Understanding Biblical Covenants

In our previous blog we talked about “right standing in a covenant relationship.” To know if we are in “right standing” in a covenant we must have a good understanding of biblical covenant definition. In the mentioned blog we gave a somewhat light definition of a covenant comparing it to a contract. It is a contract, but it is so much more. That is what we shall address now.

Justified by Grace
Like I Never Sinned

Biblical Covenants

The Bible may be considered a middle eastern oriental based document. In the geographical area where the Bible focuses the idea of covenant was very common. Covenants were made in regard to families and businesses and tribes and individuals. Covenants were not taken lightly. There were several types of covenants but the one that we shall focus on is the most important type, the blood covenant.

The blood covenant was the most serious of covenants. It was not taken lightly. We might liken it to what occurred in American history when the states began to expand westward. As they encountered the American Indian there was fierce wars and conflicts which arose. The Indians quite would often seek out a colonist who was willing to work with the Indians and would enter into a covenant of blood in which the colonist and the Indian would cut the palms of their hands and then clasp hands so that their blood mingled together. This was a blood covenant with them and it could never be broken.

The Blood covenant

I mentioned above that the blood covenant was the strongest of the covenants. There were various reasons for individuals and groups of people to enter into blood covenants. Perhaps there was one family or group who were a warring type society but were not adept at agricultural things. Another group or family might be very good and planting and growing crops but had no means of protecting themselves against scavaging groups. The leaders of the two families might decide to enter into a covenant in which the aggressive warring family would protect the agricultural family from scavengers and those who might destroy their crops. In exchange the agricultural family shared their food with them. To secure this covenant the leaders of the two families would share a meal together and at the close of the meal the two leaders would each cut himself and put some of his blood in a goblet of wine. The mixture was stirred thoroughly and then each head of the family drank from the goblet of wine and blood. In so doing they were signifying that they were no longer separate families, but one family.

Blood covenants were not to be broken. Per chance if there was a time that one party broke their part of the covenant, the result was that the other party must and did put the one who was at fault to death. The only remedy for breaking a blood covenant is death. The one who put the breaker of the covenant to death was not called a murderer. Rather, the one who failed to fulfill the covenant was called a “covenant breaker”. That is what the Bible calls a “sinner”. He was not in “right standing” in the covenant relationship.

The Biblical Covenant

In our previous blog we showed how God had set up a covenant with Adam and Eve. As simple as it seemed, it set the parameters of the covenant. They were not to eat of a certain tree and in so doing they would show their love for their Creator and honor Him in so doing. They broke the covenant. They did not fulfill their part of the bargain. The result was death. God in His great mercy delayed the inevitable dying of Adam and Eve, but some animals had to die to provide a covering for them. Death came because Adam sinned. But God, because He is full of grace, promised a redeemer who would fulfill and establish a new covenant in which all mankind could be redeemed. In Genesis 3:15 God promised that there would be One Who would come of the “seed of woman” Who bruise the head of the serpent.

The picture of God’s blood covenant

In Genesis 15 we see where God makes a blood covenant with Abraham. In this instance God told him to get a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtle-dove and a young pigeon. He split them down the middle and laid them open in a line. The reason this was done in this manner is because the parties of the blood covenant would literally walk through the bloody carcasses laid in a row and all the while declaring, “May this happen to me if I ever break this blood covenant.” God had made certain promises to Abraham and He wanted to convince Abraham of the assurance that He, The Lord, would fulfill His promises.

But an odd thing occurred. God did not make Abraham walk between the sacrifices. God, alone, walked through the sacrifices making His declarations of promise. There was no greater way of proving His faithfulness than this blood covenant. The ultimate covenant would be sealed when God’s only-begotten Son sealed the New and Better Covenant with His own blood. God assured Abraham with the strongest covenant know to man.

