What is Your Testimony?

‘And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does no have life (1 John 5:11, 12).’

When we read or hear testimonies they often follow a pattern consisting of three parts: (1) What the person was like before conversion. (2) How they were converted. (3) What they are like after their conversion. These are often self-centred ‘I/me’ testimonies. Somewhere in the middle, or at the end, a mention is made of Jesus. Now, of course, not all testimonies follow this pattern.

But What does the Bible have to Say about Testimonies?

We find that the testimonies of the saints in the New Testament invariably point to Christ. They focus on Him, and they tell of things they saw and heard concerning Him. They tell of their personal experiences, and of God’s truths that the Spirit has revealed to them (John 16:13).

The greatest testimony came from Jesus Himself, when He said, ‘“Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness (John 3:11).’ The whole of the Godhead testified through the Son (John 8:18).

Nicodemus and the Pharisees were blind to the fact that the promised Messiah had come, and that He was present with them. Despite meeting and hearing Him, they would not receive His testimony. They would not receive Him as their God – their Emmanuel (cf. Matthew 1:23). However, others, including many Gentiles, saw and heard Him, and they believed and testified that He was the Messiah (John 4:39, 42).

Jesus more than once testified of Himself. He said,‘“He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony (John 3:31, 32).”’ He also said, “I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me (John 8:18).”’ 

John the Apostle wrote: ‘And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows he is telling the truth, so that you may believe (John 19:35).’

The whole of John’s Gospel is a personal testimony that accords *glory to Christ for His work of salvation. He declared, ‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).’

This is the purpose of testimonies (1 Timothy 1:15). They are to point to the Lord Jesus who saves (John 3:16, 17), and they are to tell of His glory. They should also tell of the judgment to come (cf. John 5:24).

Peter in Acts 10:40-43, while speaking to the household of Cornelius, said to them, ‘Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

Yes, whenever we have opportunities to witness, let us ‘testify to the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24),  and by all means, speak of our own transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17) through the workings of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). But let us make it a priority to tell of the *glory of God’s Son, so that people may look to Him and be saved.

God spoke to the nations through the prophet Isaiah saying,’”Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other (Isaiah 45:22).”’

*The Glory of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/01/07/the-glory-of-god/

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Growth

At the bottom of my garden there’s the most wonderful weeping willow, and at this time of the spring equinox, its sprouting leaves are a lime green. As the cool east wind blows, the boughs respond; they curtsy, sway and bob. Scintillating sunlight reflects from this shimmering vision. The tree is vibrant, full of *life. Hidden beneath its weathered bark, and within the channels of its trunk, life-giving sap syphons upward from well-spread roots, to the graceful fingertips of this alluring creature.

I remember planting this willow as a sapling. Over the years it has grown, and mushroomed; not unlike the figurative mustard tree (Luke 13:18, 19) spoken of by Jesus, in which the ‘birds of the air’ nested. Collar doves have made it their home. They love perching on its highest branches from where they can survey their patch of lawns, borders, shrubs, and a cosy arbour entwined with trailing honeysuckle, yet to blossom. Squirrels, robins, great tits, and a nocturnal badger share this space. Thriving, colourful, herbaceous plants display their beauty. Primroses, polyanthus, daffodils and tulips offer their fragrant scent to a solitary buzzing bee. Their leaves absorb the sun’s rays for energy and delight in its warmth. At sunset, they furl their petals to protect themselves from the starry night’s sharp frost.

God’s life-giving power is plainly seen in every one of His creatures. Even the daises display His beauty – and, just hear the cheerful, chattering notes of our resident robin, as he valiantly defends his territory. Don’t tell me there is no God!

‘For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:20, 21).’

All Growth Comes from God

All growth comes from God (cf. Psalm 65:10), because He gives life (John 6:63) to every living thing, and where there is life there is growth. However, here’s what Paul wrote to the Ephesian **church:

‘…. we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:14-16).’

The ‘body’ is the church – itself a spiritual organism, composed of ‘living stones’.

Peter, addressing the churches of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia encouraged them with these words:

‘Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil, speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy ***priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:1-5).’

From the writings of these two apostles we learn that the church is a ‘body’ composed of ‘living stones’. Its members are united in Christ, and they work together as one in Him. They feed ‘upon the pure milk of the word,’ which nourishes them, and they ‘live’ by it (Matthew 4:4). Jesus gives them His ‘living water’ (John 4:10-13) upon which they feed, and grow. They are built together in the love of Christ, who is their Head (Ephesians 5:23).

