Don’t put me back under the old covenant

Friday, October 30th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:6-13

A covenant is an agreement between two parties whereby the two parties agree to do or not do something. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with the Israelites. He promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, and they promised to do all that He commanded. He promised to be their God, and they promised to have no other gods before Him.

In the New Testament, as mentioned in Hebrews 8:6, we see a new convenant. It is described as a better covenant established upon better promises. It also has a better mediator. In the old covenant, the mediator was the high priest. In the new covenant, it is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The new covenant’s promises are better than the old. Let us look at how these better promises are described.

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:2-4

God has given us, the partakers of the new covenant, all things that pertain unto life and godliness. These promises are exceeding great and precious. These better promises allow us to be partakers of the divine nature and allow us to escape the lust that causes the corruption in the world. We inherit these promises through faith and patience (Hebrews 6:12).

If the new covenant promises are better than the old, and the way to enter into the new covenant is better than the old (faith in the new, works in the old), why would anyone want to go to the old covenant to claim its promises? The people of Israel demonstrated time and time again that they were unable to live up to their side of the covenant. They were never able to do all that God commanded them. They fell short. We are no better than the Israelites. We cannot do all that God commands us. We fall short. How can you tell me to claim an old covenant promise when I cannot fulfill the requirements to obtain that promise? Why would I even want to when the new covenant promises are better and available to me through faith?

The new covenant is better in every way than the old. Don’t point people to the old covenant promises. We cannot do what is required. Pointing people to the old is laying burdens on people that are too great to bear. Pointing people to the old only will produce Pharisees (who think they are fulfilling the requirements) or will cause people to give up because of the great weight.

Look unto Jesus, the mediator of a better covenant established upon better promises. In Christ we have all the promises of God. There is no mercy and forgiveness in the old, but we have mercy and forgiveness in the new (Hebrews 8:12).

Out with the old; in with the new.

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by gahammerle

What is your ending?

Monday, October 26th, 2009 at 7:40 pm

In Luke 15, we read three parables that the Lord Jesus Christ told: the parable of the hundred sheep, the parable of the ten pieces of silver, and the parable of the prodigal son. All three were told as part of a lesson he was teaching. There is a progression in the endings. Let us first look at how each parable ends.

The Parable of the Hundred Sheep

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Luke 15:7

The Parable of the Ten Pieces of Silver

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. Luke 15:31-32

First, notice there is a progression from 100 to 10 to 2. Also, notice the following progression: in the first, the sinner who repents and the just which don’t need repentance; in the second, only the sinner who repents; in the third, there really isn’t an ending. Jesus did not give an ending to the parable of the prodigal son. He left it open.

The progression of the endings of these three parables draws the focus of the self-righteous Pharisees to their need of repentance. First, Jesus gives a larger group and mentions there are sinners and just people. Then, he narrows the focus to a smaller group, and in the ending, only mentions the sinner who repents. And in the third, Jesus doesn’t finish the story. The progression narrows the focus from 100 to 10 to 2, from sinners and just to only sinners to letting the Pharisees decide which they are. He is giving the Pharisees – those who think they are just and don’t need to repent – an opportunity to repent. He is giving them a call to repentance. Even though the older brother, who the Lord uses to represent the Pharisees, is always working for his father, his heart is far from the father. He demonstrates this by complaining how his father never gave him anything that he could take and celebrate with his friends. He doesn’t want to celebrate with his father. He wants to go off and do his own thing. Just like this older brother, the Pharisees’ hearts are far from God. They need to repent. Their story has not ended.

What is the ending of your story? God has called all men everywhere to repent and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. God demands perfection and your heart. Have you been perfect? Compare your life to God’s standard in the Ten Commandments. Does God have your heart? Because you could not be perfect, Jesus lived a perfect life and suffered for your sins. He faced God’s wrath for your sins. He died, was buried, and rose again, triumphing over death. He is coming again to take those that are his to life everlasting. He will send those who are not his to eternal torments.

What is your ending? Repent, and believe the gospel.

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by gahammerle

Ten and Win

Friday, October 16th, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Check out TenAndWin.com. If you can name the Ten Commandments in order in under 20 seconds, you might win $20,000.

