Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The New Covenant P10 (06-15-21)
Faith is Walking in Truth!
God has given us very great and precious promises so that we may participate in the divine nature. This was made possible by the New Covenant, that those who come to faith in what Jesus alone accomplished through His death, burial and resurrection, are now under and have received, which is Christ Himself, alive living in you. In Christ, we have been given a new heart, with unconditional acceptance, a personal relationship with God, and being made a forgiven person forever.
Just as there is nothing you can do to earn salvation, there is nothing you can do to lose salvation. There are no conditions put on you for God to accept you. The scripture simply says you are accepted in the beloved. Jesus took away the sins of the world, never to be seen again by God. Sin is what caused our death, and there is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood. Jesus shed His blood once and for all, so Jesus is not going to shed His blood again on a cross. Therefore, there is no more sacrifice for sin. It is over. It is finished. It is all what Jesus did, and none of us. That is why we are unconditionally accepted.
The real question is, “Are you in Him?” For that is where you receive all that is written in the New Covenant, in His will concerning you, that you receive all His promises. The cross is why we have something called eternal life, because of the eternal consequence of the cross. Without the shedding of blood, sin could not be taken away and hence eternal life could not be offered through His resurrection. It is in Him, His resurrected life, that you have eternal life. The cross was a necessary preparation for life to be given but such life is received in Him. And eternal life means just that, to know God, not about God, but to know God personally, forever and ever. It is also in Him that you have forgiveness of sins, provided then at a cross 2000 years ago, but received in Him. In Him, you have become a forgiven person.
So then, the question is asked, “Should we sin so that grace may increase?” What foolish thinking is that? Remember we have already been made into a new creation, having been given a new heart. This new heart is poured with the love of God, and love does its neighbor no wrong. That is the attitude of God, with His Spirit living in us. There is no desire to sin in the new heart of a believer. Yes, we are weak in our natural selves with sin-indwelling flesh, but we have power now to live in the new way of the Spirit. With the Spirit living in us, our mind is being renewed, and so we can choose to participate in the divine nature, which is the longing of our heart, to allow Him to produce His love in and through us. What we are learning to do is have our minds renewed to know all that God has freely given us. We can go boldly to the throne of grace in time of need, knowing we are perfectly loved and accepted, and that there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus. We can now call Him Daddy, Father.
That was not the case when you were under an Old Covenant. If you were an Israelite under such a covenant, there would be great fear of God, not daring to go up that mountain where Moses went to meet with God. You knew about God, as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but there was no personal relationship with God. You could not go to the Holy of Holies, the place where you can meet with God. That place was only available to a high priest, and that only once a year, and that without the shedding of blood. But that Holy of Holies is a pattern of the one in heaven, where Christ Himself entered with His own blood. Now that curtain that separated mankind from God has been torn wide open, that God caused it to happen the day He died on a cross. Access to God is now available to all who will simply put their faith alone in what He did for you.
When you are born again, you now have a personal relationship with the living God, alive, living in you. By rising from the dead, He offered you that access to Him that was not available before the cross. But now through His resurrection and ascension into heaven, and having believed in Him, you have the promised Holy Spirit that guarantees a permanent relationship with a living God. Jesus always lives to intercede for you.
Now, you will hear all kinds of things about Jesus, but so many things you hear are simply not true. Often, what people say about Jesus is not true, for when we read the bible, we come to know who Jesus is and what He did. You have Mormons who add to what the word of God says, saying that Jesus came to America, is a god, which both are simply not true. God is not a god, but the one and only true God and Jesus Christ. He will not come again until He is ready to come again, and it will be obvious to all, just like lightning in the sky. Others say Jesus was not born of a virgin. That is not true because if He was born in Adam, then He would be born in sin, and then would not have a life to lay down in our place to pay the price of death for sin for us, since then he could not be raised to new life, for sin would have a hold on him. Others say He only died for some sins, but not the sins of the entire world, but only for the elect. That is not true, because according to 1 John 2:2, He is the propitiation for our sins but the sins of the entire world. Others say you must ask God to forgive you when you sin. But that is making God out to be a liar who said “It is finished”, or “Paid in full”, and the writer of Hebrews clearly says in the New Covenant that God will remember our sins no more and where these have been forgiven, there is no more sacrifice for sins.
