Terms Of The Covenant

Monday, July 21, 2014, 7:44 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jeremiah 11 (NIV).

Obey Him

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Listen to the terms of this covenant and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God. Then I will fulfill the oath I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey’—the land you possess today.”

I answered, “Amen, Lord.”

The Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow them. From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.’”

Many evangelical Christians today shy away from this word “obey.” They associate the word with the old covenant and the law, and so somehow they have come to the belief that the requirement to obey the Lord as part of believing faith is obsolete or that it is a product of works-based salvation. But, is it? The New Testament, from Romans forward, has much to say on the subject of OBEDIENCE.

Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation were made known through the prophetic writings so that “all nations might believe and OBEY him” (Ro. 16:26). “You are slaves to the one whom you OBEY - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to OBEDIENCE, which leads to righteousness” (Ro. 6:16). God “will punish those who do not know God and do not OBEY the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:8) Jesus Christ, “once made perfect,” “became the source of eternal salvation for all who OBEY him” (Heb. 5:9). “We know that we have come to know” God “if we OBEY his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person” (1 Jn. 2:3-4). “Those who OBEY his commands live in him, and he in them” (1 Jn. 3:24). “This is love for God: to OBEY his commands” (1 Jn. 5:3). “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; OBEY it, and repent” (Rev. 3:3). “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who OBEY God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 12:17).

As well, many evangelical Christians today believe that the new covenant God has made with his people, by the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our sins, has no terms; no commitment on our part other than to “believe,” although “believe” is not really explained very well, in most cases. But, are there terms? I believe there are, yet not for the purpose to earn our salvation, but as a heart response to God in believing faith because of what he did for us in dying on the cross for our sins so that we could go free, not only from the penalty of sin, but so we could be free from slavery to sin, and be free to walk in his righteousness and holiness – all in the power and working of the Spirit within us.


Another word that many evangelical Christians shy away from today is the word “repent.” They also couple this with the concept that this is old covenant, associated with the law, and is thus a product of works-based salvation. But, is it? The New Testament, from Acts forward, has much to say on the subject of REPENTANCE, too. Although the word literally means to have a change of mind, it is most always used in scripture in reference to turning away from sin, and to turning to God in faith and obedience.

“REPENT, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Ac. 3:19). “But now he commands all people everywhere to REPENT” (Ac. 17:30). “They must turn to God in REPENTANCE and have faith in our Lord Jesus” (Ac. 20:21). “I preached that they should REPENT and turn to God and prove their REPENTANCE by their deeds” (Ac. 26:20). “Godly sorrow brings REPENTANCE that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Co. 7:10). “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to REPENTANCE” (2 Pet. 3:9). “Remember the height from which you have fallen! REPENT and do the things you did at first. If you do not REPENT, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Rev. 2:5).

Jesus Christ died for our sins to free us from slavery to sin and to free us to walk and to live in his righteousness and holiness (See Ro. 6-8). He died so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). He died so that we would die with him to the sins that once enslaved us, so that we would be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and so that he could give us new lives in him, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph. 4:17-24). His grace is not a free license to continue in willful sin. His grace teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and upright lives in this present age while we wait for his return (See Tit. 2:11-14). We are crucified with Christ so that WE no longer live, but Christ lives in us, and the life we now live we live by faith in him (See Gal. 2:20). If we say we are in fellowship with God but we continue to walk in sin (in lifestyle), we are liars, and we do not live by the truth (See 1 Jn. 1). These are the terms of the covenant.

Refusal to Listen

Then the Lord said to me, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them…

The word “listen” is used quite often in scripture. It means not merely to hear with physical ears, but to pay attention, to heed (follow) what is said, to take note of what you hear, and to take it into account. “For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you’” (See Ac. 3:22). This is speaking of Jesus. Yet, listening to Jesus and to his words is not enough. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (Jas. 1:22). To do means to obey. Jesus said, “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (Jn. 8:47). Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish…” (Jn. 10:27-28). To follow Christ is to listen to him and to obey him. Yet, not all who profess Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives listen to or obey him.

