Let Us Reason

To read between the lines is to look carefully at what is written in order to infer truths which are not explicitly stated. We call this reasoning, and God invites to use it as we seek Him (Is 1:18), employing logic to expand from what is explicitly revealed to see what some might consider hidden, yet if one is paying attention and thinking deeply it becomes obvious.

To illustrate, the arrow in the FedEx logo may not be apparent until someone points it out; but once you see it you can’t stop seeing it. The arrow isn’t exactly hidden, but it isn’t exactly there either.

To see it you must look between the E and x at the resulting white space connecting them, which is really nothing by itself: the mere juxtaposition of the letters reveals a shape implied by what surrounds it, and this insight enhances the logo, making an impression which creates additional value.

There are many truths like this in Scripture; what is explicitly stated in the text often implies priceless truths which remain unwritten. We may consider what is unspoken, which we might think ought to have been spoken, or which is certainly implied by what is stated, to learn more about God and His ways.

For example, when Paul is meditating in De 25:4, “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn“, he infers a principle for supporting Christian workers. (1Co 9:9-10) Paul reasons from the general context of scripture that God isn’t particularly concerned about the feelings of an ox, so He must be providing a general instruction in how we’re to treat those called serve in ways which make it difficult for them to earn a living in the traditional sense.

We often see this kind of reasoning explicitly stated in Scripture with the phrase how much more; when God shows us how to address the relatively unimportant, He expects us to reason similarly about more important yet related concerns. For example, if the saints shall judge angels, how much more are they qualified to judge temporal matters? (1Co 6:3) If we expect earthly parents to care for their children, how much more should we expect God to care for us? (Mt 7:11) If animal sacrifices sanctify the physical man, how much more shall the blood of Christ sanctify the spiritual man? (He 9:13-14)

We should certainly be careful when looking at the white spaces in scripture, but they’re indeed present and we should be on the lookout for them, meditating both on what’s explicitly written and prayerfully considering what’s implied.

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The Israel of God

Who or what is Israel, according to Scripture? Well, depending on context it can mean different things.

Most commonly, it’s a reference to the Jewish people (Ro 9:31-33), the descendants of Abraham through Jacob, who’s name was changed to Israel. (Ge 32:28) These are God’s chosen people from an earthly perspective. (De 7:6)

But there are times when God uses the term to refer to the elect (1Pe 1:1-2), those whom He has chosen from eternity past to be His eternal, heavenly people. (1Pe 2:9-10) For example, when Paul says, “they are not all Israel which are of Israel” (Ro 9:6), he evidently means just because someone is a descendent of Abraham doesn’t imply they’re a child of God. (7-8) In other words, one definition for Israel is the children of God. (Ga 6:16)

So, when we read, “all Israel shall be saved” (Ro 11:26), we shouldn’t understand that every Jew will go to Heaven, but that all of God’s eternally chosen people will. God counts believing non-Jews as His own (Ga 3:28), belonging to Israel (Ep 2:14), members His earthly chosen people (1Co 10:1), and applies the same principles to us all. In other words, earthly, physical Israel is a type of God’s elect, and what He’s written about His interactions with them is for all His people in every age. (11)

So, as we consider God’s dealings with Israel in the Old Testament (5), we should take note and recognize God is showing us how He treats His chosen people. (6-10) God doesn’t have two different standards for or ways of interacting with His people. (He 10:28-30) God has written the Old Testament for our learning and comfort (Ro 15:4); its principles are meant for us now, today. (1Co 9:9-10)

In other words, anything God has written which we’re able to observe and obey today is written to teach us how to walk with God. (Ps 119:105) As we hear the Word, we ought to be doers of it. (Ja 1:22-25)

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One of These Least

Theologians claim to be able to divide Torah into parts which apply differently to different groups of people: [1] Moral laws for all Mankind (e.g. Le 19:18), [2] Civil laws only for Jews (e.g. De 20:1-4), and [3] Ceremonial laws for priests. (e.g. De 18:6-8) This is commonly used to teach that only Moral laws are relevant today.

The problem is this hermeneutic is not found in Scripture; while certain laws are explicitly directed toward specific groups, Scripture never limits the relevance of Torah on any other grounds.

Clearly, if a command is directed toward a group to which we don’t belong, we cannot break it because the command is not to us. However, if we disregard a command which we’re able to obey then we’re actually breaking it, unless we can show from Scripture we’re exempt.

