Marked by God

God is in the protection racket!

or

Sign, sealed, delivered, I’m yours! (Ephesians 2:12-14)

 

I said earlier that my God the Father made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I was offered salvation through the blood of Jesus and a joint heir as a son of the most high God. When I did many things happened to me. Among which was identification, ownership and above all, protection as part of the family of God. I didn’t know until later on into my Christian life, but God is in the protection racket.

 

With apologies to God the Father and the Mario Puzo, Jesus the Christ made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I mean how can one turn down an offer to get out of the squalid mess I was in as a human being, with nothing to offer God in exchange for my life. Then God sets me in alongside Him heavenly places (Eph 1:20; 2:6) , and gives me all of Christ’s riches. I didn’t know this growing up but, one of the most important benefits of being a righteous new creation, is that God identifies and protects what is His.( Eph 1:12-14) And, it’s been going on for centuries.

 

Identifying and protecting what is His started in the Garden of Eden and it is still going on today when a person gets saved. God does this through signs and sealings.

 

Most people do not understand that at salvation, you crossed into the dimension of the spirit world. Because we physically reside in the natural world, we can’t physically see the spiritual activity of angels or satan. We can see the results of that activity, but we really can’t physically see what takes place. Only through our saved spirit with the interaction of the Holy Spirit, our Helper, can we by faith see into that in the spirit world.

 

In that spirit world, we are marked and protected by a seal that comes from God the Father. Satan has to watch out! Ephesians 2:14

 
12to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 2:12-14 New American Standard)

 
12God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.13And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. (Ephesians 2:12-14 New Living Translation)

 

 

12That we may be unto the praise of his glory, we who before hoped Christ:13In whom you also, after you had heard the word of truth, (the gospel of your salvation;) in whom also believing, you were signed with the holy Spirit of promise,14Who is the pledge of our inheritance, unto the redemption of acquisition, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 12-14 Douay-Rheims Bible)

 

The word sealed in the NAS and identified in the NLT, the Douay Rheims calls it signed. All these describe your new life in Christ as part of His divine family.

 

The English word sealed is the Greek word “sphragizo” which has a root meaning of “to etch.” It is similar in character of meaning to a different word in Greek used to describe the mark of the beast in Revelation (chargma). Used here it has important several meanings to the Christian. It means to set a seal upon something, it means to attest to ownership, it means to authorize something and means to validate something. The common use is to place or afix a seal with a signet ring . Sealing in the ancient world served as a legal signature of guaranteeing the contents of what was sealed (Remember, the tomb of Christ was sealed). That’s straight out of Strong’s Concordance. For those who care about the sentence structure and syntax, it is a verb that is aorist, indicative passive. When something is passive, it plays no active role. It receives the action. That which is sealed has no active role in receiving or rejecting that action. Aorist tense means that it is a completed action with future results.

 
How long are these past completed action with future results good for? Ephesians 4:30 tells us that a Christian is sealed until the day of redemption by Jesus Christ.
Is this a shock to you? It shouldn’t be. Persons and property are identified and protected everyday. We have wedding rings, stickers, bar codes, laws and yes, even animals mark and protect what is theirs’. So why are you surprised to think that God wouldn’t take care of what is His?

 
If you remember in the blog about God’s Pecking order, I said that God The Father Provides, God The Son Procures it for us, and God the Holy Spirit applies it to our life. The Holy Spirit applies the covenant protection, ownership to us in the form of earnest money. (See also 2 Corinthians 5:5) Remember, the Doay-Rhiems Bible translates that the Holy Spirit is a signature. If you have ever bought a house, often times the buyer advances let’s say $1000.00 earnest money? That is a contractual agreement saying that the buyer is genuine about his desire to purchase this property and has the means to pass all the contractual escrow hoops and can afford the monthly payments. If they cannot, if they default or change their minds they loose their money. Black’s Law Dictionary (sixth ed.),has some interesting comments on earnest money. There is a Latin phrase about earnest money: Et cepit de praedicto Henrico tres denarios de Argento Dei prae manibus (“And he took it from the aforesaid Henry [sealed by a] silver three pence [piece] handed over [in the sight of] God”). Remember, too, silver is a sign of redemption under the Old Covenant. If God doesn’t redeem me, He forfeits the Holy Spirit. I have had preachers tell me that all that means is that the Holy Spirit is removed from me, but that doesn’t fit the circumstances. I am an inanimate object here according to the Greek text. I receive the seal and the Holy Spirit. Just as a house which is being bought can’t rescind the deal, I cannot. I’m just trying to keep it all in context here.

