Wednesday, March 26, 2003

After a wonderful thirteen weeks of studying "The Promise," let us review briefly thirteen points of the precious New Covenant message (these may not exactly parallel the thirteen Quarterly lessons):

(1) The New Covenant is the same as "the everlasting covenant" of Hebrews 13:20. It was established anciently in that far-off "counsel of peace . . . between them both" when Father and Son agreed to redeem humanity if they should sin (Zech. 6:12). We read of this divine pledge in Early Writings, p. 149: Christ "then made known to the angelic host that a way of escape had been made for lost man. He told them that He had been pleading with his Father, and had offered to give His life a ransom, to take the sentence of death upon Himself, that through Him man might find pardon." Here is the New Covenant in its beginning.
(2) When Cain let himself get angry with his brother to kill him, he was devoted to the Old Covenant, right there just outside the gates of Eden. He had brought his own offering of the works of his hands instead of one signifying total reliance on the sacrifice of Christ.
(3) The New Covenant was expressed anew in the seven promises that God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. Paul makes clear that nothing can be "added" to that Covenant, for God had ratified it (Gal. 3:15-19; Gen. 15:7-17). The law spoken at Sinai was not an addendum; the word "added" means it was emphasized, or underlined, or set in bold type. Thus the function of the law is to convict of sin; but not to cleanse from it.
(4) God asked no return promises from Abraham; his part was to believe the promises of God (Gen. 15:6). That's all that God has asked of us (John 3:16); but such faith on his or our part "works by love" (Gal. 5:6). Thus in the New Covenant there is no disparagement of works: genuine faith is proven by our works. It always leads to obedience "to all the commandments of God." (See Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 91, 92; for example, if one continues to transgress the Sabbath commandment while professing to proclaim the gospel of Christ, he is mistaken, for his so-called faith proves itself to be "in vain" (James 2:26; Matt. 5:19). Why then should we study under commandment-breakers the meaning of the gospel?)
(5) Even after Abraham "believed God," he stumbled and staggered into Old Covenant thinking. He listened to Sarai's unbelief and took Hagar as a second wife in order to get a boy baby.
His faith was not fully demonstrated as genuine until in Genesis 22 he offered up Isaac.
(6) Sarai had her own battle with Old Covenant unbelief. She manifested unbelief at God's wonderful promise and cherished enmity against Him as the cause of her infertility (Gen. 16:1, 2). Even now, when we cherish unbelief and doubt that the Lord will "give [us] the desires of [our] heart" (Ps. 37:4), we are repeating her Old Covenant journey.
(7) The Lord healed her of this alienation by repeating to her directly the same wonderful promises He had made to Abraham (Gen. 17:15, 6; 18:9-15). Then her name was changed from Sarai ("contentious woman") to Sarah, "Princess and mother of kings." Thus we learn that only New Covenant Good News can heal and reconcile alienated human hearts.
(8) Sarah repented of her unbelief; she chose to believe the Good News that God had given her. "Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed" (Heb. 11:11).
(9) But 430 years later, Abraham's descendants at Mount Sinai failed to appreciate their experience of victory over unbelief. They did not have the faith of Abraham, nor that of Sarah when she overcame. They re-invented Cain's Old Covenant unbelief, and that of Sarai before her name was changed. As in Cain's case his unbelief led him to murder his brother Abel, so Israel's Old Covenant unbelief led them eventually to murder their Messiah.
(10) Thus it is clear that the Old Covenant is bad news all the way through. Paul says it "gendereth to bondage" (Gal. 4:24). That's the last thing we want! No re-crucifixion of Christ, please!
(11) Not only has God never asked us to make Old Covenant promises of obedience to Him, the practice of making them is itself opposed to happy living. Steps to Christ discloses the tragic failures that are involved: "Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. . . . The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. . . . The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise" (p. 47). Children are often led to make solemn promises to God.Then when they inevitably break them in childhood, unbelief and despair are encouraged. This is the key reason why so many of our youth lose their way. They desperately need to learn New Covenant truth, with no Old Covenant confusion mixed in.
(12) Paul makes clear that the gospel was as full in the days of Abraham as it has ever been or will be (Gal. 3:8; cf John 8:56). Probably the first Jew ever to discern rightly the significance of ancient Israel's Old Covenant detour of unbelief, Paul says that the Old Covenant (law) was their disciplinarian ("schoolmaster") whose work was to lead them (or drive them!) back to where their father Abraham was, that they might experience justification by faith as he did (Gal. 3:19-25). In order to understand our perplexing Seventh-day Adventist history, we too must see again how our long involvement with the Old Covenant has functioned as a "schoolmaster" to lead us back to the "most precious message" of justification by faith that "the Lord in His great mercy sent" us in our past history.
(13) The end of the long detour is Good News: when we understand and believe the gospel of justification by faith as Abraham did, then "the earth" can be "lightened" with the New Covenant glory of the loud cry of the third angel (see Rev. 14:6-12; 18:1-4).