Though Torah was given to Israelites on Mount Sinai thousands of years ago, Christ Himself says whosoever (Jew or Gentile, man or woman, adult or child) disregards one of these least commands will be counted least in His kingdom. (Mt 5:19a) Kingdom greatness is reflected by respecting even the most insignificant laws of Torah. (19b) This aligns with Torah itself. (Ps 119:4-6)

So, Christ is effectively teaching us we should all be keeping every law in Torah which we’re able to keep: any law not specifically addressed to someone else.

And since Christ’s nature within us delights in Torah (Ro 7:22) as a reflection of Jehovah’s majesty, holiness and character, one of the primary ways He’s revealed Himself, the godly aren’t looking for loopholes; we’re looking for every opportunity to honor God’s Way as well as we can.

So, as we’re working through passages which appear to teach otherwise (and there are a few) think of Torah wholistically (Ja 2:10-11), don’t pick out one of these least commandments; consider whether Paul could be saying we don’t need to love God with all our heart (De 6:4-5) or our neighbors as ourselves. (Le 19:18) On these two hang all the rest (Mt 22:40): we can’t separate them.

As we expose our cognitive bias to the light of Torah and square ourselves with the fact that every single one of God’s Laws is precious and good (Ro 7:12), we invariably find better ways to understand each text and reconcile it will all of Scripture.

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Make a Battlement

When we build a new house, God says to make a battlement for the roof so we’ll not be guilty of manslaughter if someone falls from the rooftop and dies. (De 22:8) This certainly makes sense in the context in which it was first given, where houses were generally constructed with a flat roof which was used as a living space; in such cases providing a barrier around the edge to keep people from harm is consistent with charity.

Yet how do we respond to such a law for steep rooftops, upon which only trained professionals are ever allowed? Do we violate this law because we think we understand its context and spirit, presuming it’s not applicable or obsolete in our case? or do we build completely useless barriers around rooftops which serve to protect no one?

If sin is the transgression or violation of the law (1Jn 3:4), in either the letter or the spirit, it seems we should not ignore the law, or violate it at any level for any reason. Yet it also seems inappropriate to build useless fences around our rooftops – making us appear foolish to the world and positioning Torah itself as ridiculous and burdensome. Neither approach seems reasonable.

If we look at the text carefully, it says to build a parapet, or a barrier or wall for our roof; the barrier need not be above or even upon the roof, just for the roof. To serve the intended function this battlement must be between the edge of the rooftop and those occupying our residence to prevent anyone from ever accidentally falling off.

For houses with steeply pitched roofs the exterior wall of the home itself serves as this battlement or barrier: when there is no rooftop access from within the home, if one must go to considerable trouble to climb up and over the exterior wall to access the roof, it seems this law in Torah is being respected both in spirit and in letter, in truth at every level.

However, for any home which provides convenient access to the rooftop, surrounding the accessible portion of the roof with a sturdy, waist-high fence to prevent anyone from accidental injury is clearly the Law of Love. (Ro 13:10)

This principle shows us we should make reasonable efforts to promote the safety and well-being of others at all times, taking steps to prevent accidental injury of any kind.

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Give None Offence

During any holiday season it’s appropriate to understand the origins of the holiday and its meaning, to know why people celebrate it and discern whether it’s pleasing to God to participate. For God’s feasts, those specifically commanded in Scripture, there should be no concern; the challenge relates to culturally accepted traditions which might be considered sinful.

For example, is it OK to dress up in costumes on Halloween, or have an Easter egg hunt for the kids, or put up a Christmas tree and exchange presents? None of these traditions have any precedent in Scripture; they’re all rooted in pagan festivals “Christianized” by the Roman Catholic Church and adopted into its annual calendar.

In looking into this, many well-meaning Christians find these traditions repulsive and ungodly and refuse to participate, claiming we’re not to worship like the heathen or learn their ways. (De 20:18) They may even become inordinately passionate about not observing these holidays, walking in the misguided passion of the iconoclast, who simply enjoys pointing out and destroying other people’s beliefs as an end in itself.

In exposing the ignorance of those who’ve never really studied the history of these traditions for themselves, we can easily come across as “holier than thou”, judgmental, condescending and arrogant. This can become offensive to those who’ve grown up observing them, being encouraged and blessed in spite of their ignorance, and we should avoid all unnecessary offenses. (1Co 10:32) After all, there are much bigger issues to focus on, sins we’ve yet to articulate well and overcome, consequently running rampant in our families and churches. Majoring on the minor can easily become a distraction from our primary focus and calling in Christ, a kind of shallow virtue signaling.

