Need vs. Want. We've all debated the need vs. want of something. We stand in the mall, shop online, and fish through reviews questioning the need vs. want of said item.
So that we're on the same page:
A need is something you must have.
A want is something you desire but don't necessarily have to have.
So, why are we talking about want vs. need and how does this tie into Covenant Theology? Glad you asked! In the previous posts, we talked about the agreements God made with Adam, Abraham, Moses, and David. God wanted each of these covenants to work out thus placing His people in relationship with Him so they could benefit from His grace, love, guidance, and understanding, i.e., His power - His glory.
The problem - while mankind desired a relationship with God, they too (except for a select few) desired their own wants over a His wants for their lives. Let's take a look at what Matt tells in regards to this:
The covenant arrangements that God made with humanity and with His people were all inadequate in one way or another, yet foreshadowed God’s ultimate offer of salvation through His son, Jesus Christ. The covenant with Adam was simple enough, with just one stipulation. Adam and his wife, Eve, quickly disobeyed God, resulting in the effectuation of the curses described in - The Blessings and Curses of the Adamic covenant.
The covenant with Abraham allowed God to establish His covenant people, and placed almost no conditions on Abraham and the people of Israel. Yet, the subsequent covenant with Moses placed stipulations on the people of Israel remaining in the land promised to Moses and Joshua. The Ten Commandments and a total of 613 regulations proved impossible for even the most devout Hebrew to comply with. In fact, as Paul pointed out, the Law given through Moses only served to underscore the human inability to meet God’s standard of holiness.
Let's stop right here. I think Matt brings up a good point in regards to what Paul points out in the Bible. The Law given through Moses only served to underscore the human inability to meet God's standard of holiness. In other words... mankinds wants did not align with God's needs for them to live in relationship with Him.
Ok... back to what Matt is telling us:
God’s covenant with David was also seemingly short-lived. After a horrible civil war, the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) were ruled independently, with David’s descendants maintaining Judah’s throne. David’s offspring went from bad to worse, and ultimately ruined both kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrians, and the Babylonians conquered the cities of the Judah. It would seem that God’s promise to keep David’s heir on the throne had been broken. By 586 B.C., neither kingdom would have a throne at all, much less a king to sit upon it. To this day, the Jewish people long for the re-establishment of Israel’s throne and a king from David’s bloodline.
Back to the problem laid out above. How then is God going to get people to need Him in their lives? Apparently, He tried many ways. Some were good, and some didn't pan out so great, but along the way, He knew he would have to do one thing. He would have to send His only son to die for all - a new covenant.
Let's take a look at what Matt has to say about this new covenant:
The advent of Jesus the Christ marks the beginning of the New Covenant. This new arrangement between God and mankind has a broad, even universal scope. Both Jews and Gentiles now have the opportunity to enter into a relationship with a mighty, Holy Creator God. This New Covenant lacks the stipulations of the previous covenants and has, as its sole condition, the placement of personal faith in the person, work, and grace of Jesus the Christ. The Christ was foretold in more than 100 Old Testament prophecies, described in terms that can be validated through the historical accounts of the Gospel by those whose eyes have been opened by the work of the Holy Spirit. To those blind to spiritual things, one might miss the signs that the promised Messiah had come. This is certainly the case for the people of Israel, who are still eagerly anticipating the Messiah. For others still, even the hopeful anticipation of the Messiah seems to be an absurdity.
If God couldn't get His people to turn from their wants and make what He desired for them to be their needs, then he had to do something drastic, something earth-shattering, something out of left field. He would offer up His only son as a final sacrifice so that His people would have the opportunity to turn from their wants and desire His needs for their lives - a New Covenant.
What is this new covenant? Let's first start with this:
Several of the previous covenants that God made with His people had stipulations and conditions attached to them. If mankind adhered to the conditions that God set forth, they would experience blessing. However, failure to obey the conditions would result in curses or an annulment of the covenant. The New Covenant, effectuated through Jesus Christ, has no conditions placed on mankind EXCEPT that we place our faith in Christ Jesus. There are no requirements for us to perform rituals, make payments, or adhere to laws in order to gain the salvation afforded by God through this New Covenant.
Let's take a look at Jeremiah 31:31-34
31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
This new covenant exist today! No more animal sacrifices, rituals, payment, or adhere to laws to gain the salvation afforded by God. "For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
God wiped the slate clean for us. He erased our selfish wants making way for us to experience His power in our lives leaving us to need Him more and more each day.
What does he ask of us? Complete faith in Him. In other words - turn from our wants and desire His needs in our lives to fulfill His mission - spread His glory and further His kingdom. God wants us to do this in all that we do. Eat, breath, and sleep His needs in our lives.
He's provided the new way to do this. Stripping away all the hurdles. There are no more excuses for not being able to desire Him in our lives.
Will you sign the new covenant? Will you sell out for His needs in your life? Will you live completely faithful to His mission?
We hope your view on covenant theology is different. We hope you can now see a boring term as a story of how our creator continued to fight for us despite our inadequate attempts to live according to His way. At every turn, he continued seeking us despite our mistakes, our disregard of the agreement. Today the new covenant is in effect. It's up to us to uphold our end of the agreement - Faith in Him aka a desire for His needs in our lives!
Next week we take a look at the final Module of FPAM Biblical Foundation - God's Unfolding Narrative. This should take us to the end of the year.
In 2018 our goal is to take this material to the people! It's a small step to a big undertaking of equipping people to spread His gospel!
If you're interested in the material and want to know more about Biblical Foundation training for businesses, personal ministry, or retreats please contact us! We'd love to be apart of you spreading His good news!
Live for His glory... Succeed for His kingdom!
*Blue lettering indicates passages taken from FPAM Biblical Foundation material authored by Matt Allen - FPAM board member and FPAM Honduras chapter leader.