People make up a God of their own imagination, or repeat what others have said, but regardless, that is not in accordance with truth. You can only come to faith in Christ by coming by faith to the real Jesus of the bible, in what He said He accomplished for you. You cannot come in any other way. Those who have tried to come to God in any other way, Jesus says, are thieves and robbers. To walk by faith, you have to walk by faith in what God says is true. You are not walking in faith by asking God for what in Him you already have, the forgiveness of sins. So come to Christ and be born again, and continue in that same faith, growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are continuing in our study on the New Covenant, one of the most important subjects of the entire bible. We have talked about the New Covenant in contrast with the Old Covenant. It is quite a contrast. The Old Covenant has been surpassed by something new, with better promises. The bible tells us that the cross came to annihilate that idea that we can do it, that we can fulfill the covenant. Under the New Covenant there are four major promises. First, He gave us a new heart, to take out the heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. (That new heart is what allows us to walk in His promises, to let Him fulfill the covenant for us.)
I can testify to the truth of that in my own life. God took out that stoney heart and gave me a heart of flesh, a heart with sympathy, with compassion, and a heart that can cry. It is very difficult for me to even watch what is on television. I saw a little girl from England who was singing, and to see that innocence, with the sweetest voice you can hear. She was six years old. It brought tears to my eyes hearing her. But that would never happen to me prior to coming to Christ. We have to understand that He gave us a new heart.
The second promise is He gave us unconditional acceptance. We are not only loved by God but we are accepted in the beloved. He said He will never leave us nor forsake us. As He said, “No one can snatch you out of my Father’’s hands.” That is a promise of God, that we have access to the Father. That access is eternal in nature and cannot be destroyed.
These people that teach you can lose salvation are false prophets. I realize there are a lot of major denominations that teach that. I do not care. If you are teaching falsehood, you are teaching falsehood. You had nothing to do with your salvation and you certainly do not have anything to do with losing it. People say you can walk away from it. If you do, God just walks with you. He said He is living in you. There is the case that they went out from among us because they were never a part of us.
But a person dogmatically teaching you can lose salvation is a serious error. We have people calling in telling our operators to go to hell because we are teaching that you have eternal security. Eternal security is what eternal life is and an eternal inheritance is. It seems to me there should not be an argument over the word “eternal”. You had nothing to do with getting eternal life. You had nothing to do with losing eternal life. God is the one who is keeping you. God said, “I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.” We have to grab a hold of that.
A person teaching that has never been saved or does not know what salvation is or they are tenaciously wanting to keep people under a guilt trip to keep them under control. Quite frankly, I think that is the issue among many people in the pastorate.
I was having lunch with a gentleman many years ago, who was out of a denomination that was teaching you can lose salvation. “Bill, I think you are too smart to believe that. You know too much about scripture.” He looked at me kind of funny. “Why do you teach it?” He looked at me, “What a dumb question. Why do I teach it? How in the world do you think you are going to control people unless you tell them you can lose salvation?” “Why do you suppose you need to be controlling people? I thought God was to be controlling people. That is your problem. You are not there to be controlling people as a pastor. You are to pastor people, not to control them. That is the whole issue. How are you going to keep people on guilt trips? How do you get the money out of people that you want out of them unless you tell them ‘unless you obey God, you will lose salvation?’ That is a fear tactic. All of those things create fear. I have a question. Does God create fear? God does not give us a spirit of fear. If you are doing something to create fear in people’’s lives, that is not coming from God, believe me.”
It is a theological issue. I do not like debating it. It is so ridiculous. If that is what you want to believe, believe it if you want to. I hope God gets a hold of you sooner rather than later, but that He get a hold of you.
The third promise from God is a personal relationship. In Exodus 19:16-25, it describes a relationship between the people of Israel and God. But were they able to enjoy a personal intimate relationship with the living God?
16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. 19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
20 The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up 21 and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. 22 Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.”
23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’”
24 The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out against them.”
25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.
After God gave Israel the law, He gave them a tabernacle, which was to be patterned after His throne in heaven. Later Solomon built a temple in Jerusalem which replaced the tabernacle. The most significant room in both was called the Holy of Holies. It was separated by a curtain. Within it was the ark of the covenant, the ten commandments and Aaron’s staff. This very room was the earthly dwelling of the place of God. According to Hebrews 9:7 who was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies? Only the high priest.
7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings – external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
What we are reading here is there is no such thing as a vital personal relationship with God. He was distant in every way. Only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies.
