Wednesday, April 8, 2009

When is forever not forever?


27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? 28 Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? 29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 30 Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the LORD says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 But any of your men whom I do not cut off from My altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age. 34 Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them. 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever. (I Samuel 2:27-35)

God's covenant promises are forever. However, here we see that the promise which was given forever, was conditional upon obedience. That is, the blessings of the promised covenant, made by God, would continue indefinitely whilst the conditions of the covenant were being kept. However, as soon as the conditions of the covenant were transgressed, then the blessings of the covenant ceased, and the covenant was offered to another line.

Thus it was with the Nation of Israel. The Covenant made with that group of people was forever. However, the forever aspect of the Covenant was foundational upon the condition that the nation would honour God (i.e. obey His commandments). Upon the final transgression of the covenant, the murdering of the Innocent Son of God, the nation of Israel no longer walked in the blessing of the Covenant, but rather the Covenant was offered to another; that is, the Covenant was offered to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the blessings of the Covenant were extended to all who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and willingly walk in obedience to His commandments.

This New/Renewed Covenant is "Forever," it is the Eternal Covenant, and shall never be given to another, because the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled every condition of the Covenant perfectly, and has sealed the Covenant with His own blood, irrevocably.

The Covenant has been made with Jesus, and there is only one way to enjoy the blessings of that Covenant, and that is willing submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Any one who seeks to enjoy the blessings of God must:

1. Acknowledge that they are a sinner, deserving of God's wrath and judgement; deserving the eternal punishment of burning in Hell forever.

2. Confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah.

3. Accept that Jesus Christ was innocent of any wrong-doing, but that He died an horrific death to pay the just penalty for sin for all who put their trust in Him.

4. Submit to the commandments of Jesus as the new way of living.

5. Receive the Person of the Holy Spirit as the Helper who comes alongside to enable the new life to be lived.

6. Be baptised as a sign that the New Covenant conditions have been accepted.

There is no racial, language, cultural, historical barrier. The promise of the blessings of this covenant is open to all who will willingly receive what Jesus Christ has done. We cannot add anything to what Jesus has done on our behalf, but we do need to respond as He has commanded.

"Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved; you and all your house with you."

2 comments:

Steve from the Alice said...

I can anticipate some objections coming your way on this one. Someone will ask, "Hey, what about AGAPE love--it's unmerited and unconditional? God loves me and accepts me no matter what I do."

There's the popular song which we sometime sing: "Nothing we can do, can make Him love us more. And nothing we can do can make Him love us less."

What is your answer--what do you think of this laissez-fair (lazy-fare!) grace and love?

"Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you."

Bridge said...

Need I add any more to the words of Jesus?