They are a ‘spiritual house’, a ‘holy priesthood’ who offer ‘spiritual sacrifices’ to ‘God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5).’

“Thanks be to God for all who are called to be saints; for those who ‘call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:2).’”

*Life

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/03/13/life/

**Who are the Church?

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2017/11/28/who-are-the-church/

***Priests of God Today

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/11/09/priests-of-god-today/

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Serving One Another

‘Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirt, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality (Romans 12:9-13).’

As I write this I’ve just returned home from shopping at Tesco Extra. The visit there, first thing this morning, was extraordinary. In eight decades I’ve never seen such queues! It took two hours and forty minutes from start to finish, to complete our shopping.

One thing struck me, and that was the dedication of workers at checkouts. None of them were wearing protective masks to keep them safe from the Coronavirus. Being on the frontline, and coming into contact with thousands of customers, they are at great risk, and yet they serve cheerfully.

That brings me to the subject of this blog – Serving One Another.

While out yesterday doing my usual walk, two ladies enquired if I needed any help with shopping. I happened to know one of them, but the other was a complete stranger. Both gave me their contact details in case I should need help during the lockdown that is expected soon. Schools have closed, and only the children of key-workers will be permitted to attend.

I must say I was heartened to think that they cared about my welfare and offered themselves to serve me. My immediate neighbours have also said they will help me and my wife if we are confined to our house.

My church has cancelled all meetings until further notice, and brothers and sisters are *looking out for one another. Where help is required they are there to provide it. We are keeping in touch via What’s App, emailing and telephoning. All past sermons are available online, and no doubt more will uploaded as time passes.

In these unprecedented times there are special opportunities for serving one another.

Jesus, the One who Serves

In God’s timing He sent His Son to serve and to save those who repent of their sins and believe in Him (Mark 1:15; John 12:47).

Jesus said, ‘“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark10:45).”’ He also said, ‘“For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves (Luke 22:27).”’

On the evening before His betrayal, Jesus draped a towel around Himself and washed the feet of His twelve disciples, including the feet of Judas, the one He knew would betray Him (John 13:11).

John tells us: ‘…. He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded (v. 5).’

He said, ‘“You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, happy are you if you do them (vv. 13-17).’

Jesus was, and is, the ultimate Servant. There’s no greater servant; for the Creator of the universe humbled Himself (Philippians 2:8) to make us clean by washing all of our sins away (Revelation 1:5).

Paul writing to the Philippians exhorted them with these words: ‘Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:4-8).’

In all of this, our greatest privilege is serving one another; for when we serve one another, we are serving the Lord (Romans 12:10, 11).

*A Christian’s Concern for the Wellbeing of Others

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/07/08/a-christians-concern-for-the-well-being-of-others/

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Adoption – We are No Longer Orphans!

‘For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:15-17).’

There are millions of children who have no parents, and they live in dire circumstances with little prospect of having a safe and secure future. Thousands are exploited by ruthless criminals who see them as commodities – objects or things that can be *trafficked and abused. When of no use to them, they are discarded, forgotten – irreparably damaged – broken, in mind, body and spirit.

The weapons used by these debased, manipulative, slave masters are psychological and physical abuse. They impose all kinds of deprivations, including restriction of movement – even imprisonment! They take from them any sense of self-worth. Trapped in slavery, they are stateless and without rights. In their poverty, anguish and pain, they find themselves totally dependent upon their unscrupulous slave masters, who, if they so wish, can sell them to the highest bidder.

They are destitute **orphans without hope of rescue.

Thankfully in the UK the great majority of orphans are not exploited or abused. Although they have no natural parents they are cared for by foster parents or they are ***adopted.

Local authorities are required by law to provide care for orphans and for children who are at risk from their own parents. If they cannot be looked after by relatives or friends, the local authority is obliged to find suitable foster parents who will take them into their own homes. These children may be offered the chance of adoption, and if they are adopted, they have the same legal rights as the natural siblings.

There are no orphanages in the UK, but a child who has severe behavioural problems and who needs intensive remedial therapy, may be placed in a group home with social workers and carers.

All of Us are Orphans from Birth!

The truth is we all enter life as orphans, although we may have the most wonderful, loving and caring parents.

So, how can this be?

