Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
There is a beautiful illustration of genuine faith in the story of the three Hebrews of Daniel 3 who were thrown into the fiery furnace. They told the insanely angry king that the living God whom they served was "able" to deliver them from his power, but it might possibly be that He would be unwilling to do so--they didn't know for sure--but if He were unwilling to deliver them they would serve Him nonetheless, and they would not cast contempt on His holy law by bowing down to his golden image.
In this way these three men demonstrated that their faith in God was the New Covenant kind, not the Old Covenant kind. The Old Covenant kind of "faith" is a counterfeit of the genuine: it's making a "bargain" with God. Old Covenant faith says," Lord, if You will deliver us, then we'll keep Your commandments." Sometimes preachers lead their people into Old Covenant faith when they tell them that if they take the initiative to "pay tithe," then God will bless them financially. New Covenant faith is a choice to pay tithe whether the Lord rewards us or not.
The New Covenant is God's out-and-out promises to His people, and their heart response is to believe and appreciate what He promises. His love, not fear, "constrains" them to loyalty and service (2 Cor. 5:14, 15). The Old Covenant is "bargaining" with God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego rebuke us for that.
In Jeremiah 31:31-34 the Lord promises that the time will come when His people will graduate completely out of the Old into the living faith that is in the New. As God's people face the trials of the last days, their faith will mature into that of a church that has grown up into that "measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). It's time for the New Covenant--now.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 16, 2004.
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