Other posts connected to this series: Part 1 – “Intro” & Part 2 – “Once Saved Always Saved”
QUITE A DOOSEY
It has been a while since I have taken on the blogosphere. Why is that? Well to be honest, it is because my first topic of understanding Biblical salvation is quite a doosey…COVENANT. It could easily be a blog series in and of itself, but for now I am aiming to tackle it in a few brief posts and realize that it is a feeble attempt. There have been many times where I wanted to jump to the more common topics related to the subject of salvation, but apart from understanding covenant all else can get very distorted.Â You might be asking, “Why Covenant?” and “How does this connect with understanding Biblical salvation?”Â Well, from my perspective, apart from covenant the Bible really can be hacked to pieces in the minds and hearts of many and leave a confused and disjointed perspective on the overall narrative and point of the Word (or God’s heart for humanity which directly connects to redemption/salvation).Â For me personally, my lack of understanding covenant caused me to be an advocate for far more “Christian” ideas and thoughts than what I would now be comfortable with.Â
BIBLICAL COVENANT CLARIFIES CHRISTIANITY
One of the biggest things that understanding Biblical covenant did for me, was raising my perspective from the immediate of what drove my day to day activities (especially in ministry), and placed life in the context of God’s overall mission for humanity (including and ending with the restoration of all things). As I gained revelation through the Word concerning the beginning and His covenant with creation, the ending then became an exploding reality in my heart and not just a theological belief in my head.Â As a result, the point of His Spirit became far clearer, the fear of the Lord became so tangible I could taste it, my life actions began to shift dramatically, godliness and holiness weren’t burdensome to pursue, along with many other things.
GOVERNMENTAL COVENANT ANCHORED IN RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS
Biblically, the definition of covenant in my eyes shifted from arbitrary â€œpromisesâ€ made by God with biblical characters, to interpreting them as the biblical characters themselves would have understood themâ€”governmentally. Thus making a continuous thread of covenantal agreements each one reinforcing the reality of the one before it, anchored in the Messianic Seed that would come one day and restore all things (Gen. 3:15). Not a bunch of dichotomized covenants as I had always thought. Even the English word â€œcovenantâ€ assumes a governmental context. I will highlight this in the next post.
Within some Christian circles, divine sovereignty as existential causation determines the overarching framework within which covenants are interpreted.Â Thus, covenants are generally seen within the context of foreknowledge and predestination and are then relegated to simple â€œpromisesâ€ concerning the future that God has already determined (monergism) or that God desires all to be included in (synergism). Out of that, whole doctrines can be created off the Word which can quickly become seperate from the foundation of God’s overall mission and covenant with creation.Â
EVERY BELIEVER HAS A THEOLOGY
This shook me the first time the Lord revealed it in the place of prayer and study because so much of my perspective in reading the Word was dominantly linked to it without me even realizing it.Â That one revelation sent a ripple throughout my belief system, serving as a catalyst in desiring to know His ways at a Biblically deeper level in the place of prayer and study. As my theology became shaped through the Biblical narrative it led to changing my Biblical praxis (how I lived life). All believers have a theology which dictates the way they live life, and mine got rocked significantly. I no longer sought to base my theology around me and my narrow perspective, but around the Biblical narrative, God’s mission and His invitation for me to join in with that.
So much of my life as a believer had been given to forming everything around the arbitrary promises I described earlier, which were disconnected from God’s overall mission and covenant with creation. In basic terms, my past theology of covenant had led me to anchor myself far more in the realities of this age with “taking dominion” as my key focus. Versus sojourning through this age with the purpose of pointing others to the hope of His return and enduring to the Day of restoration myself by the help of His Spirit. Related to that, I quickly discovered that my interpretation of the Holy Spirit’s purpose had been just as disjointed as my overall theology and that His dynamic involvement in a believer’s life was a huge part of Biblical salvation (I will focus on this in later posts throughout the series).Â Â
Understanding all that I just described has given incredible clarity to why I felt so disjointed in my Christianity for most of my life…”talking a good talk” and having a good external “walk” (for the view of others).Â But when it was all said and done I didn’t live as though I had the reality of God’s mission in mind (because I didn’t), leaving me internally bankrupt most days and wondering why “my Christianity” wasn’t consistently working the way I was declaring it would. I had invested far more of my hope and faith on wishful thinking surrounding the affairs of this life (2 Tim. 2:4-12) and not on the sure thing of God’s continuing covenant to all of creation that will be consummated at the Messiah’s return. Concerning hope, Randy Alcorn tweeted about this several days ago:
â€œTo many of us, â€˜hopeâ€™ sounds wishful and tentative, but biblical hope means to anticipate with trust, to expect a sure thing.â€
Two short blog posts that do a great job of explaining Biblical hope are from Josh Hawkins and Truman Faulkner. As well as a prior post I did on the subject of hope.
My next blog post will try to simply layout the governmental aspect related to Biblical covenant, as well as hopefully dig into some scripture surrounding God’s covenant with creation established with Adam.Â I will be doing a few more posts related to the subject of covenant and then I will try and tackle my second of nine subjects related to salvation: grace and how it relates to our cooperation with the Spirit of God.