Walking in the New Covenant of Jesus

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“Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isa 55:7-9)

 

 

Journal,

Ever watch someone trying to put together a project without the aid of the instruction sheet. Of course they didn’t need it – Instruction sheets are for dummies. Well, if they were so smart, why were there parts left over? Those left over parts likely determined how the project was supposed to work.  

I’m convinced that many of our struggles in life can be directly contributed to not learning to live according to the designers manual. We have too many left out pieces.

One problem new covenant believers have is not understanding the new covenant walk of faith. As a result many stumble through life trying to live new covenant Christianity on an old covenant level. Are you one of those people?

Then you have those who seem unable to hear from God for themselves, so they continually run to and fro looking for some prophet to give them a word from the Lord. Are you one of those kinds of believers?

The problem is that you are not learning to live new covenant Christianity according to the Designers manual.

Have you ever stopped to consider why Paul said,

“Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these [new] things are from God…” (2Co5:16-18 nasb)

 

The Last Adam

There is so much I would like to share with you. Before I go any further I want to challenge my readers to take time to read a series of studies that I’ve provided entitled, ‘The New Adam Race.’ These studies will help direct you to a better understanding of our new covenant walk with Jesus Christ.

Here they are in the order you need to read them:

Part #1 – http://www.christianchallenge.org/hebraic-foundations/HF032-1.html

Part #2 – http://www.christianchallenge.org/hebraic-foundations/HF032-2.html

Part #3 – http://www.christianchallenge.org/hebraic-foundations/HF032-3.html

Part #4 – http://www.christianchallenge.org/hebraic-foundations/HF032-4.html

 

The Turning Point of the Cross

When Paul said that ‘old things had passed away,’ he was speaking of the covenant of Moses. It has been replaced by the covenant of the cross. The former covenant was temporary. It was made for the natural man. Jesus likened it to ‘old wine skins.’ You cannot put new wine into old wine skins. The old skins would burst asunder and be of no value to anyone. The new covenant was entirely new. It had to have its own covenant expressions.

It is not that the former covenant was without value. The former covenant continually pointed to the eternal covenant to come. The distinguishing mark of the new covenant, however, hinges on the word ‘spiritual.’ Out of the cross came a new creation of spiritual people. These new people of God must have their own spiritual covenant. They must have a covenant that is suited to a people who carry in themselves the very nature of Christ.

God’s new people are a heavenly people. Our birth is a birth from above. Our names are recorded in God’s heavenly book, the book of the Lamb. We have a new heavenly-spiritual nature instilled in the deep of our inner life.

 

The Letter Kills – The Spirit Gives Life

So as I said before, it is not a matter of the former covenant of Moses having no value for believers today. There are many lessons we can learn from Moses and the prophets. However, the apostle said that when we view the former covenant, we must view it through the lens of our the new covenant in Christ.

The issue stems from the fact that we are an entirely new creation. Before the cross, there had never been anyone on this planet who could share the spiritual completeness that is to be found in a true Biblical Christian. We are a heavenly people walking in earthly bodies.

This is why the apostle Peter said that when the prophets of old spoke of Christ and God’s new people to come, that they were not speaking of anything that they could share at that time. The new heavenly covenant was specifically designed for the people of the cross.

This is also why Paul chided the Corinthians for all their misbehavior. Listen:

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1Co3:1-3)

Did you catch it? New covenant believers are born from above. We are not to live like mere men. We have a covenant that is out of this world. (Not intended as a pun.) The new covenant is entirely a covenant of the Spirit and of grace.

The word spiritual comes from two Greek words that speak of invisibility and power.

The apostle said:

“But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. “ (2Co3:15-18)

And again,

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2Co4:16-18)

Well, its time to move on. But how can I leave without leaving you a wonderful song that speaks to the new creation in Christ. Take time for Sarah Sadler singing, “I Am a New Creation.” Here it is:

 

 

Remember – There is much love in Jesus Christ.

Be sure to read the Designer’s manual often.

