>New Covenant

>The following is another posting from the past (moore4christ blog) that I am transferring over to this blog. If you have not read this before, I hope this is edifying. If you have already read this, I will be writing new posts in the coming days. This blog post was another response to a collaboration question in Old Testament II. Thank you! jtm

Perhaps the finest expression of Jeremiah’s prophetic preaching is found in 31:31-40. Jeremiah describes the new covenant as “permanent” (see especially 31:35-40). If this new covenant is “permanent,” what is its relationship to the covenant made at Sinai? Does the new covenant supplant the covenant at Sinai? Can this new covenant be broken as was the one at Sinai? Can Jeremiah’s new covenant be equated with the covenant established by Christ’s blood? Why, or why not?

Clearly, the context of Jeremiah 31:31-40 illustrates and describes a permanent, new covenant between God and His people.First I want to quickly answer these questions and then make some observational points in more detail.

What is the relationship to the covenant here described and the covenant made at Mount Sinai? I would say that new covenant does not SUPPLANT the Mosaic Covenant, but it fulfills the covenant. In other words, the covenant made at Sinai is fulfilled ultimately in this new covenant.
Can this new covenant be broken as was the one at Sinai? No, not in an ultimate sense.
Can Jeremiah’s new covenant be equated with the covenant established by Christ’s blood? Yes, I have always equated the two in my interpretation of Jeremiah 31:31-40. I see the covenant provided by the atonement of Christ for our sins and the justification that is found in grace and through faith and repentance to be equal with the new covenant described in Jeremiah 31.
With these brief responses, I would like to make the following points of observation:
Jesus definitely represents and enacts a new covenant, one that is synonymous with the covenant described in our focal discussion. The writer of the book of Hebrews makes this plain in Hebrews Chapter 8. Starting in verse 6, “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.” (Hebrews 8:6-7). The writer then quotes verbatim Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Hebrews 8:8-12. Thus, it is obvious that the writer of Hebrews through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit equates the Then the writer wraps up the discussion of the covenant by saying in verse 13 of Chapter 8, ‘In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” This verse raises the earlier questions in the issue – is the Sinai Covenant now abolished or overthrown and to be forgotten?Since Jesus inaugurates this new covenant in his life and ministry, which is fulfilled ultimately in his death, burial, and resurrection, we need to see what Jesus said about the old covenant. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said in Matthew 5:17-20: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heave and earth pass away, not an iota, or a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus in this passage clearly is connecting his ministry with the old covenant in that he will be the fulfillment of that covenant. Reading the old covenant (the Law and the Prophets) is not abolished, it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.But what about Hebrews 8:13? The ESV translation says that the old covenant is obsolete. This at first glance seems to be synonymous with “abolished”. But I believe that this is not what the writer of Hebrews is saying. The writer is not saying that the old covenant is abolished, but that many aspects of the old covenant, heavily dependent on the sacrificial system, is now obsolete given the complete and victorious work of Christ on the cross.Can this new covenant be broken like the old one could? The language of the new covenant in Jeremiah is totally opposite the language of the Sinaitic covenant. This new covenant illustrates a loving God actually doing the action of creating the new covenant “within” the believer. No longer is the covenant externally focused on the obedience of a nation or chosen race. This covenant is forged within the individual believer. We must be careful however to make the distinction that the Old Testament believers were not saved because of their works or in obeying the Law to the letter. Legalism has never saved. Paul in Romans 4 makes clear that even before the Law was instituted on Mt. Sinai, the righteous were saved through faith. Justification has always been through faith alone by grace alone. The difference in the Sinaitic Covenant (the best I can see it right now), is that it encompassed both the remnant of Israel (those who truly believed) and also “nation” of Israel, even including those who were unregenerate. In the new covenant, there is no distinction. In the universal church, there is no such thing as a visible church and invisible church. Yes, there are some denominations that want to place this moniker on the church, but the new covenant will NOT be broken. Once you are regenerate, once you are justified, and as you are sanctified, you will persevere to the end. Yes we are subject to sin, but we will not break the covenant.

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>God Hates the Sin, but Loves the Sinner?

>In the continued effort to bring the posts from my old blog (moore4christ) over to this blog, below is a post I published in April of this year and was a submission that I made in a collaboration for Old Testament II. The question as posed by the professor is in red and then my response is in black:

The obvious theme of Psalm 2 is Yahweh’s use of “his anointed” (v. 2) to control rebellious nations. However, not all mentioned in this Psalm are pictured as rebellious and thus as objects of divine wrath. The Psalm closes on a positive note: “How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” Clearly, the Psalmist believes that the wicked will experience God’s wrath, not his grace. On the other hand, those who bow before him will experience blessing. In light of the Psalmist’s presentation, evaluate the statement: “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.”

