Pastor Larry’s message on “covenant” has me thinking….and I hope it has you thinking, too. There is a crucial distinction we need to grab ahold of, embrace, and begin to embody in this discussion about living our daily walk with Jesus from the reality of being “Covenant people” rather than the non-transformational trap of being “transactional people.”
“Transactional people” often lack the capacity to move into their divine destiny because they keep one wire unplugged from the Source, from Jesus and the Father. That one wire is consistently going over a mental checklist, a spiritual ledger sheet. As Pastor Larry described, “If you believe in a transactional relationship with God, meaning that God did A, and that requires us to do B; and if we do B, God’s free to do C…if that’s how you live, you’re going to interpret “put off” anger and malice and wrath and “put on” mercy and so on, as rules, as works. (Col. 3:8, 12) Youshouldn’t be angry, jealous and so on – it’s isn’t right….but not because it’s a violation of a rule; it is because it’s a violation of a covenant – it’s a violation of how people live, in this covenant….”
The first time “covenant” (New American Standard version) is mentioned is when God promises Noah, “… I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark – you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” (Gen. 6:18). Genesis 5:1 introduces itself as “the book of the generations of Adam,” which include Seth, Enosh, Enoch (taken by God after walking with Him 365 years), Methuselah, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Lamech and others left unnamed. No covenant. After the flood waters receded, God proclaimed, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.” (Gen. 9:12, 13) God called it the sign of an “everlasting covenant.”
One of the foundational Scriptures Pastor Larry shared was Hebrews 13:10, “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.” (NAS) That would include Noah, among many other men and women of faith, valiant deeds, and worship. After clearing the ark of its travelers, Noah’s first act on the dry ground was to build an altar and to offer a sacrifice from every clean animal and bird from the ark. It was transactional, and that isn’t being critical – God declared Noah “a righteous man,” and his act was entirely acceptable and pleasing to God.
How might we of the New Covenant have “sacrificed”? Hebrews 13:15 encourages us, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (NAS)
The key lies in the first word – it is through Him, not to Him. This is consistent with Pastor Larry’s statement, “We have to pursue Him, and He’s going to pursue us. What’s the biggest promise in the New Covenant? That the veil has been torn and we have access to the Father. Eternal life is the fruit of the New Covenant; Jesus says, this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true Father, and Jesus Christ, whom You sent. It is the knowledge of Jesus that you can interact with, that you can grow in every single day – that is the reward of the New Covenant.
“If you look at the power of Grace for what it’s for, it becomes the power to walk with Jesus today and tomorrow. I do ‘have it all’ already, and it’s spelled ‘access to Jesus.‘ I want to hear Him, love Him, walk with Him, recognize His heartbeat, recognize His voice. I want to sense when His hand is being extended, so I can feel mine go with it. Or I can sense when mine is ‘supposed to go’ so I can sense His Hand going with me…we’re in this covenant because Jesus established it and in the establishment of it the veil was rent from top to bottom, God broke out, we broke in; we now have access to worship, to prayer, to glory, and He remembers our sins no more.”
I encourage you to continue thinking. Put away any remnants of the “ledger sheet” you might keep…because we have broken in….He has welcomed us in….it’s now both His Kingdom and ours….