The New Covenant

In the previous message we saw the five covenants between God and man. Now, in this message we saw the sixth covenant also known as the New Covenant or New Testament. This New Covenant is Christ Himself. What’s the difference between a promise, a covenant, and a testament? Well, a promise is surety that something shall be accomplished in the future. A covenant, is a promise with a legally-binding guarantee. A testament, is a legally-bound contract that bequeathes its contents to whom they have been appointed upon the death of the enactor. Christ Himself is the New Covenant, the contents of the New Covenant, the Enactor of the New Covenant, and the Executor of the New Covenant. Through His death and resurrection He has bequeathed the New Covenant to us. We simply need to receive and enjoy Christ as the covenant through the exercise of the our human spirit. We do this by breathing the Lord in by living a life in which we daily, hourly, and moment by moment call upon the name of the Lord. Oh Lord Jesus!

The New Covenant/New Testament  has four blessings as God’s bequests to us. The first is that God’s laws have been inscribed into our mind and hearts. These laws or law is specifically the Law of the Spirit of Life.

The Triune God has been processed through incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to become the law of the Spirit of life installed into our spirit.

The fact that it is a law means that we don’t need to fight to overcome, we don’t need to war with the law of sin and death in our flesh, it means that there is a realm where there is no sin, no world, no flesh. It means that all victories are unconscious and effortless, spontaneous. Our brother gave a marvelous example. If you are flying from New York to LA you don’t have to put on some running shoes (unless of course you tend to get everywhere late, ha!), run really, really fast, flap your arms, and will yourself into the air and fly to LA. No! How ridiculous. All you have to do is get into the airplane, sit down, put on your seat belt, and ENJOY the ride! Our attempts to overcome, our attempts to be victorious, or even our response, like that of the Children of Israel, to the law of “All that you say we will do” is as ridiculous as that attempt to fly to LA. Forget about it, just get into your the plane of your spirit and enjoy the Law of the Spirit of Life!

The second blessing is that He will be God to us and we will be a people to Him. Where in the world are there a people who hold Him as God? All the world just casts Him aside. But to us, He is God! He is our inheritance. We are His people, His treasure, and His inheritance.

The Third blessing is that we will know the Lord. This knowing is not the outward recognizing (gk ginosko) but it is an inward subjective knowing (gk oida). In our spirit we have our intuition, the inner sense of life allows us to intuitively know the Lord. There are three ways that we may know God. The first is we may know God by His acts or His doings. This is an outward way of knowing God, and we can see that the Children of Israel knew Him in such a shallow way. Then, the second is that we may know God by His ways or His principles. This is on a deeper level and requires a more intimate fellowship with God. Abraham in his intercession for Lot demonstrated this type of knowing. The third and most deepest way we may know God is to know Him by Himself, that is in His life and nature. This is to know God intuitively.

The fourth blessing that God will be propitious to our unrighteousnesses and our sins He will by no means remember anymore. Christ made propitiation for our sins and has reconciled us to God. Through His precious blood He has resolved all of our problems and opened the way for us to enter into the enjoyment of God on a daily and continual basis. Thus, we can enjoy an organic salvation in His life.

What a marvelous testament God has bequeathed to us!

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A Minister and his Ministry

A gift by definition is something obtained with no effort, with no charge. It is freely, graciously given. So when we speak of someone having a “gift” for speaking, or a talent of one kind or another, it is usually something that we can admire, maybe envy, but there is no way to imitate it or develop it.

In the world at large, we have a tendency to admire those with certain abilities and gifts. Sometimes these ones, as believers, will use their gift (whether spiritual or otherwise) on behalf of God. And to varying extents, God accepts and even blesses these ones in their endeavoring to be vessels of mercy useful to the Master. In the first epistle to the Corinthian believers, Paul addresses these ones who were desperately seeking spiritual gifts. Though the gifts do have their proper place and function in the church (12:4-11), and though there are greater gifts and lesser gifts (12:31), and though Paul encourages them to seek earnestly the greater gifts (such as prophesying, 14:1), when we compare the depth of this epistle with what is revealed in Paul’s second epistle to this same locality, we realize that there is something deeper than just the gifts that God has given to the Body. The apostle Paul may have been a very special and gifted member of the Body, but even more than that, he was a minister ministering the new covenant ministry. This ministry is one produced by gaining the experiences of the riches of Christ because only the riches of Christ can produce this ministry.

How are these experiences gained?

The only way that they are gained is through sufferings, consuming pressures, and the killing work of the cross.

A minister of the new covenant, therefore, is a person who through sufferings, consuming pressures, and the killing work of the cross has experienced the riches of Christ and has had this suffering Christ reproduced in him. Paul was such a person. In Colossians 1:24 he writes of making up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ for His Body. Paul’s suffering was a gaining not only for Paul but for the whole Body. As he suffered, he became the sorrowful grapevine through which others were able to receive the supply of cheering wine. Like Paul, so many other believers throughout the ages have been willing to be stripped of all their human glory, dignity, fame, and fortune so that from their experience of death the resurrection life would flow. Watchman Nee was another believer who was produced as a minister of this new covenant. We see his experience in Hymns #635,  “From the branches of the grape vine/ Sap and blood and wine doth flow./ Does the vine, for all it suffered,/ Lost, and yielded, poorer grow?/ Drunkards of the earth and wanderers,/ From it drink and merry make./ From their pleasure and enjoyment/ Do they richer thereby wake?/ Not by gain our life is measured,/ But by what we’ve lost ’tis scored;/ ‘Tis not how much wine is drunken,/ But how much has been outpoured./ For the strength of love e’er standeth/ In the sacrifice we bear;/ He who has the greatest suff’ring/ Ever has the most to share.” What channels of blessings these saints have been to the entire Body.

Today, there is a crucial need in the Lord’s Recovery for those who would be willing to be produced as ministers of the new covenant; for those who would be open to gain the riches of Christ in their experience through sufferings, consuming pressures, and the killing work of the cross.

Lord, make us persons full of grace in sufferings, persons filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, persons through whom others can perceive and touch grace even in the human phrases, in the most human way. May the suffering Christ be reproduced in us for the building up of the Body of Christ and the consummation of the New Jerusalem.