Buddy

In the Power of Christ I Stand

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“… that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:26-27)

 

Journal,

The song In Christ Alone”, was written July 22, 2004, by Stuart Townsend and fellow song writer Keith Getty. There are many Christian songs that carry the testimony of heaven. This is one of them. The lyrics of “In Christ Alone” speaks of God’s love and of His eternal covenant in Christ Jesus.

This song reaches into the deep of the finished work of the cross. If you haven’t heard the song or seen the lyrics, before you go any further with your reading, why not take time to listen to the wonderful song. 

[Note: Here it is on YouTube -

YouTube Preview Image

 

The New Adam, the New Covenant, the New Creation

The finished work of the cross is a breathtaking story. The world as we know it today came about through the fall of the first Adam. The world as it will be known in eternity will be the result of the cross. Christ Jesus came into our world as “the last Adam.”

Out of the cross came a new covenant and in this new covenant came a new creation. The new creation speaks of God’s new heavenly people. All true believers have their names recorded in heaven.

Being a heavenly people may seem difficult to grasp, yet it is the story of the gospel.

The apostle explains it this way -

“So also it is written, ‘The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

“The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.

“Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1Co 15:45-49)


We are Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Bodies

Now take note of our citizenship - 

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Php 3:20-21)

But in all this there is an issue very important to understand. Being a heavenly citizen does not mean that we discard our humanity. The change is inward, not outward. We become partakers in a new kind of humanity. Understanding your new humanity in Christ will help put balance into your covenant walk.

Many Christians are stifled in their spiritual life because they know so little about their true life in Christ. Then there are those who are driven to extremes by always seeking a new experience. This is an unhealthy place to be. It creates a restlessness that never leaves the believer. 

Actually the most unstable people I have ever met, are those who continually look for a prophet to give them direction from the Lord. 

Certainly God gives us mature leadership for a reason. Proper pastoral teaching and guidance can help the young grow in respect to becoming a mature disciple of Jesus. In fact we are instructed not to neglect our assembling as a called-out body of believers.  

However, the primary reason that the office of prophet does not have the same emphasis in the new covenant as it did in former covenants, is because of our new humanity. No new covenant believer needs a prophet to tell them what the mind of the Lord is for their own life. There is no need. We all have direct access to the mind of Christ.

[My advice - Pay little attention to those who want to be seen as prophets. They are not worth your time.] 

Listen very carefully to how Jesus describes His new covenant people;

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one Shepherd.” (John 10:16)

 

Product of the Cross

The point in this is that our new creaturehood comes about as the product of the cross. When men and women pass through the cross, they are given their Christ-like spiritual nature. Each time a person is born again there is an act of creation. One of the early writers said that when a person is born again, it is as though Christ were born again in the heart of the believer.

What the apostles tell us is that the Christian will now have in himself a longing to be clothed with his future resurrected body. We are much aware of our promised future body that will be exactly like the body that Jesus Christ now has. John says, “We shall be like Him [Christ].” (1 John 3:2)

Are you enjoying your new heavenly life? 

Perhaps this little story of the eagle’s heart will help. (I’ve share it before but it never gets old.)

And, yes, it does rest on a Scripture inference.

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Isa 40:29-31)

 

Now for the story. See if this fits anywhere in your life — 

 

The Call of the Eagle’s Heart

Somehow an eagle’s egg became mixed with a number of chicken eggs that had been set aside to be hatched. The little eaglet hatched right along with a brood of chicks. The eagle looked a bit different, but for all she knew she was just another chicken.

Yet something deep in the little eaglet’s heart was restless. She had this tugging in her heart that could not be explained. The eaglet kept stretching her wings. It made the other chicks look at her as an odd ball. But since chickens do very limited flying, the eaglet simply had to accept things as they were.

But it wasn’t just the stretching of her wings. For some strange reason she didn’t like the food that all the chickens were eating.

Now that was a real problem. All the other chickens continuously looked at the ground for bugs or corn or whatever they could find. But this growing young eagle just couldn’t keep her eyes off the sky.

Are you ready to fly?

So it happened. As was her habit, one day while looking up at the sky, behold the young eaglet saw some majestic birds soaring on the air currents. She couldn’t explain her feelings. Tears filled her eyes. Her heart-strings were being tugged at. Who are those birds? They sure don’t look like chickens.

