Entering the New Covenant

Robert Wurtz II

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:2–4 NKJV)

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:18 NKJV)

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:10–13 NKJV)

I have chosen these three passages of Scripture in order to bring to mind the fact that the Old Covenant is passed away and the New Covenant has come. The Old Covenant was spiritual, but it was weak because of the sinful nature (flesh). It was “tailored” to fit the Israelites who, like the rest of us, were born in Adam by first birth. In other words, it was designed to deal with man in his/her sinful condition. It was a series of institutional laws that sought to reign in man’s constitutional sin nature — while simultaneously exposing man’s rebellion. The Law was good and holy, but for people born with a rebellious nature, it was merely a long list of things man could do to express their rebellion. It was an expression of the personality of God — but it was powerless to make that imprint on the hearts of men. God’s solution? For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

I sometimes wish I could purchase tens of millions of stickers in every language that I could affix to the plain white paper that separates the Old Covenant from the New Covenant in everyones bible. The sticker would simply read, STOP! You Are Now Entering the New Covenant.Perhaps this would cause the reader to pause and realize that he/she has passed out of the Old Covenant and is now reading the New Covenant. You might say, “Why would you do that? It’s common sense that there are two covenants represented in the Bible.” Not so fast. You may be surprised at how often I respond to questions related to the covenants.

Muddying the Waters 

What complicates the issue is that many teachers and preachers present certain Old Covenant laws as being applicable to Christians. This “selective legislation” creates tremendous confusion among believers. For example, in Galatians 1 Paul rebukes the Galatians for entertaining the notion that Christian men should be circumcised as a means of perfecting their Christian experience. If was the hot-button issue of the day. He asked them, “Having begun in the Spirit are you now made perfect by the flesh?” In other words, having truly received the Holy Spirit — they were to be led by the Spirit in all areas of their lives. This was God’s way of manifesting His personality in the lives of Christians. Christ in you… the hope of glory. What did Paul say, “(…) that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” This is the key thing. A person who walks in the Spirit does not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. They walk in the law of love against which there is no law. 

The challenge we have is that many Christians have never received the Holy Spirit or they are not being led by the Spirit. As ministers and teachers, our temptation is to take matters into our own hands and begin legislating do’s and don’ts to the offenders (and non-offenders unfortunately). Nevertheless, we must never reach back into the Old Covenant and attempt to enforce those laws on Christians. Why? Because the solution for bad behavior is not more law it is more Spirit. When people get cold in the Lord and are not being filled with the Spirit their behavior reflects this. However, to inject law into the situation is like filling a dead carcass with embalming fluid. The person may appear to be preserved — but they are just as dead and lifeless as ever. The law can never take the place of personal revival (a fresh refilling and ongoing filling of the Holy Spirit). The only possible thing adding law could do is to give a “show” of Christianity. Anyone can learn when to say “amen” or “praise God” at the right times. They may even learn to do and not do certain things that give the appearance that they are spiritual. This is not Christianity. This is play acting. People who have the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit do not need laws to keep them on track. What did Paul say? For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them). (Romans 2:14–15 NKJV)

Common Arguments

As ministers of the Gospel (who have a God ordained right to live financially of the Gospel) we need to ask ourselves some questions. Do I trust God? Do I trust God to lay it on the hearts of people to make sure that my needs are met? Or do I take matters into my own hands and reach up and steady the Ark (so to speak)? When ministers get desperate (or greedy unfortunately) they may teach things they ought not for filthy lucre sake. Some even argue that practices such as circumcision and tithing both predate the Mosaic Law — so they should still be performed today. Really? Technically speaking, circumcision was mandatory and tithing was strictly voluntary and sporadic (at best). However, Paul told the Galatians that if anyone came preaching the necessity of circumcision that they are accursed. Why? Because they have added something to the New Covenant that God does not want there — even things that predate the Old Covenant. What happens? People begin trying to please God by the works of the Law rather than walking in the Spirit. What happens? Rather than trusting God (our Paymaster) to deal with people through the Holy Spirit, a “law” is preached in His place to get the people to support financially. Beloved, this ought not so to be.  

Show me a minister that preaches people under the Mosaic Law (Old Covenant) and I will show you a ministry where there is little or no fruit. Oh, what needless pains we bear. Oh, the resources and time that is wasted preaching people under the Mosaic Law in the name of Christianity! If a person wants to be circumcised or circumcises their infant boys that is their prerogative. If a person wants to give a tithe of their income (the hot-button issue of our times) to a local church or ministry that is their prerogative, too. However, the moment that either of these practices is made “the law” we have crossed the line and are inviting anathema upon our heads. There is no other way to read Paul in Galatians. No matter how desperately a ministry needs funding, we should never, under any circumstances, resort to telling the people they are “cursed” if they don’t tithe. The fact is, it’s the minister who is in danger of being cursed — not the people. If you doubt this, I challenge you to follow Paul’s logic in the matter of circumcision in Galatians and then ask if it should also apply to tithing. You will find that there is no way to dodge the truth that it is as dangerous (if not more so) to preach tithing (as a law) as it is circumcision (as a law). Selah.