 

One of the major benefits of our sealing means protection. Satan cannot cross the blood line of Christ. God protects what is His, being the Good Shepherd He is. Let me give you an example.

 
One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”     (Acts 19:15 NIV)

 

Now here were Jews using the name of Jesus. They were trying to peddle the gospel for profit. They were casting out devils in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches. But here, these devils did not obey. And they commented they were well acquainted with Jesus and Paul, but not these people. Why, they were using the name of Jesus? They were probably legitimate Jews after the flesh. But the demons recognized nothing different about these men. These men were obviously not saved Christians using the name of Jesus. How did the evil spirits know? What would make these men stand apart like Paul and Jesus? I would be willing to bet that these men were not Christians.  If they were, the demons would have seen the seal (marked and signed) by the Holy Spirit of promise. The mark or seal would not visible in the natural world, but would be visible in the spirit world these demons reside in. The power and authority of Jesus was not recognized because these men were not marked by the Holy Spirit and because of that they authenticity as believers, power of the covenant and ownership of the what they were saying was in question.

Godatworkinyoubig
Let me give you two more examples of God’s protection and your identification from the Old Covenant. Genesis 4:15 tells us that God put a mark on Cain so that vengeful people would know not kill him. Now this is the guy who committed the first murder in the Bible. How much more is God going to protect you, the righteous child of God? This word for mark is transliterated “oth.” This is the same word that God uses for us for other “signs,” or marks in the heavens such as in the creation process the lights in the heavens to be for signs (Genesis 1:14), or with the rainbow (Genesis 9:12) and circumcision (Genesis 17:11). We get our word “oath” from it.

 

Also, prior to the Babylonian captivity, there were sign placed on the children of Israel as a group (Ezekiel 9:4). This is another interesting word for mark which is also used in Job 21:35. This is one of those Hebrew words that is hard to transliterate and will be the subject of another blog entry one of these days. The word in Hebrew is TAV, TAW or TAVAH, but for our purposes the short definition is frowardness, or perverse thing. In other words, God’s people in sin is a blemish on God and themselves, but they themselves and their property not to be touched. Those who cried out to God were saved. TAW is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and in ancient form was that of a cross or an “X”. Yes, a cross! This was known in the early church fathers as the mark of the TAV. It is from this that the idea developed of using the as a man’s signature. It meant “mark” and was easy for the unlearned to use. When I was a kid and played hide and seek, I used to hide and crossed my fingers so I would not be found. King’s “X!”

 

Jesus was marked and protected by God on a cross. The very last testament on this earth for the entire world to see was nailed on the cross along with my certificate of debt. He was marked as King of the Jews in three languages.

 

What does this mean for me today? I keep thinking of what Ephesians 1:5&6 in the KJV tells us about what God thinks of His people. He said that I, a sinner, at the moment of salvation was accepted in the Beloved to the praise of His glory! There so many people who hate themselves, have such low self-esteem, have no family or friends, who are very much insecure in this world especially if they are alone; that God has such good news for them that they are accepted unconditionally by Him in Christ. And then, He takes it a step further: He places His seal of protection and identification on those whom He loves and has accepted.

 

Have you accepted Him today the same way He has accepted you?

Righteousness is a State of Being

Understanding my New Standing With God                       (Romans 4:3,5:17)

OR

To Be or Not to Be – That is the Question                         (2 Corinthians 5:21)

To sum up some important points about being a new creation in Christ.

  • When you accept Christ as Lord and Saviour of your life, you are immediately a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • You new human spirit has been recreated righteous by the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • You are adopted immediately from the family of satan into the family of God. (Romans 8:15)

Do you understand that?

Those three steps were never put together for me growing up. I am a righteous new creation adopted into the family of God. That is a simple statement of who I now am in faith Christ. (See previous posts.)