She could not get her mind off of the majestic birds. What kind of chickens were they? None of the chickens she knew could fly. In fact the farmer kept their wings clipped so that they could not fly. And it was getting close to the time for the young eagle’s wings to be clipped.

And that is when it happened. One of the majestic birds spotted the young eagle and flew down to check things out.  The great eagle said, ‘What are you doing in that chicken pen?’ The young eagle said, ‘This is where all the chickens that I know, live.” The great bird said, ‘You are not a chicken. You are an eagle.’

Something just went off inside the young eagle’s heart. It was like an eruption of all her pent-up emotions. She thought to herself, ‘Is it possible that I am not a chicken?!’

She began flapping her wings as hard as she could. Her feet lifted off the ground but not enough for flying. The majestic eagle said, ‘You are doing it wrong. Come here. Climb on my back. I’ll show you how its done.’

Boy was she nervous. On the majestic eagle’s back she climbed. He spread out his mighty pinions and with a lifting of his wings, off they soared, higher, and higher. The wind flushed through her feathers. How wonderful it felt.

The eagle spoke to the young eaglet and said, ‘Don’t be afraid. Its your turn. You were designed to fly.’ The majestic eagle suddenly did a backward flip and off into nothing went the young eagle. ‘I’m falling! I’m falling!’

‘No you aren’t. Just spread out your wings! You’ll see.’

She spread out her wings and instantly the wind beneath her wings began to lift her up, and fly she did. Upward and up she flew. She soared and soared and soared. The young eaglet could not believe how easy it was to fly. And, oh the view. She could see forever. The young eagle could not get enough flying. On top of everything else, the eaglet had also found a great family of eagles to be with. They were just like her.

OK, so now you know the story of the eaglet who thought she was a chicken.

No, she never went back to the chicken pen. After all, she was an eagle and eagles are birds of majesty. They are designed to soar in the heavenly places.

You can do it. You have an upward call of God on your life. Just learn to live your life in the power of Christ. Where is Christ? Christ is in you. This is the great mystery of Christianity. 

Now, remember what the apostle said about our secret–

“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Php 4:12-13)

May all the blessings of Jesus Christ fill out your life. 

Buddy

 

The Wonders of the Cross

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“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1Co 2:1-5)

 

Journal,

In addressing the church at Corinth, Paul said he was determined to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. What did the apostle mean by this?

Isn’t there anything else we need to preach other than the cross? Not really. Not if you understand the message of the cross. All the doctrines of Christ arise out of the cross.

The message of the cross is not simply about Jesus dying on a cross. It is a full message that includes who Jesus was, that He was born of a virgin, was truly a human and yet God, that He died for our sins, was buried, resurrected on the third day, ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the majesty on high, will return for the saints, and is the last judge of all things.

 

All of eternity revolves around Jesus

The essential message of the cross is actually seven-fold. It speaks to the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorification of Jesus Christ, His second coming, and eternity to follow. Out of this seven-fold message flows a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. This is why the apostle said that in Christ “Are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col2:3)

When Paul writes the Corinthian church, he explains that there is a wisdom which belongs only to believers, not to the world. God has done something entirely new. Paul says this ‘new covenant’ wisdom had been ‘predestined before the ages to our glory.’ (1Co2:7)

Paul carefully sets forth that the old ways of wisdom have to be abandoned. Everything in the new covenant is ‘new.’ The new covenant is not the old covenant made new. It is a heavenly covenant based on the finished work of Calvary.

 

The hidden wisdom of the cross

Paul connects this hidden wisdom to the cross. He says,

“For the word [full message] of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” (1Co1:18,19)

What happened at the cross?

Let’s compare just two statements the apostle makes about what happened at the cross.

In his first letter, Paul says,

“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” (1Co1:30)

In his second letter, Paul says,

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Co5:21)

The apostle is telling us why he is determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He is saying it all happened at the cross. At the cross our death sentence passed to Jesus. At the cross His resurrected life passed to us.

 

Why is Jesus called ‘the Wisdom of God’

Why does Paul speak of this life of God in terms of Wisdom? He is saying that those actually born from above have access to the very thoughts and feelings of God. He speaks of this as the mind of Christ.