If we are going to live in the New Covenant lets do it or let’s get out altogether. Why should we go back to a covenant that has decayed, waxed old, and vanished away? We will either walk in the Spirit or we won’t. We will either be led by the Spirit or we will walk in the flesh. There is no middle ground. When Saints fail to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law — the solution is personal revival. Our preaching should be along the lines of getting people led of the Spirit and walking in the Spirit. It either works or it doesn’t. When churches struggle for support (financially or in any other way) the answer is to look to God — the Lord of the harvest. Why should I bring myself under a curse by telling Christians that they are cursed for non-support? I cannot do with law what only can be done through the Spirit Filled life. If we would dare to believe God and what He has done in the New Covenant we would have His unbridled blessing and we would see Him do things we can’t imagine. But so long as we labor under the beggarly elements of the Mosaic Law we will never know the full potential of the Church.

Goodness and Generosity

Robert Wurtz II

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15 ESV)

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:10 ESV)

The seed and soil motif is a familiar one in the New Testament scriptures. Our passages above represent two seeds: 1) the word of God and 2) material resources. These two types of seeds are directly related as is demonstrated in Luke 16:10-13: 

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Luke 16:10–13 NKJV) 

The way that we distribute our material goods has a direct impact on whether or not God will esteem us worthy of distributing His Holy Word. This is the clear implication of Luke 16:10-13. Unrighteous mammon is material wealth. The true riches are the riches of the Kingdom of God (or more specifically the Word of God). No person can be stingy with their material goods and expect to have a word from the Lord. It just doesn’t work that way. For some people, this truth could radically change their life if they took it to heart.

Moreover, in Luke 8:15 we also have an implication that the reason why some people are never fruitful is that the condition of the heart is not one of goodness and generosity. They are selfish. When God’s word comes to us it often challenges that selfishness. If our heart is bad rather than good, it will reject the word of God when it challenges selfishness and makes a demand on our personal possessions. For example, Jesus tells the Rich Young Ruler to go and sell all of his possessions and he will have treasure in heaven. What did the young man do? He went away sorrowful because he had a lot of possessions. Most ministers suggest his money was his god. This may be true, but equally true was that the young man was clearly a stingy person. Jesus exposed that reality from the beginning and expected him to repent. 

We could belabor this truth ad infinitum. Sadly, it would still be resisted. Why? Because stinginess is commonplace. Generosity is the exception. This ought not to be the case among believers. God’s attitude of heart is one of great generosity. Remember, it is the goodness of God that leads people to repentance. What does that mean? He provides for peoples’ needs as a demonstration of his goodness. This attitude is the essence of goodness. It is the essence of love. There is a common saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I suggest that people know how much we care by how much we are willing to give. 

The scriptures use the illustration of material goods being like seeds. The more you sow — the more God gives you to sow. What does that mean? God expects us to do with our resources what He would do with them if He were us. I’m not talking about tithing or what those who lust for filthy lucre preach (prosperity); I’m referring to a general and everyday attitude of heart that is willing to give without hesitation when a legitimate need is encountered. When we do with our resources what God would do with them if He were us, He will provide us with even more resources. This is the basic principal of Godly stewardship. This is what it is to be “faithful with the unrighteous mammon.” 

Some of you are probably saying, “Wow! I never heard such a thing!” That’s true and it’s also a large reason why the world is in the shape it is in. Some Christians speak of revival and spiritual renewal. If we woke up tomorrow and every professing Christian in the world took on God’s generous attitude we would probably be in revival! Why? Because God is forever working towards making His people good by nature. Instead, we hear a chorus of excuses. However, if we would follow God’s principals of generosity He would increase our capacity for righteousness. How? Each one of us is limited in how much goodness (acts of righteousness) we can do because we have limited means. If we would be faithful with the little that we have, God would give us more. If we were faithful with that new amount, He would give us even more. In other words, He keeps increasing the size of our seed container as we are faithful to distribute it. 

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

What an amazing verse! It follows on the heels of a powerful passage, So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” (2 Corinthians 9:7–9 NKJV) 

We get our word hilarious from the Greek word translated as “cheerful” in this passage. Again, I’m not referring to padding preachers pockets or anything foolish like that. I’m referring to using your resources in a way that God would use them if He were you. This is being faithful with the unrighteous mammon. Moreover, if we will be faithful with our material resources, God will provide us with the riches of the kingdom to fulfill His work. I suppose we can say it’s a test. Do we want to move in revelation? Do we want to move in the manifest power of God? Let me ask you, what are you doing with your material resources? Do you do with them what God would do? 

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

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