Conclusion

Now God has come to humankind and in the strongest possible way He has sealed an everlasting covenant by which who so ever will may receive all the benefits that God has promised. Just as God did not require Abraham to walk through the sacrifices, He does not require you to fulfill the requirements. Look what He did for Abraham. God caused a deep sleep to come upon him. If you study the scriptures enough, you will find that death for a child of God is only sleep. So, just as Abraham slept(died to himself) so must we die to ourselves so that our Redeemer walks through declaring His fulfilling of the New Covenant and all the promises that comes with it. Those who have received the sacrifice that Jesus paid are free to receive all the benefits of the New Covenant. In 2 Corinthians 1:20 the scripture declares, “All the promises to you, in Christ Jesus, are “yes” and “amen”. We do not have to measure up. We are in Christ and He measures up.

Read the covenant and all its provisions and then shout “Hallelujah” and “Thank You, Lord Jesus”!

It is finished! It is completed! Thank You, Lord!

 

 

 

 

What Is the Opposite of Sinner

Most of my life I was taught that a “sinner” was someone who “sinned”, that is committed acts which were against God’s law or were evil. But through the scripture I came to God’s understanding of what a “sinner” is and what is the opposite of sinner.

In this article I shall share with you what the scripture says and what it clearly defines as a “sinner” and how you can be freed from such a designation.

Where did sin come from?

The original “sinner” was not a man. He was an angel. At one time he was the top angel in charge of praise and worship. His name was Lucifer. There came a time when Lucifer thought of himself more than he should and thought to dethrone the God of all creation. He handily defeated and cast down from his lofty position. Now, you understand that angels do not have the same privileges as God’s highest creation, mankind, because they were created as servants.

Psalm 103:20 (KJV)

20

Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto
the voice of his word.

Angels were created to serve God’s purpose. They were not given the choice of obeying or not. When Lucifer rebelled there could be no forgiveness. He never had the choice, whereas, man was given a choice. He could obey God and not eat of a certain tree and live, or he could disobey and choose death. God desired that the man love Him as much as He loved the man. Because God gave man the ability and right to choose He also loved him so much that when man chose to rebel and therefore brought the curse, God still loved him and provided a way that His highest creation could return to fellowship with Him. But just as man had chosen to not love God and rebel, he would have to love God and choose God’s way of restoration. God’s way of restoration was that He, through His only-begotten Son, would pay the price for Adam’s rebellion.
So, Lucifer became Satan and he seduced the woman and the man to sin. So what was their sin. The act was the eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree. Now they had eaten of many fruits from many trees, so why was this called sin? If we were to follow the logic of most “theologians”, then eating fruit from a tree would be sinning. After all that is what Adam and Eve did. I think you understand what I am getting at. It is not necessarily the “act” that determines sin but the motive.

The Covenant

Did you know that God made a covenant with man in the beginning? Here it is in Genesis 1.

Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV)

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and
let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,
and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that
creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God
created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male
and female created he them.
28 AndGod blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and
replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the
earth.

God had the right to lease the Earth to man. 1 Corinthians 10 says so.

1 Corinthians 10:26 (KJV)
For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.

So God made a covenant with Adam and his descendants that they would rule over the earth and have dominion over it and the only stipulation was that they could not eat of only one tree in the Garden of Eden. When they took of the fruit and ate of the forbidden tree they broke the covenant. They no longer had “right standing” with God in the covenant which He had established.

Now, the stipulation of the covenant that they should not eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree was not so that God could show His right to tell them what to do, but was a way of Adam and Eve to show how much they trusted and loved their Creator. When they chose to eat of that forbidden tree they were saying that they did not trust and revere God but rather trusted in their own intellect and senses and thereby exalting themselves above God’s revelation to them. When confronted with their rebellion they knew that they had broken the covenant and made excuse after excuse. God in His great mercy provided a covering for their nakedness. Death entered the creation. It first came as God made skins for the covering of their nakedness. Innocent animals died so that their skins might be used as a covering of Adam and Eve’s nakedness. This was a foreshadowing that an innocent One would one day die to pay the price for the sins of all who would receive Him.

