God requires his children to be long suffering and patient. It is not righteous to seek vengeance, especially for minuscule affronts that have more to do with vanity, like insulting speech, but it is also not righteous to stand idly by while people assault your wife, oppress sojourners or victimize the fatherless, the widow and the marginalized. Often there is confusion about what God requires of us in the New Covenant. Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace, and yet He says he comes with a sword.
Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Ultimately, in the cosmic war between God and His enemies, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, for we fight against the principalities and powers of the air. Yet, Christ did not rebuke his apostles for having swords. He did rebuke them for how and why they used them. Converted Centurions were not told to lay down their weapons. Jesus instigates a war within us against sin, while declaring peace between God and ourselves. Jesus provides peace between the nations, but peace that comes at the culmination of the antithesis. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Continue reading “Two Swords are enough for the Prince of Peace”
Like Marriage (which is a human covenant modeled after God’s covenant with his church, Eph. 5:22-33), God’s covenant with us has a definitive form and content. Furthermore, there is a distinctive way of renewing covenantal relations in the Bible, and that is by way of sacrifice (Gen. 8:20-9:17; Exod. 24:4-11; Lev. 24:1-8; Ps. 50:5).The way of sacrifice has not been abrogated: animal sacrifices have. Much of the language used to describe the Church and the Christian life in the New Testament is derived from the tabernacle, temple, and sacrificial system. This means that the reality of life in the new age was pre-figured in the sacrificial rituals of the old age. Hebrews 10:1 identifies the ritual/sacrificial system as the “shadow of the good things to come.” Jesus’ sacrifice not only did away with the old animal offerings, it also illumined for the Church the true meaning of the sacrificial rituals for life and liturgy. Continue reading “Sacrafice in the New Covenant”
The purpose of the Sunday service is covenant renewal. During corporate “worship” the Lord renews His covenant with His people when He gathers them together and serves them. We do not renew covenant with God because it was going to expire or run out, like a lease. We renew our covenant with God because it is our life: we renew covenant with God in Worship the way food renews physical life or sexual communion renews marriage.
The covenant structure of creation and recreation
Yahweh’s covenant with Adam contains, in seed form, the other covenants in Scripture, as well as, covenant renewal worship. The post fall covenants are not ad hoc, novel arrangements, but renewals of the creation covenant. Following is the structure of covenant making and therefore covenant renewal and how it directly informs the liturgy of the Church.
- As covenant Lord, Yahweh takes hold of His creation in order to do something new with it.
- The Lord effects a separation. What God grasps is then transformed from one state to another, from the old to the new: a new creation. This new union (dirt and life-giving breath of Yahweh) receives from God a corresponding new name, which implies a new hierarchal relationship. There is a covenant head (Yahweh) and there are those who are dependent on that covenant head (human creatures).
- A new verbal communication of stipulation is expressed by the covenant Lord, a way of life fit for the new covenantal situation, a gracious enumeration of how to live fully and joyfully in this new covenant.
- The Lord offers His covenant partners a fellowship meal. He gives the gift of signs and seals of the covenant (two trees) together with a setting forth of blessings for grateful faithfulness and curses for ungrateful disobedience.
- The Lord arranges for the future succession of the covenant, which in this covenant involves marriage and children. Continue reading “The Covenant Structure of Worship”