Now that you have an idea where I am coming from, I want to explain righteousness from that point of view. Now understand this very clearly: the righteousness that counts with God is a state of being, not a state of doing. That may come to a shock to many, but that is a true statement. Compare the definitions of righteousness in the graphic below:

righteousness-without-god-as-the-basis

Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21 said you become the righteousness of God. Not do the righteousness of God. He said God made you, which means (correctly in Greek), to emerge. When you get saved, you emerge righteous. Righteousness is a state of being, just as unrighteousness for the unbeliever is a state of being. An unbeliever by nature is unrighteous. Why, because the unbeliever has a fallen nature. As a new creature, you have a new, re-created nature of God that is righteous. Follow my logic: if we tell an unbeliever that his righteous works do not make him or her righteous (and get them to heaven), then it follows that as a new creature, that my unrighteous works (sin) does not make me unrighteous (or loose my salvation). Why? The righteous works of the unbeliever cannot fundamentally change who he is spiritually. The unrighteous works that I do cannot change who I am in the spirit. If it does, then I have to go back and rethink what I have told unbelievers for many years. (Romans 3:20ff)

Why? Because only God can change my spirit being. I cannot change myself. I can ask for change as in asking for salvation, then God recreates me. But in and of myself, I cannot change the gift of salvation and neither can God (Romans 11:29). Righteousness is a state of being, not a state of doing. My righteous doing comes from my righteous being. Righteous or unrighteous acts are what the world sees and on the basis of that, people are considered righteous or unrighteous. But inwardly, righteous or unrighteous acts do not change who people fundamentally are, only God can do that.

DO, HAVE, BE – The Way the World Believes

If we consider someone righteous or unrighteous solely by their performance or they can change themselves, we are wrong. Let me give you another illustration from a secular humorist. He wrote that the world has the sequence of life reversed. We teach our children these principles: do something; to have something; to be somebody. DO, HAVE, BE.

In other words, DO something – go to college, marry the bosses’ daughter, etc; HAVE something – a good paying job, a big house, nice car; BE someone – a respectable member of society. We think, if I can just work more hours, the boss will notice me and I will be promoted.

OR (since this a political year)

Like in running for office: DO something – kiss more babies, lie, stuff the ballot box, etc; HAVE – more votes; BE somebody – the president, senator, and more power, etc. What happens when you fail all your performance tests? You look back and thing: “I didn’t do enough, wasn’t good enough, or the system is corrupt. Think about this. If we live our lives on the premise that we are always judged on our performance we will always be insecure and selfish. So many people commit suicide, commit crimes and have so much hate in their hearts because they have failed in being somebody. At church we think, If I stop DOING certain bad habit, or pray enough; then I will HAVE God’s favor, or more people will get saved; then I will BE blessed (or be a real Christian).

This is how many churches define whether or not you are righteous or worse yet, a Christian,based solely on your works. Yes, there must be outward signs of an inward change. (1 John 3:6) And don’t people misunderstand your standing, you are responsible for your sins and sins do have consequences. If you love God, you will want to do what is pleasing to Him. But, don’t let performance be the only judge or fool you into thinking that you are not saved.

“But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,” (Romans 4:5). Works do not save. Works do not keep you saved. There are other things that do. More on that later. My works are as filthy rags when it comes to counting for something in Christ. (Isaiah 64:6)

 

BE, HAVE, DO – The Way God Believes  

 

righteousness2) But what we should be teaching our children is just the reverse of what the world teaches: BE, HAVE, DO. We should teach our children that they are someone already, then have something to do something with. I don’t have to do anything else but breath to be the son of my dad who loves me.

We used to say in the Army BE, KNOW, DO. BE a soldier, KNOW what a soldier is supposed to know, then DO it! I think you can say that about a Christian, Be a Christian (righteous and loved), Know what a Christian is supposed to know (the Bible, your giftings) and Do what God has equipped you to do. Now, if you fail, act unrighteously, or the devil beats you up about something, don’t panic, know you have a firm foundation of love and acceptance that allows you to try again.

Let’s go back and review our key text, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.  He made us new creations, that’s BEING; we are righteous, that’s a HAVE; and He has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that’s a DO.

