The New Testament are three words that most people who were raised in Christian families have heard almost all their lives. I think they are also perhaps when examined the least well defined beyond being a section of the Bible that is towards the end. I think a general impression that it might be a more inclusive covenant with God than the Judeans had and that it has to do with the recognition of the promised Messiah of the old testament having already come in the person called Jesus Christ is about all some people understand. And if pressed some will know it involves being born again of God’s spirit.
Then we start into things that are denomination specific and usually not scriptural. How the baptism of John must be applied, as an infant, as a young adult, when you make up your own mind, at the end of Catechism class, whenever you feel the need to rededicate yourself, only according to Mt 28:19, only in running water, just with wet fingertips, just your head , fully immersed and almost naked or wearing a special robe or just however you are dressed as long as you dip at least three times, in any handy water or only in blessed or sanctified water, by a friend in the local swimming pool. Scripturally as I pointed out in my article on baptism John’s baptism has nothing to do with it.
The one baptism for Christians which is the name adopted by those that believe they are involved in the new Covenant with God, is the total immersion in holy spirit, not water. Some are taught that you must have water too but the contrast is clearly drawn in Ac 1:5 and the number of baptisms for the chosen in Ep 4:5. That this is very different from what most are taught in the tradition laden denominational churches is not a surprise but never the less, I try to stay true to the Scriptures. God looks at our hearts.
It is what we believe at a deeper level than a flittering thought level that counts. Belief starts as a thought but must be nurtured by more information. God makes it simple and the bare bones thinking “I choose Jesus as my lord and I believe that God raised him up from the dead”, can indeed get a person “born again”. But if we are to mature from the new born level more is involved in the new covenant. In my article about getting born again I discussed the minimum info needed and presented that the sinners prayer was a start but was not complete. You need to know who Jesus is as well as the fact that you need a savior. You need to know just what he accomplished and how he disciplined his life so that you may start to understand what it is you are undertaking to make him lord of your life. Just saying the words Jesus is my lord without additional knowledge is not the key that unlocks the understanding of what the new Covenant is about. When we make Jesus our Lord then we are to follow his example, his direction or instructions of how to live life.
It is a way of living your life that is different than an ego driven “I think I want and therefore I do what it takes to get it” attitude and action set. It is learning to listen to and communicating with your heavenly Father, though the newly attained position that is yours by mercy, grace and love. Jesus Christ the second Adam, a man born to a virgin who believed in God’s promises, who listened and did as he was told by his spiritual connection to God, who fulfilled all the requirements of the old testaments of man’s redemption from his separated from God state, this man paid the price so that we could do the works that he did and greater works than he did and become the children of God and God’s inheritance in glory. We have been made free of the curse and obligations to do the law. We have been given sonship rights and privileges and made free to do more than was available before to represent God to a dark and perverse world. We can go beyond our five senses understanding of what this life is all about and demonstrate why people need to repent and join us in striving to discipline our thinking to think the thoughts of the Word of God and lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven that we will get to enjoy for eternity. Not only because of what is promised, but that our lives are the better for it now in this life as well as what we shall see one day.
It is a life free to love others as we love ourselves. It is a life for growing in Wisdom and understanding. Our sonship rights – Wisdom, Righteousness, Justification, Sanctification, Redemption and the Ministry of Reconciliation I Co 1:30 and II Co 5:18. We can worship God in spirit and truth. We have it available to put on the whole armor of God Ep 6:10-18. It is available to enjoy all spiritual blessings and live a life in the attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude. All this at what price? The willingness to accept what is written is true and believe it with our whole hearts mind and strength is our responsibility. Jesus paid with his life and blood, God paid with the Sacrifice of not leaving or forsaking him while he went through that undeserved death and suffering.
Which is why the correction to Mt 27:46 and Mk 15:34 offered to us by George M. Lamsa in his Bible translated from the Aramaic text has to be accepted as more correct than the KJV rendering not “my God, my God why has thou forsaken me” but “my God, my God, for this reason I was spared” or as footnoted “this was my destiny.” Not a cry of despair but a cry of triumph in an hour that an unbelieving man would despair but remember Christ never sinned, he never broke fellowship with his heavenly Father. Rather because he believed He was in position to receive revelation from God (even when about to give up that perfect life that he had lived), about what it was that he was accomplishing by staying faithful even unto death. Remember that God is not the one that turns away from us it is we that turn away from Him. Our Lord did not make that mistake, it is time we stopped accusing him, Jesus, of this as well as accusing him of making the mistake that Lucifer made of assuming equality with God. God remains the supreme being of this universe that He created. God who places everything beneath the King of kings and Lord of Lords is excepted from that position. I Co 15:27. If it truly was the case as I have heard taught so many times about this verse that God can’t look upon the sins of the world that Jesus was taking on, how could He, God, ever look at us for we never stop sinning except in God’s eyes, by His mercy and grace.
I sure wish that the traditionalist would stay as consistent as God does. They say they support the thoughts expressed in the poem “Footprints in the Sand” written some say in 1922 by Ella Scharring-Hausen, but turn around and say God had to leave Christ in his time of triumph (that in Satan’s eyes was Satan’s triumph.) Not. God did not turn away, Christ did not stop believing Mt 26:53. The God that declares to us in He 13:5 would somehow not keep that promise to His only begotten? Jesus did what he did because he listened to God. His fellowship with God was not silent, was not broken to Jesus. If we fail to hear God speaking to us, It is not God’s fault. I do not think that it is understood that for Jesus to have cried out that God had forsaken him would have meant that Jesus sinned because breaking fellowship with God by definition is what sin is. What a low opinion of God this error in translation signifies. Perhaps I should have titled this article a second big Correction. This is not a quote of Ps 22:1 but a reference to I KI 19:18 and quoted in Ro 11:4. God spared, left, reserved believers for a purpose against the very tough times they faced. God has a remnant that stay faithful no matter how bad his adversary makes circumstances look. The three days and nights, 72 hours between the evening of the 28th of April 28 ad till the evening of the first of May, when Jesus was raised from the dead looked very dark indeed but Joseph of Arimathaea believed Jesus would be raised up from the dead if no one else did. During the tribulation the remnant is gathered together in the heavens. And the nation of Israel is gathered here on earth from the diaspora and knows and teaches of Jehovah again as the one true God.
The gathering together is the hope of the new Testament. The manifestations are the power tools of the new Covenant. The fruit of the spirit are the production of the new Covenant. The five gift ministries are the trainers in understanding the new Covenant. There is so much involved in the new Covenant that one article cannot do it justice. Depending on how you count it the church Epistles took either 7 or 9 books to set forth the basics, but I have given it a try and I hope I stirred some thought about it here today and today will be not only the day I write this but every day it is read. Selah .