Two Covenants

Sunset-with-sunrays_shutterstock_8581904518 May 2016

Well, the mania has stopped. We are now working through the flip-side: depression. Thankfully it’s not severe and suicidal. I rarely am suicidal anymore. The pills have really, really helped to stabilize me. The downside is that I still get lethargic, still get in a funk, and still have sleep issues – though this time it’s too much sleep.

The side effects of the medications cause me to be extremely thirsty, I have memory loss, there is a cognitive fog which messes with my ability to think things through, like finishing a sentence. It’s a struggle. I have muscle weakness – I can’t even bench press 50 pounds! And I struggle to do one push up. It’s terrible.

But, it’s better than the alternative, which is jail. It would be inevitable if I weren’t on my meds. About a year before I was diagnosed, I had a run-in with a bank manager, over a $5.00 check-cashing fee. They called the cops on me. It was stupid. Then, after I had contacted the mental health facility, I was called on again – by the mental health facility. That episode was crazy. I can’t believe, I don’t want to believe that was me. But it was.

So, I welcome the few side effects that I must endure to be stable. It is far better than the alternative.

So, today I am feeling lethargic. I don’t have much verve for anything. Least of all, thinking. But God is good. He has given me a new day to bask in His Love. It’s true: God Loves Us. Otherwise He wouldn’t have done what He’d done. Christ never would have come down from heaven to volunteer to take our sin punishment. God is good.martinluther385793

Yesterday’s sermon was a continuation of the series I’ve been watching online. My old church has an online presence and they have an archive of sermons and series for anyone and everyone to watch. It is really really cool. You can check it all out at:

Crossroads Community Church

and here is the link to their video sermon library: Video Library

So, as I was saying, yesterday’s sermon was a continuation of a series I am on about Jesus being greater than everything. This sermon in question deals with Jesus being greater than the law. Well this is the last portion of the message. The pastor has been talking about this law thing for a few weeks. And so, yesterday, we went to Galatians 4:21-31 and it talks about the two covenants – the law and the promise. It talks about Ishmael and Isaac, Abraham’s sons.

Ishmael was the result of Abraham and Sarah trying to “help” God along, because God has promised Abraham a son but His timing had to have been off, because Abraham and Sarah were waiting and waiting and when they couldn’t wait any longer, Sarah decided that Abraham should go into his servant, Hagar and that Hagar should bear him his son. So,…Abraham did. And therefore Ishmael was born of the flesh.

A while after Ishmael was born, Sarah conceived, bringing forth the son of God’s promise, Isaac. And after Isaac was weaned, Sarah told Abraham to sent Hagar and Ishmael away because they are not of the promise and Ishmael was a bully anyway. Abraham didn’t want to send them away – that was his son after all, but in a dream God told him to listen to Sarah and do as she says. So when Abraham awoke, he sent them away.

Now all this was done so that God’s word would be settled. The law cannot save you. But if you are of the Spirit (the promise) you are freed indeed.

Here is a line for Hagar

Hagar = Ishmael = Mount Sinai = Jerusalem = Law

Here is a line on Sarah –

Sarah = Isaac = Calvary = Spirit = Promise

In the text, Hagar and Ishmael are compared to Mount Sinai and the earthly Jerusalem which is the seat of the Law. And the Law’s purpose has always been to show us our sin nature. The Law was never intended for Salvation. Only the cross and the empty tomb can lead us to Salvation.

article-2077775-0354DB83000005DC-179_468x286Now, the apostle Paul was on this track with the Galatians because they had be turned away from the truth and started following the law because some Judaisers had come after Paul left and told the Galatians that surely you are saved, but, you have to follow these laws to maintain your Christianity. And Paul heard about this and so wrote his letter to the Galatians touching on all of this.

Basically, legalism is worshiping those standards and thinking we are Spiritual because we obey those standards. When that is not the case at all. We are spiritual because we are free. Jesus died on the cross to break us free of the law. Anyone who claims he is a Christian because he tithes regularly, or because he gives to the poor or because he goes to church on a prescribed day is keeping the law, not being spiritual. God broke us free of that. And that is what Paul is saying.

Galatians 4:28-31New International Version (NIV)

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”[a]31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

But everything we do is not motivated by “I do this so God will love me” Everything we do is motivated by the fact that God already loves me.

We have to be careful not to fall into the trap of legalism. “Oh, if I just pray more, God will love me.” “If I just appease my boss, God will love me and reward me.”

That couldn’t be farther from the truth. God already loves you. Jesus died for you. Give up trying to do something to please God and earn His respect, because we can’t do it. We are flawed by sin, but we are made perfect in Christ Jesus.

“…and I do these things because I am the beloved not so I can become the beloved.”

John 8:31-36New International Version (NIV)

31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said,“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

34Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

We are either in bondage to rule keeping or we are free in Jesus. And it’s a sort of confused melodrama, isn’t it? We keep the law not because we want to be saved, but because we are saved. There’s a difference and it’s huge!

Walk in faith my friends.

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