I think I’m slowly comprehending the profound cleavage that’s occurring today in how folks understand “Church”.
The Old Covenant was a revelation about God – His nature and precepts – with a tabernacle/temple where people could go to find His presence and a priesthood to help get right with Him.
This is like many churches today, which do a wonderful job teaching us about the Lord, providing a place and an environment for us to experience His presence, and serving as a bridge between God and His people.
Many are content to go to church to learn about God, feel His presence, and have an anointed and appointed pastor and his worship team mediate from the front. It would be dishonest to deny that those can be truly amazing, life-affirming pillars for one’s faith.
But in the New Testament, is that God’s perfect will?
The Cross ushered in a New Covenant, which now is about God in us so that He is expressed through us. Through you, and through me. It is no longer a passive, externally-directed and mediated experience.
For example, church ceases to be a place where we go to have mediators invoke His presence among us or bring us into His presence. It is no longer half sing-along and half lecture. It also ceases to be a platform for the anointed and appointed few.
Rather, from a New Covenant perspective church starts becoming an expression of the dynamic, vibrant and transformational reality of His presence in us – each and everyone. Furthermore, the expression of Jesus in me is going to look very differently than Jesus in you. Yet valuing those differences – and encouraging them to come forth in our personal lives, our relationships and in our meetings – is essential if we want church to become a local expression of the fully functioning Body of Christ.
Very, very few churches grasp this or provide a framework for this to happen. They are still, in practical terms, acting very Old Covenant.
But once you understand this distinction, your relationship to the Lord and your concept of the church – its meetings, its purpose, its structure, its leadership, and its very flavor – can’t help but fundamentally change.
It might, believe it or not, actually start looking New Testament!
~ Jim Wright
Yes! Well written here brother! You are so right, that so many can be lost walking in circles in the shadows holding on to a type of Christ only seen through the old covenant when we have the indwelling Life of Christ, who is a ever present REALITY, in which we share His Life together. Thanks for your exhortation here bro for God’s people to come out of the shadows and into the Good Land of Jesus Christ, the Reality living in us, Christ in us the hope of Glory!
So true!! Totally agree!! “O Foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you? Having been saved by the Spirit, are you now trying to be made perfect by the flesh?” All that can only end in promoting Pharisaism (that would deny its true nature)
You hit it Jim! So true. I have felt this for a long time but really didn’t know what to attribute it too. You have opened my eyes to this truth. Thanks for posting!
Follow this train of thought across the board, and you will find that not only is the “church” “old testament” and carnal in nature, but has also created an image of Christ and of God too, and the people that would be worshiping God are being cleverly deceived into the false worship of idols. This is the great sin of Jeroboam which we have been warned about. Behold mystery babylon, the mother of all harlots, who has decieved the people; the nicolaitians who have conquered the people and put to death all the saints and prophets of God, even Jesus too. Yes, explore this train of thought, and you will find that the “good works” of the “church of the new testament” is no different than the “old testament” t jewish sacrifical rites
(Excuse me, typing from a keypad on a tiny phone is an exercise of patience.) Jesus came to the woman at the well and spoke well of what we see today in religion, saying, “you worship what you know not, salvation is of the Jews…” but…were not all the people Jewish who Christ was referring to? Didn’t all these Jews claim to worship God? But Jesus clearly rebuked them saying, “you worship what you know not…” We learn elsewhere who and what testifies for a Jew…a person made new in Christ; a person indwelled by God who is Spirit, who is holy. This forever life giving/altering experience; this work God inside is the defintion of a Jew, because a Jew is one spiritually. And only those who have been begotten of God in this manner are Gods people/church/body of Christ. Then these sons embark on the most difficult walk out of Egypt, coming to know God and the awsomeness/mighty power of Gods hand in being able to deliver. God has wrought salvation in their spirit, but now wroughts salvation in the flesh by the freedom to be delivered of the bondage of the “church” and of the world and of our flesh too. This is the chastisement/trial/testing which each child that is begotten of God must trod in order to become a son. (Salvation, an act, and the process. God who did save, continues to save, and will save.) There is much deception about the church, but those who have been called out know the truth, and they worship the Father in spirit and truth; for God seeks those to worship Him in this manner…as the people of God, the true church, the church in the wilderness.
Jim has kindly granted me permission to share a link to a book that I have found extremely helpful regarding the Two Covenants. I hope you’ll find it as helpful as I have! http://www.jesus.org.uk/vault/library/murray_two_covenants.pdf
My policy is to keep comments free and open so long as net-etiquette is observed, but I haven’t read this particular book and thus want to be clear that there’s no endorsement from me.
Jim, I have only just started to read your stuff….couldn’t help but notice this blog on ‘covenants’. Just a thought, but are we not saved under the original and only covenant God has with mankind? Father himself preached to Adam and Eve what Jesus repeated in John 3:16……….the eternal covenant with mankind…..hasn’t God always wanted to live His life through us?
Trevor, I agree. There is an over-arching covenant with humanity, and in fact I am basically “covenantal” in my overall theology. The history of redemption is a history of that over-arching covenant, going all the way back to Adam.
But there is also the separate covenant with Israel in the OT, whereas the NT displays the more full expression of the over-arching covenant with mankind. That’s all I’m talking about here, as I point out that so much of our “church” experience today really is more in line with that OT covenant involving Israel.
But thanks for the clarification!
Good to hear from you…..I am in the land of Oz. Agree church practises are of OT nature (and pagan)……we really have been preaching a ‘wrong’ gospel in a respect, that we are saved for a first class ticket to heaven, wherein John 3:16 says eternal life, and intimate walk in relationship with the Father and Jesus. John 17:3
Beyond just the Old Covenant sort of church is Old Covenant thinking. As Paul says in Galatians 3:1-3:
You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?
To which the modern church answers with a resounding YES…we are going to succeed by human effort so we can get all those rewards you preach about.
I find it especially frustrating to have preachers make up a homogenized mix of passages from both Testaments, failing to differentiate between covenants or even recognize the context of the verses they grab for support.
@”I find it especially frustrating to have preachers make up a homogenized mix of passages from both Testaments, failing to differentiate between covenants or even recognize the context of the verses they grab for support.”
I think the proper term for this would be a “Hybrid.” And, yes, this is, indeed, frustrating.
Well, it has been so long since I have sat through a ‘sermon or message’…….but I think I remember that most preachers grab a few scriptures from here and there and make something up. Different to what Jesus did….He only gave what the Father gave Him…..not a
word more or less. That is the covenant preachers we need today.
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