Let’s take a break this week from the salvation covenant itself. We will return to it next week when we start looking at the actual commandments.
This week, I want to talk about the reasons why I believe that people don’t keep the salvation covenant.
I believe that there are four reasons:
1. We are too proud
2. We believe the salvation covenant is no longer relevant
3. We lack faith in God
4. The draw of our flesh is too much
1. Pride – the original sin
It was pride that caused Satan to fall.
Ezekiel 28:17 tells the story: “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor….”
The Bible tells us that Satan’s wisdom was corrupted because of his pride. Instead of using his knowledge positively, he used it for his own selfish desires.
He used pride to entice the first woman too.
Genesis 3:5-6: “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
Satan knew their weakness: pride. First, Eve ate, and then Adam not wanting her to be wiser than him, also ate from the forbidden tree.
Pride is deceptive.
We can be people of faith and still not do what God wants us to do. Most of the time, we do things if there is a tangible reward in it for us. If not, we don’t want to listen.
This is why, I believe, God tied our salvation to our obedience to the salvation covenant. Our ‘reward’ is life eternally.
However, if you believe that YHWH is God and that He created all things (including wisdom and understanding), then as a matter of course, we would follow everything He tells us. It will make us faithful but also wise.
Some people call themselves people of faith, and I am sure they are, but they remain on the peripherals and would just a soon walk away from God as to walk in obedience to God because of their pride.
Pride is the first sin in the list of abomination in Proverbs 6:16-17: “There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes….”
Haughtiness is “the appearance or quality of being arrogantly superior and disdainful” (Google search definition).
Of course, people like this will not listen to God or follow His ways. Only those whose faith has humbled them will listen to God.
As we can read for ourselves in Psalms 25:9: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”
It does not get any clearer. God can only teach His ways to the humble.
People can know in their hearts that God exists and still decide not to follow Him. It is only when their faith causes their knees to bend, their ears to bend, and their will to bend to His ways can they be transformed.
2. The salvation covenant is no longer relevant.
The second reason why people don’t want to keep the salvation covenant is that they believe it is no longer relevant.
I decided to write precisely because of this. I believe that the blood ratified covenant cannot just be put aside.
It was ‘written in blood’ and has the power to save or to condemn. Jesus died voluntarily, not to do away with the salvation covenant, but to fulfill the requirements of the salvation covenant for those who live according to it.
God’s commandments are necessary.
God is very practical.
Let’s look at a contemporary example:
You are the ruler of a rich and diverse land. Your people are good, and the area produces much more than the others around it. The people of the land are your children and grandchildren. You want to invite others also to come and live in your country, but, at the same time, you also want to protect the current inhabitants.
What do you do?
You make a covenant with all the people. You instruct them how they should respect the authority of the land and everybody in it. You tell them to maintain the guidelines of the covenant, but you also want to know that they understand your instructions.
You want the people to respect you, but also each other – whether they are part of your original chosen family or ‘new’ inhabitants.
How is it practical for us to claim that we believe in the king and His perfect land and want to be a part of this perfect land but then make the decision not to listen and obey the ruler and the rules of the land?
If we want to be a part of God’s kingdom we must abide by His terms and His ways, only then will we be His people.
3. We lack faith in God.
It may be hard for us to believe that there is a God out there who so interested in us that He wants to show us how to live and love properly. The commandments in the salvation covenant are a sheer genius!
When you start to understand them and realize how practical, and effective they are to our lives, you begin to see the love behind His instructions. Of course, who would not want to live according to the perfect instructions of the Almighty God? Only a person who does not believe in Him or lacks faith to trust in this Almighty God.
If you don’t believe in God, the One True God of Israel, and you lack faith, that’s fine. Live your life. Cast aside what His word says and continue to live according to ways of the world. However, keep in mind that your trust is inside of something that will be destroyed.
However, if you do believe in God, it is time to examine the Bible and what it says. It is time to show God how much faith you truly have in Him by demonstrating to Him your ability to listen to His word.