Thanks for being with us this Quarter! At the request of many subscribers, this service will be continued into the next Quarter
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Thursday, March 20, 2003

Insights to Lesson 12: "Covenant Faith," March 15-21, 2003

Thank God that the topic this Quarter has been "The Covenants." We have long needed to understand this truth. Our Quarterly has had many inspiring thoughts in it. Lesson 12 brings clarity to the world church rather than confusion.

Thank God it says that "salvation is a gift," and that it doesn't say that salvation is an "offer." If salvation is merely an offer, that means it is nothing unless we accept the offer. Then it would have to follow that our salvation is ultimately due to our own initiative. The Bible is clear: salvation is free as the sunshine; Christ died for "every man;" He died every man's second death. None of us has done anything to help save ourselves.
But Sunday's lesson also brings us back into some confusion again: "The Old Testament way of salvation under the Mosaic covenant is no different from the New Testament way of salvation under the new covenant. Whether in the Old or New Testament, old or new covenant, salvation is by faith alone" (Sunday).
Here the thought is expressed again as in last week's lesson that "God ordained" salvation to be for the Israelites under the Old Covenant through "animal blood." It postulates two methods of salvation, one under the Old Covenant that was valid up until the cross, when the New Covenant finally came into force at the death of Christ.
True, after expressing these Old Covenant ideas the Quarterly always adds a caveat that there is a better way to come through the New. But this idea that the two Covenants are really the same in two dispensations is confusion confounded, the source of worldwide lukewarmness.
Not one sin was forgiven, not one sinful heart was cleansed, by the ministry of animals' blood! The people thought so, but only because of the massive confusion they brought upon themselves by using the Old Covenant idea at Sinai. Any sin in Old Testament times that was truly forgiven was forgiven only by the blood of Christ.
Individuals in old Israel could understand the New Covenant--such as David after his sin with Bathsheba. He knew well that "Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it" (Ps. 51:16). Apparently he didn't offer even a turtledove as atonement for that double sin of adultery/murder! No animal blood could wash away that sin!
David understood that the New Covenant was already in force at the Garden of Eden. Forgiveness of sin was only through the "Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world."
Some Good News: Thank God that our Lesson 12 lets Ellen White tell us what faith is--that long quote from Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 212, 213 (Sunday's lesson). If your heart longs for a fresh burst of heavenly light, read that entire chapter from p. 200 through p. 215. That was first published in the 1860s. It demonstrates how she could say at Minneapolis in 1888 when for the first time she heard Jones and Waggoner present the New Covenant "light," "I have been presenting it to you for the last 45 years--the matchless charms of Christ. This is what I have been trying to present before your minds" (1888 Materials, pp. 348, 349). Then when she heard them, she rejoiced that at last here were two Seventh-day Adventist ministers who understood what happened on Christ's cross. When the hearts of ministers are humbled thereby, the hearts of their hearers will be won to Christ. Even youth will respond.
The full blessings of the New Covenant message still await us in future. "The third angel's message in verity" will reveal the significance of the cross of Christ. God's plan in 1888 was that every Seventh-day Adventist church become the place where hungry-hearted people in Babylon could come and learn what Jesus accomplished there, and what His ministry means to them in the Most Holy Apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. As the Holy Spirit blessed the apostles after Pentecost, so "our" ministry would have been blessed after 1888 (Selected Messages, book one, pp. 234, 235). God's people are still in Babylon; the Voice calling "Come out of her My people" would have sounded clearly in the 1888 New Covenant message going worldwide from every one of our churches. As The Great Controversy says, honest-hearted people everywhere would have responded in wonder (cf. pp. 611, 612). The world would never again have said that Seventh-day Adventists "preach the law, the law, but not Christ."
When God "counted [Abram's embryonic] faith for righteousness" (Gen 15:6), did that mean that He would never test Abraham to make sure that His "counting" was valid? No, the "test" had to come in Genesis 22, when God asked him to offer his only son Isaac. We must beware of the popular Old Covenant idea that our profession of faith triggers an automatic "counting" of us as already perfect in fact while we are content that it be not so; the pre-Advent judgment merely determines that God didn't make a mistake when He "counted" our faith for righteousness. Our works will testify that it was genuine.