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by gahammerle

The Craft of Dishonest Quotation

Monday, October 5th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Years ago, Gail Riplinger wrote a book, New Age Bible Versions, to discredit modern translations as products of the New Age movement. I read the book, and now am ashamed to admit that I believed a lot of what she wrote. However, more discerning readers have documented how she misued quotations to prove her points. Below are links to a series of blog posts that demonstrate how Riplinger twisted and even manufactured quotes to prop up her points.

  1. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation 1
  2. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation 2
  3. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation 3
  4. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation 4
  5. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation 5
  6. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation 6
  7. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation 7
  8. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation 8
  9. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation 9
  10. The Craft of Dishonest Quotation – Conclusion

Riplinger also claimed that Westcott was an occultist. The blogger from the above links also answered the question Was Brooke Foss Westcott an Occultist?

Just because someone writes a book and sells lots of copies does not mean it is true. We (including me) need to be more discerning when we read a book – especially a book that is meant to prove something you already believe. The extent to which Riplinger went in misquoting cannot be dismissed as carelessness. It is dishonest.

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by gahammerle

Our job

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 5:37 pm

We have one job – faithfulness. It is God’s job to bring results! William P. Farley, Gospel-Powered Parenting, p. 19

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by gahammerle

The Lambs of Hephzibah House: Silence Protects No One

Friday, September 18th, 2009 at 9:16 am

A recent series of podcasts, The Lambs of Hephzibah House, has been released that needs to be shared far and wide. These podcasts detail abuse received by teenage girls at a girls’ home in Indiana. You should listen to these and then pass them on. This home needs to be shut down so the abuse will end.

The podcast consists of 5 episodes, each about 15 minutes in length. Here are links to the individual episodes:

  1. Episode 1 – Background and Initiation
  2. Episode 2 – Breaking the Will of a Daughter of God
  3. Episode 3 – Labor and Food
  4. Episode 4 – A Policy and Culture of Humiliating Children
  5. Episode 5 – Triumphs

Silence protects no one.

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by gahammerle

The house of God

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Many times, we misuse Old Testament terms. One of those is the “house of God.” Many people call the building where believers meet the house of God. But what does the Bible say about the house of God?

Judgment begins at the house of God which Peter goes on to explain is us, the believers.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

Paul says the church is the house of God and we know that the church is the people, not the building.

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15

Paul & Peter both describe the believers as God’s building.

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:9

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

The believers, the people, are the house of God. God dwells in us. His house is not built with hands. The house of God is not made of bricks and wood. We are God’s house.

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by gahammerle

Clinging to the promise

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 at 11:24 pm

God swore by himself-for there is nothing else by which he can swear-that what he had promised to Abraham would come about. Paradoxically, it is because Abraham was willing to put the promise on the line and risk losing it, that the promise was renewed. Had he clung to the promise in an idolatrous fashion, choosing the promise of God over the God of the promise, the promise itself would apparently have been placed in jeopardy. As Jesus put it, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:25). God can have no rivals for our affection, not even the good gifts and blessings he has given to us.Iain M. Duguid
Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality p. 136

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by gahammerle

The Answer to Sin

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Because so many of our sins flow from a basic doubting of God’s goodness to us, trying harder and beating ourselves whenever we fail often doesn’t change our pattern of behavior. For it doesn’t deal with the root problem, the big sin behind the surface sins: our failure to believe that God is really good. In fact, the more pharisaical we get in our approach to life, the more we become convinced that God isn’t really good. How could God really want the best for us, and then load us down with all these rules and regulations?

The real answer to sin is the gospel. It is remarkably straightforward. You need to look at Jesus on the cross and focus on the exchange that was transacted there. My sins were loaded on him, while his perfect righteousness was given to me. When I set that reality clearly before my eyes and understand it in my heart, how can I doubt that God is good? The road to joy-filled obedience begins when this great truth dawns on us: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Rom. 8:32).Iain M. Duguid
Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality, page 116

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by gahammerle

The Old and New Testaments

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

The New Testament is in the Old concealed;
the Old Testament is in the New revealed. Augustine

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by gahammerle