Jim Bramlett (21 March 2011)
"God’s Covenant: Don’t Leave Earth Without It!"


Insights
 
The newsletter of Jim Bramlett
 
3.20.11
 
 God’s Covenant: Don’t Leave Earth Without It!
 
Dear friends:
 
Many Bible scholars and serious students all over the world believe that we are in or extremely near what the Bible calls “the end of the age.”  Recently, Franklin Graham, Billy’s son, expressed that opinion.
 
That does not mean the end of the world, but the end of what the Bible refers to as the end of the present age, which will usher in the Millennium.  The signs are many, and compelling.  The end times involve (1) the instant, supernatural removal of believers, (2) a Tribulation period worse than the world has ever known, and (3) then finally the majestic return of Christ to reign on the earth.
 
If as imminent as many believe, and I believe it is, before it is too late and before millions face a fate worse than the recent Japanese tragedy, it is imperative that people know about the “covenant” that God has made with the human race.  It is a simple concept, but deep, as deep as God is Himself.  It also has deeply personal consequences for every person.
 
Do not leave earth without knowing and embracing this wonderful truth.  God wants you to know it!  That is why He paid the highest price to provide it for you, and put it in His Word, because of His love for all of us.
 
If you know and receive this truth, you will know more than many pastors and most pew sitters in the churches in the world today.
 
For years I have been intrigued with the biblical concept of “covenant.”  Study of the subject helps in the understanding of the very nature of God Himself, and His love. 

Simply speaking, a covenant is a contract. In former years, human contracts were binding, but in modern times they are broken all the time. In modern society, agreements and contracts are often not worth the paper they are written on.

But an ancient biblical blood covenant cannot be broken. It is sacred, especially when the main party to that covenant is the Creator of the universe, who stakes His perfect honor and integrity upon it.  It is forever binding.

Abraham. That’s what happened to Abraham in the Old Testament. God had declared Abraham righteous because of his faith, and gave Abraham all the land where He had led him.  This consisted of vast lands in the Middle East now falsely claimed by Muslims, whose religion was not even born until over 2,000 years after Abraham.
 
Abraham responded with a logical question, “Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?”

God’s response was to make a blood covenant with Abraham that had historical consequences. You can read about this fascinating covenant process in Genesis 15:8-20.

Abraham was not a perfect man. Like all of us, he was flawed. But God chose to bless him because of his faith. He believed God, which honored God’s integrity. Like a human father, God likes to be believed, and trusted. God blessed Abraham with the gift of being totally righteous in His sight, with all the Promised Land, with great wealth and riches, with many descendants, and with long life.

The Bible says that Abraham’s faith “was accounted to him for righteousness.”

What about us? What does that have to do with us? Everything! The New Testament explains: “Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead”(Romans 4:22-24).

If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died from your sins, and that He rose from the dead, then God considers you as righteous, regardless of what you have done.  That is why the word “gospel” means “good news.”  The news could not be any better.
 
We who believe in Jesus are also the recipients of the same imputed righteousness as Abraham! If you believe, God sees you as perfect!  We may still appear flawed and imperfect, but in God’s eyes, we are righteous.  He sees you through the perfect blood of His Son. He sees you through blood-stained glasses, so to speak!

But that’s not all. Because of Jesus, we have the same blessings as Abraham.

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”(Galatians 3:13-14).

Now here in the 21st Century, we are those Gentiles upon whom the blessing of Abraham has come, prophesied some 4,000 years ago!

Are you living in the awareness of those blessings, and believing them? That is the first step to receiving them.

Listen!  God actually swore an oath! Knowing this covenant with Abraham was so important, and would stand for millennia of human history, and “because He (God) could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you’”(Hebrews 6:13-14).

In modern courts, people swear an oath on a Bible. God did something much greater. He swore on Himself, the author of the Bible! “He could swear by no one greater,” the Bible says.

“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs (that’s us) of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things (His oath and His promise), in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil” (Hebrews 6:17-19).

In times of difficulty and turmoil, thank God for that anchor of our souls, sure and steadfast. I cling to it constantly. How does anyone live without it?

The Abrahamic covenant is still in force and active in the lives of believers today. But that covenant, using the blood of an animal, only foreshadowed the greatest covenant of all that was to come, the New Covenant, in which God’s own blood was shed, the ultimate sacrifice.

The New Covenant. On the night He was betrayed, at His last Passover meal, Jesus took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:25-26).

By His crucifixion, Jesus set an eternal seal of His own blood upon the New Covenant.

There is an interesting and little-noticed twist on Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus had to fulfill to the letter the prophecies in the Law of Moses, and did. One of those laws stated that anyone executed by being hanged on a tree (crucifixion) was “accursed” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Crucifixion was a Roman method of execution, whereas stoning was a Jewish method. If Jesus had been stoned to death instead of crucified, he would not have literally become a curse for us, as was necessary. By being hanged on a tree, Jesus became a curse and removed all the curse of the Law of Moses from us, as stated in Galatians 3:13-14.

(For a list of the horrible curses from violating the Law of Moses, see Deuteronomy 28:15-68. Some of the blessings to us from Jesus’ great sacrifice are in verses 1-14.)

Entering in.
 
Question: How does one enter into the New Covenant?  If you have never done so, do it today!  It is the most important thing you will ever do.   

Answer: “Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent’” (John 6:28-29).
 
Short answer: “Believe in Him whom He sent.”  He did not say, “Join a particular denomination or church.”  However, being a part of a good, Bible-believing church can help you understand more of God’s plans, promises, and ways, and will help you grow.

The truths in this message apply to every person of every denomination, Protestant, Catholic, or any other.
 
When you make a decision to sincerely believe (trust) in Jesus Christ, that places you in the arms of God’s Son. That decision actuates the New Covenant in your life. You are forever His, a citizen of God’s Kingdom forever. It also brings you many of God’s blessings and benefits in this life, but space does not permit me to list them. You can review some of them in Psalm 103:2-6.

In a biblical covenant, such as in a marriage covenant, you give your life to another person, and the other person gives his/her life to you. In the New Covenant, Jesus gave His life for us. We should, in turn, give our lives to Him. That should not be a problem for us because, as a young missionary once explained his commitment to me, Jesus is (1) perfect love (wanting the very best for us), (2) perfect wisdom (knowing the very best for us) and (3) perfect power (able to make it happen).

Such a deal!

When you get to heaven (and this covenant will get you there), and God asks you, “What did you do with my covenant?” you will not have to say, “Duh.  What covenant?”  Instead, you can say, “Oh, yes sir.  That’s what Brother Bramlett told me about.”  And you will praise and thank Him for His great sacrifice for your sake, to give you eternal life.
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Jim
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NOTES:
 
If you are not sure how to prepare, check out this informative Web site: http://www.choicesforliving.com/spirit/part1/part1.htm
 
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