Quickie Covenant Review
By Fred Pruitt
From an email:
…. One of the things people understand the least about God and the New Covenant is that God is proactive, not reactive. The Old Covenant, in a nutshell, is attempting to please God by how well we keep the Law of Moses, “contained in ordinances.” ** (Cain). Since our status is based on our obedience to the Law on a moment by moment basis, that makes God “reactive” to what we do, which is somewhat odd, if we think about it. God is Eternal, and lives in the Eternal. So how is it He enters the temporal world and reacts to temporal circumstances when He is Eternal?
And yet, under the Law we find God “reacting” to us on a moment by moment basis. We sin (because that’s what the Old Covenant produces, knowledge of sin but not the ability to overcome it), and in the Old Covenant way of looking at things, God “reacts” to our sin by punishing us in some way. Or conversely, when we do righteous things, God “reacts” to us by blessing us, but there is no accumulation of more and more blessings, because the first moment we transgress, we go all the way down to the bottom.
It is the reverse of justification, which Billy Graham always described as “just as if I’d never sinned.” The Law is always about obedience in the current moment, with no “brownie points” from the past available. The Law is not family. Family hangs in there with you. The Law is always, “Don’t ask me to look at your obedience from yesterday. I want your obedience today, or you’re out! And right now, you’re not cutting the mustard!” That is the Old Covenant in a nutshell.
The New Covenant is Christ in us, instigating His own Life in us from the inside out. God is not “reactive” to us, but within us is “proactive,” meaning He instigates from within and we “do” or “react” outwardly what He directs within. In the New Covenant, we are the reactive ones; God is the proactive one out of the Eternal which was the plan from the beginning. Adam’s and Eve’s “eating” the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is their taking within them the wrong spiritual kingdom, where we have been deceived by the enemy that in taking that knowledge, we are “wise as gods, knowing Good and Evil.”
So there it is in Genesis 3 and 4 in a nutshell. We were hoodwinked to believe we were little independent self-gods and needed no “GOD” above us since we thought (by deception) that we were the people with the Right Stuff.
And the same thing is immediately demonstrated again in Cain and Abel. Cain brought the Lord a sacrifice of his own labors, what he had produced in the field. Whereas Abel brought the sacrifice of an innocent animal to testify of the heinousness of sin, the seriousness of which is demonstrated by the animal’s blood on his hands, and his inability to overcome it except the Lord do it in him. God received Abel’s offering but not Cain’s, which caused Cain’s wrath to spill over onto Abel and he killed his brother.
Some might look at the story and think it was God’s fault because He should’ve received Cain’s offering, too, as a “good” father, but God never calls anything something that it is not. If it is sin, He calls it sin. He had Cain’s number, which was proved when Cain slew Abel. But we can’t be too hard on Cain, because in the spirit every one of us has been Cain! Abel represents Christ, who is available to die for every Cain to live.
We WERE Cain, but now in the Lord we are Abel, who signified Christ going down into death. That’s what “we” do.
In the Old Covenant, God is separate from us, and we are always striving for or hoping for the “blessing” of the Lord in some way. We’re down here with very little, and He’s up there with everything, and we’re hoping He’ll first of all be pleased with us. Then if He is pleased with us, that will then lead to His pouring out His blessings upon us, which is always on a moment by moment basis contingent on my adherence to the Law. As I said above, the Law is not our friend. It is more like the Electric Company. Pay your bill, and enjoy all the benefits of electricity in your home. Don’t pay your bill, they cut you off, no mercy, and you live in darkness or worse until you pay the bill!
In the Gospels there are many instances where great crowds have gathered to hear and experience Jesus of Nazareth. Everybody wants to touch Him or to be touched by Him, because those who do are healed, delivered, or blessed in some big way! “Bless me, Jesus,” says one, “Heal my blindness, Jesus,” says another. “Encourage me, Jesus, I just lost my job,” while another cries, “Please deliver me from this confusion in my mind.”
There’s Jesus, and there’s all the people. Separate from each other. It’s a very Old Covenant scene. Jesus the Holy Man, Jesus the Prophet, Jesus the Teacher. Moses, who foresaw Him, told the people He would be a “Prophet out of your midst, like unto me.” (Deut 18:15).
Where I find a major disconnect in the history of the Church as a whole, is that it has maintained that “Old Testament” image since the days of the fathers. They elevated priests to the Jesus part, and the multitudes they left as the multitudes, just like before.
What is this “disconnect” I am talking about? The “disconnect” is that because by and large most of the Christian church has inherited and still walks in that Old Testament separated view, where either the preacher, priest, or Jesus of Nazareth is the dispenser of “blessings,” and continuing to maintain the congregation as the pitiful masses hoping He’ll pass by them and bless them as He walks by. “Oh, if I could only touch the hem of His garment!”
The disconnect is that the masses need no longer be “the masses.” Come out of the crowd and take up the mantle yourself! Our job isn’t to follow some big preachers around and hope they’ll pray for us and bless us. Our job is to be Christ wherever we are! We are no longer the pitiful multitudes, looking for compassion because we haven’t found our shepherd. No no no no! We now stand in the place of the Shepherd! Instead of looking for compassion, realize in Him we ARE compassion. Why do we keep asking for the same things, day in and day out, for years?
He says, “It’s time to grow up, folks. Quit looking for blessings, for pity parties, for gifts, for deliverances, for healings, and take your place as The Healed, take your place as one who spits self-pity out of his/her mouth. You HAVE received your gift in the totality of the Holy Spirit, and you no longer seek “deliverance,” instead you ARE deliverance. You are no longer part of the multitude hoping Jesus will walk by and bless you. Instead you are Christ in you through you and as you, and you don’t look to be blessed, but instead to be the blessing, because that is Who we are. We ARE the blessed ones! He says so! I say so!
Let it be ….
**The Christian movement broke out of Judaism in the middle of the first century, and except for a few exceptions, no Christians have ever considered themselves under the Law of Moses. However, people have been confused about all this stuff since the beginning. I see lots of people quote Old Testament laws and put them out there as if they are commandments required for everyone. Of course, many pick and choose. This one is for everybody, this one isn’t. Since the New Testament did not have a clear laid out path like the Law of Moses did, over the centuries a sort of new “law” came about, “Christian law,” which changes with the groups and denominations, except for several moral absolutes with which almost everyone agrees. So while Christians, officially, understand they are no longer under the Law of Moses, the spirit of the Law of Moses comes back in the various ordinances and practices of each and every group, church or denomination, pretty much without exception.