Important Comments About Covenant
By William Handschumacher
A Rock of Offence Special Commentary
Learning about Christ's salvation from the prospective of the blood covenant changed my life like no other truth from the Bible. As a new Christian many questions needed to be answered. Attending church services and devoting hundreds of hours to religious activities failed to provide these answers. However, everything changed at a "Jesus 75" rally in Pennsylvania. The event was an annual outdoor gathering of Christians from all over The United States. I listened as one of the speakers shared about Christ's blood covenant. Standing in mud over 8 inches deep - in a freshly plowed potato field where it had rained the first two days ... I heard Biblical truths that would change my life forever.
Looking back, it seems funny that God would bring me to such a miserable place to learn such life-changing truths. As my studies concerning the Biblical institution of covenant continued, it became clear that I had found the key to understanding the entire Bible. The Scriptures seemed to reference, either directly or indirectly, 'God's covenant ways' on almost every page. It's the way God thinks, relates and moves. Yet, this subject is almost never taught correctly. Today, many years later, I now know the disturbing reason why the blood covenant (in its original Biblical meaning) is rarely taught. The "blood covenant of Jesus Christ" (or the New Covenant) sets us free from religious bondage. And, for some spiritual leaders within Christendom, it sets us "too free" and interferes with their personal ministry agenda. The New Covenant in Christ's blood destroys popular misconceptions about God that are found in many churches and denominations.
My 'blood covenant adventure' started upon learning that the 'taking away of sins' by Jesus on the cross was one of the benefits. He permanently removed all the believer's sin; past, present and future. Contrary to popular church teachings, sin was not 'taken away' only until we sin again. It was taken away forever. The Apostle Paul shared this truth in his epistle to the Romans when he quoted the prophet Isaiah concerning Israel...
"The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
and He will turn away ungodliness from
Jacob; For this is My covenant with
them, when I take away their sins.'"
Discovering God's covenant ways will change your life - if you let it. However, in the last 30 years I've seen this glorious truth distorted and used for ungodly purposes in the institutional church. This article is being written as a testimony - but also as a warning. The blood covenant of Christ sets us completely free from the power of sin. Yet, religious organizations can redefine this truth into a dangerous doctrine and philosophy. It can be subtly changed into a legalistic religious system similar to the ones that troubled the early apostles ... causing great confusion, distress and spiritual bondage. In the hands of clever church leaders, covenant principles from the Bible can be misapplied, which can move a church in the direction of 'cult-like' activity - while maintaining a "Christian" appearance.
Elements and principles of the blood covenant are found in the occult, which is why some Christians tend to avoid the entire subject. This reaction plays right into the devil's plan.
Satan often uses the strategy of
taking something God originally
ordained ... then changes it
into something evil and
religiously vexing. By
perverting God's ways he can
take advantage of a Christian's
lack of knowledge, which causes
them to reject the very truth
that will set them free.
The Gospel of Christ was designed to be simple. The Lord Jesus Christ paid for something (eternal life) that we could never afford on our own - then gave it to us as a gift. It was set up so that anyone who desires to be part of God's family can do so by a simple act of faith.
We do not want any of these writings to be used to oppress anyone. My purpose in writing the book "Mystery of the Faith" and providing this website is to help visitors discover the "blood covenant roots of true Christian faith" and the tremendous blessings in knowing Christ. God's covenant is a tremendous blessing - and not a curse.
We know from experience how these things can be distorted. Several painful years were spent in an abusive church that taught a distorted covenant message - used as a mechanism to dominate and control its membership. The reader needs to be aware that every Bible teaching on the subject of 'covenant' does not necessarily originate from God. Satan, the Christian's enemy, hates Christ's blood covenant (also called, the New Covenant) more than anything else in the Bible - and enjoys using out-of-context Scripture to destroy its liberating message.
Yet, Jesus tells us ...
"Come unto me, all ye that labour
and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest. Take my yoke upon
you, and learn of me; for I am meek
and lowly in heart: and ye shall
find rest unto your souls. For my
yoke is easy, and my burden is
light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
The Apostle Paul warned the Corinthian believers about departing from the simplicity of the Gospel. Paul speaks of this simplicity in the context of a marriage relationship between the believer and Christ.
"For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:2-3)
The thief who hung next to Jesus on the cross helps us to see the simplicity of Christ's salvation. I'm sure this man had no idea that the greatest covenant in the history of the universe was being made in that very place where he was being executed ... Calvary. The thief's blood had no value because it was corrupted by sin. However, the spotless "Lamb of God" hanging next to him would establish a covenant using his own sinless blood that would purchase redemption for all who would put their trust in him. This condemned criminal called out to Jesus and simply said...
