Episode 13: Abrahamic Covenant

 

Anchor Lady: This is a new day and we are glad that you are part of what the Lord is doing in this time around…and as usual, this is Exposé 247 where we turn the light on Christ. We’ve been following this long and winding series of The Prodigal Father. We know you’ve been blessed in one way or the other so today we want to kick off where we stopped last week, and last week there was an interesting dimension into the story when we see the Father…there was a calf being killed—a lamb being killed in the story, you know. We just found out that somehow, somehow, something has to die, something has to die, something has to die. So this week, we want to continue from that story and we want to kick off from where we stopped especially the reference to that lamb, and I will like to ask you… You know I said I was surprised last week to see redemption in this story…that the anger of the Father was just transferred to that lamb. Is it just one normal thing or is it how it has always been?

Peter: Yeah, thank you for that question. Now, for those of you who have been with us on that Prodigal Father series, there’s one thing we established last episode when we said the younger son in Luke chapter 15 made his way back home and we saw the Father waiting for him to accept him back home. I know people begin to wonder…we wonder that why is it that there will be a Father waiting to embrace a son who actually has broken the Father’s heart—a son who wasted his Father’s resources—who wished his Father was dead by asking for his inheritance from his father. Now, we are wondering why the Father accepted His son and without, you know, being angry with him. And, we understood as we moved in in Luke chapter 15, verse 22,23…we now understand in verse 22, verse 23, why the Father was not angry with the younger son even though he wasted the Father’s resources. We found out the reason—they put a coat, a robe on him and a calf was killed.

Anchor Lady: killed. yeah

Peter: And this is what we talk about when we talk about the GRACE of God. So many people think the grace of God means sloppy anger and XXXX. That is not true. The grace of God does not lower the, the terrible nature of sin. The grace of God does not downplay—

Anchor Lady: the demands of justice

Peter: the demands for God’s justice. No. But rather, the grace of God simply says that God’s demands for righteousness are so high… God’s demand for holiness are so perfect that no one on earth can keep it. It takes God to satisfy God. And that’s why Jesus became man in the flesh and Jesus met the perfect demands of God’s righteousness. And when He met that demand, it wasn’t for Himself. He met that demand so that when we put our faith in Christ Jesus, then in Christ we have met God’s demands. That is why the Bible says in Romans Chapter 8 verse 1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who put on Christ Jesus—for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Not those who are in themselves. Not those who want to fulfil God’s demands by their activities but those who are IN Christ Jesus, Romans chapter 8. So one thing we found out in this Luke’s parable is that Jesus found a way to smuggle into the parable the fact that a calf was killed. And you see, today, we want to expatiate more on this today. We want to talk about this calf being killed. We’ll talk about this…the vengeance of God, I mean the wrath of God against sin…God’s holy anger against the injustice that man fell into in Adam. Now, God’s holy anger was meted out against Jesus Christ. Bible says that “All we like sheep have gone astray…” That’s Isaiah chapter 53. It says “All we like sheep has one astray and so God has laid upon Jesus the iniquity of us all.” Now, we are exploring this today, and you see, the thing we are looking at today is, when we talk about the mysteries of God’s grace, it is nothing new because people think about the fact that talking about the fact that God actually accepted—I mean accept us on the premise of the qualification of Jesus and not on our qualification, and we said one thing last time and I think we need to say it again today. This is not a high-sounding teaching we are doing, this is not about we trying to bring forth some great revelation—no, that’s not the point. What we are simply trying to say is we don’t get these basics right. When we talk about the gospel of God’s grace, it affects all our lives—how we pray, what we pray for, our faith life, our progress in our spiritual walk with God—this is all encompassing! That’s why the Bible says “As you receive the Lord Jesus, so walk ye in Him” People, when we talk about these things, people think we are talking about salvation. We are talking about being born again. The Bible says the same way you receive the Lord Jesus, the same method, the same faith, by, the same way by faith—the Bible says the same way you receive Him—

Anchor Lady: so walk in Him

Peter: So in the same way you must walk with Him

Anchor Lady: in that way.

Peter: So this is not just for salvation—not for people who want to become born again; this is about for you who has been born again for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years 40 years—it doesn’t matter how long, you need to walk in Christ the same way you receive Christ—don’t change the method; don’t change the strategy.