What then do I have to do to continue to be adopted as a son of God? (See previous posts.) Nothing. I just have to BE His son, HAVE (or KNOW) what I need for my destiny and DO what He would expect His son would do. Sound like I am becoming like Jesus which is the point of a Christian life.
As children of God, our BEING is in Christ.  For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’(Acts 17:28 New Living Translation) We are righteous, loved and provided for in Jesus. We HAVE a plan of God for us already. Then need to find out what we need to DO to fulfill that destiny that God has for us already.

You see, satan doesn’t know what to do with someone who is righteous by nature. This is one reason why we are Kainos Ktsisis, a new creature never seen before! All the other creatures that satan deals with are those who are trying to be righteous by doing. Satan’s nature is inherently evil, so was yours before you were saved.

Righteousness is something we receive because we believe (Romans 4:3-5). If we do expecting that makes us righteous and acceptable to God, then we have missed the point of what faith is. We do our best, and God makes up the difference. (2 Timothy 2:13). To be or not to be, that is the question!

 

Living as an Adopted Son of God

What it Means to be Adopted into the Family of God (Romans 8:15-17)

or

How my God Father Made Me an Offer I Couldn’t Refuse
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

For he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. (Romans 3:26, New Living Translation)

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father! (Romans 8:15)
Adoption is how we access the rights and privileges of the New Covenant (the Kainos or Christ Covenant, see previous posts). When we accept the Lord Jesus the Christ as our personal savior, we become part of the heavenly family. When we do this, we are then entitled to certain rights and responsibilities as citizens of heaven. We need to understand a little about our new relationship if we are going to understand some more about being a new righteous creation.

When the Lord Jesus the Christ talked to the Jews, He talked to them about being His children through birth. To be a Jew, you had to be physically born a Jew from Jewish stock. This is why the Old Testament and the Gospels were concerned with genealogies. The rabbis were concerned about lineage. (Father God was concerned about this too, as the messiah had to come from both the house and the lineage of David. More about this later in the fall.) This is what Nicodemus was asking in John 3:4 about being born again. But when the Gentiles as a “race” was worldwide able to be part of the family of God at the Resurrection, Jesus talked about them as “adopted.” As Jesus talked to Nicodemus some more, He wasn’t talking about natural birth. (John 3:5-7)

(Whether you are a naturally born Jew or a Gentile, you must be born again from above. Dear reader, have you made that decision?)

God’s problem was how He could be consistent to offer salvation to the entire world if the only people who could be saved because of their birth were the Jews? The answer: adoption.

redeemed_righteous_in_christ_zpse4287f36When Paul spoke of adoption, he was using a metaphor of an established Roman procedure that everyone knew. In the 21st century, we only understand it in part. But it had profound implications for allowing complete access to the riches of God’s family. I’m going to use to some technical terms here, but don’t freak out. For further study on Roman life see F. Lyall, ‘Roman Law in the Writings of Paul: Adoption’, Journal of Biblical Literature 88 (1969), 45(K)8.

Christians need to understand that the Roman adoption is a type and shadow of how we are removed from satan’s family and placed in the family of God. You and I were taken out of our previous state and placed in a new relationship of son and daughter to a new “paterfamilias”. Old debts were canceled, and you and I started a new life as part of a new family. From that time on the “paterfamilias” had the same control over his new “child” as he had over his natural offspring.  Literally, “paterfamilias” means the “Father’s Household or Head of the House.”

Roman adoption was always rendered more serious and more difficult by the Roman patria potestas. The patria potestas was the father’s power over his family; that power was absolute. Fathers had the absolute power of control, and in the early days the power of life and death. A Roman son never came of age. No matter how old he was, he was still under the patria potestas, an absolute possession, and under the absolute control, of his father. Obviously this made adoption into another family very difficult and a very serious step.
In adoption a person had to pass from one patria potestas to another. He had to pass out of the possession and control of one father into the equally absolute control and possession of another. There were two steps.  The first was known as “mancipatio,” and it was carried out by a symbolic sale, in which copper and scales were symbolically used. Three times the symbolism of sale was carried out. Twice the father symbolically sold his son, and twice he bought him back; and the third time he did not buy him back and thus the “patria potestas” was held to be broken.
After the sale there followed a ceremony called “vindicatio.” The adopting father went to the praetor, one of the Roman magistrates, and presented a legal case for the transference of the person to be adopted into his “patria potestas.” When all this was completed the adoption was complete. Clearly this was a serious and impressive step.

