Saturday, February 5, 2011

COVENANT CONSUMMATED

(The following is the final part of a series. See also Covenant Formed, Covenant Broken, Covenant Kept)

Covenant Consummated
The everlasting covenant will be consummated when everything in relation to it is accomplished. Nothing can be added to or taken away from the everlasting covenant of which the Holy Bible is the legally-binding contract or document.

The everlasting covenant involves: a) Covenant parties, b) Covenant conditions or stipulations, c) Covenant promises (either penalties or rewards).

The covenant parties involved in the everlasting covenant are:

1) The Father, representing the Triune God gives the covenant promises to the Son.

2) The Son, as Covenant Mediator, representing God to His covenant people and His covenant people to God. The covenant people are those only who have been elected by the Father in eternity past, redeemed by the Son 2,000 years ago, and (inwardly) called in time by the Holy Spirit working with the Word or Gospel in their hearts.

3) The Holy Spirit as witness and the One who monitors that the covenant’s conditions are being kept by both covenanting parties (i.e. the Father representing God and the Son representing the elect).

The covenant conditions or stipulations were perfectly kept by the Son Jesus Christ. As a Man the Son was careful to do everything in accordance with the covenant, i.e. to do everything in accordance with the Scriptures in order to fulfil all righteousness. He was “born under the law” Galatians 4:4, and He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law of the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” Matthew 5:17-18.

Jesus Christ the Son of God kept the covenant conditions or stipulations perfectly as the covenant people’s representative. In other words He kept every jot and tittle of the covenant Law for Himself and all that the Father had given Him.

The covenant promises are put negatively in the covenant penalty which is misery and death (but never non-existence), and in the covenant reward which is life (which means everlasting life filled with bliss).

The covenant penalty was paid in full by Jesus Christ on the cross. When dying on the tree Christ said, “It is finished!” John 19:30. Thus He had accomplished everything He had come to do. His resurrection demonstrated that the Father was satisfied that the Son (as a Man) had perfectly kept every jot and tittle of the everlasting covenant’s conditions.

The everlasting covenant rests in the eternal decree. “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession” Psalm 2:7-8.

The covenant reward was given to Jesus when He went to glory bodily. However, the reward comes incrementally. 1st The crown of authority over all nations is given Him. 2nd An everlasting kingdom is given Him. 3rd The promise of the Father is given Him, i.e., that the Spirit would in time subdue all Christ’s enemies.

Daniel witnessed what happened at Christ’s ascension, when the Father granted the Son His inheritance and possession: “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom is one which shall not be destroyed” Daniel 7:13-14.

The Son, i.e., the GodMan Jesus Christ has to wait till the consummation to receive in full everything the Father had promised Him in eternity past. At the moment the Father, which is to say, the Triune God as represented by the Father, is subduing all of Christ’s enemies: “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’” Psalm 110:1. And, “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool” Hebrews 10:12, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.

Therefore, we expect a gradual Christianization of the planet earth as the Father fulfils His covenant obligations toward the Son through the working of the Holy Spirit in the world. Thus Christ’s kingdom spreads over the face of all the earth as Satan’s kingdom shrinks to nothing.

The precursor to the final consummation begins when the nations beat their swords into ploughshares and learn war no more (Isaiah 2; Micah 4). This will be a time when, “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred yeas old shall be accursed … For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” Isaiah 65:20, 22b.

John speaks of the actual consummation: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’” Revelation 22:1-4.

Peter says, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” 2 Peter 2:13. Thus only covenant keepers, i.e., believers, those represented by Christ, will, after their physical resurrection, inhabit the new earth with God, i.e., Jesus the GodMan in their midst. The rest, i.e., covenant breakers, will be consigned to eternal torment in the Lake of Fire which God has prepared for Satan and his demons.

Conclusion
The door of salvation remains wide open to all who will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. A legal transaction takes place when we put our trust in Him: God imputes our sins to Jesus and Jesus’ righteousness to us. Then the Holy Spirit (who has already enabled us to believe) begins to apply the benefits of the everlasting covenant to us, ie., the benefits of Christ’s cross.

The Gospel is the good news of God’s everlasting covenant, formed in eternity, broken by Adam in time, kept by Jesus Christ the new Adam some 2,000 years ago, and to be fully consummated sometime in the future.

Adam failed to keep the covenant as it was administered pre-Fall. As the covenant party representing mankind, he failed to keep the covenant conditions and thus he and his household (mankind) received the covenant penalty, i.e., death. Had Adam kept the covenant conditions he (and mankind legally, ie., covenantally in him and with him) would have received the covenant reward. This is what the new Adam Jesus Christ (and those legally, i.e., covenantally in Him and with Him) is receiving.

At an undisclosed future date this earth will be renewed by being united to the coming kingdom of heaven and purged of all sin and its stains and all evil-doers. May each of us pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” Come, Lord, Jesus.

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