Thus the New Covenant truth will prepare a people to be ready for Christ's coming, to stand before Him truly "without guile, . . . without fault" (Rev. 14:5), not merely assumed to be, but actually so "in Christ." And that "blessed hope" is not the heresy of "perfectionism." It's the cleansing of the sanctuary--the New Covenant in full fruition.

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Thursday, March 13, 2003

Insights to Lesson 11: "New-Covenant Sanctuary," March 8-14, 2003

As the 13 Sabbaths of this quarter go by, we grow in our understanding of the Old and New Covenants. This is a blessing:
(a) The New is God's wonderful promise to save us, to give us everything as a gift "in Christ." It includes "He shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Ps. 37:4). It includes all the promises in Ephesians 1:3-12. It includes the heart-thumping joys of Romans 8:28-39. It prepares God's people to understand and receive the latter rain--at last.
(b) The Old is the fear-driven promises of the people to do everything right. It is subtle legalism. It has a lot going for it; it has kept the world together thus far. You can live relatively safe because the fear-driven Old Covenant restrains the wicked from total evil. But only the New Covenant can bring final victory in the great controversy between Christ and Satan.
(c) The second angel's message says, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen." And the fourth's says, "Come out of her, My people" (Rev. 14:8; 18:1-3). We have learned so far this quarter that it's easier to come out of Babylon than to get Babylon's confusion out of us. The confusion imported from Babylon's Sunday-keeping thinking on the two Covenants has bewildered many of us for a century or more.
(d) All efforts to twist the New Covenant into our promises, making it a mutual "bargain" with God, an "agreement" negotiated with Him, a "compact" or a legal two-sided "contract"--all these are confusions imported from Babylon. They are the root cause of our worldwide lukewarmness (Rev. 3:14-21). The simple truth of the two Covenants eluded us in our past history. Now it's time for us to recover it.
(4) Likewise the idea of "dispensations" is not biblical; the two Covenants are not matters of time, but of heart-condition. The Old did not end at the cross nor did the New begin there. Both date from the Garden of Eden and both run parallel today. Christ was "slain from the foundation of the world," and only manifested at Calvary. You live under the one Covenant or the other depending on whether you understand and believe how good is the Good News of the gospel. (Babylon has a very popular counterfeit "gospel." Read the Bible for yourself--it's clear as sunlight there.)

A question about our lesson (March 10):
Is it really true that "the divinely appointed way for the Old Testament sinner to rid himself of sin and guilt was through animal sacrifices"?
Is it really true that "the person who had sinned . . . could be restored to full fellowship with God and humanity by bringing an animal sacrifice as a substitute"?
Were the animal "sacrifices, with their rites, . . . the God-appointed means to bring about cleansing from sin and guilt"?
Was animal blood "instituted to cleanse the sinner, . . . reinstituting communion and full covenantal fellowship of the penitent with the personal God who is the saving Lord?"
Were "the Old Testament animal sacrifices . . . the divinely-ordained means for ridding the sinner of sin and guilt"?
These questions are stated as positive on Monday's page, with an added qualifying statement that "an animal sacrifice was meant to be a looking forward to the coming of the Divine-human Servant of God, who would die a substitutionary death for the sins of the world. . . . Through this process . . . the sinner is forgiven and accepted by the Lord . . ."

