Monday, November 28, 2011

God’s Covenants With Man—Part 1

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Taken Captive

There once was a time and place where everyone was perfect. Everything was very good. And in this land called Eden, Adam and Eve lived. And they would have lived happily ever after, if they had not eaten the forbidden fruit.

This story is about what happened because they distrusted God, disbelieved His Word, and broke His law.

By doing this, they brought the death-sentence upon themselves: “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. . . . The wages of sin is death.” Genesis 2:17, Romans 6:23.

By this rebellion they became subjects of the devil, the prince of this world—controlled by his evil will. Having fallen, it was impossible for them to resist his power. Satan

held them captive and “opened not the house of his prisoners.” Isaiah 14:17.

To be a helpless captive of the devil, possessed and controlled his power, was a terrible plight. God looked down on the world He had created, and His heart of love went out to His children.

A plan was made to save man from the power of the devil—to deliver them from sin. God specially interposed to “bind the strong man” Satan. He proclaimed “liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Mathew 12:29, Luke 11:21-22, Isaiah 61:1.

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

God gave His Promise to Adam and Eve: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15.

Everlasting Covenant

This was the first time God spoke the Everlasting Covenant to man—He promised the Seed—the Savior to come.

God had pledged His Word. An official “covenant” or contract should not have been necessary. God’s promise, His Word, was immutable—unchangeable. Had man simply believed God’s promise and stayed true to Him, we would never have needed a covenant, for God’s Word given in Eden was sure!

But God stooped to guarantee that He would save us, and He did it in the way that was common with men who wanted to pledge themselves to do something: He made a covenant.

New Covenant

This covenant that God would send the Promised Seed—His Son—to redeem man from sin—is known by three different terms:

  • The Abrahamic Covenant (in theological literature)
  • The Everlasting Covenant (14 times the Bible)
  • and the New Covenant (10 times in the Bible)

These all refer to the exact same Covenant—the one we commonly refer to today as the “New Covenant”.

Even though sacrifices were instituted shortly after man fell (Genesis 4), God never changed His plan for delivering man from sin, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. These sacrifices were simply to vividly impress man with the reality that Jesus would come as our Sacrifice.

From the time of the fall, man has only been saved by this Promised Seed—by the life and death of Christ, under the New/Everlasting Covenant. Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8.)

God renewed the New/Everlasting Covenant with Abraham:

“I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an Everlasting Covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Genesis 17:7)

And going even further, He sealed it with His oath:

“By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD . . . That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed . . . and in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 22:16-18.)

“That by two immutable things [God’s Word, and His Oath], in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation.” (Hebrews 6:16-18).

Most importantly this is still our covenant today: “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie . . . we might lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” (Hebrews 6:18-19)

God made this covenant with man—dealing with us in human terms and in human ways—to give us 100% assurance that He would do what He had said!

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)

(To be continued…)

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