Anchor Lady: Now that you mentioned that, I know that most people don’t have the problem with “by faith” …accepting this during altar call and salvation…

Peter: yeah

Anchor Lady: because from that day onwards, that’s where the problem is

Peter: yeah! You made a point. I mean, I think, I think in the 21st century church, we have become so used talking about the grace of God so much in salvation that we’ve forgotten that the same way we receive Christ, the Bible says we have to walk in Him. Every day, we have to walk in the same way… I mean, there are times, I think there are times, the way the gospel is being presented to people would present the grace of God, the gospel as for salvation and as soon they get born again, we change the strategy and tell them, now that you are born again and God has accepted you, these are the things that you need to do, this and this and that, for you to have the favour and the benefit of God in your life, and then we change it. You see, and that’s what happened to the Galatians—

Anchor Lady: as if it was on credit, and now they have to pay back

Peter: yeah. You have to start paying back. That’s what happens. That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Galatians. Paul was angry. He was vexed. He was really pissed off if we can use that word when he wrote to the Galatian church. He said “Did you receive this by what? This what? He said did you receive this by what? By works? Or did you receive it by faith in Christ Jesus?” So the whole point if we can take the book of Galatians chapter 3, chapter 4, Paul was angry with the Galatians because they thought they could receive in the spirit and then walk in the flesh. If you receive in the Spirit, you have to walk also in the Spirit and that’s what we are trying to emphasize on this, ermm, on this Exposé.

Anchor Lady: I don’t want you to go far away from my question like I suggested, because I know the killing of the calf doesn’t look like a one-off thing. All through the history, all through the Bible, we have repeated instances of the calf—the killing of the calf coming in. The emphasis of the killing of the calf. I will like you to take us through some of these instances in the Scripture so that people could be grounded in the fact that that is the God’s way of, of doing the justice.

Peter:  Okay. Now, well, now there’s something we’re gonna do; we’re gonna go down the history lane now. Now, the reason is like I said before, some people think this is just something new or something so special—it’s nothing like that. In fact, when the Apostle Paul was writing about the grace of God and the faith that we need to receive that grace and walk in it, he made all the way—recourse back to Abraham. He said it’s nothing new. I understand that God gave the law, I mean for 2000 years. I mean if you look at church history, not just church history, I mean, how God dealt with man in History, we broke down to three dispensations. We said right from Adam, right up to the time of Moses, when God created Adam and all that even up to the time Adam fell, God did not give the Law when Adam fell. That’s when you noticed that there were some things they did from Adam to Moses that it was until the time of the law that those things were counted as sin before God. For example, when Abraham actually married his half-sister—you couldn’t do that under the law in Leviticus, you’re gonna be stoned. It was against the Law… So many things they did from Adam to Moses that God said nothing about. Now all those things became serious under the law. So what we’re saying is that Adam to Moses was a dispensation. Now, from Moses to Jesus is the dispensation of the Law. Now, beyond Jesus… Now, that dispensation of Law was over. Now, What I want to talk about is, you see, right from Abraham, this issue of grace and receiving by faith and walking in it had been from the time of Abraham. Now, we’re gonna look at something from Abraham’s covenant with God

Anchor Lady: Okay

Peter: And I want you to notice, viewers, if you’re a Bible scholar, you will notice that the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:15, he said If any human makes a covenant, the best you can do about a covenant is to make an addendum. You cannot cancel a covenant because you made an addition to the covenant; you can make an addendum to a covenant but you cannot cancel it. If a covenant can be cancelled, then it’s not a covenant. So Galatians 3:15 tells us that when God cut a covenant with Abraham in Genesis chapter 15, whatever the Lord brought in Moses did not cancel that covenant. The Law was an addendum that was taken out of the equation after 2000 years beyond Moses. I hope you understand what we are talking about. So it means the Bible says whatever God cut with Abraham is in the same vein of what God did in Christ Jesus for us. That’s why Gal 3:15 tells us that God has redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us—that’s Christ—why? Because it is written that cursed is anyone that hangs on the tree, so that the blessings of Abraham can come to the gentiles and we might receive the promise of the spirit by faith. So the Bible is simply saying if you want to understand how God is dealing with us now in the dispensation of Jesus, you have to go all the way back and see how God walked with Abraham and how God cut the covenant with Abraham. So we will investigate the covenant that God cut with Abraham. Now if we look at Genesis 15, now, we don’t have that much time to go through and keep opening scriptures, now, we’re just gonna make reference to these things—

Anchor Lady: stories…

Peter: yeah, we’re just gonna make references to these stories. Now Genesis 15 from verse 1, errm, all the way to verse 19; you can take time to look at this covenant that God cut with Abraham.