Yet even if we have full understanding of these matters and see no particular benefit in observing these holidays ourselves, we are often in close community with family, friends, neighbors and work associates who still love to celebrate them, and often do so relatively innocently, even being spiritually, encouraged in them. We feel the need to find a way to live in peace in our communities and love our neighbors as ourselves, without offending our God or needlessly offending others.

In regard to observing any man-made custom or tradition, two simple principles guide godly behavior. Firstly, never willfully violate an explicit command of God (1Jn 2:1a); if a holiday tradition is forbidden in Torah, then abstain. Secondly, avoid behavior likely to cause others to stumble and sin (1Co 8:9-12), for this violates the law of Love. (1Co 16:14)

In applying these principles, I am unaware of any specific tradition or custom typically celebrated in Christian holidays which explicitly violates Torah. Putting up a Christmas tree, hunting for Easter eggs and even wearing masks or costumes are evidently all harmless in themselves. While some of these traditions may have at one time been associated with ungodly beliefs, the acts themselves are not forbidden in Torah and any direct association with pagan beliefs has long vanished, so practicing them does not encourage anyone today to adopt any related ancient, pagan mindset.

Having said this, we must be especially careful in addressing Halloween, which is perhaps the most problematic Roman Catholic tradition adopted in the West, where we often find a uniquely unhealthy, morbid focus on spiritual darkness, death, horror, etc.

Clearly, glorying in, celebrating or imitating sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy or divination is contrary to Torah; all who practice such things are an abomination to God. (De 18:10-12) Further, we’re encouraged to focus on wholesome, good and godly things (Php 4:8), which the very spirit of Halloween seems to violate.

Yet Halloween itself, historically, did not originate as a celebration of witchcraft or any kind of evil; it was instituted as an evening of preparation for All Saints Day on Nov 1, a time to be on guard against the forces of evil, to honor deceased loved ones and remember Christian martyrs. On the surface, this type of tradition does not seem evil; it might even be a good thing, all else being equal.

Rome was trying to “Christianize” Samhain, a Celtic celebration of the harvest, when it was believed the barrier between the dead and living was blurred such that spirits of the deceased might return to interact with the living. Wearing masks and lighting bonfires, traditions incorporated into Halloween itself, were thought to confuse and ward off evil spirits; there was no intent to celebrate them.

One might argue that it was inappropriate for Roman Catholicism to try to paganize this Celtic holiday, but even if it was, this doesn’t mean Halloween itself is explicitly evil; it was evidently not intended as a celebration of evil and no rituals or traditions officially included in this holiday violate Torah.

Even today, when those celebrating Halloween appear to be highlighting evil and celebrating it, in my experience they’re most often doing so ignorantly, not even believing in witchcraft or divination, certainly not approving it or wishing to promote or imitate it. Even so, the natural man’s fascination with evil (Jn 3:19) is often on display most vividly during this season, and often does lead to inappropriate behavior, even when done ignorantly or thoughtlessly.

One must be very careful, alert, observant and intentional about not encouraging or approving unhealthy activity or focus. (Ep 5:11) We are children of light and of the day, we are not of the night nor of darkness (1Th 5:5); we should always let our light shine. (Mt 5:14-16) Yet doing so humbly, without being self-righteous, overly critical, dismissive or uncharitable is indeed quite challenging.

Certainly, there likely are Halloween celebrations today which openly celebrate evil, where participating would damage a godly witness among unbelievers and encourage believers in unwholesome activities. When invited to any festivity, the thoughtful saint must use discretion (Ps 112:5), and carefully abstain from all appearance of evil. (1Th 5:22)

When considering whether to participate, let’s remember Christ lives in us, Who always does what He sees the Father do, and ask, “What is Jesus in me doing?” And let us be gentle with our brothers and sisters who don’t call it the same way we do: before their own Master they stand or fall (Ro 14:4); unless they’re plainly violating Torah, we ought not judge them. (13)

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Incline My Heart

As we begin to understand the biblical definition of sin, which is to break God’s Law (1Jn 3:4), and to comprehend what this implies, the first question we’re likely to ask is, “Which laws do I have to keep?” (Mt 19:16-18a) It’s a perfectly legitimate question.

