Thursday, September 15, 2016

How God's Covenants Guarantee our adequacy in God

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2 Corinthians 3:5-6 "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

Yesterday we considered how the Christian comes to find their adequacy in God. We noted that the way in which we discover such adequacy is by three interrelated truths:

1. Indwelling Holy Spirit
2. Identity in Jesus Christ
3. Empowerment to do God's will

Today we want to note the guarantee we have that we can find our adequacy in God. The Apostle Paul connects our adequacy in God to the concept of covenant. All that was looked at in yesterday's post has its guarantee from God by what Paul unfolds for us here in 2 Corinthians 3 and chapters 4 and 5 - namely the New Covenant.

God's covenant making relationships with His people expresses His guarantee of finding our guarantee in Him
God is a covenant making God. A covenant in the Bible refers to a binding agreement made between two people or two parties. We see all sorts of examples in the Bible where God made covenants with His creation (Jeremiah 33:19-20); Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15, 20-21); Noah (Genesis 9); Abraham (Genesis 12;15;17;22); Moses and Israel (Exodus 19-20); David (2 Samuel 7:13-16) and Israel (Jeremiah 31). Without question, God's relationship with His people was expressed in terms of covenant. After all, covenantal language was something the people would had readily understood, since the ancient world included the idea of covenants made between various people.

We can note elsewhere in the New Testament how God's covenantal promises (connected to what the Old and New Testaments refer to as His "New Covenant") provides the guarantee of our adequacy in God. Hebrews 9:11-15 states: But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"   

By the Person and work of the Lord Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, we find in His achievements on the cross and from the empty tomb the basis for our adequacy. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit's application of Christ's achievements at salvation grants us the experience of this adequacy. As Hebrews 9:15 summarizes: "For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance."

Closing thoughts Truly this concept of "covenant" unlocks for us avenues into which we can begin to understand the relationship God's people have with Him, and He with them. The concept of "covenant" sheds much light on explaining how we have the guarantee that our adequacy is indeed in God as revealed in Jesus Christ. In each of the covenants of scripture we find the identity and confidence of God's people anchored in the God who made covenants with them. 

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