But it is the consequences of adoption which are most significant for the picture that is in Paul’s mind. There were four main consequences.
1. The adopted person lost all rights to his old family, and gained all the rights of a fully legitimate son in his new family. In the most literal sense, and in the most legally binding way, he got a new father.
2. It followed that he became heir to his new father’s estate. Even if other sons were afterwards born, who were real blood relations, it did not affect his rights. He was inalienably co-heir with them.
3. In law, the old life of the adopted person was completely wiped out. For instance, legally all debts were canceled; they were wiped out as though they had never been. The adopted person was regarded as a new person entering into a new life with which the past had nothing to do.
4. In the eyes of the law the adopted person was literally and absolutely the son of the new father. The adopted son acquired the right of succession and he could not be disinherited.

 

In Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory’ (Eph. 1:13,14).

W. E. Ball translates the latter part of the passage: ‘Until the ransoming accomplished by the act of taking possession (of the inheritance)’:

‘When a slave was appointed heir, although expressly emancipated by the will which gave him the inheritance, his freedom commenced not upon the making of the will, nor even immediately upon the death of the testator, but from the moment when he took certain legal steps, which were described as “entering upon the inheritance”. This is “the ransoming accomplished by act of taking possession”. In the last words of the passage – “to the praise of His glory”, there is an allusion to a well-known Roman custom. The emancipated slaves who attended the funeral of their emancipator were the praise of his glory. Testamentary emancipation was so fashionable a form of posthumous ostentation, the desire to be followed to the grave by a crowd of freedmen wearing the “cap of liberty” was so strong, that very shortly before the time when St. Paul wrote, the legislature had expressly limited the number of slaves that an owner might manumit by will’.

The word slave (doulos) is mentioned some 130 times in the New Testament.  In Romans chapter 8 and again in Galatians 3:13 and 4:5, God purchases us out of the slave market and removed from further sale.  The Greek word for purchase is: exagorazo: To purchase out of the market.  God purchases us out of the hands of slave master from whom we cannot escape into the hands of another master from whom we cannot escape (John 10:28.) Who would want to?
I know the foregoing was pretty technical, but I want to make the point that our adoption as children of God is a well thought out process by and should not be taken lightly. Secondly, the Jews and Gentiles at the time of Paul fully understood this phrasing because it was settled Roman law. Thirdly, I don’t know how more clearly God could demonstrate to you your new standing with Him is one of joint heir and not subjugation.
I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent in prayer before the altars of various churches, fasting, wailing, begging God to answer a prayer hoping  He was in a good mood and my recent actions pleased Him. What I should have done was approached Him as a covenant adopted son and cut to the chase. I would have gotten prayers answered sooner.
I’m going to talked about the effects of a righteous God answering the prayers of His righteous children in the next installment.

 

 

 

 

 

The Christ Covenant

How I Maintain Righteousness (Ephesians 2:15)

or

The Spiritual Pecking Order ( John 14:26)

Another thing my first pastor did not know to tell me was the fact there is a the pecking order – a spiritual hierarchy – in heaven, and where I fit in as a believer. As I began to investigate my new life in Christ, I found others had never made this simple connection. Once I did, so many things began to fit in.

The next several blogs will deal with how things work together. A lot of people know certain aspects of their salvation, but do not know how things work together. That’s part of systematic theology which we don’t get much in church. It’s not hard. It all starts with knowing that you are a righteous new creation.

As I said before, I didn’t know that as a new creature, I was made righteous. Put another way, I was made righteous through my confession of faith in Jesus Christ, God the father recreated my spirit. I don’t have to rely on grace and mercy but righteousness. Grace and mercy are the mechanisms that bring you to salvation. But, righteousness is what keeps you saved and in covenant with God through Jesus. (1Peter 1:23) I know that is a shock to many people. God does things through you because He is a righteous God with a moral responsibility to do what he says for His family, not on the basis of grace or mercy, but because of your position in the family.

How do I keep being righteous even though in flesh I sin? This is where the spiritual pecking order comes into play.

The Spiritual Pecking Order:

God the Father Provides

God the Son Procures

God the Holy Spirit Applies

God in Me, Administrates

This is an important link in your understanding how righteousness works in heaven. The only reason I get a chance to share in this pecking order is my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the nature of this relationship that allows me access to what the Father provides?

