John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Covenant with God
Covenant with God
By Daniel Frendo & Frank Borg
Over 300 competing churches claim to be God’s true Church! At one point or another, you probably wondered which Church is being led by Jesus Christ. If, like me, you have been baptized and have had hands laid on you, God our Father has given you the gift of His Holy Spirit! This puts you and me in a special category; that of being amongst His Firstfruits who have been begotten into God’s Family.
A Living Sacrifice
At baptism we buried our old self (Rom. 6:3-9) signaling our agreement and commitment “to crucify our old man... that we should not serve sin”. We also covenanted with our Father that, “we should walk in newness of life,” leading to the time when we will be born again of spirit.
The apostle tells us that we must “present our bodies a living sacrifice…acceptable unto God” and that we are not to “conform to this world” (Rom. 12:1-2). What is required of us to fulfill our commitment? The apostle begins to answer this question in verses 9 to 21:
At baptism, we entered into a covenant with God our Father which will be ratified at Christ’s return, if we fulfill our part of the baptismal agreement!“Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
This is a tall order! However, it is the life that we agreed to lead when we entered into our covenant with God at baptism.
Look at what else we had covenanted with our Father:
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body… but yield yourselves unto God… and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God… Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:12 -18)
At baptism, we promised God that we would yield to Him and that we would obey unto righteousness. We promised our Father that we would obey the doctrine delivered unto us. At baptism, we entered into a covenant with God our Father which will be ratified at Christ’s return, if we fulfill our part of the baptismal agreement!
What God Thinks
As part of the Church, or the House of God, WE are now preparing to confirm that covenant when Christ returns.Here is what God inspired the apostle Paul to state about our covenant which will be ratified with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah after Christ’s return: “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Heb. 8: 8, 10).
These verses are also quoted in Jeremiah 31 and demonstrate that under the New Covenant, Christ will consider us to be His, if the principles of His law are indelibly written in our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit (II Cor 3:3). The same spiritual law that was written on tablets of stone for the Old Covenant is to be written in our hearts once the New Covenant is complete.
As part of the Church, or the House of God, WE are now preparing to confirm that covenant when Christ returns. Once we fulfill our part of the covenant as His Wife, we then also get to help Christ teach and make that covenant with Israel first, then with all mankind, so that they too may be born into the God Family and become His.
A Call to Remember
As we take an in-depth look at our baptismal covenant, we need to seriously ask ourselves: Do we truly remember and deeply understand what this covenant entails on our part? Do we desire to ensure that we strictly adhere to it?
Do we truly remember and deeply understand what this covenant entails on our part?Acts 2:38 emphasizes that we are to “repent and believe” to be baptized into Christ’s body! This is repeated in Mark 1:15 and other scriptures. At baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to keep our side of the contract.
Several scriptures reveal that at that precise moment, we enter into a covenant that is a life-long commitment (Matt 24:13). Luke 9:62 warns that once a man has accepted God and “put his hand to the plough” he shouldn’t longingly look back to the world and its ways otherwise he isn’t “fit for the kingdom of God.” That’s what God states about a begotten son of His who fails to adhere to his baptismal commitment. Following the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, many have carelessly and dangerously fallen into this pitfall in different ways. One of the main problems is that many have allowed their loyalties to some man, or some church leader instead of God! In the language of Rev. 3:11, these begotten children of God have allowed a man to take their crown.
Heb. 6:4-6 further demonstrates what could happen to those who at some point in time purposely and knowingly reject the gift of God’s Holy Spirit! They will be unable to renew themselves “again unto repentance” as they “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh”! This should be a serious warning to all Church members who have been baptized.
It is indeed extremely dangerous to allow ourselves to drift into a situation like the servant who did nothing with his pound, or talent (Luke 19). We must never allow ourselves to get anywhere close to the situation of becoming so callous to any sin that, no matter what God may do to correct us, we refuse to repent. Unless being used by God, following a man can be a real danger to our individual baptismal covenant with God! This situation results in “having other gods before the One True God” and by so doing, blatantly break the first Commandment. We must keep the Apostle Paul’s admonition to only follow a minister as he follows Christ (1 Cor. 11:1)!
With our ongoing consent, God promises to continue to change us and create out of each of us the supreme masterpiece of His creation.Our baptismal covenant is a life-long commitment – and once we enter into it, we must be fearful of going back to the world; we must not resurrect the old man! The warning found in II Peter 2:20 amply shows us that we are turning to our “own vomit again” if, after escaping “the pollutions of the world,” we return back to them. We must never allow these verses to describe us!
In “An Open Letter to Newly Begotten Brethren Recently Baptized” God’s 20th-century apostle Herbert W. Armstrong had reminded every individual who had entered into a covenant with God that:
“God has called you to surrender your Life to HIM – to GIVE your life into His HANDS – that He may transform you into a perfect, holy, righteous CHARACTER. God is CREATOR! And now, with your consent, according to your own free will, you have placed yourself in His hands to CHANGE you – to CREATE out of you the supreme masterpiece of His creation!”