This means that the wisdom that belongs to God alone, is the wisdom that is given to believers. (According to the need of the believer.) This is an awesome thing to consider.

So, the cross is both our dying place and our living place.

Is it any wonder that we Christians have so many songs about the cross. Out of the death of the cross comes a new creation. And this new creation is imbued with a wisdom that is not of this world.

Paul explains it this way:

“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.” (1Co2:11,12)

 

The cross provides a heavenly wisdom not of this world

Notice carefully how the apostle connects the Wisdom of God with the Holy Spirit. In another place He calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Jesus. Paul says,

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Gal4:6)

Having the Spirit of God’s Son in your heart means that every believer has divine Wisdom to draw from. It means that the very life of Jesus is in us.

Remember Jesus shared with the apostles that they would be given things that were not available to the world. In His high priestly prayer, Jesus says,

“[Father] But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they [believers] may have MY JOY made full in themselves.” (John 17:13)

 

The life of Christ in the believer

One of the distinguishing marks of a true believer is his or her joy in the Lord. But it is the Lord’s joy that fills them. This is the life given us from the cross.

The term ‘made full’ means more than ‘fulfill‘ as it is translated in the King James. ‘Pleroo‘ speaks of a totality of filling. Believers are going to be filled totally with presence, the life, the joy, and the peace of Jesus.

This is what the Spirit filled life is about. It is being filled with the righteousness, peace and joy that is found in Jesus.

John wrote,

“For of His fullness [pleroma] we have all received, and grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)

 

 

God’s governing peace

So what is it about peace? Jesus said,

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

The peace of God is the anchor of our faith. It is a governing peace that guides us in our journey of faith. Paul said that our faith comes from Jesus speaking to us. This is how he explains it;

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal2:20)

 

The Father of Jesus is our Father

The list is endless. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is our Father. The kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is our kingdom. The righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ is our righteousness. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ is our Spirit. The love of the Lord Jesus Christ is our love. The destiny of the Lord Jesus Christ is our destiny. And it all happened at the cross.

 

The Administrator of the Kingdom

One thing that believers need to appreciate is that the Holy Spirit does not come to us in the same way or measure as did the Spirit before the cross. Lets hear it from Jesus.

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37,38)

What did Jesus mean that the Spirit was not yet given? Notice that the word ‘given‘ is in italics. It is not in the original. So it should read, ‘For the Spirit was not yet.’

How can that be? Didn’t the prophets have the Holy Spirit? Did not David have the Holy Spirit? Yes, but not in the same measure or sense or fullness that new covenant believers have in the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit comes into the heart of the new covenant person as the Spirit of the glorified Jesus Christ. The Spirit brings the fullness of Christ crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended, and glorified into our hearts. No person before the cross ever had such an experience.

And it all happened at the cross.

Stop and think what the term ‘new creation’ actually means. It essentially means that God created a people out of nothing. A newly created thing only existed in the mind of the Creator before it became a reality. This is why the Bible says that we are God’s workmanship, “CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS”.

 

An Entirely New Creation

Peter adds to this in saying,

“For you were once not a people, but now you are the people of God.” (Cf. Eph2:10;1Pe2:9)

Again listen carefully — Peter said now “we”are the people of God.” He isn’t simply speaking of replacement theology. We aren’t replacing anything.

There has been an act of creation. This new people is separate and distinct from any form of humanity this planet has ever known. The Adam race sprang forth from Adam. The new creation race springs from Christ Jesus. We are totally ‘new‘. We are the people of Christ. The prophet said that God’s people would be given a new name. The new name is ‘Christian‘.

This is why Paul said that in Christ there are no Jews or Greeks. The new creation is a heavenly people. We are designed for heaven, destined for heaven, derived from heaven, and imbued with heavenly wisdom and life. So if anyone asks you where heaven is, you can say, ‘Heaven is in my heart.’

How about you? Can you say what Paul said, in determining to know nothing among the people except Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Think about it.

In the meantime listen to this song that speaks to the heart of God’s children. ‘Higher Ground.’

 

 

In Christ always,

Buddy