Righteousness

I have asked many people what the term “righteous” means. The answers vary from “holy” to “being good” to “religious” and on and on. This is the definition of Biblical “righteousness”: it is “right standing in a covenant relationship.” That “right standing” means that all the conditions of the covenant are met from that party’s stand point. It is similar to, but much stronger than, a contract. A simple example would be: I agree to pay you $100 to mow my lawn five times this summer. I give you the $100 dollars. As long as you show up on a basis by which you will mow my lawn five times this summer, you remain in good standing in our contract, or covenant.

It was very evident that Adam broke the covenant with God when he did the thing which he was not supposed to do according to the covenant. He no longer had right standing in that covenant. Therefore all that was in the covenant was now null and void. He no longer had dominion over the earth. Now, the one who was supposed to have rulership and direction over the Earth had lost his right to exercise that authority and had yielded it to “the god of this world”, satan. For that reason a curse was pronounced on the Earth.

Sinners

What determines a “sinner”? One of the favorite verses of all Christians is found in Romans 3:23. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That verse is true, but is often misused. It is inserted as a clarifying point to establish that not only those who have the law but that all men whether under the law or apart from the law are concluded as having sinned. So what is sin?

Romans 3:20-26 (KJV)
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be
justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

21 But now the righteousness of God
without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his
grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a
propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the
remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his
righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth
in Jesus.

Here we see that sin is not necessarily an action but is the “state” of one who is not in “right standing in a covenant relationship” (righteous).
Let me share a few more scriptures which back this.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV)
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Crucifixion
Jesus Paid It All

 

1 John 3:4-10 (KJV)
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is
the transgression of the law.
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that
doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the
devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was
manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for
his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is
not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Notice again that sin is contrasted to righteousness, not necessarily actions.
1 Peter 1:22-23 (KJV)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through
the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one
another with a pure heart fervently:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Conclusion

The old adage that “We are all sinners”, “I am just a sinner saved by grace,” and “We sin every day”, are lies which do not line up with the scriptures. If I say I sin everyday then I contradict the word of God which says “that if I abide in Him I do not sin.” If I say I am a sinner I admit that I do not have right standing with God which 2 Corinthians 5:21 says I do have. There is no such thing as a “sinner saved by grace”. You are either a “sinner”(covenant breaker) or you are “saved by grace”. The fact that we are all born “sinners” does not mean that we “all stay sinners(not right standing)”.

If we are sinners how can we honor the scripture in Hebrews 4.

Hebrews 4:16 (KJV)

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and

find grace to help in time of need.

This scripture paints a picture of a young innocent child who comes running happily into his father’s lap. You cannot do that if you do not have right standing.

But, you may ask, “Don’t we mess up sometimes and sin?”

Let me ask you. Do you have children? I had two sons. If one of them had an accident, does that mean he is no longer my son? When they were young neither one of them could talk as well as I or walk or run as well as I. Did that mean that they were not my sons? I never once declared them “not my sons” because they could not do the things that I could. But as I loved them and nurtured them they came to the point that they did all the normal things that I did and many of the better. They did not arrive there by constantly deriding themselves for not measuring up. But they got there because they had parents who loved them.

We have a loving Heavenly Father Who loves us far more than any earthly parent. He has declared us “Righteous” if we are in Christ Jesus.

Acts 10:15 (KJV)

15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What

God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

God has declared that in Chist Jesus you are “Righteous”. Do not let any person call you a “sinner” anymore.

In Him is Light
The Light of Men

 

 

 

 

 

What Is the Difference Between Grace and Mercy?

What is the difference between grace and mercy? Aren’t they both the same? You may have asked these questions before. You probably got the stock answer that every preacher who went to seminary was taught. Grace is unmerited favor and mercy is more or less the same thing. But is that really all there is to it?