I believe that we talked about this somewhat in an earlier collaboration for Old Testament II, but I am glad to see singular treatment using the 2nd Psalm as the context. I think the previous collaboration discussion was on the equality of God’s love – the thought that God loves the entirety of humanity in the same way, equally. There is a sense that in an individualistic and largely democratic society that we live in today, that the thought of equality is certainly a major factor in our idea of freedom. The Declaration of Independence declares that all men are created equal. This has been the clarion call for all disenfranchised persons in the American tradition and it has also had somewhat of an impact on our view of God’s approach to the sinner and sin. We run to John 3:16 and read, “For God so loved the world…” or I John 2:2, “He is the propitiation of our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world”, and then say that God LOVES the world and LOVES the sinner. God LOVES you and me. When HE was on the cross YOU were on his mind (and in our minds, there is no qualification to that thought – no limitation). Therefore, God even LOVES the unregenerate sinner. But I cannot go that far. Ephesians 2:3 states that we are by nature children of wrath – all humanity. By nature, all humanity is subject to the wrath of God. This is a holy stance against the sinner! Yes, there is an effacacious condescendence by God through Christ to the world because of God’s love for the world so that he might save the elect, but God still must stand in holiness against sin and thus the sinner. God hates sin – with wrath and judgment – and the nature of the sinner is SIN. Therefore, God hates the very nature of the sinner. But this is not an EMOTIONAL hatred that we usually attach to the word in human terms. WRATH is not an emotional response from God – it is a response of holiness and according to the sake and glory of HIS NAME. This HATRED is wrought out of the perfection of God’s holiness. The only people that the phrase, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner” would apply to is the regenerate believer – not the unbeliever.

>The Beginning of Knowledge

>I am going to over the next couple of days be re-submitting some old posts from a previous blog onto this “Moore For Christ” blog so that all of my pastoral / devotional postings will be in the same place (there will be some exceptions that I will not post). This is from earlier this year and is a devotional thought from Proverbs 1:7 and 3:5-6

A couple of weeks ago, our church had a Scripture memory verse from Proverbs. I posited a second verse in addition to Proverbs 3:5-6. That verse was Proverbs 1:7, which reads:”The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This is a very interesting verse and one that carries a TON of relevance to today’s Christianity and every Christian’s life. Also, since I have been studying the philosophy this week (still studying) up here at Louisville, KY at Southern Seminary, this verse is also extremely helpful for me.One of the main questions in philosophy is this:

Can you know anything?


What is truth?

Is it knowable?

This verse simply answers that question. Knowledge is only possible by belief. Saint Augustine famously said, ‘You must believe something, before you can know something.” True, lasting, purposeful, abundant, and sustaining knowledge begins at one place – with the fear of the Lord! Even though most of you do not have advanced degrees in any scholastic discipline, this does not mean that you lack the possession of knowledge. You actually have more knowledge than the pagan philosopher or the heathen mathematics or scientific genius. Why? Because, those disciplines operated outside of the fear of the God of the Bible, is useless and without purpose.

Remember these cross-references:

1 Corinthians 1:18-21: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” ESV

1 Corinthians 13:2: “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” ESV

Fools – the wise of the world act as illustrated in the latter part of our focal verse.

They despise:

1. Wisdom: this wisdom is a spiritual, heavenly wisdom – the wisdom that comes from above. To contrast earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom – read James 3:13-18.

2. Instruction: the wise of this world spurn instruction that comes from Scripture, which is the final authority for instruction on life. Wisdom from above is grounded in Scripture. Scripture is the depository for the source of all knowledge.

All knowledge and all the disciplines can find a starting point and a grounding in God’s Holy Word. It is my earnest prayer that all members of Dresden First Baptist Church will be GROUNDED – ROOTED in the Word of God.Such is the beginning of knowledge.

>Reminder on Bible Reading

>I want to encourage everyone to continue reading the Scriptures according to our Bible Reading Plan for 2009. As you can see, on the left side menu bar of this blog, I have this week’s Bible Reading. You can read all sections of Scripture or pick any to read. It does not matter what you read in Scripture, but THAT you read. Remember, all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of god may be competent, equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16 ESV)”

Many of you may have realized that we have left the Books of the Law (and for some, I suppose this is a relief) and have entered the books of History in our OT I readings. Also, we have moved from Wisdom literature in our OT II readings to Isaiah and the Major Prophets. Don’t be intimidated by the prophets for some of the most glorious passages and promises about Christ Jesus and the faithfulness of God is found in this section of Scripture (Isaiah 6, 7, 40, 53, 60, 62, etc.). In the NT readings, we are still focusing on the gospel of Luke.

