Today I am writing from the Netherlands. I have had a good weekend in Utrecht with Pastor Niels and the church family here. Today I have been doing a lot of writing in preparation for several training ventures in 2016. It has been a fruitful writing time.
Last week I addressed the transfer from an Old Covenant justice system to a New Covenant one. The Old is one of the knowledge of good and evil. It is a justice system based upon right and wrong, good and bad, and fair and unfair. It is an administration of law or conscience and its structure is seen in the obedience of actions. The New is one of the Tree of Life. It is a justice system based upon love, life, and it is totally unfair. Whereas the Old justice system mandates that we were born to be right, the New mandates the truth that we were born to be loved. The Old Covenant reveals to us that we don’t deserve to be loved, but the New Covenant reveals that God simply wants to love us. Having been loved by God we cannot help but love God, love others, and love ourselves. The New Covenant is an administration of Spirit and truth whereas the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus causes us to become a testimony of the truth of God in the flesh. The testimony of Christ within our hearts inspires us to be testimonies of faith towards God in our attitudes, desires, and actions. The Old Covenant was religiously structured, while the New Covenant is organically inspired by life and peace in Christ.
We must acknowledge our need to be freed from the Old Covenant in order to find the invitation to the New. Mercy is the only judgment of life to end the consequence of sin. Since the consequence of sin is death, Jesus died in our stead to enable us to embrace the loss of our old life in Christ and the discovery of our new life in Him by grace. Grace is the only substance by which our desires can change from within. Mercy ends the Old Covenant administration of religious actions of obedience. Grace empowers the New Covenant administration that is seen as changed beliefs that inspire changed actions in our lives. The inspiration of love and life from within our hearts transforms our beliefs, actions, imaginations, and influences in the world. This is the testimony of grace!
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Living from the throne of grace empowers true change in our lives. This is what causes us to become the substance of God’s character, nature, way, power, and authority in our lives. When we live from the throne of God’s grace we are transformed by the power of God’s grace to become the substance of God’s love. It is then that we can love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable, and become what we were not for the testimony of God’s victories love. Love wins! Instead of merely forgiving those who treat us wrong, we become the substance of forgiveness to those who treat us wrong. Jesus was the substance of God’s grace at work in the flesh. When we shamed Him, He didn’t become ashamed nor did He shame us. When we rejected Him, He didn’t become rejected nor did He reject us. When we despised Him, He didn’t become despised nor did He despise us. When we offended Him, He didn’t become offended nor did He seek to offend us. He was the substance of His heavenly Father in the flesh. He was a Son of God, as we have been called to be children of God. This is the only true freedom from the curse of the fall of man.
Romans 8: 20-21 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
The true test of grace is the offense of law. The opposing actions of the Old Covenant are the very things that manifest the increasing substance of the New Covenant. The shaking realities of futility only prove to manifest the steadfast realities of the unshakable kingdom of Christ within our hearts. God wants us all to manifest as children of God and part of that process is the opposition we face through a wright and wrong, good and evil, fair and unfair system. Embracing the Tree of Life in the face of the opposition of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is what reveals the power of Christ within our hearts and the overcoming power of God’s grace.
Living as New Covenant children of God in the midst of a wrong, evil, wicked, dead, and ugly world is what invites us to walk though the training process of life. That training process includes the scourging of God. We are supposed to be treated wrongly. We are supposed to be lied about. We are supposed to be misunderstood at times. We are supposed to come face-to-face with what we are not so we can manifest who we really are in the world. Our cross is to be willing to suffer for the sake of loving another. Jesus embraced this chastening in life and proved to be a fully manifested Son of God.
Hebrews12:2-8 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
The proof of being children of God is only reveled through the opposition of the Old Covenant justice system of the knowledge of good and evil. When we are right yet accused of being wrong, is the time we can reveal the justice system of God’s love. We must value love more than we value being right. We must value forgiveness more than we value vindication. We must value the things of the kingdom of heaven more than we value the things of the kingdoms of this world. This is the testimony of grace. It is the justice system of life in Christ!
Ted J. Hanson