The need for mercy and grace

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That’s right. We have to go all the way back to the beginning to find out why there is a need for such things as mercy and grace. The Creator, Who is Yahweh, created the earth and the universe and all that is contained in them in six days. His penultimate creation was a being in His own image. He called him Adam. From Adam He took a rib and created Eve as Adam’s partner. (For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave only to his wife.) Everything that God created was declared “very good”.

What went wrong?

But it was not very long before another character appeared. He was a created being but had fallen into disfavor because he had instigated a revolt in the heavens. He had declared, “I will be like the most high.” His name was Lucifer. At one time he was the head angel in charge of the praise of the Creator. But pride brought forth rebellion in him. He was cast out of heaven and found his way to earth.
Seeing God’s highest creation, Adam, and the fact that God had breathed His breath of life into him, Lucifer became jealous and hatched a plan to subvert God’s plan. He was sneaky and subtle so instead of appearing to the man he went first to the woman and in the form of a serpent. Apparently at that time the serpent was not what we think of as a snake, though that is what he became.

Creation
Garden of Eden

The fall

Lucifer, in the body of the serpent, approached Eve instead of Adam. Now, he was very wiley in coming to her. He was aware that Adam and Eve had freedom to do what they wished in the garden where God had placed them to tend it. This freedom which they enjoyed was limited by only one provision. There were many trees in the Garden, called Eden, and they bore fruits of varying kinds. They were free to eat from all of them except one. That one was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God had said that if they ate of that tree they would die. Death was a hard thing for them to comprehend because there was nothing known of death at that time.

Lucifer, as I said, approached Eve, not Adam. He conversed with her about the Garden of Eden and the fruits of it. Eve told him of the one tree they could not eat from and what would be the outcome. Rather than calling God a liar, Lucifer just questioned whether Eve had heard God correctly. Then he turned her attention to the attributes of the fruit. He appealed to her senses. It was pleasant to look at. It should probably be tasty to eat. You can become like God. What is death any how? So she ate of the fruit and gave one to her husband, too.

Something changed. For some reason they felt a need to cover their body. Before, they were naked and innocent with no feeling of a need to be covered. But now, for some reason they needed to cover their body. So they took plant leaves and made coverings.

That same day, the Creator came calling in the garden. They were no where to be seen. Adam finally came out and admitted that they were hiding because they were naked. The Creator asked him, “Who told you you were naked?” ” Have you eaten of the forbidden tree?” Then the blame game began. “That woman that you gave me made me eat it.” Eve intones, “The serpent beguiled me and I ate it.” They had broken the covenant which they had with their Creator. For that they had to be cast out of The Garden of Eden, lest they should eat of The Tree of Life and live in their sin forever.

Mercy

That day mankind died, or as the Hebrew language says it, “in dying you will die.” (Does that sound a little like the second law of thermodynamics? I’ll explain that later.) Mankind, in Adam, would now be separated from his Creator and through cell degeneration would be steadily and assuredly dying. The Creator now establishes mercy. Instead of imposing the sentence immediately He by His own authority declares for all creation and for Lucifer to hear that He, The Creator, will provide One Who will pay the price for this “sin”(the breaking of the covenant) and all the sin that would ever be committed by mankind. But to show that a price must be paid The Creator sacrifices the life of an innocent animal (animals can not sin because they are not created in God’s image and therefore do not have the ability to choose to obey or not to obey). He takes the skin of the sacrifice and clothes the man and his wife. Death had now entered into creation because of sin. God showed mercy in that He delayed the final judgment for sin until His promised sacrifice would be paid by His only-begotten Son. To state it clearly, mercy is judgment delayed. It is not the same as grace.

In 2 Peter 3:9 the scripture defines it this way: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

So, to remind His highest creation that He was delaying that final judgment until His promised sacrifice would come and pay the ultimate price for mankind’s sin, He instituted a ritual of animal sacrifice in which an innocent creature was put to death symbolizing the death of the One Who would pay the total price for rebellion and sin.