Yet even though it’s a natural question to ask, this may not be the best question; our initial inclinations aren’t always good. (1Co 2:14) In this case, the very act of asking reveals a problem, that we see God’s law as negative, an imposition, something to be avoided, contrary to us, opposed to us, that we’re averse to. As if God opens up His treasure chest to us and our first response is, “How much do I have to take?”

The part of us asking “Which laws am I required to obey?” isn’t the good part of us, the saved and redeemed part: it’s our carnal mind (Ro 8:7), the part that’s still at enmity with God, that’s not subject to His Law. (Ro 7:23)

Our new man delights in the Law of God (22), and longs after His precepts. (Ps 119:40) The better we understand God and the nature of His love for us, the more we trust that every one of His laws are precious beyond measure (Ps 19:10); we stop avoiding them and start searching them out diligently, trying to obey as many as we can. (Ps 119:4-5) The question our new man asks is, “Which laws am I allowed to obey?”

Keeping Torah brings us closer to God (Is 55:7) by exposing unrighteous tendencies in light of God’s holiness. (Ps 119:105) As we meditate on and obey the Law it renews the spirit of our minds. (Ro 12:2) That’s the goal of Torah (1Ti 1:5-8); there’s a great reward in obeying all of it (Ps 19:11), and this reward is God Himself. (Ps 37:4)

Rather than trying to find ways to discount and dismiss any part of God’s Law, we should be asking God to incline our hearts unto His testimonies (Ps 119:36), to open our eyes that we might behold wondrous things out of His Law (18), to make us understand the way of His precepts so we can share Him with others (27), and to make us go in the path of His commands because we delight in them. (35)

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The Word of God Came

In trusting the Bible as God’s written revelation of Himself to us (Jn 5:39), we should not do so blindly; we should examine the evidence and be ready to give an answer to those who ask why we believe as we do. (1Pe 3:15)

We could start with the historical fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the validity of the New Testament as a reliable account of His teachings. The Gospels contain Christ’s view of the inspiration of Scripture, and His resurrection implies He’s a trustworthy authority.

Jesus refers to the Tanach as “the Word of God” (Jn 10:35), and indicates it’s a faithful, reliable guide for us in our pursuit of God. (Lk 16:29) It’s so perfectly suited to guide us there’s no better witness even possible (31); God has given us everything we need. (Ps 19:7-11)

Jesus also reveals that the Holy Spirit will preserve His words through the apostles (Jn 14:26) for all the world to treasure (Mt 45:35, Mk 13:31, Lk 21:33), implying a body of New Testament scripture. (2Pe 3:15-16)

That these NT scriptures are inspired like the Tanakh may be derived from the fact that both bodies of scripture form the basis and standard of God’s judgment of Mankind. (Jn 5:45, Jn 12:48, Mt 7:24-27) He says continuing to meditate on and obey His words is part of being His disciple and finding freedom (Jn 8:31-32), implying His words are faithfully recorded and preserved for us; we’ll all be held accountable for how we receive and respond to what Jesus Christ says. (De 18:19, He 2:1-3)

So, Jesus Christ affirms the scripture as a text which has been divinely revealed by God, written in such a way that we may safely rely upon it as a guide to having a proper standing and relationship with God, being fully equipped and furnished through His word to do all He has called us to do. (2Ti 3:16-17)

This evidence for the inspiration of scripture is sufficient to expose and implicate all who refuse to submit to it as inexcusably guilty before God. (Ro 3:19)

Once we understand the divine origin of Scripture, it’s essential that we use it as God intended, not merely as a religious book, or even a theological manual; scripture is a survival guide, a map, a training manual for combat readiness, our weapon in spiritual warfare. (Ep 5:17)

It is also essential to perceive that scripture is not merely a book, it is alive (He 4:12), it is a Person. (Ga 3:8) Our attitude towards our Bible reflects and reveals our relationship with God. (Jn 14:23) 

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Pay for the Loss

On Tuesday, April 25th, I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. The driver wasn’t paying attention, looking down, putting on her seatbelt while accelerating through a parking lot. I was on the sidewalk going against the flow of traffic; she hit me head on at an angle, catapulting me and my bike 10-15 feet through the air perpendicular to my direction of travel. Thankfully, I had on a good helmet; otherwise, I’d likely not be writing this today, or anything else.

That’s me at the scene

I managed to come out of it with only a broken left wrist and significant bodily bruising; I have a new titanium plate screwed permanently into my wrist, but no other lasting damage, best I can tell. Looking back on it, this seems a bit miraculous in itself.