Well, we are born as sinners (Romans 3:23), estranged from God the Father on account of our ****depravity. We are helpless babes addicted to sin. Yet He sees our need and fully understands our bondage to sin and our inability to break free of it. In His great mercy and compassion (Romans 9:15) He sends His Son on a rescue mission to redeem us to Himself (Revelation 5:9), and to adopt (Ephesians 1:5) us as sons and daughters into His family.

When speaking before the multitudes, Jesus asked them, “Who is My mother and My brothers?” Then pointing to His disciples He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother (Matthew 12:48-50)!’

These heartwarming and astonishing words declare that all who do the will of the Father are His sons and daughters. Through His Son He gives us the right to become His children (John 1:12, 13). He adopts us into His family. Furthermore He makes us ‘heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Romans 8:17).’

Our bondage to fear has been banished (v. 15), and we have an amazing relationship with “Abba Father” to His glory and our glorification with Him (v. 17).

Paul reminds us, ‘that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us (v. 18).’

If we believe and trust in God’s Son, we are no longer orphans.

‘But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12, 13).’

*Human Trafficking & Orphans: The 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report

https://cafo.org/2018/07/17/human-trafficking-orphans-the-2018-trafficking-in-persons-report/

**Orphans in Need

https://www.orphansinneed.org.uk/who-we-are/

***Child Adoption

https://www.gov.uk/child-adoption

***Adopting a Child

https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/your-family/fostering-adoption-kinshipcare/adopting-a-child/

****Total Depravity

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/09/18/total-depravity/

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Life

‘“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63).”’

How Does the Dictionary Define Life?

My dictionary defines it as: ‘The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter. Animals and plants have the capacity to grow and to function in various ways, because they have life. They continually change and eventually die, but the lifecycle continues through the propagation of offspring.

Physical Life

God, the Word (John 1:1), created creatures with life in them, and He also created objects and matter that in themselves had no life. He made them distinctly different. For example, compare a gazelle to a rock, and it’s obvious a gazelle has life, but a rock is stone dead! The living creature can move of its own accord, but the dead rock remains where it happens to be.

Colloquially they are as different as chalk and cheese! However, in reality, chalk and cheese are not so very different, because, although cheese has life within it, i.e., living organisms; both chalk and cheese are unable to voluntarily move themselves from one location to another. And commonly they are subject to physical metamorphosis on account of the natural process of decomposition, but cheese decomposes quickly, and rock decomposes very slowly, over eons.

So, then, there are two physical types with life in them: the animalistic type, which is capable of independent movement, and the plant or vegetable type, which is bound to particular locations. Over time, both experience intrinsic *change, and commonly they eventually die.

The life that God originally gave to His created beings (Genesis 1:21; 2:19) continues to this day, and it is found in all living things. Species reproduce themselves, and occasionally they mutate, but their ‘sort’ (6:19 ) is fixed by their genetical makeup. Dogs are of the canine ‘sort’ , no matter how they are interbred by men; and they can never mutate to become other sorts.

Because of God’s mercy and providence, He continues to preserve and sustain physical life on earth (Hebrews 1:3).

Spiritual Life

John’s Gospel declares that Jesus is the ‘Word’, who was with God in the beginning; and, not only was He with Him in the beginning, but He was God (John 1:1, 2)! He always existed from before time, and, ‘In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (v. 4). He was Life and life was in Him (14:6)!’

Both the Father and the Son, who are One, are the givers of life, as this next text testifies: ‘“For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will (5:21).”’

But what kind of ‘life’ is this?

God gives ‘physical’ life to all living creatures. Without it they can not experience or know anything. They cannot feel things, they cannot see them, nor can they hear them, or taste them. But the ‘life’ referred to in the verse above is not this ‘common’ life that He gives to every living creature; it is the ‘everlasting life’ that is spoken of in John 5:24 and in 3:16, which goes as follows: ‘“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”’

This ‘everlasting life’ is quite distinct from organic, physical life, and it is brought into being by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). It is ‘the gift of God’ that is given to recipients by His grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). The true gift is Jesus Christ Himself; for He is Life (John 14:6); He is the indescribable gift spoken of in 2 Corinthians 9:15.

So there are two types of life: physical and spiritual.

When a person is born through natural birth he first **experiences physical life, and according to God’s grace and favour he may be given new life by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) who transforms his ***spirit, so that he becomes a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Not only does his heart beat because the ‘common’ spirit of life is in him, but because the ‘Holy Spirit’ dwells (2 Timothy 1:14) in him, and He can reiterate Paul’s words:

‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), and he can take to heart the words of Jesus: ‘“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).”’ He has the free Spirit of Life which is not received by works (Ephesians 2:9).