God the Father and God the Son are directly in new “kainos” covenant together, not you. You are not fundamentally eligible to be in covenant with God the Father. You, as a gentile or Jew, are strangers and aliens from God. (Eph 2:19) But, through the blood of Jesus, you are partakers of the new covenant indirectly through your faith in Jesus Christ the Lord. Think about that for a minute!!

That means you are not in direct covenant with God. You are in covenant indirectly because of what Jesus the Christ did on the cross, just like everything else He does. Think about this: when you pray, why do you pray in the name of Jesus? Because He gets it for you from His Father, because of your covenant relationship with His Father and with you. He is the mediator of a better covenant: one you cannot break because He cannot break it. Don’t believe me? Let me ask you these questions?

Who did God make the Adamic covenant with? (Genesis 1:28-30)

Who did God make the Noahic covenant with? (Genesis 6:18)

Who did God make the Abrahamic covenant with? (Genesis 12:3)

Who did God make the Mosaic covenant with? (Exodus 19-24)

Who did God make the Davidic covenant with? (2 Samuel 7:11-17)

Who did God make the “New” Covenant with? (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:8)

Old-Testament-Covenants1
The Evidence for a Covenant with Christ

If you answered Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the Lord Jesus Christ you are right. The only way that any human benefits from these covenants is indirectly through these men. Most people do not understand the “old” covenant was “cut” between God and Moses and mediated (administered) by the high priest. If you remember back in Exodus, they were afraid of God and disobedient. Likewise, so am I ineligible.


The Bible does not directly use the word 
covenant in describing the relation between God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet once we have become familiar with the features of a covenant, it becomes clear that such a covenant exists.

1. The Abrahamic and Davidic covenants were promises made, not just to Abraham and David, but to Abraham and David’s Seed. We have already seen that the Seed refers to Christ (Gal. 3:16). This means, then, that here we have a covenantal promise made to Jesus Christ. In Galatians 3:15-19 Paul not only uses the words promise and covenant as synonyms, but he clearly says that God’s promise was made to Jesus Christ (see verses. 16, 19).

2. Christ was the second Adam (Rom. 5:12-19). As such, He stood in Adam’s place to be the covenantal Head and Representative of the human race.

3. Christ’s repeated statements that He was sent of the Father for an assigned task and that He Himself was fulfilling a predetermined obligation and trust signify a covenant between the Father and the Son (John 6:38, 39; 10:18:17:4).

4. The Father made promises to Christ in respect to Himself and His people (John 5:30, 43; 6:3840; 17:4-12). The Son claimed a reward for the task He had faithfully executed (John 17).

5. In Luke 22:29 Jesus says, “. . . I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me. The verb appointed is diatithemai, which means to appoint by will or covenant. This is covenantal language.

6. Christ addresses His Father as “My God” (Ps. 22:1, 2; 40:8; etc.), which implies covenantal relationship.

Christ was appointed to the office of Redeemer from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). The covenant of redemption was set up from eternity (Rom. 16:25). In the councils of heaven the Father and the Son covenanted together that Christ should redeem the sinner by taking his place and fulfilling his obligations. Redemptive love therefore preceded creative love. God’s love carefully planned man’s future and made provision for every emergency. The salvation of the human race has ever been the object of the councils of heaven. The covenant of redeeming mercy existed from all eternity. So surely as there never was a time when God was not, so surely was there never a moment when it was not the delight of the eternal mind to manifest His grace to humanity.

Although the covenant was made from eternity, it could not be ratified and sealed until Christ had fulfilled all that He covenanted to do. When he cried, “It is finished!” He addressed His Father. The compact was now fully consummated. Christ had fulfilled the pledge which He had made. He had paid the price of man’s redemption.

In resurrecting Christ from the dead, exalting and glorifying Him at His own right hand, and giving Him the gift of the Spirit for the church, the Father fulfilled His covenant promises. He will consummate them when all the redeemed are with Christ in the earth made new (John 17; Rev. 21 & 22).