Grace

How is grace contrasted to mercy? As I said earlier, grace and mercy are not the same. Mercy delays final judgment, looking forward to the time of total payment, whereas grace is a once and for all total application of a declaration being totally just and in perfect standing in a covenant relationship. Grace firmly cries out that the recipient is sinless and perfect before his Creator in every aspect. Who declares that? His Creator declares it.

Crucifixion
Jesus Paid It All
Jesus bearing his cross
I did this for you

Romans 8:1 says it this way in the New King James Version Bible, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” This is what grace does; it declares NOW, right now, not some future time in heaven, but right now the person who is in Christ Jesus is declared perfect. Grace does not put on a false humility by declaring “that we are all sinners”, because that would be the One Who paid the price for sin to contradict Himself in so saying. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:21 where Paul the apostle pens, “For He(God) made Him(Jesus) Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him.” That term “righteous” means “right standing in a covenant relationship”. We, who are in Christ Jesus have been restored to the Adamic relationship which existed in The Garden of Eden before the Fall.

Sin

The confusion comes because most do not understand how we are sinners in the first place. The false humility of declaring that we are all sinners comes because of the scripture in Romans 3:23 where Paul writes, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That is correct. We were all born “sinners” because we are descendants of Adam. You do not have to do one single act to be declared a sinner. All have to do is be born a human being. But do you have to remain a sinner? Not according to the scripture.

What brought about sin originally? It was the breaking of the covenant in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now, if in Christ Jesus we have been declared to be in right standing in this New and Better Covenant, for me to declare myself a sinner would be a slap in the face of my Lord Jesus Who Himself paid the terrible price that I might be declared righteous through faith in Him. Here is what it says in 1 John 3:

1 John 3:1-10 (KJV)

1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we

should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it

knew him not.

2 Beloved, now are we

the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that,

when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

3 And every man that hath this hope

in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the

law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

5

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in

him is no sin.

6 Whosoever abideth in

him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

7 Little children, let no man deceive

you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

8 He that committeth sin is of the

devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God

was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for

his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

10 In this the children of God are

manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is

not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Verse 6 says that whoever abides in Jesus does not sin. But it does not equate sin with actions but with “right standing in a covenant relationship”, righteousness.

Where does grace fit in. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the GIFT(GRACE) of God.” There was no way you could ever merit this right standing in this covenant so by entering in to Christ Jesus, Who did merit it, you get what Jesus received for you.

The only way you could become a sinner again is if you could undo the work which Jesus did for you, and all mankind, on the cross when He received the punishment due a covenant breaker so that you could receive the blessings of one who has right standing in a covenant with the Creator of the universe. To find the terms of the covenant, good and bad, all you have to do is check it out. All the good that Jesus purchased are written down so that there is no mistake as to what the terms are. I encourage you to read it for yourself. It is not so complicated as some lawyers would write it, but it is straight forward and easy to understand. (Do not let a theologian tell you what it says. They are indoctrinated to what other men say.)

Definition

Do not take my word for what grace means. The Holy Spirit(Who is Christ in You) will tell you precisely what it is, but I shall share with you what The Holy Spirit gave me to understand what grace is for me. He gave me this phrase: Grace is God’s eager willingness to do good for me.” The Holy Spirit did not tell me I had to beg God to do good for me or promise I would do something for Him if He would do good for me. That is not the God of the Bible. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me that God is so eager to bless me that all I have to do is take Him at His Word and it is done. That sounds like faith, and it is. But we shall address that in another blog

God bless you and may He open your eyes to His Word and His great love for you.

Hear this beautiful anthem, My Eternal King, by Jane Marshall.

 

Welcome

Amazing Grace
The Price is Paid

Welcome to Grace So Amazing.  Our whole aim here is to exalt the grace of our loving Creator Who gave His only begotten Son to pay the price of our rebellion against Him.  And because of the sacrifice of His Son, He has extended grace(the price for sin has been paid) to all who will receive it by faith.

Our goal is to plant the Word of God in your life so that you will have faith to receive that grace.