Thursday, August 18, 2005

An Introduction to Covenant Theology for Dispensationalists: Part 1: Relationships

In the biblical record, the relations that subsist between God and man are always bound by objective legal arrangements known as covenants. It is not enough to understand that God offers himself to be in relationship with us after our souls have been saved. We should bother to inquire what sort of relationship God wants, since there are licit and illicit relationships. Just as a sexual “relationship” outside of the marriage bond is an illicit relationship, so not all relationships that people undertake to establish are acceptable to God. Despite the fact that two members of the same sex may love each other, homosexual marriage will never be approved as lawful in the only court that matters, the throne room of Almighty God.

Human beings are required to commune with God and each other within the parameters that have been established by the divine authority. All attempts to circumvent the divinely approved means are illicit and hence, sinful. After the Lord destroyed Nadab and Abihu, Moses recalled the Lord’s word: “I will be sanctified in them that come near me, and before all the people I will be glorified.” (Lev. 10:3)

Vague talk about a “personal relationship with Jesus,” while heartwarming, tends to confuse people about how they should relate to God. The danger is that we will approach the great God casually without regard for his majesty. Let the reader agree with the Apostolic teaching: “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28,29)

I have quoted from Hebrews because I believe it is the most important book of the New Testament for understanding the order Messiah established, and it is certain that it is the most crucial text for understanding how the early church interpreted the old covenant scriptures. I will be relying heavily on Hebrews to support my thesis that the New Covenant is the present governing order that Jesus Christ established at his first advent.