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Tim. 4:3).

Committing My Way

Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying,

“Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
that his name be remembered no more.”
But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously
and test the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
for to you I have committed my cause…

When we listen to our Lord Jesus, and we follow him in obedience and surrender to his will for our lives, we are at peace. There is no greater joy than to experience his great salvation, to be free from bondage to sin, and to walk in his righteousness and holiness in the power and working of his Spirit within us! Oh, how awesome is God’s amazing grace!

Yet, to walk with Jesus means death to sin and to self, but to be alive with Christ. Amen! It also means to share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. He said that we would be hated as he was hated, and that we would be treated much the same way he was treated. He was despised and rejected of humankind, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Men hid their faces from him. They mocked him and spat upon him. They falsely accused him and hounded him in order to try to find a way to discredit him. They said he was crazy and they accused him of being of Satan. They falsely arrested him, beat him, gave him a mock trial, and hung him on a cross to die, as though he was a common criminal, and although he had done no wrong. They hated him because he told them the truth about their sins. And, they hated him, too, because his teachings posed a threat to their own positions of power and influence over the people. So, we should not be surprised when the world or the worldly church treats us in the same manner.

Yet, in all this, we are to commit our ways to him, believe in his sovereignty over our lives, follow him wherever he leads us, trust in his many promises, and rest in his love and mercy.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934
George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!
While the Old Covenant was a performance based type of thing. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." Gal 3:10 But the New Covenant is described in this manner:

"The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:8-12

And furthermore, "I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me." Jer 32:40

Thus those who have entered into the New Covenant will never leave. And thus when John sees people leaving the faith, he discerns they had never been saved to begin with. "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1John 2:19

Notice also that rather having salvation conditioned upon performance, those who enter the covenant are promised that God would affect not only their performance, but their hearts and minds. This being the effect of regeneration and sanctification. Furthermore it's about a personal relationship with God. Jesus said, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3 This as opposed to salvation being a matter of compliance to a set of regulations. And so also with the Christian walk - in the Spirit rather than by the letter. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Steve, are you disagreeing with something specifically that I shared here?
You're not making a distinction between the Old Covenant, which you referred to initially and the New Covenant, which is much different

Steve, I am sharing what The Lord Jesus is teaching me from his word each day. Right now I am reading in Jeremiah. We read in the New Testament that all scripture is God- breathed and is profitable or useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." So, that means the book of Jeremiah is useful for all those things, and that is what The Lord Jesus is teaching me and is having me share in light of what is taught in the New Testament. Jeremiah wrote about how God commanded obedience as part of his covenant relationship with his people. The Lord had me show that, under the new covenant, he still demands obedience as a prerequisite to gaining eternal life with God. Jeremiah was instructed to share with the people the terms of the covenant. I believed God wanted me to share the terms of the New Covenant - listening to God's voice, obedience to God's commands, repentance, faith in Jesus Christ and in his blood sacrifice for our sins, turning from sin, heart transformation of the Spirit of God, and walking in Christ's righteousness and holiness - all in the power and working of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives as we submit to the cross and to his Lordship over our lives. Do you disagree with any of the scriptures The Lord had me share from the New Testament on these subjects?
The problem is you seem to be claiming that the following verses from Jeremiah are speaking of the New Covenant:

Jer 11:3,4 Tell them that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed is the man who does not obey the terms of this covenant— the terms I commanded your forefathers when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace.’ I said, ‘Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God.

I never said this was speaking of the New Covenant.
Let's just say God had me share these facts with you and your audience for your edification and so that the message may be clarified to be more in line with the teachings of the apostle Paul on the matter.

What exactly of what I shared concerning what the Lord Jesus was teaching me through his word is not in line with the teachings of the Apostle Paul?