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Hot Topic Discussions

Hot Topic Discussions

Current Events Discussed through a Biblical World View

 
Dr. Jim has liked a Page 3 months ago

Romans Chapter One - The Abandonment Judgement

A few years back, about the time the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages in...
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The Essence of Covenant

Recently, I participated in a conversion about divorce in the church. While many attribute marital difficulties to...
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The Essence of CovenantRecently, I participated in a conversion about divorce in the church. While many attribute marital difficulties to communication or the lack thereof, I was of the opinion that a failure to understand the essence of covenant was at the heart of divorce.Covenant is word we often find when studying the Bible or discussing biblical theology. We may reference the new covenant or the old covenant. We may talk about the covenant between God and Abraham or God and 	Moses. We refer to the New Testament as being under the new covenant, but what exactly is a covenant and 	what does it mean to you in this modern age?The first thing to understand about covenant is that it was created by God to be holy. It is not to be taken lightly and should only be entered into with the full understanding of its sacred requirements.God holds the sanctity of covenant above nearly all other things. It is covenant that is at the center of our salvation through Christ. It is covenant that defines Christ’s death on the cross. It is the fulfillment of covenant that has redeemed mankind and brought him back to his creator.The English language fails us in many ways when we use it to understand scriptures. Our understanding of covenant is a good example. In Hebrew, the word for covenant means both covenant and testament. This means for us, that we may freely exchange those two English words. For example, the Old Testament and the New Testament are the old covenant and the new covenant and vice-versa.If we are to understand the essence of covenant, we need an English phrase to encompass its true meaning. The phrase "binding-agreement-upon-death" comes fairly close.In English, we separate the words covenant and testament with two separate meanings. The English definition for a covenant is an agreement. The English definition for testament is a document or a statement which commonly comes into effect upon death.This is how we come to the phrase, last will and testament. At the reading of a will, the final wishes of a deceased person is read aloud and carried out. The testament therefore becomes effective only after the person’s death. This is the critical component of a covenant – to enter into covenant, a death is required! There is no way around this. If you do not have a death, you cannot enter into covenant.When we combine these two English definitions, we come close to the essence of God’s covenant – a binding agreement that becomes effective upon death.The first time we see covenant in scripture is when God enters into covenant with Abram in Genesis Chapter 15.Gen 15:9 "And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon."Gen 15:10 "And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not."In verse nine, God tells Abram to gather together a heifer, a goat, and a ram. He then has Abram sacrifice the animals and cut their carcasses into two halves by dividing them.Later in verses 17-18 we see the Spirit of God pass between the animal carcass halves and enter into a covenant with Abram.Gen 15:17 "And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces."Gen 15:18  "In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:"What we’re seeing in these verses is the creation of covenant. By passing between the halves of the sacrificed animals, God has "sealed" His agreement with Abram with death. That is the essence of covenant – a binding agreement upon death.We see this act of covenant again when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Though God stays Abraham’s hand at the last second, in his heart Abraham fulfilled his responsibility to God by sacrificing his son. Upon this act, Abraham entered into a new covenant with God.God fulfills His responsibility to this new covenant with Abraham by sacrificing His son Jesus on the cross. Upon Jesus’ death, the new covenant or New Testament goes into effect. Again, we see that a covenant is a binding agreement upon death.The application of a covenant is a solemn and holy act in which God places great importance. Throughout the history of the nation of Israel, God holds the sanctity of covenant above all other agreements and considers the breaking of covenant one of the greatest sins. When did God unleash His wrath upon Israel? When she broke her covenant with God and worshiped false gods and idols.The covenant between God and Israel is like a spiritual marriage. The new covenant is like a marriage too with Jesus as the bride groom and the church as the bride. A marriage between a man and woman is a mirror image of God’s covenant and so, marriage is much more than just vows. It is a holy commitment that binds two people in a covenant that becomes effective upon death, but what death? – the death of self.The essence of covenant in marriage is to give up your life, or to die to yourself, so that your life becomes your spouses’. From the moment you enter into a covenant of marriage, your life is no longer yours but now belongs to your spouse for you have died to yourself. This is the death that seals a marriage in covenant.While I agree with those that say communication is important to a marriage, I believe it is a failure to understand the essence of covenant that is at the heart of the divorce rate we see in the church.
Dr. Ray Self Powerful! 4 months ago
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