A glance at our history may be important to note. Elders G. I. Butler, R. C. Porter, and Uriah Smith (spokesmen for the opposition in 1888) took the position that God had instituted the Old Covenant and its animal sacrifices as "a good thing which God had ordained for their salvation, but it had no usefulness after the cross" (The Law and the Covenants in Seventh-day Adventist History, by Paul Penno, Jr.; book manuscript in publication; p. 53). They saw the Old and New Covenants as identical except that the Old was ordained for those times and the New ordained for our times (p. 52). They were "two methods of salvation in Elder Butler's scheme; one through the remedial system for the Jew before the first advent and the other through the Messiah for Jew and Gentile after the cross" (id).
Further, quoting author Penno, according to Butler/Smith, the ceremonial law "made provision for the forgiveness of these transgressions in figure, till the real Sacrifice should be offered" (p. 41). In other words, there was no real forgivenss of sins until the cross--this was Butler's position. "The two covenants were almost two methods of salvation in Butler's theory. The old covenant was for Israel before Christ and the new covenant was for spiritual Israelites after the coming of Christ" (p. 42). "Uriah Smith, like so many others, took his definition of a biblical covenant from Webster's dictionary." Smith words were, "The theological definition . . . from Webster is therefore correct when it placed obedience as the first of the terms upon which the promises are to be secured" (Smith, Review and Herald, Sept. 13, 1887; Penno, p. 27). In other words, you obey first; you take the initiative; then God works.
Thus it is clear that our brethren who rejected the 1888 view of the Covenants believed:
(a) God's covenant is a mutual "bargain," "agreement," negotiated between God and man, and not an out-and-out promise on the part of God.
(b) They also saw the two Covenants as two methods of salvation validated by dispensations. That has become the root of the present anti-Adventist propaganda from Dale Ratzlaff and others. If they had been exposed to the 1888 view of the Covenants in academy, college, and the Theological Seminary, Ratzlaff-ism could never have developed.

Is there power in God's New Covenant promises themselves? Or do they merely point forward to fulfillment in the distant future?
When we make a promise there is no power in it, of itself. Our use of the word implies that you wait. The Old Covenant idea is that God's promises too only point to future blessings; the New Covenant idea is that we already have the blessing in the promise itself. We read "that the children of the promise are counted for the seed" (Rom. 9:8, 9). That's astonishing! It means that God's promise itself produces children.
Consider Sarah, wife of Abraham. After decades of bitter disappointment, she was angry with God for keeping her from getting pregnant (Gen. 16:2). Then God gave her some personal New Covenant Good News--she would bear a baby boy and become the "mother of nations, . . . kings" (17:16; 18:9-11). It was for her the equivalent of the New Covenant promises God had made to Abraham (12:1-6).
But on that very day when God made the promise, Sarah was so unbelieving that she ridiculed the Good News as impossible, virtually insulting God to His face (18:12-14). Then to make matters worse she lied about the incident, whereupon God rebuked her sharply (vs. 15).
Hebrews makes clear that at this personal, divine rebuke she at last repented, for it was "by faith [that] Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed . . . when she was past age" (11:11). Isaac's was not a virgin birth or of an "immaculate conception," for both Abraham's and Sarah's reproductive organs were rejuvenated; he actually impregnated her.
She actually conceived. The faith of the two made it happen.
The point is this: God specially conveyed to Sarah His New Covenant, Good News promise. Being the lawful wife of Abraham through whom alone the promise to him could have been fulfilled, she could have believed it decades earlier and saved herself all those years of bitterness. (If as Paul says, Abraham is "our father," maybe Sarah is "our mother" in faith--or more exactly, in non-faith! Often we re-live her life story.) But when she finally chose to believe, immediately the promise met its fulfillment and she became pregnant--maybe even that very night.
Could our simple act of receiving a check illustrate the New Covenant promises? A check is not the actual cash, but we take it as though it were (if we believe the writer). The check becomes an occasion for rejoicing.
So, the one who believes the New Covenant promises goes through life with a merry heart. He knows he has the billion dollars in the Bank. His eternal life has actually begun here now. He doesn't wait and wait for forgiveness of sins; he has it now. He doesn't wait to walk with the Lord, he walks with Him now. He doesn't wait for grace to overcome sin; he rejoices in that much more powerful grace now. He does nothing to effect his justification--it's been a gift given him when Jesus purchased it for him at His cross. The infinite deposit was made there in his name. His faith in Christ is like cashing the check--now he experiences justification by faith.
Yes, there is power in God's New Covenant promises themselves! Believe Psalm 37:4 and you start being happy immediately--you don't wait until you're 90.

