Important Comments About Covenant

Rock of Offence Commentary

Viewing Christ's salvation from the prospective of the blood covenant changed my life like no other truth from the Bible. After 5 years as a new Christian I still had many questions. Attending church services and devoting hundreds of hours to religious activities failed to answer these questions. 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. As I look back it seems funny that God would bring me to a place having such miserable conditions to learn such life-changing truths. As I studied about covenant I learned that it was the key to understanding the entire Bible. I began to notice that the Scriptures seemed to reference covenant on almost every page. I also discovered that "covenant" is the way God thinks, relates and moves. Yet, I was still perplexed as to why this message is almost never taught correctly. Today, some 26 years later, I know why the blood covenant (in its original Biblical meaning) is never taught--and I continue to be alarmed about what I discovered. The "blood covenant" of Jesus Christ sets you free from religious bondage. And, for some in the institutional church, it sets you "too" free. The "new covenant in Christ's blood" destroys the misinformation and false conceptions of God found in many religious organizations.

My adventure into God's covenant began when I discovered that the "taking away" of sins by Jesus on the cross was one of the benefits. The apostle Paul shared this truth in his epistle to the believers at Rome 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.'" (Romans 11:25-27 NKJV)

Learning of God's covenant ways will change your life. However, in the last 30 years I've seen this glorious truth distorted and used for ungodly purposes in the institutional church. I'm writing this article as a testimony--but also as a warning. The blood covenant of Christ sets us completely free from the power of sin. But, I've also discovered that religious organizations can distort this truth into a dangerous philosophy. The subject of covenant can be subtly changed into another legalistic religious system similar to the ones that plagued the early apostles causing great confusion, distress and spiritual bondage. In the hands of clever spiritual leaders, covenant principles can be distorted into an ideology that can move a church in the direction of "cult-like" activity--while still keeping a "Christian" appearance. Elements of the blood covenant are found in the occult--which is why some Christians wrongly avoid the subject. This reaction plays right into the devil's plan. Satan is a master at taking something God has ordained and perverts it into something evil and religiously vexing. By perverting God's ways he can take advantage of a Christian's lack of knowledge, causing them to reject the very truth that will set them free! The Gospel of Christ was designed to be simple. 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.

It is not my desire for any part 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 us discover the "covenant" roots of our faith and the tremendous blessings in knowing Jesus Christ. God's covenant is a tremendous blessing--not a curse! I know how these things can be distorted. I spent several painful years in an abusive church that taught a distorted covenant message used as a mechanism to control its membership. The reader needs to know that every message that carries the label "covenant" does not set free. Many covenant oriented teachings spiritually oppress and enslave their audience. I've learned that Satan, the Christian's enemy, hates God's blood covenant more than anything else. Jesus gave us a simple test that we can apply to any teaching. If it doesn't release us from burden and lead us into rest--it should be examined closely.

"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 KJV)

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 KJV)

The thief who hung next to Jesus on the cross leads 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." (Luke 23:42-43 KJV)

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 KJV)

When studying 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 said, "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 his covenant with Abraham (then known as Abram) would rest entirely upon Him. Abraham was to have little to do with the keeping of this covenant. Abram's responsibility was to be at "rest". We can see the same principle in Christ's blood covenant. Our salvation rests on the faithfulness of Jesus--not on our performance, adherence to religious rules or church affiliation. We are almost never told this in our churches. God tells us to enter His rest in the same manner that Abraham slept (rested) while God established the 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." (Hebrews 4:9-11 KJV)

Rest is a "New Covenant" experience 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 most religious teaching. I wanted to draw attention to this aspect of "covenant rest" as a way to discern the difference between a corrupt teaching that oppresses and the New Testament teaching on covenant that sets religious captives free!

Biblical Freedom

I believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ sets us free. I'm a firm believer in God's Grace--His unmerited favor. Yet, there are other gospels being preached. I've listened as some evangelists use the term "freedom" to persuade people into making a decision for Christ. They preach, "come to Jesus--He'll set you free". However, the message that gets heard many times by the audience is, "come to Jesus--then live your life any way you want". New Testament salvation does not set you free to "live your life any way you want!" In 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 quoted above, Paul makes it clear that salvation involves espousing the believer to Christ in a marriage relationship. 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 their new "husband"--Jesus. Salvation is vacating our position in Satan's "family" so that we can be "re-birthed" (born again) into God's family. Our heavenly Father starts to train us in his ways. The goal is to conform us into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Any way you slice it--salvation is anything but freedom to "do your own thing". When the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ sets us free--it's talking about freedom from the death and 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 enjoyed by every member of his family. Eternal death was your destiny in the devil's realm. Jesus sets you free from eternal death and gives you his life. God has unique "plans" designed to "custom fit" each of his children. The Father's plan for you will not necessarily apply to me. We're all different. Since our Father originally created us--He has unique knowledge about what will make us happy and fulfilled. Doing "our own thing" is a false form of freedom that frustrates the Father's plan for us. Yet, it is the theme of this present generation. When we accept salvation under the New Testament Gospel--we understand these expectations from the beginning. When we understand the loving nature of our Father and his intentions toward 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 NKJV)

As you continue in your quest to learn more about Jesus Christ I hope my comments will help you avoid those who use God's Word to bring you under religious bondage. My desire is for you to experience a fruitful and restful relationship with your heavenly Father. He sacrificed His Son, Jesus and used his blood in order to bring us into His family--and now calls us His children.

Copyright © 2007 Rock of Offence
Most recent revision February 2007