It is an interesting side note, a story told that they used to tie a rope around that high priest’s ankle so that in the event he died, they could pull him out because no one else was able to go into the Holy of holies, just the high priest. So there was no such thing as this personal relationship. Calling God Father was an unthinkable thing. You could not even pronounce the name of God, for it was so sacred. It tells us about the relationship with God. How were they able to draw near to God and know Him personally, I do not know.
In Matthew 27:51, what happened to that curtain in that temple, after Jesus yielded His Spirit on the cross?
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split
Here, hundreds and hundreds of years of man knowing about God, worshiping this God that they did not know. They knew about God. The same thing is true today. I knew about Jesus all of my life. I did not know Him until I was thirty six. They knew about God. If you were to ask Him, “Who is your God?” They would answer, “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” but they did not know Him. They could not have this personal relationship with Him. The only person who could approach God was the high priest, and that only once a year. When Jesus cried out from the cross, “it is finished”, that curtain was split from top to bottom, enabling all people to go into the presence of God and call Him “Daddy, Father”.
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
We now can enter the Holy of Holies. We now have the distinct privilege to go into the presence of God, calling Him “Abba, Father”, where “Abba” means “Daddy”. That is an unbelievable thing. This barrier between us and God has been torn in two. It has been split. We did not split it. If we would just keep ourselves out of this thing, we would be in great shape. But we are too stubborn to keep ourselves out of it. At least maybe I could cut a little bit with my scissors on the bottom. No, we had nothing to do with that. God did that. Why did He do that? So we can enter into His presence. That is God’s plan for us, for us to enter into His presence.
This is how Jesus defines eternal life.
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
This is not just knowing about, but a personal knowing. This is eternal life, that they may know God, the only true God, and Jesus Christ the one you sent. Mohammad is not God. Buddha is not God. Jesus that did not take away the sins of the world is not Jesus. A Jesus that is not born of a virgin is not Jesus of the bible. The Jesus that was not raised from the dead is not a Jesus of the bible. A Jesus who did not die for the entire sins of the world, not the elect, but the world, is not the Jesus of the bible. I have to ask, “What Jesus are you worshipping? Have you built a straw man? Have you been listening to teaching of a straw man? Have you built a straw man and proceeded to worship a straw man?” A Jesus you said that moved over here from the United States is not there in the bible. You have a different Jesus. You may say I worship Jesus over in Israel, then how can you say He moved over here? He didn’t. There is no Jesus who moved over here. That is all man-made stuff. If you ever add to the bible, you are going to worship your additive. The Mormons placed the book of Mormon over and above the bible. That is their additive. That is what this nitwit said about Jesus, that He moved over here. He did not move over here. The bible says the next time you see Jesus, He is coming in the clouds and the whole world is going to see Him. How can you say He moved?
21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
How come they went to look over there? They need to come to their senses. They are not worshipping the Jesus of the bible. They built their own. People think Jesus did not take away the sins of the world, still asking Him to do what in Christ He has already done. There is no Jesus of the bible that gave us temporal life. That guy does not exist. There is no Jesus in the bible who died for some sins. That Jesus does not exist. That is your strong man. If you keep asking Him to give you eternal life, then obviously you do not know you have it, and you are discounting that He said you do have it. So you have a different Jesus. I have to challenge people with this. That is why the bible says to check yourself out to see if you are in the faith.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.
Is your faith in the Jesus of the bible or one that you have made up? I am telling you there is no Jesus of the bible that moved. He died, and He went to heaven. And the bible says He is not coming back until He is coming back. So do not look for Him down here at any place.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
The entire Mormon religion is built over the concept that He came over here. That is plain wrong. Easy to change. Just quit believing the nonsense and stick with the bible. If you stick to the bible, you would not be believing those things. Any time we add, and you and I see it all the time, to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus, whatever is your additive, it becomes the focus of your life. If you add tongues, then that is all you talk about. If you add baptism, that is all you talk about. If you add church membership, that is all you talk about. If you think you are saved by belonging to the Church of Christ, then that is all you talk about, the Church of Christ. Anything you say that adds to that becomes the focal point. The death, burial and resurrection becomes irrelevant to your additive. The focus becomes you get baptized in our church. The death, burial and resurrection becomes irrelevant because you worship on Saturday instead of Sunday. That becomes your focal point. You have to come to grips with that. You will not be saved with a false Jesus, a straw Jesus, a Jesus of your own making, of your own imagination. You will be saved with the real Jesus but not with the Jesus you made up. This is serious business.
