Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Straight and Narrow Way is Everlasting

Christ's magnificent and glorious new covenant, filled with wondrous power and goodness from on high, amazingly, is not a well known item throughout Christendom. Sadly, today, many barely even have heard of it or its existence. And I have to say, I think the devil likes it this way! He doesn't want Christians to find all of those powerful, good things (Heb. 9:11) that God has supplied in his new covenant (II Cor. 3), and so as long as it remains a secret, the more the devil gains. He is glad to see modern Christians grappling around like blind men in other much less profitable places. The church is satisfied to accommodate him (Gal. 1:7), choosing instead to just give empty lip service to Christ, and leave the critical life changing contents of his straight and narrow way (Mt. 7:14) outside the realm of any appropriate Christian inquiry. So instead, the church engages its own kind of program centered in bits and pieces of trivia and minutia, along with theorizing of earthly kingdoms unrealized but nonetheless supposedly valid pursuits in the broad expanse of empty space that they can't fill with any more worthwhile thing. Mere crumbs from the table are offered, when a heavenly banquet feast awaits with the great God and Master himself, if only the church could find its way there!

Well, here is the straight and narrow prescribed way, which I guess most have heard of, that our Lord talked about, as did the apostles. It begins in the Christ who died to give us his salvation and "life more abundantly" (Jo. 10:10; Titus 3:6; II Pet. 1:11). Embodied within this straight and narrow way is Christ's new covenant, which He administers (see Heb. 2:10, 7:21, 28, 9:26, 10:10). He, as "our High Priest has been given a ministry that is far superior to the ministry of those who serve under the old laws, for he is the one who guarantees for us a better covenant, based on better promises" (Heb. 8:6. See also through v. 13.).

So, believe it or not, we have here mentioned something far better. Did you know that? Well, to follow the new covenant as it unfolds throughout the New Testament cannot help but prove that to any person who really loves Christ and wants to serve him in his way of truth.

Also, this is Christ's everlasting covenant, "signed with his blood" (Heb. 13:20-21). This covenant is of a new and different, even of a more far-reaching quality, than was the old first covenant, because that one had the limitations of a "worldly sanctuary" (Heb. 9:1-12). I guess it was very similar to the one today espoused by the premillenialists who think that such a worldly sanctuary, or temple, with its vast limitations, is what this world really needs over Christ's new and everlasting covenant. They have not recognized, seen, nor experienced the great wonders and power of the new, for they have never been shown along that route, regrettably. Their churches are teaching a different route, based on something that they like to term "new light", and it is something else more temporary in nature and not near as beneficial. Again, it returns us to the more limited base of a "worldly sanctuary" over the heavenly (Heb. 9:1-12). One really must ask why these people have such a problem over heavenly things in general.

But in the new covenant is the everlasting Gospel (Rev. 14:6), and it contains the Good News of everlasting life (Jo. 12:50). And this leads us into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord (II Pet. 1:11). In this God our Father and our Lord Jesus who called us to himself has given us "everlasting comfort and good hope" (II Th. 2:16). Also, his honor and power is everlasting (I Ti. 6:16. See also Mt. 28:18). So you can begin to understand why Christ abolished the old. It was inferior, and temporary, and it was entirely replaced by the new and better covenant of Jesus Christ (Heb. 8:6).

Well, I would really have to think that so much that the Scriptures speak of as being so everlasting, as contained in the Good News of the Gospel, must have something very good going for it. And why shouldn't it, for it is of Christ. I see what we now have in place as very clearly mentioned throughout Christ's new covenant, but nothing whatsoever of this other entity that is supposed to come upon the earth to preempt the everlasting quality of it. So how can anyone arrive at such an idea, if the sacred Word doesn't even speak of it, whereas the new covenant and the heavenly Kingdom are mentioned in numerous places?

Certainly it would seem to me that something this important as the new covenant should have made its way through the doors of many churches by now, yet I have not even seen it as much as mentioned. Yet this other entity, or earthly kingdom theory, seems all the rage, while this new leaves one with an open portal into another area of mystery that still beckons us, calling us deeper into its embracing enclosure that provokes even more curiosity, and, dare I say, longing. So what if it is the maybe ominous sounding straight and narrow way, yet it entices us to walk further on with the most gracious Lord who suffered so much and died that we might live forever with him. We first came to him in fear for our eternal souls, but his great love has cast that away, so now that the worst is over, maybe we might better just stick a toenail in the mysterious doorway, at least, and see what else it has to offer! Maybe there is the Shepherd's staff and crook to bring his straying sheep back into the fold, but there is also his lovely lush green pastures amid his still waters that are able to restore my soul (Ps. 23). Maybe there is some of that in his straight and narrow way and his new covenant also, and I wouldn't think I would mind that so much. Wow!

And then there is this claim about this "living power" that fills his Word (Heb.4:12). I could sure use some of that! It actually sounds pretty good to me! It really seems a whole lot more substantial to me than does this other supposed "new light" that isn't even mentioned in his holy Word, but is only arrived at by misinterpretations and ill-founded assertions.

You betcha it does, and it is! For I have discovered exactly that Christ's new covenant is his credential par excellence! When once we finally rid ourselves of our thoughts of "the weak and beggarly elements" of the old (Gal. 4:9), more worldly oriented one that Christ indeed abolished (II Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:15; Heb. 7:18, 8:7-8, 13, 10:9) to open the doorway to all his good things, the narrow way with its new covenant now looms before us. Wow again! Now really isn't that pretty exciting? Why just the very words that the Scripture uses beckons me onward to this better place of new adventure that seems to offer me something more than waiting for this other more temporary worldly thing that so excites the rest of them. But not near as exciting as all of his "good things" (Heb. 9:11) of the new is going to get further on, as you should soon begin to see!

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