Anchor Lady: Can you summarize?

Peter: In summary, God made a covenant to Abraham, to give him the land with his descendant, and Abraham was wondering, what is the guarantee that God will fulfil all the promises He made to Abraham. God decided to give Abraham a guarantee and God’s guarantee was decided to cut a covenant. And when you are cutting a covenant, what you’re saying is it doesn’t matter what happens; it doesn’t matter the conditions, it doesn’t matter the economic conditions, it doesn’t matter the political conditions, it doesn’t matter the situations, I will stay through to what I promised I would do. So Abraham wanted a confirmation from God; a guarantee from God and God was gonna cut a covenant. Now if you want to cut a covenant, I mean, you all know this; I mean, it happens in everyday life; I mean, you have agreements; we have covenants and agreements with people. To make an agreement or to cut a covenant, it has to be two parties that make the covenant. And the reason two parties are involved is the two parties will actually put the terms on ground and agree on what the terms are. And the fact is if one party breaks the terms of agreement of that covenant, it nullifies the whole covenant. Which means, if party A breaks the covenant, then party B is no more bound to keep the terms of the covenant. So both parties have to actually agree to the terms and both parties are responsible to making sure that they keep the terms of the covenant. And one party breaking the covenant automatically discharges the second party from keeping the terms of the covenant. That’s how covenant works. Now, the fact is God doesn’t cut a covenant with Adam. So what do you expect? You shouldn’t expect God to be a party and Abraham to be a party to the covenant. So God went through all the motions of gathering all the sacrifices required for the covenant. Everything was put on the table. Now, at a point, if you are very familiar with middle Eastern history, any time they want to cut a covenant, one thing they normally do is they kill an animal. Now, when they kill the animal, they put one half of the animal on the right side and they put the other one on the left side and both parties will walk through the pieces of the animal. Now, if you noticed, this happened between Laban and Jacob because at the time that, I mean, Jacob was leaving Laban and…I mean…Jacob was taken away Laban’s daughters, now, Laban wanted a confirmation; a guarantee from Jacob that Jacob was going to do or treat his daughters well, and you see, Jacob and Laban had to do the same thing. And they had these two pieces on both sides and Jacob and Laban went through those pieces. There was an agreement that either party was going to keep the covenant—that’s how it’s been done. Now, let’s go back to Genesis 15. In Genesis 15, by the time they cut the pieces of the animal and put it on both sides, what happened is God caused a deep sleep to fall on Abraham. Abraham fell asleep. There was a deep sleep on Abraham, and the Bible says there was a flaming torch…there was this flaming torch and a smoking furnace that went through these pieces of…I mean, the animal pieces. It means, all through the time that God went through these pieces, Abraham was asleep. There’s something wrong with that picture. Now, I want you to listen to this: there’s something wrong with that picture. What was wrong with that picture is two parties were meant to go through the pieces of animal. Two parties were responsible for the terms of the covenant. But all through…

Anchor Lady: hmmm…

Peter: only God walked through as a smoking furnace and as a torch of light…went through the pieces. Abraham slept all through. It means God was saying to Abraham, I am completely responsible for enacting this covenant. God is completely responsible for keeping the terms of this covenant. It means if you Abraham ever fails the terms of this covenant, I am God and I am the only One responsible for maintaining and enforcing this covenant.

Anchor Lady: He takes off the weight of the responsibility of keeping the covenant off Abraham

Peter: Now, that’s something serious. I’m not sure people understand that. When Jacob and Laban were involved in a covenant, both of them walked through but in Genesis 15, only God walked through. This is what we call an unconditional, unconditional covenant—a covenant that completely and solely depends on God’s performance—

Anchor Lady: alone!