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Thursday, March 06, 2003

Insights to Lesson 10: "The New Covenant," March 1-7, 2003

This week's Sabbath School lesson's topic for discussion is the new covenant. Much confusion exists regarding the old and new covenants. The objective of this quarter's lessons is to clarify the confusion and bring us to a greater understanding of God's plan of salvation. To accomplish this we need to come to grips with some basic concepts.

* When did the old covenant end?
* When did the new covenant begin?
* Another valid question that we often overlook is: When did the old covenant begin?
* Is there a difference between a "covenant" and a "contract"?

Contract and Covenant Contrasted
Many confuse the meaning of the word "covenant," thinking that it is the same as a "contract." When a man enters into a contract with someone, it is for the mutual benefit of both parties. "I will do thus and such, if you will do so and so." A contract is negotiated and is "thing" oriented. We want something that the other party has, and we feel that we have something to offer in return. A contract is self-centered--what can "I" get out of the deal?
Once both parties agree to the terms, the contract is signed and made legally binding on both of them. Each must keep his side of the bargain or some type of penalty or forfeiture will occur as a result. A contract is therefore a mutual affair, but are we on equal terms with God? Can we make mutual agreements with God based on equal terms? "The carnal mind is enmity against God." "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 8:7; 3:10). God is righteous; we are unrighteous. God is holy, divine; we are unholy, carnal.
Where is there any basis of equality for us to begin our bargaining with God? What have we to negotiate with when we come to God to make a contract? Only our "filthy rags," our sins, our "works of the flesh." Of ourselves, we cannot offer obedience to a single commandment, because the carnal mind will not let us obey God's law (Rom. 8:7). We cannot make a contract with God because we have nothing to bring to the bargaining table except our sinful selves--which is worthless.
In contrast to this idea, a covenant would properly be defined as a promise or a pledge. It is "person" oriented, made TO someone BY someone. It is always made by the stronger individual to a weaker individual. A covenant involves loyalty, care, and concern for the individual to whom the promise was made.
This is clearly illustrated in Genesis 15. The covenant God made to Abraham was intended to be one-sided. God promised to give Abraham a child that would be born of his wife Sarah when both Abraham and Sarah were well past child-bearing age. There was nothing Abraham or Sarah could do to make this promise a reality in their lives, except believe that God was able to fulfil what He had told them. Abraham's faith in God's promise (he could only say "amen"--verse 6, Hebrew) was as "new covenant" as it gets!

A Biblical Illustration
Perhaps starting the lesson off with a cartoon illustration has set our feet headed down the wrong path. We must investigate Bible truth through an inspired lens. Paul gives us an excellent illustration of the two covenants.
"For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh, but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants" (Gal. 4:22-24).
Paul explains what the two covenants are, using the illustration of the two women, Sarah and Hagar. Hagar was an Egyptian slave woman, servant to Sarah. The children of a slave woman are slaves, even though their father is free. Hagar could only bring forth children that were under bondage. Scripture tells us that, "They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed" (Rom. 9:8).
These two covenants exist today. "The two covenants are not a matter of time, but condition of the heart. Let no man flatter himself that he cannot be under the old covenant, thinking that its time has passed." So long as we try of ourselves, in our own strength to keep those promises which God Himself has made to us, then we are under the old covenant. (E. J. Waggoner, Glad Tidings, pp. 99-100). It is only when we fully believe God, that we are set free to live under the new covenant.