Thankfully, the driver was extremely distraught and profusely apologetic, staying with me and calling the ambulance. She took full responsibility and has been praying for my recovery. She has good insurance to help pay for the surgery, care and post-trauma recovery, additional financial loss, as well as pain and suffering. But now comes the ethics of collecting; what to ask for, how much, and how to go about it. This PIP industry is notoriously corrupt, reeking with greed and vice.

Yet Torah does lay out a sensible protocol for handling personal injury; it’s part of the Law of Love: the offending party helps the victim fully recover and also compensates for loss of time.  (Ex 21:18-19) This evidently covers at least medical bills, earnings loss and related expenses. But how do we compensate for pain and suffering? Is this even in scope in the biblical protocol?

We ask how the event changed the victim’s quality of life by estimating the payoff the victim would have accepted to voluntarily suffer this loss. What monetary compensation would I have accepted in exchange for the use of my left arm for 4 months? I work out 5-6 times a week, and I type for a living. What’s that worth, in addition to all the other day-to-day activities for which I need both hands?

And even if arrive at such a sum, how do I collect it? Is it worth ruining another family financially? When I myself could easily have been the offender? When the other person actually appears to be more distraught about having caused the accident than I myself ever was going through it?

A brief study shows us two obvious things: [1] people carry insurance to protect themselves and others in just such circumstances, and [2] insurance companies generally pay only what they’re forced to. Unless we have the legal expertise and plenty of free time, we’re going to settle for less than we’re entitled, both legally and scripturally. Enter the Personal Injury Attorney: they’re trained to use legal means to ensure insurance companies pay what they should.

Putting myself in the shoes of the offender, would I mind if the victim hired an ethical PIA to get my insurance to pay a sum considered reasonable for pain and suffering? No. Would I mind if the victim hired a ruthless PIA to come after me for all they could possibly get? For sure. This then is the law of love, best I can sort it out for now.

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Let This Mind Be in You

Jesus Christ, being equal with God the Father (Php 2:6), submitted Himself as an obedient servant to the Father (7-8) and esteemed His Father greater than Himself. (Jn 14:26) In highlighting this attitude in Christ and calling us to be like Him (5), Paul is telling us how to walk in humility by esteeming others better than ourselves. (3)

The Greek word translated better is ὑπερέχοντας, huperechōntas, which means superior, surpassing, above, over, better than. The word compares and contrasts one with another. The renowned theologian Albert Barnes, in his exegesis here, understands better in a moral context: the humble consider others to be, apart from God’s grace, morally superior to themselves.

While saints are currently being trained and equipped to judge all human behavior (1Co 6:2-3), it’s tempting to practice on our own before the time (1Co 4:5), without full knowledge of God’s Way, or of the human heart. (1Co 2:11) Not a good move. (1Co 4:3)

While we’re not to evaluate others’ moral goodness yet (Mt 7:1), trying to decide how good or bad someone is or determine what punishment or reward they deserve, we may act as if others are morally superior to ourselves, above us; we may esteem or consider them to less evil than we would be without God’s restraining grace. This violates no law of God, and in following Christ, in emulating His lowliness and meekness (Mt 11:29), God tells us to do exactly this: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Php 2:3)

God will judge us all according to our works (Ro 2:6), measuring and evaluating our thoughts, motives and actions according to His perfect, righteous standard (Jn 5:45); we’ll each score on the moral spectrum uniquely, no two of us being exactly alike. If we think to place ourselves above anyone else on this scale, with no way of knowing precisely where we stand, or exactly where anyone else does, we’re being presumptuous, proud (1Pe 5:5), thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. (Ro 12:3) Rather, in lowliness of mind, we’re to avoid any tendency to exalt ourselves. (Ga 6:3)

In esteeming others better than ourselves, we should not conflate moral superiority with significance (ESV95), or value (NIV) or importance (NASB95); in providing His Son as an atoning sacrifice for each and every individual, God has infinitely valued each human being equally; we ought not to consider any person more or less valuable, significant or important than any other. Doing so is partiality, being a respecter of persons (De 16:19), which violates the law of Love. (Ja 2:8-9) In love and humility we’re to prefer one another in honor (Ro 12:10), not value, pleased as others are lifted up above ourselves.