I pray God’s richest blessings upon you in the reading of His Faithful Word!

>Richard Baxter – How to know that you are Unconverted

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I have started reading Richard Baxter’s masterpiece, The Christian Directory, and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I am reading it quite slowly trying to digest this mammoth volume. This book is about 800 quarto pages long. It will take a LONG time to read, but it is a gold mine!! Reading this last night, Baxter was discussing in his Christian Ethics on the conversion of the lost. On page 18 of Part I, Baxter describes the marks of the unconverted state. I want to share them with you. If you ever wanted to know if you are in the faith or not, this list is a great start to show you your true spiritual state – whether dead or alive.
Here are the words of Baxter:
Marks of an unconverted state:
1. If you are persecutors, or haters, or deriders of men, for being serious and diligent in the service of God, and fearful of sinning, and because they go not with the multitude to do evil, it is a certain sign that you are in a state of death: yea, if you love not such men, and desire not rather to be such yourselves, than to be the greatest of the ungodly.
2. If you love the world best, and set your affections most on things below, and mind most earthly things; nay, if you seek not first God’s kingdom and the righteousness thereof; and if your hearts be not in heaven, and your affections set on the things that are above; and you prefer not your hopes of life eternal before all the pleasures and prosperity of this world, it is a certain sign that you are but worldly and ugodly men.
3. If your estimation, belief, and hopes, of everlasting life through Christ, be not such, as will prevail with you to deny yourselves, and forsake father, and mother, and the nearest friends; and house, and land, and life, and all that you have, for Christ, and for these hopes of a happiness hereafter, you are no true Christians, nor in a state of saving grace.
4. If you have not been converted, regenerated, and sanctified by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, making you spiritual, and causing you to mind the things of the Spirit above the things of the flesh. If this Spriti be not in you, and you walk not after it, but after the flesh; making provision for the flesh, to satisfy its desires, and preferring the pleasing of the flesh before the pleasing of God, it is certain that you are in a state of death.
5. If you have any known sin which you do not hate, and had not rather leave it than keep it, and do not pray, and strive, and watch against it, as far as you know and observe it; but rather excuse it, plead for it, desire it, and are loth to part with it, so that your will is habitually more for it than against it, it is a sign of an impenitent, unrenewed heart.
6. If you love not the word, as it is a light discovering your sin and duty, but only as it is a general truth, or as it reproveth others: if you love not the most searching preaching, and would not know how bad you are, and come not to the light, that your deeds may be manifest, it is a sign that you are not children of the light, but of the darkness.
7. If the laws of your Creator and Redeemer be not of greatest power and authority with you, and the will and word of God cannot do more with you, than the word or will of any man; and the threatenings and promises of God be not more prevalent with you, than the threats or promises of any men, it is a sign that you take not God for your God, but in heart are atheists and ungodly men.
8. If you have not, in a deliberate covenant or resolution, devoted and given up yourselves to God as your Father and felicity, to Jesus Christ as your only Saviour, and your Lord and King, and to be the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier, to be made holy by him, desiring that your heart and life should be perfectly conformed to the will of God, and that you might know him, and love him, and enjoy him more; you are void of godliness and true Christianity; for this is the very covenant which you make in baptism…”
I don’t know about you, but these signs or marks of the unconverted truly convicted me! Oh how I hate sin, but how I so often find myself not resting in the Spirit of God, but instead allowing myself to live as if I am unconverted! May these marks be blazened on my mind and in my heart that I may not sin against God and thus search out the Scriptures for the surpassing love that is found in Christ Jesus our Lord!