In the above quote, Mr. Armstrong describes our incredible potential once we fulfill our commitment to the terms of the covenant we entered into at baptism. With our ongoing consent, God promises to continue to change us and create out of each of us the supreme masterpiece of His creation.
“Let this mind be in you”
Our total surrender to God must continue throughout our life. Baptism is only the starting point. We need to continually and joyfully renew our commitment to replace our carnal thoughts, emotions and desires by those of God. In Philippians 2, the apostle Paul encouraged the saints in Philippi to develop the mind of Jesus Christ. He stated: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (vs. 5). Taking the mind of Christ means that we submit to Him in all that we do, while resisting Satan all the way.
We need to continually and joyfully renew our commitment to replace our carnal thoughts, emotions and desires by those of God.The penalty of sin is death. Remember: We are sinners and that’s why Christ died! We need to be aware of the sobering reality that even if nobody else ever enters the Kingdom of God but you, Christ still would have subjected Himself to that gruesome execution. Christ died because of our individual sins!
In Philippians 2, the apostle Paul admonishes us to:
“...be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life…” (v. 15-16).
Philippians 3 tells us how God’s first-century apostle to the Gentiles looked at the covenant he had entered into with God:
“I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (v. 7-14).
...we must “stand fast in the Lord”, “be of the same mind in the Lord” and to fill our minds with: “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:1,2,8).The apostle Paul placed himself in God’s hands so that He may create out of him the supreme masterpiece of His creation.
“For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (v. 20-21).
The apostle Paul knew that once he put his life into God’s hands, he was destined to become God. We must fulfill our part of the baptismal covenant we entered into!
Amongst some of the other instructions that we glean from Paul’s epistle to the church at Philippi, we see that we must “stand fast in the Lord”, “be of the same mind in the Lord” and to fill our minds with: “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:1,2,8).
As we furthermore “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…” (Col. 3:16), this is how we may develop God’s own character; this is how we exercise self-discipline to direct ourselves, with God’s help, into God’s way of life. If we’ve allowed ourselves to stray over the years, perhaps having gone back to wrong habits, then this is the time to determine to again embark on a campaign to break these wrong habits – rooting them out of our life. Now is the time to determine to again instill new habits – and resolve to make these right ways fixed habit.
Caution: Those who may be amongst those lost sheep (Jer. 50:6), have allowed their shepherds to cause them to go astray. If any are sitting out on their own, or have been led to one of the Worldwide Church of God offshoots, then it’s time to allow God, in His infinite mercy, to lead you back the Church being led by Jesus Christ, the Church of God’s Faithful! As we see this world quickly disintegrating, it’s time to ask God to help us resume our quest to be steadfast so that we may again begin to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as the apostle Peter encouraged us to do in II Peter 3:18. To do this, we will need to be in the Body of Christ – His One Church that is under His authority, busily doing HIS Work.
God’s True Church And Our Covenant With Him
A covenant is a legally bound agreement between two or more parties. A baptismal covenant, therefore, is a legal agreement between God and the individual being baptized, whereby God promises eternal life if we perform our part of the covenant.
Only one Church upholds the covenant with God (1 Cor. 1:10).An important point to remember is that we were not baptized into an organization of men but into the body of Jesus Christ, the family of God. Our covenant is not with a man or a leader of a religious group but is with God, and God alone! The Body is made up of members who fellowship with the group and physical leadership that follows and submits to God (Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 11:1). God’s one true Church is the ‘wife of His covenant’ (Mal 2:14). The wife must always follow her one husband otherwise she is guilty of adultery! Anyone following a man that is not following God, is essentially guilty of breaking God’s law and baptismal covenant! God’s true Church demonstrates its faithfulness to God by repenting from past error and believing the New Truth which Christ communicates and delivers to His Church. We must find and be a part of that one Body!
Rejection of God’s Truth is tantamount to rejecting His voice and authority and poses a danger in transgressing our baptismal covenant (Acts 22:14; Rev 3:20)Only one Church upholds the covenant with God (1 Cor. 1:10). Adhering to our baptismal covenant includes determining which one Church is being led by Jesus Christ. God’s Church listens to, and takes notice of, God’s voice as evidenced by the New Truths established and taught by His Church.
Please ask for, or download, the Church of God’s Faithful free booklet Set Apart by Truth. This booklet lists and explains 75 New Truths given by God to the CGF and is provable through the inspired Word of God. You have a responsibility to prove these Truths with your Bible to see where God is working! Rejection of God’s Truth is tantamount to rejecting His voice and authority and poses a danger in transgressing our baptismal covenant (Acts 22:14; Rev 3:20)!
Mr. Robert Ardis, pastor general of the Church of God’s Faithful, has shown that we are pillars now if we remain loyal to our baptismal covenant. This loyalty has everything to do with coming under the authority of Christ and forming part of His one true Body!
© Church of God's Faithful 2017