In God’s eternal purpose He arranged that His fellowship with man would be based on a more enduring foundation than the stability of creature-righteousness. It is said, for instance, that any partnership or marriage is no stronger than the weakest partner, just as no chain is stronger than its weakest link. But God based His fellowship with man on the surety of Jesus Christ. On the event of man’s failure to render perfect righteousness in his relationship to God, Christ would stand Guarantor for man — that is to say, He would undertake to fulfill man’s responsibilities in such a way that the perfect God-man relationship would endure for eternity.

God’s eternal covenant with Christ was the reason why God could keep renewing His covenant with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israel, David and the Christian church. Otherwise the righteous God could no longer have continued His association with the sinful man. Back of every pact which God made with the human family and underpinning every covenant, was God’s covenant with Jesus Christ. For this reason Old Testament history moved irresistibly forward to its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Time and time again divine wrath was suspended only because it was put to the account of Jesus Christ, who in due time would pay all covenant debts at the bar of eternal justice.

Think about this: if God made a covenant directly with you and me we’d break it because we are humans. That would mean that God would loose His creation again. But, if He made it with a God-Man, it would be unbreakable and He would have fellowship with His creation again – forever!

This is why we should celebrate the Lord’s Supper so that we keep reminding ourselves and showing forth the covenant in His blood, this is why we plead the blood (covenant) of Jesus over ourselves and situations in our life, this is why we pray in the name of Jesus, our covenant brother.

The fact the Lord Jesus Christ perfectly keeps the “kainos” covenant for me is major revelation to the church member who is fighting to keep the covenant under his or her own power. This is the most important relationship in the pecking order in heaven. We need to get this part right so that the other parts fall into place. So then what is our part? Our part is being an adopted child of God, heir to the riches of heaven. What does it mean then to be an adopted child of God?

More on the next post.

Things My First Pastor Didn’t Know to Tell Me (John 16:12)

Basic Christianity 101

or

Why I am a New Creation In Christ

“For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (Phillips Modern English)

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. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (King James Version)

One reason why I never sustained growth as a new Christians or even as a veteran Christian, is that I never knew I was radically changed at salvation. My pastor never told me why I was different. It’s like the 1969 Mets going from worst to first to win the World Series. Lou’s world just reversed itself and I didn’t know it. I didn’t see it or feel it because it was a spiritual change that occurred over and against spiritual darkness and the natural world. I had a spiritual change, but my body and soul didn’t know it yet. Maybe like you, I felt like the old me when we get up from the altar. Life often seemed the same. But, I are now a righteous being different from the world around me. I was a new righteous creation.

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You see, the modern church is not pagan enough to understand how radically different Christianity is today and was in New Testament times.  It is hard to believe that in for centuries even after Christ, pagan priests sacrificed human beings, slaughtered animals, ingested or smoked drugs, ordered the murder of non-believers or engaged in ritualistic sex in full view of those assembled.  Today Christians all denominations have essentially civilized the Gospel to a set of guidelines, rules, dogmas, rituals, graphs, pie charts and self-help books Paul, and the other founders, therefore had no standard operating procedures to go by.  Christianity was so different, it was hard to describe in koine Greek because they had nothing to compare it to.  

I had nothing to compare it to either because in my life, living among both unbelievers, and believers, I could see no difference. I believed nothing actually happened mentally, spiritually, or physically when I got saved.  I thought for years that things just happened on my behalf because I believed in Jesus and did righteous acts.  I didn’t understand that something really did happen to me in the spirit: I was made righteous.   Therefore, clichés and quotes became the staple of my theology of salvation because I never understood that I was a spirit that inhabits a body that possesses a soul. The spirit part of me is a valid part of me just as my right arm is. I used the describe my salvation experience as Jesus came to live in my heart, born again, or even hold up John 3:16 signs at football games.  I thought my relationship was more contractual than conversional because I knew that a holy God was not going to have anything to do with a sinner like me unless I acted right.  When I got “saved,” I thought basically I was making a mental agreement with God.  I thought that if I continued to actively believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, came to church regularly give, and acted right, and repented every time I did something wrong, God would bless me and insure that heaven was reasonably in my future.  Even though I felt detached from God, I was never taught that God was never detached from me.   After years of study I learned that I was truly a new creation because certain irreversible things happened to my spirit, soul and body at salvation.  I didn’t know that I was a righteously re-created person.