We can see in Jeremiah 9:24: “‘…but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”
If we have faith in Him and want to delight Him then we get to know Him. We get to know His kindness, His justice, and His righteousness on earth. Is our faith strong enough for that?
Do you really know God?
Many people assume that they know the God of the Bible because of what they heard from preachers or parents. Some read their Bible, but with their traditions and ideologies. Some read other books and mix all of this together: Viola! A God of their own creation based on all their formulated assumptions. God will not accept this. This is not who He is.
Humans have honed the ability to find adequate satisfaction in our limited understanding by creating an image of God. Some think they understand Him, when in fact they understand only an image of Him that been shaped by the sources they are listening to, instead of going directly to Him in His word.
We say we have faith but cannot take the time or make the effort to know God through His Word. This is why they have pastors and ministers, is it not? So they can do the heavy lifting? Deciphering the Bible and then spoon feeding it to them. Of course, the preachers and pastors are filtering everything they say based on their own understanding or misunderstanding, the prejudices and formulations of those who taught them, and everyone who they have ever listened to and followed. There is no wonder that there are so many different images of God floating around out there inside the heads and denominations of all the different “Christians.” All because we as individuals cannot pick up our own Bibles and spend the necessary time to study and to truly understand His word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
If we continue to allow people to pass God’s word onto us how do we even know that they understand God’s Word correctly? Or that they are telling us the truth?
As people of faith, we must have some gumption to dig through the shams and scams of our world and get down to the bedrock of truth that exists in the Bible. We can truly only have faith God when we recognize who God is. If we are confused about who He is then our faith is in something that does not exist.
The real truth can be found in the things that are eternal, outside the systems of the physical world. We find His truth in our loving service to God and others and in God’s Word – and only through our own effort and study.
We must cognizant of eternity. It is easy to be consumed with the here and now. We are continually moving, shuffling, and rearranging our lives according to the ever-changing temporary.
This life is real short. Eternity is a very, very long time.
Consider this scripture in Psalm 39:4-5: “Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am. ‘Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.’”
4. The draw of our flesh is too much.
Some people believe that if they read God’s Word and live accordingly, they will lose the things that bring them their happiness. They will never have any fun again!
What these people are missing is that when you recognize that you have found the perfect eternal love, you sacrifice everything to be a part of it. Perfect love does not exist in a vacuum. It is a give and take, some sacrifice and even the willingness to lay down one’s life for the one they love.
It is about the ultimate relationship with the Living God. He wants us to know Him, to recognize Him for who He is. We were created for Him! He loves us.
Think of it as meeting the love of your life. You’d want to spend time with that person.
Realizing that a relationship with God is our chance to participate in a perfect love. Together there is joy, peace, responsibility, fulfillment, and fun!
In the same way, hundreds of stories exist of this amazing perfect love that God has for His people and their individual amazing love for Him when they recognize the opportunity. Some of it is almost unbelievably exciting!
Matthew 13:45-46 states:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
It is a rare pearl – this relationship with the Living God. In true love it is not about being happy or content it is about the happiness and contentment of the one we love. Emotions should not be part of the package. We fulfill our end of the relationship with commitment, responsibility, and devotion. He will take care of our happiness and contentment and there can be no one better.
We seek Him because we are drawn in by the opportunity of His perfect love. We willingly sacrifice the worldly things when we recognize that we can be a part of this perfect love. Fulfillment and meaning in our lives follow.
We lay down our selfish selves, our ‘happiness’ in return to make Him happy. This is the essence of a perfect love.
If we only follow our own heart and adhere to the worldly ways, we pour our love out to someone who can never make us happy – ourselves. It is temporary and sad.
But, if we can recognize Him and hear Him, we can experience how it feels to be loved perfectly by the Living God Himself.
In a true love it is always about the other. For us, everything is about Him. For Him, it is all about us. He created us, gave us a way to be with forever, and died on the cross to protect us from our own selves. He loves us that much.
Next week we begin our look at the Salvation Covenant itself.