Friday, February 01, 2019

Wright: the purpose of the covenant

Friday, February 1, 2019
    Commemoration of Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c.525
    [Jesus:] “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. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
    —Matthew 5:17,18 (NIV)
    The purpose of the covenant, in the Hebrew Bible and some subsequent writings, was never simply that the creator wanted to have Israel as a special people, irrespective of the fate of the rest of the world. The purpose of the covenant was that, through this means, the creator would address and save his entire world. The call of Abraham was designed to undo the sin of Adam.
    ... N. T. Wright (b. 1948), What Saint Paul Really Said, Grand Rapids Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997, p. 33 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 5:17-18; Isa. 9:2; 42:6-7; 60:1-3; Luke 2:28-32; John 3:16; Acts 13:47-48; 28:28; Rom. 15:8-9
Quiet time reflection:
    Through Your grace, I have been admitted into Your covenant.
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Anonymous Tim Warlick said...

This is an excellent quote, very true, yet which we evangelicals are often confused about. The covenant is not fulfilled by the land or nation of Israel, but by the Jews and the rest of the world, all getting the same opportunity to be saved as eternal children of God by faith in Christ.

The purpose of the Abrahamic covenant was always to save the whole world in God's Spirit.

The Old Testament events are intended by God to prove, both to them in the Old Testament and to us today, beyond all doubt , that humans are supposed to learn that the law can never produce obedience to God's Spirit, because then and now, all humans were and are sinful, and sin without God's mercy produces unbelief because it proves to us we are unable to follow God's Spirit perfectly according to law, so since, after sinning, we see we are already condemned by the law for our imperfection without mercy per the law, we give up on trying to obey God at all.

So God showed how great His mercy is in letting Himself, in Jesus, endure the cross, so we could believe His mercy, and know always we have God's mercy if we just repent and quit sinning. So when that happens, when faith in the mercy of God in Jesus leads us to finally quit sinning, we have finally fulfilled the law, and Jesus has then fulfilled the law by adding mercy to the law, by allowing us credit for having His holiness simply because we have faith in His name, for repentance and forgiveness of sins, which Jesus said is the definition of what it means to be "in His name".

“and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Lu 24:47 NIV)

Really good, related scripture in Hebrews:
“12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." 16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.” (Heb 3:12-19 NIV)

“7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 ¶ Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no-one will fall by following their example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb 4:7-16 NIV)

February 1, 2019 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger Robert McAnally Adams said...

Thanks for your remarks--very thoughtful.

February 1, 2019 at 8:53 PM  

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