Paul now wants us to do, and with encouragement of Peter in 2 Peter 18, he wants us to grow in this grace, and in our knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, not one you made up, but about the one we read about in the bible.
2 Peter 3:18
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
How did Paul describe everything in his life compared to that of knowing Christ? Paul was an educated man, very educated by the top educators in the world at that time. He was the up and coming guy, without question. He came to a point of saying this.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
It is like the song , “I would rather have Jesus than silver and gold. I would rather have Jesus than riches untold. I would rather have Jesus than anything this world can afford to me.” Do you believe that way? In other words, if you had to give up your bank account or give up Jesus, which would it be? Is Jesus really that important to you in your life? To be able to say, whatever was to my profit I consider a loss for the sake of Christ. There are many, many people, including myself, but many people that I knew when I first went to work with Campus Crusade, who were in lay ministry. There were many people, guys who owned mortuaries. There were dentists that we knew very, very well. There were doctors. There were lawyers. There were politicians. There were all sorts of people, radio stars, movie people, judges. All of these people who at one time or another in their lives, who said, “I would rather have Jesus”, and were willing to leave the security, the things that were to their profit in order to follow Christ.
The example of that was the apostles. They were fishermen. They were not people who went out to catch a few fish on Sunday morning. That was their livelihood. I imagine it was a very good one. They were professional fishermen. It is amazing to me how that this man Jesus just walked by one day, and looked up at these men, strong guys, and said “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”, and they dropped their nets and from that day on they followed Him. It is just amazing. What was there about this man Jesus that was of such a magnetic power that would cause those men to say, “Whatever is to my profit, I consider loss for the sake of this man Christ Jesus.”
I will never in my life regret, and you will not either, where it is not that going into full time work is anything special, but I personally will never forget and never regret in my life leaving the business world behind in order to follow Christ with my life. I will never regret a day of that. I never looked back. It was not something to look back to. Compared to Christ, I could say all of that was dung. Again, that was a living I made. I got some wonderful training in the corporation that I was trained with. But as far as being there today, I think about that. I think about the managers. I met with one of the vice presidents not too long ago when I went back to Lancaster, PA. They were very, very nice people. We had a wonderful conversation together. But I look at those guys today and you know the stock in the corporation that was their retirement was practically gone. They were sued by the Asbestos people. It was gone. All of the things they were looking forward to and built, in many instances, were gone. Many people’s retirement with the crash of the stock market is gone. People have lost many times their entire fortune. We never had fortunes but we have always lived. We always had enough money to keep us going. I would not trade a minute of that over the years I was able to spend serving the Lord. Not a minute of it. I just hope that one of these days I will see the Lord face to face. I know that will happen before too long. I hope I do hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant” That to me will be the reward, if that is what is said. That is all the reward I would be looking for. Whatever is to my profit I consider loss for the sake of Christ.
The fourth part of the promise of God is total forgiveness.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”[Jeremiah 31:31-34]
How did God fulfill that promise?
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Today, we are saying, “Oh, Lord, please forgive me.” God is saying, “Hold on. Where is your sacrifice? Without the shedding of the blood there is no forgiveness. Where is your sacrifice? I did that 2000 years ago. Why are you asking for forgiveness today? If your sacrifice was what I did 2000 years ago, what did I say after I did that sacrifice?” “You said, ‘It is finished.’” “You said, ‘It is paid in full.’” “So why are you asking for something that is paid in full?”
Why are you going into the store saying you need to give some more when it has been paid in full. You are not walking in faith but walking in presumption. There is nothing wrong in asking if it is faith. It is not the asking that is the problem. It is that you are not exercising faith in what is true. So how are you going to enjoy the promise of God when you are living, denying the promise of God. I spent my life asking God to do what in Christ He has already done. What was I doing? I was denying and missing out on the joy of His promise. “Bob, I remember your sins no more.”
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
When you were dead in your sins, what did God do? He made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. Notice that He did not say He forgave some of our sins. He did not say that He will forgive your sins. It is past tense. He forgave us all our sins. When are we going to walk by faith in that?
43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Have you come to believe in Him? If you have, then you have received what He has provided, forgiveness of sins through His name. From this day forward, why don’t you walk as a forgiven person instead of one who has the capability of getting forgiveness. That is not faith. What faith is, is you are a forgiven person.