*God’s Tapestry of Change

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/10/26/gods-tapestry-of-change/

**Experiences

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/10/08/experiences/

***Mind, Body and Soul

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/07/23/mind-body-and-soul/

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Comfort in Death

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).’

Death is a subject many avoid. They don’t want to talk about it. Why? Because it’s something they would rather avoid on account of having to face the truth (Hebrews 9:27), and yet they know it is inevitable. They will die. All living things eventually die. The sap that keeps them alive no longer runs. The life-force ceases.

There may be people reading this who are having to come to terms with death; for a relative or a friend has recently died. The whole person goes into a state of mourning. A relationship has been broken. You can no longer hold a hand, speak words of love, or give comfort and hope with a hug. You may think of times when you said something you regretted, but never put right. You didn’t say sorry and make up. Now it is too late. The chance has gone. You are alive, but your companion is dead, and you have to come to terms with your conscience.

If you are on the front line where the boundaries between life and death are very thin, you may prepare yourself for an unwanted outcome. You may ask yourself, “Will I come out of this alive?” Perhaps you are on a trolly going into an operating theatre, or you may be in a hospice gasping for breath? As you helplessly lie there, memories of loved ones flash through your mind. You ask the question, “Will I ever see them again?”

You may be a soldier or sailor, who in battle has previously had to come to terms with the sight of a comrade killed in action. The memory haunts you, but once again, as you engage in combat on the front line, you expect the inevitable, and you brace yourself for the worst. Sure enough, there’s an ear-shattering explosion, and a blast of hot air envelops you. As the smoke drifts away, right before you there’s a motionless, charred body. It has no pulse, no heartbeat and no life. His spirit has left him. The man is dead.

Death can come about in many ways, and it may be unexpected. It can take you unawares. One moment you are alive, and the next your are dead!

For those left behind, the shock of their loss is almost too much to bear. They grieve and ask why? They may even be angry and cry out to a god they don’t really believe in. For them there is no comfort. Their friends may cuddle and hold them, and say lovely words, but they find no solace; nor do they experience long-lasting comfort. They grieve their loss, and never forgive the god they don’t believe in. They pine and waste away.

Can the Unbeliever find any Comfort in Death?

True and lasting comfort can only come to those who ‘mourn’ for their sins (Isaiah 61:2; Matthew 5:4).’

Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).’

The unbeliever has no comfort. He may try to console himself that he will know nothing in death. He may reason that he will feel nothing, see nothing and hear nothing. Passively he may accept that his body will be reduced to chemical elements, within which latent energy is stored. Perchance at some point in the future this energy may be released to play its part in a natural evolutionary process. Somehow his decayed matter will be utilised in a life cycle. In this way the life that was in him will continue. But what comfort is there in this? And is it true?

Factually, if he is **buried, his body will decay, and minute organisms will play their part in its decomposition. After they have done their work, they will die.

This morbidity gives no ‘hope’ for the unbeliever.

In his ignorance he thinks he will experience nothing after death, but if only he knew the truth (John 14:6), he would be deeply troubled. He would realise he will not ‘rest in peace’ as he had supposed. This is the way the world thinks, and they so often mark death with the *epitaph, R.I.P..

It would be remiss of me not to tell the biblical truth that there is no rest for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22; 57:20). Unless they repent of their sins and believe (Mark 1:15) in Jesus who will give them eternal life, they will suffer in hell (9:43-48). Only through faith and trust in the Saviour, Jesus, will they be given everlasting life (John 3:16).

What Comfort is there in Death for the Christian?

The believer has every comfort he could desire. He has Jesus who has risen from the dead. He can look forward to death (Philippians 1:21); for he has life in Him (John 14:6) and he will rise again, just as He rose from the dead (Mark 16:6; Romans 8:34).

‘For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will (John 5:21).’

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11).’

The believer has the comfort of the hope of eternal life through faith (Ephesians 2:8) in Jesus. Believers will be raised to life in the likeness of Jesus and see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23), and, ‘So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory (1 Corinthians 15:54,55)?”

Death will be thrown into the lake of fire and will be no more (Revelation 20:14).

‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away (21:4).’

*A Christian’s Eulogy

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/12/27/a-christians-eulogy/

**Burial, Cremation, or Otherwise?

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/06/14/burial-cremation-or-otherwise/

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All Things Made New

An Old Earth

‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).’