Further, we should not confuse humility merely with a call to serve others. While it’s clear Christ humbly submitted Himself to His Father as a servant, it doesn’t follow that we’re to submit ourselves as servants to others; this is actually forbidden. (1Co 7:23) We’re to consider ourselves servants to Christ, not other people, and order our lives to as to please God and not men. (Ga 1:10) In submitting to God we will generally serve others in love (Ga 5:13), and defer to the needs and interests of others (Php 2:4), yet this is always in a context of stewardship and wisdom before God, not a blanket, boundaryless neglecting, disvaluing or demeaning of ourselves in interpersonal relationships. (2Co 8:13)

Christ, our example in humility, though He didn’t consider God the Father morally superior to Himself (for both are morally perfect), He did defer to the greatness and majesty of His Father, to the Father’s Headship within the Trinity itself. (1Co 11:3b) We’re called to follow His steps (1Pe 2:21), to emulate Christ’s lowliness of mind in our relations with one another, yet we can’t do exactly as Christ did here, using the same scale He did with His Father, since on that scale of headship all those within each gender are equivalent with one another. (3a)

Since we’ve eliminated importance, significance and intrinsic worth or value as proper ways to rank ourselves, the only relevant scale or ranking we may rightly refer to here in esteeming others better than ourselves is a moral one, the scale God Himself will use to rank us. (Mt 5:18) However, we’re forbidden to make any formal judgements of ourselves or others for the time being. (7:1-2)

Thus, our default position, if we’re going to esteem others better than ourselves, must be one of considering ourselves to likely be at the very bottom of this moral scale, to potentially be, apart from God’s grace, the most evil person who has ever lived, as Paul the Apostle evidently did (Ga 3:8, 1Ti 1:15), and in this God calls us to follow his example. (Php 4:9)

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The Covenants of Promise

In God’s dealings with the nation of Israel there are two covenants (binding agreements) in play: the first is a conditional covenant made with Israel at Mount Sinai (Ga 4:24); the agreement is that if Israel will obey God’s Law He will bless them, otherwise He will curse them. (De 11:26-28)

The second (or new) covenant is an unconditional covenant God will eventually make with Israel: He will put His Laws into their minds write them in their hearts (He 8:10), be their God and accept them as His people, ensure they all know Him, and put away all of their sins. (11-12) He will give each of them a new nature which delights in His laws (Ro 7:22), redeeming and saving the entire nation. (Ro 11:26-27)

This first covenant with Israel is not a promise of salvation by works; it’s simply a promise given to Israel as a nation to bless them if they honor and follow God’s law to the best of their ability, evidently as a signal to the rest of us that there’s tremendous blessing in obeying God (Ps 1:2-3), and trouble if we don’t. (Ps 119:118) Israel has, of course, failed miserably to keep their end of the covenant and are being punished by God as a consequence.

The second covenant God will eventually make with Israel certainly is a promise of redemption and eternal salvation for Israel as a nation, but it’s incomplete and mysterious at present, how He will accomplish this and what it will look like.

In the interim, in between these two covenants, we’re left to work out an understanding of how we’re all to relate to God, for it’s through these two covenants God reveals His redemptive plan. (Ps 50:5) They hold within them the keys to having a relationship with God; in being estranged from them we have no hope, and are without God in the world. (Ep 2:11-12)

Yet these two covenants with Israel don’t comprise the whole picture: God makes a third covenant related to redemption, but this one is unique in that God makes it with Himself (Ga 3:20); this is a covenant between the Father and the Son (He 10:8-10): the Father gives the Son a group of people (the elect, or chosen) to redeem, and the Son redeems these people for the Father. (Jn 6:37) This covenant is flawlessly secure because both parties to the covenant are unfailingly perfect. (Ro 4:16) This divine agreement is actually the first covenant of the three, made in eternity past (Ep 1:4, 1Pe 1:19-20) and publicly formalized, revealed and confirmed in front of Abraham, well before Sinai. (Ga 3:17)

The eternal covenant between God the Father and God the Son is evidently related to the two covenants God makes with Israel in that God produces obedience to the Law in the hearts of His elect as required in the Sinai (first) covenant (De 5:29) by providing Himself as the new heart (Ez 36:26), the divine nature within the elect (Co 1:27) inclining us to obey (1Pe 1:2), as promised in the future New Covenant with Israel. (He 10:16-17) In this way, God unites us with Himself and His Law so we partake in both of these two covenants of promise He makes with Israel (1Ti 1:6), giving us hope of eternal life and fellowship in Him. (Ep 2:13-14)

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