Where Does the "Old" End and "New" Begin?
If the new covenant is not tied to the New Testament, where does it begin? The "new" covenant has been with us since Eden. God promised the fallen pair that He would place enmity between them and the serpent who had led them into sin (Gen. 3:15). The "new" covenant and the "everlasting" covenant are one and the same thing. It has always been God's promise to save us without any works of our own. The new or everlasting covenant was put in place first--before the old.
Then where does the old covenant first come into view? At the very gates of Eden. The "old covenant" has been in existence in the heart of humanity since sin entered. It was in existence long before the ceremonial laws were given at Mount Sinai. It has nothing to do with "time" and everything to do with the condition of our hearts as we strive to save ourselves.
When God instructed Adam to bring the sin offering, it was to be a lamb without blemish from his flock. Adam was instructed that this animal symbolized the Messiah that was to come (see Rev. 13:8; 1 Peter: 18-20). Through faith in the promise of God, Adam taught his sons to do the same.
"And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock . . . And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect" (Gen. 4:3-5).
Why did the Lord "not respect" Cain's offering? Because "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." (Heb. 9:22). Cain was trying to save himself by his own methods. He thought that his offering of fruits should be just as good as the required offering. Had he not worked to produce them? Was this work of his hands not sufficient for the Lord? Cain would not believe God's promise and took the burden of his life upon himself. His subsequent history is the lesson of the results of the old covenant way of doing things.

What is the "Better" Covenant?
This week's lesson also discusses the "better covenant." While persisting in its misunderstanding of the old and new covenants, it rightly states that the "problem" was the people's failure to "grasp" God's promise by faith. There has never been a failure or deficiency in God's promise to humanity.
The "better" covenant Paul tells us about in Hebrews 8:6 is God's everlasting covenant made from the foundation of the world. This covenant is "better" than man's promises to obey God. Why? Because it is "established upon better promises"--the promises of the Godhead to save humanity from sin. "The salvation of human beings is a vast enterprise, that calls into action every attribute of the divine nature. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have pledged themselves [promised] to make God's children more than conquerors through Him that loved them." Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, January 27, 1903 (emphasis supplied).
The Gospel is called the "good news of God's salvation." It is God's promise to us that He will save us "from our sins," not in them (Matt. 1:21). He has told us through the Word that He will "provide a way of escape" from every temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). When we believe that this is so, then it becomes a reality in our lives. "The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16).
What is the "new covenant" God wishes to "make" with us of which Jeremiah speaks in 31:31? God has always had only one objective for His creatures--that we would believe His "better" promise to save us from our sin. He longs for the day when His people will heed His loving call to turn around, leave their folly, and believe wholeheartedly in His power to save "to the uttermost" all who will believe His promise. Instead of relying on our sadly deficient promises to obey, when we believe God's word to us and by faith allow Christ to live in us, we will be living under the better promise of the new and everlasting covenant (see Glad Tidings, pp.57-60).

It is Indeed a Work of the Heart
Sadly, as we stand at the "foot of the mount" we are prone like the children of Israel to say, "All the Lord has spoken, we will do" (see Ex. 19:7, 8). We promise the Lord, when the Lord has not asked us to promise anything. He knows that our promises are as insubstantial as ropes of sand. All He asks is that we believe His promises to us. "If ye will [hear] My voice indeed, and [cherish] My covenant (previously made with their father Abraham), then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people" (Ex. 19:5--literal translation of Hebrew words in brackets).
When we believe that we are the adopted children of God, then we will respond in the appropriate manner. Instead of behaving like rebellious heathens, we'll respond as if we were the children of the King of the universe. Not as a servant will we obey, out of duty or debt, but from the heart will come the desire to follow God everywhere He leads us. Obedience to all the commandments of God is the natural result of this understanding.
What God promises He produces through the power of His Holy Spirit and through faith in His word. When we believe God's promises, we are enabled to do those things which we were unable to do previously by our own strength (see Gal. 5:16, 17; and Christ's Object Lessons, p. 333). Faith brings us under the new covenant of God's better promise.
When we truly appreciate all that He has done to save us, we will respond as God wants us to respond. We will see the Ten Commandments as ten glorious promises, not ten fetters that bind us as we toil and struggle to keep them. Commandment keeping will become a heart response to the love of God revealed on Calvary. As adopted sons and daughters of God, we will go forth with rejoicing, gladly willing to obey our gracious Father.
We do not need to live under the old covenant. God's promises are sure. Faith makes all the promises of God a reality in our lives. We need not wait one moment longer. "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2).

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