We’ve been sold a toxic concoction of Old and New Covenants, a “drink” that induces us to believe that God is still working with us on the basis of a quid pro quo relationship. In other words, if we get our part right, He’ll do His part, and we’ll get a good return on our investment. That invariably produces a fascination, even a transfixation(!), on figuring out the proper principles to employ that will move God on our behalf. We lose fascination with God Himself, and our actual knowing of Him is less than what He intends, less than what He has earned and given us. The passion for figuring out how to make things work becomes a surrogate fire that replaces the passion of knowing Him. And for the sons and daughters of God, that will not be sufficient. We will suffer. But I know He is working in opposition to the surrogate, and He is revealing true life that fills and satisfies…and becomes a healthy addiction.
The addiction is Him.
God chose to give us the “lead-up to Jesus,” but we’re not supposed to live by the lead-up. We’re not supposed to live by what they were looking forward to: we’re to live with God—we have Him!
We’ve been deceived into defining “hope” in Christianity as, “Here’s how to get what you want from God.” The equation goes like this: My Righteousness + God’s Faithfulness = Desired Outcome. But we’re not Jewish, and that covenant is, fortunately, finished. Under the New Covenant, hope is secured by Jesus, and I trust Him throughout my days to work in me, through me and around me for His glory and my delight. My life, in the sense of what I get, where I go, who is with me, etc., is less about making that happen and more about trusting Him and watching Him bring it to pass. My gaze is fixed on Him, and that secures my hope that He is providing everything for life and godliness.
I’m glad to have the Old Testament. But all too often speakers teaching from it today instruct Christians as if the Old Covenant is still in force along with the new, which regularly creates an addiction to the toxic drink. Many believe that God still bases His behavior and largesse upon our behavior and faithfulness. Many believe that sin still separates us from God. Many believe that not all of their sins are forgiven. Many believe that they are not a new creation, but an upgrade only. On and on it goes, because the Old Testament stories have been used as motivational inducements toward our “pleasing behavior” before God.
In other words: “Here’s how to get what God has not given.” And that becomes a bigger attraction to us than God Himself.
I suppose that if you listen to teaching and read books that interpret the Old Testament and the Old Covenant in light of the New Testament and New Covenant, where we hear and learn how well off we are in comparison, then you’re in great shape. I’m truly glad that’s happening more and more, but I simply want it to hurry up already!
I know this is a bit of a ramble, but I’m on my way to speak at a retreat. Pray for me and for them?