Monday, April 26, 2010

A COSTLY COVENANT

OK, I'LL RISK HONESTY HERE...I cannot read this week's passage (Genesis 17:1-27) without saying, "OUCH!" Circumcision of little 8-day old baby boys is one thing, but full grown men? "OUCH!"

God's covenant promise is backed by God's word to Abram, (now Abraham), but Abraham has a part to play as well is this covenant, there is a cost which must be enacted. Again, the cost will involve the shedding of blood, another act which points to the blood which will be shed upon the cross of Jesus Christ. This covenant act which Abraham takes upon himself, and which he performs on all the men under his care, is a visible sign of obedience. Obedience which cannot be stated in word alone, but through the visible and costly act of circumcision. The one who takes this mark shall never again be the same.

The male follower of Yahweh would forever carry in his flesh the mark of that relationship. A visible, though often hidden, sign of being a man of the covenant. As followers of Jesus, the Messiah, we are called to the circumcision of our hearts. The cutting away of the old, so that the new would develop. (Colossians 2:11-15; Galatians 5:6-11) A sign hidden from human eyes, but visible to God, and yet at the same time a mark which must be evident through the lives that we live. Whereas in the under the Old Covenant the act of circumcision was a expression and sing of faith, it is now faith expressed through love that is to be the sign. (Galatians 5:6)

I guess it all comes down to obedience. Obedience that is more than just some act of the flesh, but an obedience that bears forth the heart of God. For the obedience that God truly desires is that costly sacrifice of living out God's heart in our world. A heart that cares for the needy, the down-cast, the widow and fatherless. For as the LORD said through the prophet Jeremiah, the worship He wants is not that of word and promise, but of caring for those for whom God cares. (Jeremiah 7:1-11) I suppose this is again the living out of the very Image of God in our everyday lives.

The Covenant of Grace, though free to us (Ephesian 2:8-9) did not come cheaply, nor may be hold it as so now! We live under a costly covenant!
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