Peter: —and had nothing, nothing to do with Abraham.

Anchor Lady: No responsibility!

Peter: That’s why Abraham was out of the equation. That’s why Abraham slept comple—all through the process when God walked through. Now, this is a mystery and the Bible says that the kind of faith that we have is the faith of Abraham if you look at Romans chapter 4. Now, the bible says that this kind of covenant that God had with Abraham is the prototype of the same covenant that God had with us in Christ Jesus. It’s the same way—the same covenant. And this is the mystery that we are bringing forth on this episode that we understand that when Jesus Christ came, it’s the same way. When Jesus Christ came, He became the perfect sacrifice, bible says Behold the Lamb of God—

Anchor Lady: …that taketh away…

Peter: …that takes away the sins of the world. In Christ Jesus, God had a covenant with the Son—Jesus Christ and God accepted the sacrifice that the Son brought to Him. Now, we are the second party in this covenant but in this covenant we have nothing—

Anchor Lady: We have no responsibility!

Peter: We have NOTHING to bring to the table.

Anchor Lady: yeah

Peter: We have nothing to prove to God on the terms of the covenant. We are just 100% complete beneficiaries of the covenant that completely and solely depends on God’s performance—

Anchor Lady: God’s performance ALONE—

Peter: And this is what the New Covenant is. Now, this is what, you see, the Law of Moses was an interlude… Now, the Law of Moses was an interjection in the whole story. That’s why the Bible says we should understand that the Law of Moses that came cannot ratify or cancel the covenant that God had with Abraham. It was just an addendum and the Law was done away with, after, I mean, by the time Jesus Christ came.

Anchor Lady: So it is interesting to know that the…that God Himself shouldered all the responsibility—

Peter: …the complete responsibility of the covenant—

Anchor Lady: …all the possibilities and probabilities—

Peter: …of the covenant; God completely bores the complete weight of the covenant, and that’s the reason why—

Anchor Lady: —and free the other party, and free us—

Peter: completely from it, I mean from that covenant. That’s why the Bible tells us about this reality, and it says we must approach the new covenant in the blood of Jesus—the new covenant in the body of Jesus on this premise. Now, it’s amazing like we say the other time, I mean some weeks ago, that it seems that quite a lot of Christians are confused about the great difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. And the bible says that something was not wrong with the Old Testament—the book of Hebrews—if something was not wrong with it, there would have been no need for the new. And, God gave us the reason why something was wrong with the old testament. What was wrong with the old covenant is that the terms of the old covenant depended on two parties—on God and on us. That’s why there was a pressure to perform—there was a pressure for us to perform, to keep, to maintain the favour of God upon our lives. There was a pressure to make sure we keep displaying good works, behaving right, being right, doing right—

Anchor Lady: keeping to the rules of God—

Peter: keeping to the rules…we have to dot every I’s and cross every T’s and if we don’t, we have to lose the favour of God—that is how the old covenant works. But in the New Covenant, it’s a different story. God says there was something wrong with that. Why was it wrong? Because, actually, the Law was never given for anyone to keep. The Law was given to expose the fact that we are sinners. So when a Christian or anyone wants to use the Law as a means to please God, you are on the wrong side of the Law. The purpose of the Law was to expose us as sinners and as long as we are exposed as sinners, we are done with the Law; we are supposed to accept the benefits that come with the covenant which God made with his Son and of which we have no play, no, we are not even part of the terms of the covenant; we are only called in to benefit of that covenant.

Anchor Lady: So we can see this story playing out again Luke 15 when the Father was showing that He alone bears the responsibility for this—

Peter: Now, there’s something… in the Luke 15 story, so when we see the younger son being completely accepted by the Father even though he had wasted the Father’s resources, we now understand the reason why the Father was waiting for him to accept him. It means that the Father accepted him not because of him; he was looking at something else and we see what happen—we actually saw what happened, that later the calf was killed… the response—the, the, the judgement that should have gone against the son was put on the calf that actually took the place of the son.

