dimanche, novembre 09, 2003

Covenant privilege

Children born to Christian parents are born to great privilege. This was true of Israelites in the Old Covenant and it is true of Christians in the New Covenant.

Paul, in his letter to the church at Rome writes “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” (Romans 3:1-4).

The Bible doesn’t speak only of heaven. In the Scriptures Heaven and earth are, important. Who, what, how, when, and where we are born and live are important to us and impact eternity. We are not philosophical Gnostics who see the world of spirit as good, and this physical world as evil. God created both. He said of all His creation it is “very good.” Yes, the creation is fallen and marred by sin. But man alone, in the physical creation, is a moral creature. God’s creation is still a wonder and bears witness that He is creator.

If one is born in the covenant (i.e. to Christian parents), he is born into great advantage. An Israelite was at birth a part of the people of God. He is warned time and again not to take this outward benefit for granted and assume that he had a ticket to heaven. This is because he had to have true faith, as did his father Abraham. An Israelite was born into a privileged position, because he was born among God’s people who had God’s Word and were the only people in all the earth that worshipped the true God.

That is sure a benefit in this life, if it is used properly and not misused, and perverted. If the individual misuses the privilege that he receives by birth, and is condemned for it, that does not take away from the fact that he was still born into an advantaged situation.

This is what Paul is speaking of in the verses quoted above. Covenant (Christian) children today have greater benefits than that of the ancient Israelites. They are far better off than are the children born in Arabia, where the Bible and the Christian faith are outlawed. Does this fortunate birth guarantee heaven? No. The covenant child, like the ancient Israelite, must have true faith in Jesus Christ. If he denies Christ then this very benefit will be a witness against him on the day of Judgement.

Does that last fact mean that the person born in a Christian home was not born in an advantageous place and time? No; he was born in a privileged position and he is responsible for that.

With this in mind, look at all the warnings that some of our brethren use to prove that salvation can be lost. Those verses, I believe, only make sense covenantally. Can you loose salvation? No, but you can be a covenant member and go straight to hell. That is why covenant people are told to workout your salvation with fear and trembling. That is why James could write to his fellow Christians (whom he called “the twelve tribes”) and say the things he does. This is why John could write to the churches and say “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1John 2:3,4). John tells Christians how they can objectively examine their lives to know that they are truly saved.

There are thirty some odd verses used to prove salvation can be lost. I believe all of those verses are rightly understood only from a covenant perspective, because, as in the Old, you can be a covenant member, born to privilege and loose your soul, if you don’t make your salvation sure through repentance, faith and new obedience to Jesus Christ.

All my children were baptised as infants. Every time I have prayed with them I pray “remember your baptism, because you are marked as belonging to the Lord,” and I inform them that they must make their salvation sure and not take it for granted.

Question: Does the fact that some people born in the privileged position by being covenant children, but don't take advantage of their position by believing on Christ mean that their position was not really an advantageous one?
Answer: No; their position was one of great privilege and benefit (in this world), but if they deny Christ this very privilege will bring them greater condemnation. The Scripture make this point in both the Old and New Testaments.

I know that is an alien concept to many of my “credo-baptistism only" brethren, but it is, I believe, very biblical. (credo= believer)

In Christ,

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