are not content and are seeking with their whole heart to know fully what deliverance from sin and the abiding full power for a walk in God’s presence is or means in their everyday walk in life today.

C.     THE NEW COVENANT BLESSINGS

We need to discover what God has done by supplying His Lamb as the perfect offering and what He will do in us to reveal as many as would receive His grace as a  prepared and worthy people of which He is God. The central promise in the New Covenant is a heart delighting in God’s law and capable of knowing and holding fellowship with Him. Observe now the fourfold blessing that is mentioned.

° “I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” (Jer. 31:33.) We have no separate chamber where this law can be put while the rest of our being is given to other things. When God speaks of our hearts He surely has in mind our whole being. Nothing can be put into the heart, especially by God, without entering, taking possession of it, securing its affection, and controlling its whole being. This is what God undertakes to do in the power of His Divine life and operation. The whole of the covenant blessing centres in this— the heart being made right and equipped to know God. “I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord.” (Jer. 24:7.)

 

° “And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Heb. 8:10.)

Here we have the expression of the highest experience of the Covenant relationship. It is only when we truly believe His thoughts and what this New Testament Covenant means, or should I say the revelation of Fathers expressed love fills our minds and our hearts will we truly turn our lives wholly devoted to Him and His will that He can shine forth in and through our lives for all to see us as the inconceivable blessed which these words express, “I will be your God.”

All I am and have as God will be yours. I will be to you all you need or wish for in a God. In fullest meaning of the word, I, the Omnipresent, will be ever-present with you in all My grace and love. I, the Almighty One, will work each moment in you by My mighty power. I, the Thrice Holy One, will reveal My sanctifying life within you. I will be your God.

“And they will be My people.” Saved and blessed, ruled, guided and provided for by Me. You will be known and seen to be the people of the Holy One, the God of glory. Let us give our hearts time to meditate and wait for the Holy Spirit to work in us all that these words mean.

° “No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, “know the Lord, because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest.” (Heb. 8:11.) Individual, personal fellowship with God, for the weakest and the least, is the wonderful privilege of every member of the New Covenant. Each one will know the Lord. We do know the Lord with a knowledge, which means appropriation, and assimilation that in reality means eternal life.

As the Son knew the Father because He was one with Him and dwelt in Him, the child of God will receive, by the Holy Spirit, that spiritual illumination which will make God the One he knows best. Thus it will be because we Love Him most of all and we live and have our being in Him. The promise; “They will all be taught by God” will be fulfilled by the Holy Spirit’s teaching. (Joh. 6:45.) God will speak to each one of us from His Word what we need to know.

° “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Heb. 8:12.) The word “for” shows that this is the reason for all that proceeds. Because of the blood of this New Covenant is of such infinite worth, we are sure of such a divine blotting out of our sins, that God cannot remember it any more. Thus God can write His law in ours hearts and show Himself as our God. By His Spirit He can reveal to us His deep things — the deep mystery of Himself and His love.

D.     GOD INITIATED AND ACCOMPLISHED IT ALL

It is only by a God-given faith that we can appropriate these God-given promises. It is only by God-given teaching and inward illumination that we can see their meaning and believe them. When God teaches us the meaning of His promises in a heart yielded to His Holy Spirit, then we can believe and receive them in a power that makes them a reality in our life.

Is it possible, amid the wear and tear of daily life, to walk in the experience of these blessings? Are they really meant for all God’’ children? Let us, instead, ask the question, “Is it possible for God to do what He has promised?” We believe only in the complete and perfect pardon of sin, but it is only part of the promise. Why should we not believe the other part — the law written on our hearts and the direct, divine fellowship and teaching?

In the New Covenant all is by faith. Let us turn away then from what human wisdom and experience says and ask God to teach us what this all mean.

“And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees.” (Eze. 36:27.)

In making the New Covenant God clearly said, “It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers” (Heb. 8:9). We have learned the fault with that covenant. It made God’s favour dependent upon the obedience of the people. “Obey My voice, and I will be your God” (Jer. 7:23.) Now we discover how the New Covenant remedied the defect.

God Himself provided for the obedience. It changes from  “If ye shall keep My laws” into “I will put My Spirit within you, and you will keep.” Now God undertakes to ensure the obedience. Because He has poured out His love into our hearts and endued us with His power obedience now becomes a matter of delight and joy. (Rom. 5:5.) We abuse the free grace when we rest content in grace without the obedience it is meant for.

The deceitful thought, “No man can obey God” throws thousands back into the Old Covenant life and into a false peace that God does not expect more than that we do our best. Obedience is possible. The entire New Covenant promises and secures this.

E.     THE COVENANT PURPOSE OF GOD.

No matter what the circumstances are, His love never changes. I had made a determination: no matter what the circumstances, I would never look at those circumstances except against the backdrop of the cross. In the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God forever convinced me that He loved me. The cross, the death of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection are God’s final, total, and complete expression that He loves us. Never allow your heart to question the love of God.

Settle it on the front end of your desiring to know Him and experience Him, that He loves you. He created you for that love relationship. He has pursuing you in that love relationship. Every Divine appointment He has with you is an expression of His love for you. God would cease to be God if He expressed Himself in any way other than perfect love.

Psalm 89: 33 “but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.”

The revelation of this Love relationship entails the following:

° God Himself pursues a love relationship with you.

° He is the One who takes the initiative to bring you into this kind of relationship.

° He created you for a love relationship with Himself.

° This is the very purpose of your life.

° This love relationship can and should be real and personal to you.

Can you describe your relationship with God by sincerely saying, ”I love You with all of my heart”? Or can you only say I obey Him, I serve Him, I worship Him, and I fear Him. But I cannot say that I love Him. God created us for a love relationship with Him. If you cannot describe your relationship with God by saying that you love Him with all your being, then you need to ask the Holy Spirit to bring you into that kind of a relationship.

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