‘Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. (Genesis 1:31; 2:1).’

‘So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (1:27).’ He said to them, ‘“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth (v. 28).”’

Then came the fall of Adam and Eve (3:1-34), and as a consequence every human in Adam’s image has inherited his flawed nature; therefore all who are born into this world of corruption (v. 17) are spiritually dead in their trespasses and *sins (Ephesians 2:1); hence they sin against God (Romans 3:23).

Prior to the creation of the earth God had it in His mind to bring about many new things (cf. Titus 1:2). Although He created it He also made provision for its end, when ‘the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10),’ and they ‘will be dissolved (v.11).’

Of all the nations on the earth He chose one special people for Himself (Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2), i.e., the nation of Israel, and through Moses He made a covenant (29:1) with them: If they obeyed His laws He would give them a geographical, real homeland in which they would live in abundance (Leviticus 20:24), but they sinned and disobeyed Him. After many traumas and disasters, God in His great mercy and compassion (cf. Exodus 34:6), brought their children into the land of Canaan (Joshua 23:9; 24:18).

However, He was not pleased with them (1 Corinthians 10:5), and He appointed for them prophets as messengers of His word (Hebrews 1:1). They told the Israelites to repent and to change their ways.

Jeremiah was one such prophet, but In addition to preaching repentance (Jeremiah 25:5) he gave them hope by saying: ‘“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by My hand to bring them out of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD (Jeremiah 31:31, 32; Hebrews 8:8, 9).”’

A New Covenant and a New High Priest

God in his mercy was telling them that in the future, by means of New Covenant, a remnant (Romans 9:27; 11:5) of His special people would be saved from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

The old priesthood that the LORD had instituted with Moses’ brother, Aaron (Leviticus 8), would be abolished, and it would be replaced with an entirely new priesthood (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:5, 9). At its head, there would be a new and unique High Priest (Hebrews 7:11-28), and that High Priest was Jesus Christ (8:1-6), the mediator of the New Covenant in His blood (9:15; 12:24). Unlike God’s previous priests who came from the tribe of Levi, Jesus came from the tribe of Judah (7:14).

The Old Covenant was sealed with the blood of animals (Exodus 24:8), but the New Covenant was sealed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He said, ‘“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:28, 29).”

A New People

‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).’

The prophet Ezekiel speaking the words of the LORD said, “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God (Ezekiel 11:19, 20)”’.

Although Ezekiel was addressing God’s Old Testament Israel, his words prophetically looked forward to the time of God’s new High Priest, Jesus Christ. Both Jews and Gentiles would be united in Him and they would be the new Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), as Paul’s words to the Ephesians explain: ‘having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace (Ephesians 2:15).’

By inaugurating the New Covenant in His blood, Jesus did away with the Old [ineffectual] Covenant and the Law of Moses (Matthew 5:17). The Old was made obsolete, and it was replaced with the New [effectual] Covenant. The writer of Hebrews made this clear by quoting Jeremiah: ‘In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete (Hebrews 8:13a).’

The new ‘Israel of God’ (Galatians 6:16) exists today. They are a people who worship God the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24). Every tribe member is a new creation: ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).’

A New Law

This new people, i.e., the true Church, obey the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). They are not required to follow the Mosaic law (cf. Exodus 34:27; Leviticus 26:46) which included the keeping of feasts, eating only clean foods, remembering the **Sabbath day (Exodus 20:8), and the obligation of circumcision (Romans 2:25-29): ‘For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation (Galatians 6:15).’ They ‘put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24).’

Jesus ‘having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances (Ephesians 2:15a),’ gave His disciples a new commandment: ‘“A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another (John 13:34 [cf. 15:12]).”’

His new law is the law of love; for God is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus said to His disciples, ‘“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love (John 15:10).”’

A New Earth [Homeland] for the Redeemed People of God

‘Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful (Revelation 21:5).”

‘And they sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God and we shall reign on the earth (Revelation 5:9, 10).”

‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 21:1, 2).’

‘And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son (vv. 6, 7).”

‘“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (22:16, 17).’

This is the water that Jesus freely gives to all who thirst. He said, ‘“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14).”

Are you thirsty?

Then come and drink freely of His ever-flowing water of life (Revelation 22:17).

*Sin and its Consequences

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/03/05/sin-and-its-consequences/

**Special Days

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/06/29/special-days/

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