"Lord, remember me when thou
comest into thy kingdom. And
Jesus said unto him, Verily I
say unto thee, To day shalt
thou be with me in paradise."
Paul comments again about the
simplicity of faith in Christ...
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him (Jesus) that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:5-8)
As we study this glorious subject it is easy to miss a crucial aspect of Abraham's covenant in Genesis 15. Abraham's covenant is an important example because it represents a type and shadow of "the new covenant in Christ's blood" thousands of years later. God allowed; "a deep sleep fell upon Abram" before he began the process (Genesis 15:12). Abram slept through the "cutting of this covenant" ... and God Himself took the "walk of blood" in his place. God allowed Abram to watch the entire event through a dream, but didn't allow him to participate.
Through this action God was saying
that the requirements connected to
His covenant with Abraham (then known
as Abram) would rest entirely upon
Him (God). Abraham was to have little
to do with the keeping of this covenant.
As a result, Abram's responsibility
was to be at "rest".
We can see the same principle in Christ's blood covenant (the New Covenant). Our salvation rests on the faithfulness and blood sacrifice of Jesus ... not on our spiritual performance, adherence to religious rules or church affiliation. We rarely here this in our churches. God tells us to enter His rest in the same manner that Abraham slept (rested) while God established an everlasting covenant with him. (Read all of Hebrews chapter 4)
"There remaineth therefore a
rest to the people of God. For
he that is entered into his
rest, he also hath ceased from
his own works, as God did from
his. Let us labour therefore
to enter into that rest, lest
any man fall after the same
example of unbelief."
Rest is a "New Covenant" benefit for the believer. The writer of Hebrews thought it was of utmost importance. If you read the whole 4th chapter of Hebrews you will notice that failing to enter God's rest is equated to disobedience. However, we are pointed in the exact opposite direction by many church teachings. I wanted to draw attention to this aspect of "covenant rest" as a way to discern the difference between a corrupted out-of-context Bible teaching that oppresses its audience ... and the New Testament teaching on covenant that sets us free.
"Stand fast therefore in the
liberty by which Christ has made
us free, and do not be entangled
again with a yoke of bondage."
The authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ sets us free, which is a condition connected to God's Grace (also known as His unmerited and undeserved favor). However, there are other gospels being preached in the Church. Some evangelists use the word "freedom" to persuade people into making a decision to accept Christ. They say, "Come to Jesus and He will set you free". However, the message that gets heard many times by some members of the audience is, "come to Jesus ... then live your life any way you want". However, New Testament salvation is not designed this way. In 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 quoted above, Paul makes it clear that salvation involves espousing the believer to Christ in a marriage relationship (or marriage covenant).
The Bible refers to New Testament
believers as "The Bride of Christ".
In such a relationship the one
being espoused dies to their old
life and embraces the life of Jesus
their new 'husband'. Salvation is
vacating their position in Satan's
family in order to be "re-birthed"
(born again) into God's family.
This is the reason our heavenly Father must start to train us in his ways; often called "sanctification". The goal is to conform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). When we understand God's purpose behind salvation ... it is not so we can; "do our own thing". When the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ sets us free, it is referring to freedom from eternal death in hell and the spiritual tyranny of our former father, Satan. As a Christian, you are now a member of God's family - and eternal life is one of the benefits freely given to every member of His family. Eternal death was your destiny before you were saved - but Jesus sets you free from death and gives you his everlasting life. God has unique plans designed to "custom fit" each of his children. The Father's plan for you will not necessarily be the same one for me, because we're all different. Since our Father originally created us - He has specific knowledge about what will make each of us happy and fulfilled. "Doing your own thing" is a false form of freedom that often frustrates the Father's plan for us. It's the theme of this present worldly generation. It was the driving force behind the original sin of Adam and Eve in the garden, which caused the fall of the human race. When salvation is initially received, we should all be aware of our Heavenly Father's plan to; "conform us into the image of His Son". When we understand the seriousness of our previous death sentence (from which Christ saved us), we can see the loving nature of our Heavenly Father and his plans for us. Being in His family is real freedom.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He love us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by Grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:4-9)
As you continue in your quest to learn more about Jesus Christ we hope our comments will help you avoid those who use God's Word to put you under religious bondage. Our desire is for you to experience a fruitful and restful relationship with your Heavenly Father. He sacrificed His First-born Son, Jesus, and used His blood to purchase us (or redeem us) in order to bring us into His family as His sons.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:1-2)
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