>Matthew 11:28

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The scripture memory verse this week is Matthew 11:28, but I would like to quote the entire passage in this blog to give context (Matthew 11:25-30)
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” [ESV]
What an amazing passage! The first section of this discourse is astonishing. Jesus glorifies the Father in His will that the Lord has hidden the kingdom of heaven from the wise and understanding and has revealed them to little children. In other words, Jesus is declaring that those who are wise in the world’s eyes but are unrepentant and stubbornly refuse to accept the gospel. The little children however receive the gospel openly in simple faith and humility. Thus, we must emulate the little children in our faith, not the skeptic. We live in a society that exalts doubt and skepticism. But this “un-trusting” attitude towards God and his revelation, the Holy Bible, has caused more harm to the gospel than anything else today. We see denomination after denomination finding its effectiveness eroded by their rejection or manipulation of the gospel of Christ. Paul the apostle mentioned this tendency in Galatians 1:7-9 –> “not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. but even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have saide before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Strong words. God has shut out and hidden the truth from those who are wise and understanding according to the world’s calculations. Jesus calls this hiding of truth from the wise and understanding God’s GRACIOUS will. Jesus glorifies God in doing this. But those who humble themselves in confession before God and trust their lives to Him, they shall be saved! Salvation is found in humility and in faith, not in pride and in worldly wisdom.
The second section of this passage is equally astounding. My ESV study bible notes say this: “The first part of verse 27 reveals the profound divine self-consciousness of Jesus, as well as the supreme authority of the Father within the Trinity, by which he has delegated authority over “all things” to the Son. ‘All things’ probably refers to everything needed with respect to the carrying out of Christ’s ministry of redemption, including the revelation of salvation to those whom he chooses to reveal the Father.” Christ while incarnate had full authority on who he was going to reveal the Father to. He is perfect in his wisdom and authority! Jesus, both in his incarnate state and eternal state, shares an exclusive relationship with the Father, including a “direct and immediate knowledge of each other”. Thus, this is the glorious truth of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are separate in personhood, yet united and one in substance – co-equal and co-eternal. God the Son and God the Father are separate in personhood, yet are always united in a direct and immediate knowledge of each other and in communication and relationship.

The final section is so reassuring! This divine triune God, who created the world and by him all things are held together, move, and have their being (including us), is a God of peace and love for those who come to Him. Christ Jesus calls for all who have a downtrodden spirit, a frustrated life, dreams that have been crushed, souls who feel that they have no purpose, those who have tried everything in life and still are unsatisfied with life, those who have looked to material things for sustenance and found them wanting, those who are worried about tomorrow, those who are completely and utterly overwhelmed by anxiety, to simply come and fall down at the cross and cast our burdens upon him and he will give us rest! As I write this, I feel my own burdens lifting – what a glorious knowledge, that I can find true rest and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Christ then invites us to take his YOKE! This is in itself a burdensome object. The yoke was a wooden frame joining two oxen for pulling heavy loads, and is a metaphor for one person’s subjection to another, and a common metaphor in Judaism for the law [ESV study notes]. The law under the Pharisees’ influence had become a crushing burden, but the Pharisees truly believed that this burden of the law originated with God. However, Christ OBLITERATES this view!!!! Christ’s burden / yoke of discipleship brings REST through simple commitment to Christ. We no longer have to focus on minute details of the law and try to figure out how to keep an unkeepable legalism. We only have to yield to Christ Jesus. Our salvation is now focused on ONE person, not HUNDREDS of rules. Remember what Bro. Don mentioned in his sermon Sunday, grace is a FREE GIFT OF GOD (Romans 3:24), made possible by the sacrificial atonement of Christ for sin. However, this Grace, although it is free, is NOT CHEAP. This grace COSTS MUCH – it cost the life of the SON OF GOD! And thus, in order to have this grace you must yield all of yourself to the LORDSHIP of Christ – “to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow HIM. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Christ’s sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Christ and his words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” [Luke 9:23-26 ESV].
Oh the glorious grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the divine, amazing love that is found in our Triune God!

>2009 – 2010 Church Year Approaching

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I have taken about a 10 day vacation from writing in the blog, but am back to tell you a little about Dresden First Baptist Church’s 2009 – 2010 Theme. Our theme for the coming year will be: “Maximizing Church Membership”.
Our church is in the midst of working on our plans over the coming weeks for the start of the new church year in September. No matter what our plans are, it will be involving the reclamation of a biblical view of church membership. Also involved will be a focus on Sunday School and starting new Sunday School units. If you, dear reader, are a member of our church, I encourage you to pray and think about Sunday School classes that we currently do not offer that would be good additions to the church program. I do know that the Sunday School Ministry is planning a Singles Class to start the first Sunday of September. Also included in this vision for a new vision is a bold thrust in our church for missions involvement and awareness. I will be working with the pastor to encourage our church to adopt an active, overseas missionary and communicate with that missionary on a regular basis. That way we will be praying for and communicating with an actual missionary. We hope to eventually start local church mission projects and also encourage individual volunteer mission trips. Maybe, in the near future, our church will commission a church member to full time, international missions.
I encourage each member of our church and others to pray for our church in the coming weeks as we plan for the new year. I ask the Lord’s blessings on Dresden First Baptist Church