by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 6 November 19, 2017 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(011)Thesis: The issue of "The Covenants" is the actual engagement by God of men for whom He plans "Life".
Introduction: In our last study we looked into the issue of "The Glory" and determined that, at its essence, it consists of the character/attributes of God in terms of which of those attributes, and to what degree, are to be shared by human beings in the future. It is declared to be the essence of our "Hope" in Romans 5:2 and is specifically identified to be the participation of human beings in those aspects of God's character that produce absolutely "moral" behavior as encapsulated in the reality of genuine "Love". Paul goes so far as to say that even though we have the Spirit of God indwelling us, we yet "groan" while we wait for this actual participation in being totally involved in loving and being loved with the Love of God.
This evening we are going to look into the next aspect of Paul's commitment to apostate Israelites: their place in the outworking of God's Plan as He engages "Israel" by making certain covenant commitments to certain Israelites as extensions of His commitment to Abraham as recorded in Genesis 12:1-3.
I. Just What Are "The Covenants"?
A. They are to be distinguished from any/all covenants that were/are addressed to humanity in general (such as the Noahic covenant to never flood the earth again).
B. They are declarations by God of His commitments to Abraham.
1. The first is "The Abrahamic Covenant" found in Genesis 12:1-3.
a. This covenant has, of late, been misrepresented by the summation of "land, seed, and blessing" because of a misreading of the text and a larger ignorance of the impact this covenant was to make upon Abraham.
1) The larger context of this covenant begins at Genesis 3 with the three problems of humanity brought about by the effective temptation by Satan of Eve and Adam.
2) The three problems are succinctly declared by John in 1 John 2:16 and are defined in Genesis 3 and illustrated in both of the Gospel accounts of the temptation of Christ.
3) The promises of "land, seed and greatname" in Genesis 12 are clearly corollaries to these three problems of "sin".
b. This covenant is described by Paul as the foundation for Abraham's "inheritance of the world" (Romans 4:13).
c. This covenant is also clearly associated with "The Promise" (1 John 2:25) by Paul in his description of the Gentiles as "strangers to the covenants of The Promise" in Ephesians 2:12.
d. The divine intention for this covenant was to provide Abraham with a "faith" based approach to a real solution to "sin".
2. The second, third, and fourth are specific extensions of the issues involved in the First.
a. The first of these extensions is called "The Land Covenant" recorded in Deuteronomy 29-30.
1) This covenant was specifically designed by God to underwrite the provision of God for His People in their identity as "physical" creatures who constantly need what "land" produces.
2) It is an unconditional commitment by God to Israel with clear indicators that Israel would not use it properly as a "stand alone" commitment to people whose "physicality" is the least of their problems with "sin".
b. The second of these extensions is called "The Davidic Covenant" recorded in 2 Samuel 7.
1) This covenant was specifically designed by God to underwrite the provision of God for David in his identity as a "soulish" creature whose greatest "soul" need is for the unconditional guarantee of an on-going "relationship" to God because of the severe and automatic disintegration of human relationships under "sin".
2) It likewise has clear indicators of the "soul's" need for security of relational commitment in the face of man's sinful propensities in the areas of the "soul".
c. The third of these extensions is called "The New Covenant" recorded in both Jeremiah 31:31 and in Ezekiel 11:19; 18:31; and 36:26.
1) This covenant was specifically designed by God to underwrite the provision of God for Israel's and Judah's identities as "spiritual" creatures whose greatest "spirit" need is for the status of a "great name".
2) It, alone, actually promises a "fix" for "sin" at the "heart" level that will permanently destroy all of the propensities of men to exalt themselves in order to obtain a high reputation for the "man of spirit".
3. These original four are concrete expressions of God's commitments to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) and the consequent nation of Israelites.
C. The New Testament addresses these covenants in two ways.
1. First, it never transfers the individual covenants to "The Church".
a. The Church is not promised a "land" in this world; its "promise" is a heavenly city.
b. The Church is not "promised" a "seed" because by the time it began to exist, the "Seed" was already given; its promise is an eternal commitment of relational security with God through the Gospel's promise of "forgiveness" and "permanent presence" ("I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"; "I am with you to the end of the age").
c. The Church is not "promised" a "great name" because the greatest "identity" issue in terms of "greatness" is already given at the point of "faith": we are "called" "the children of God" as the greatest manifestation of the "manner of love" the Father has bestowed upon us (1 John 3:1).
2. Second, it does accept the need that exists behind the individual covenants and gives a set of corollary commitments to "The Church" under the thesis of "The Promise".
a. The corollary commitment of God to The Church in respect to man's "physicality" is the provisions by God of "food and raiment" as an assumed activity of God (Matthew 6:8 and 32) and men are to "rest" in the reality that we all have "food and raiment" (1 Timothy 6:8).
b. The corollary commitment of God to The Church in respect to man's "soulishness" is the gift of the Holy Spirit as an indwelling and permanent presence of "Jesus" Who said He would never leave, never forsake, and be present unto the end.
c. The corollary commitment of God to The Church in respect to man's "spirituality" is the immediate identity of a "man" as "the child of God" whose Love is beyond any and all "human" considerations of "great name" realities.