Catacomb Resident Blog

The Covenant Life

06 March 2022

In this life, the Covenant is everything. Nothing else matters. Every other thing that gets human attention must first be submitted to the Covenant. That's because God is the Creator of all things, and He does nothing of significance in this world outside the Covenant.

Again, none of His promises and blessings stand outside our participation in His one Covenant of Christ. Everything God ever said or did has been folded into His Son. I've often said that the Covenant of Noah is still valid, but it is technically a subsidiary of the Covenant of Christ. Noah is the law code portion of Christ. Noah is what Christ referred to in the Sermon on the Mount. He spoke of ancient moral truth in the series of "you have heard that the ancients were told" notes (Matthew 5:21-48). He goes on to explain how each of those very ancient provisions, older than the Covenant of Moses, bore a higher level of understanding in His teaching.

The specifics of the Law of Noah are for the street-level reasoning of human minds. To actually stand in the Presence of God requires a heart borne commitment to Him personally. Adherence to the code is how we understand the heart of our God. You can live His streets by the Code of Noah, but to be His child requires a child's dependence and depth of connection to Him. Thus it was for everyone except Israel. For Israel, they had a far more specific implementation of Noah in Moses.

Thus, Jesus with the Apostles tell us that a lot of what was in Moses was unique to the Nation of Israel during the time of that covenant. Once Jesus died on the Cross, that covenant was closed in the sense of how it granted a unique status to the nation. The earthly nation ceased to exist when He died, as did the specific rituals that marked that national covenant. What was left was the moral truth behind it, which God had said repeatedly in the Old Testament was the whole point.

But a covenant is still a covenant. In the same way that the entire daily existence of every Israelite was under the Covenant of Moses, so our daily existence in Christ must take the shape of Noah. There are distinctive boundaries in Noah that mark Christians as part of the definition of "following Christ". It is our law code, and serves the same purpose in our lives that Moses did for Israel.

(As always, I have to note that Paul's comment "not under law but under grace" in Romans 6 is not specifically Moses, but a reference to the Talmud and the Talmudic frame of reference that Jews bring to Christian faith. Jesus showed how Moses was inherently mystical, not legalistic. The Talmud was a wholly false understanding of Moses' Law and the grace inherent in that Covenant. If you maintain a Jewish identity, then you must follow Moses as Jesus taught.)

So when we engage in discussions about the various elements of our human existence, we always refer back to the teachings of the New Testament and our Covenant existence. Marriage? Sure, it's a gift from God. But it has only one valid purpose, and that is to claim the shalom of the Covenant. All that we might say about marriage and romance must stand on the Covenant, or it's just noise. How we engage anyone in this world, romantically or otherwise, must be in service to the Covenant.

The whole purpose of our lives on this earth is to manifest shalom -- peace with God. Every human need and desire must pass through that filter. Every ongoing consequence of our choices must be referred back to the Covenant. It's not that God is going to make things perfect; it's that God is going to throw at us sorrows as challenges to our faith. The non-covenant world must see how we respond with faith to those challenges. Faith includes a firm commitment to the behavioral and attitudinal boundaries of the Covenant and its law code.

You do not choose a romantic partner based on your human hopes and dreams. You choose to engage in romance based on how it promises to build up shalom in the covenant community. We are forever committed to building up the shalom of the Covenant. It is our only purpose in living. Our lives are forfeited to the Kingdom of the Covenant. Every little thing is Christ's. Having a repertoire of wisdom means nothing if we do not submit to the focus and purpose of the Covenant witness.

And that witness is brought to life by your constant referral to your own convictions. The law code of Noah rested squarely on that approach from the day of Noah himself. It is the unspoken assumption of the whole matter of having peace with God, because in Noah's day, it was the a priori assumption of everything. The boundaries of the law code inform your mind's expectations of what your heart will say through your convictions.

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