Your spirit, soul and body is affected – irreversibly – at the moment of salvation changing you into a new creation – kainos ktisis.  This goal of this change is to transform you into the image of the Christ.  Some of us are changed kicking and screaming and some of us are changed with great relief by the Holy Spirit in right in front of our peers and satan.   When we are saved, our spirits, souls and bodies immediately experienced the power of God’s saving grace in many areas that transcend our earthly senses.  We immediately do actually become new creatures.  Not new in the sense of an updated you, but something totally unseen before in the history of mankind.  At the instant of salvation, you are now a person untouchable by satan, and now totally acceptable to God.  You are so unique that satan doesn’t know what to do with you and because of your new standing with God, you really don’t know what to do with yourself. 

In one short six letter word, Paul sums up the very nature of the born again, blood washed Christian: kainos. Not new in terms of the next generation computer chip, or car or the latest clothing, but never been seen before in the history of the universe.  When the Hebrews in the wilderness saw manna for the first time, they exclaimed “what is it?”  That is what the devil says each time a person is saved.   

There are two Greek words – kainos and neos –  translated in the New Testament by the word “new.” Kainos is new in kind, or quality and in contrast to what previously existed; in other words, taking the place of something. In that sense kainos looks backward, while its synonym neos looks forward. Kainos is equivalent to “not yet having been”; neos is “not having long been.” Neos looks at the thing in chronological terms, kainos looks at the thing itself in the sense of novelty.  Paul is telling us salvation has remade us into something that has never been seen before in the history of time.  Since we still live in the same skin, that is confusing because most of the time, at salvation, we really don’t feel any different.  But something did happen to you.  You do not bear the same relationship that you had with your old self, with others and with God.  You are not the same person because God is getting you ready for something special.  He can’t use the old you.    

Kainos and neos both occur in Matt. 9:17 and Luke 5:38.  Jesus is trying to explain his extraordinary ministry where saints and sinners eat together, and no one fasts.  Jesus likens this revolutionary way of life to wine and wine skins. He illustrates that people don’t place new (neos) wine is put into old wineskins because when the new (neos) wine ferments, and grows, the new wine will split the old wineskins.  Consequently, new (neos) wine is placed in new (kainos) skins so both are “preserved,” but most importantly, is useful. God’s new (kainos) work is so revolutionary and dynamic, that God needs a new (kainos) you in which to place it in.   Likewise, in Luke 5:36, a new piece of cloth (kainos) cannot be sewn on an old garment because it will tear away.  This is an illustration of mixing grace and the law.  God could not transform the current system with a few more laws or a few less laws.  He needed something entirely different and that is where you come in.  To carry that good news to the world, he needed a new you with a new message.  You now house the new wine of the holy spirit and have a new mission in life.  Not only has your relationship changed, but now God wants to do something revolutionary in you.  He is getting you ready for the new (kainos) covenant.   

The new (kainos) covenant is the most revolutionary idea ever conceived by God because it your new relationship with Him and the world is now defined by it.   It cannot be sewn onto old garments and it cannot be contained in old wineskins.  God needed a new creature that was a new container for the new covenant.   Even the human numbering system heralds the centerpiece of the new relationship of the new creature with God.  Eight, traditionally, is the number of new beginnings.  A baby is circumcised on the eighth day, there are seven days (completion) in a week and day eight starts a new week.  The new (kainos)  covenant is chapter eight, verse eight of Hebrews.  

Because you are under the new (kainos) covenant, you are now under new (neos) authority with a new (neos) mission; new (kainos) things are coming to us.  There is something more we will discuss later, we are now righteous. That means now, we have the right to certain benefits of heaven. Right means we are entitled to them because we qualify for it automatically. We do not have to rely on misconceptions of grace, mercy and begging. Like voting, all we have to do is go to the polls because we are citizens. God is now righteous in healing you because you are now a righteous person, now righteous in prosperity because you are now righteous person, righteous in protecting you because you are a righteous person. It is not by grace, or mercy. Mercy and grace is for the unrighteous.

I will discuss all these in the next few months.   You will never have a doubt about your salvation, you will understand why worship is so important, and understand the platform that God works through by the power of the Holy Spirit on earth.   By your new-found righteousness makes all this possible.

This basic Christianity 101.