Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Something significant is happening around the world: possibly millions of church members are studying "The Two Covenants" (the old covenant versus the new covenant). Is God asking them to sign their names to a contract that contains a series of promises entitled "My Covenant," promising that "I will study the Bible, pray daily, share with others, serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and prepare for His soon coming"? All very good things to do! But could it be possible that God is asking us to believe His promises to us, His covenant with us, rather than our making promises to Him?
According to the Bible, the new covenant has always been God's unilateral promise to His people (see Gen. 12:1-3); and the old covenant has been the people's promise to God to do everything right (see Ex. 19:4-8). The question that is stirring minds is this: what is the correct, effective way to realize all those four good things (studying the Bible "each day," praying, sharing, serving the Lord faithfully)? Not just for a week or two while the emotional adrenalin is prompting us, but forever and ever? Will the old covenant effect a lasting "revival and reformation"?
History says No. King Hezekiah in Jerusalem led the nation in a powerful old covenant "revival and reformation," doing everything just exactly right according to the law (2 Kings 18 to 20). Wonderful! But it all fell apart in the succeeding reign of his son, Manasseh (chapter 21). Then Hezekiah's grandson Josiah came to the throne (chapter 22-23:30). Again, another old covenant revival and reformation, wonderful. But that all fell apart with the death of King Josiah, and from then on it was downhill all the way to national ruin (2 Chron. 36).
The caveat "by God's grace and enabling power" doesn't change the nature of old covenant promises which produce spiritual bondage (Gal. 4:24); it's still a faith-and-works experience instead of a faith-which-works experience (see Gal. 5:6). What's the real problem? We can't keep our promises! And when we break them, then discouragement sets in.
Let's believe, dwell upon, cherish, remember, God's promises to us in His new covenant! Then "agape never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8).
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 10, 1999.
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