Anchor Lady: In a similar way, we see the calf being killed too, something like that being brought in the Adam and Eve story

Peter: Yeah. It’s the same thing in Adam and Eve. When Adam and Eve fell in the garden of Eden and you saw what happened. We saw that Adam…he cut the leaves and cut the trees and try to cover themselves—and that’s what I call religion. Religion is just a means—that’s why we must understand that the Kingdom of God—the gospel of Christ—is not religion. Religion gives you 3 steps, 5 steps, 10 steps to get closer to God, and as you know, we have if not millions, if not thousands, probably hundreds of different religions, and there’s something similar to all religion: all religion tell you this, this, this, and that is all you have to do to get closer to God; this, this, this, and that you have to do to get God’s favour. And that’s why when Adam and Eve fell, the first thing they did was they began to look for what to cover themselves up with so that they can be presentable to God. And you see, if you notice, as soon as God came into the garden, God had to kill an animal, shed the blood and use that to cover them up—put on the robe—that’s why God had to cover… And that’s why we kept saying God that only God can satisfy God; only God can fulfil God’s demand. That’s why the Father in this Prodigal Father series accepted the son as if nothing happened. Something actually happened. The son broke the Law, wasted the inheritance, but the Father accepted him, why? The Father has put the justice for whatever this son did wrong on the calf that was killed in the story.

Anchor Lady: I think this is the part we will draw the curtain on this episode today. I hope our viewers were able to see the connections and the link between those Luke 15, Genesis 15 and—

Peter: —And I think there’s something that came to mind before we actually close today

Anchor Lady: Okay…

Peter: Now, you see, the question you wanna ask is, if we make reference to the new covenant in the blood of Jesus and we compare this to what happened in Genesis 15 where God cut a covenant with Abraham and Abraham was completely asleep, I mean, how can you be sleeping when they are cutting a covenant of which you are being called to be a beneficiary? Abraham slept off all through the cutting of the covenant and only God walked through the pieces and you are wondering: What are we then saying? How do we compare this to what we have in Christ Jesus? How do we compare this? Now, this is the comparison: You’re wondering, what’s our responsibility? What’s our responsibility? What’s the motivation we have to make sure we please God in our lives if we are not a party to this covenant? Now, this is it: our responsibility is to respond to what God did. And that is why the Bible says in the book of Ephesians, By grace are ye saved through faith. God’s part is grace; our part is faith—our faith is our response. Even—based on what we said in Genesis 15—even though God cut the covenant with Abraham, if you notice, in Genesis 17, God required Abraham and his household to circumcise themselves as a response to the fact that they’ve put their faith in the covenant that God cut in Genesis 15. So we have to—that’s why the Bible says that we are of the circumcision—Philippians 3. We are not a party to the covenant that we have in Jesus Christ. We are not expected to maintain the terms by performance, no. We are only expected to response to what God cut without us

Anchor Lady: And

Peter: We are supposed to respond to it; we are supposed to put our response in—we know what God did on our behalf, God only expected response from us and not that we are a party of this covenant; we are its beneficiaries.

Anchor Lady: And I just want to think that the response is like resting. That’s what Hebrews calls us to do. Calling us—

Peter: Abraham slept all through…

Anchor Lady: So you need to rest in this thing

Peter: Abraham slept all through the covenant process in Genesis 15, and that’s what God is calling everyone into. We have to come to the place of rest. That’s why the Bible says in Hebrews 3, There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. In fact, Hebrews 3 says that for those of us who have believed

Anchor Lady: (chorused) have entered into that rest.

Peter: Just responding, that’s what God is asking for—response. How hard can response be? Responding to what has been done, not trying to perform, just responding to it; believing in it. And bible says believing is rest—that’s what it says in Hebrews. Believing is what? It’s rest. That’s why Abraham—

Anchor Lady: (smiles) the way you are going, you are going on and on…

Peter: (smiling) That’s why Abraham slept through the covenant process in Genesis 15.

Anchor Lady: Thank God that we can find a convenient to stop today. And I hope that our viewers are being blessed. We acknowledge everyone; people from US, people from UK, people from Nigeria watching us. So till next week we see you again as we continue this Prodigal Father series, so stay in your rest position.

Peter: Stay resting. God bless you.

Anchor Lady: Bye

Peter: Bye

 

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