Thursday, October 08, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: That New Covenant Good News Melts the Angry Heart

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible is clear--God's New Covenant is His promise. Jeremiah says that the New Covenant is the same as writing His holy law in the human heart (31:31-34). Now the question of questions: When God makes a promise, is there power in the promise itself? Or is the power in your doing what's right? Is there power in the gospel itself (the gospel understood as Good News, Rom. 1:16)? Or is the power in your own obedience to the gospel?

Here's the old controversy between righteousness by faith and righteousness by faith plus works. Don't dismiss the issue; it's serious.

Sarai was the name of the lady who was Abram's wife. The best one can find is that her name meant "contentious," quarrelsome. This is borne out by what we read of her. When God says He is not accepting Hagar's child, Ishmael, as the promised "heir," she feels bad because she is the problem; she is unable to conceive a child. She blames God. Then in Old Covenant thinking she comes up with a bright idea to solve Abram's problem: she practices Old Covenant self-denial and gives her maid (Hagar) into Abram's embrace--not an easy thing for any wife to do (Gen. 16:5).

Then the affair goes sour, Hagar despises Sarai, and lords it over her--the new queen of the household, and Sarai? Cast down. So she acts out her name and berates poor Abram: "My wrong be upon you! ... The Lord judge between you and me," and she storms off in a huff (Gen. 16:5). All Abram did was exactly what she told him to do, yet now she blames him! This lady is angry with God and everybody else. Now what can God do?

He gives her some New Covenant Good News. While she is the same contentious woman, He changes her name to Sarah, which means "Princess"; and He tells her He believes in her! All the promises to Abraham are to her, too. And now, just that simple word, that New Covenant Good News, melts her proud, angry heart, and "by faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age." How? "Because she judged Him faithful who had promised" (Heb. 11:11).

Sounds like there is power in the word of God. All it needs is for someone to believe it.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 25, 2003.

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