Has there always been faith?

Paul says

22: But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23: But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25: But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

You say that...
faith has always been what makes us righteous and saves us

My answer...
Yes its only faith that saves yet, l ask faith in what? The OT saints had no faith in the atoning work of Christ. The OT saints did not even know that Christ would die for sin. Now if they didnt know that Christ was going to die and its certain that they did not then they had no faith in the atonement of Christ. Without faith in the atonement of Christ there is no salvation!

In the above passage Paul says that...
22: But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

And here it is...
23: But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

So Paul is saying that in the era of the Mosaic law men were 'shut up unto faith' In other words they were in a situation which was 'before faith'. Now Faith existed then obviouisly (It was faith in Gods word and commandments) but not Faith in Christs atoning work.

Then Paul goes on to say...
24: Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25: But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Now Paul repeats the same thought but in a different way, that when the Old Covenant was finally fulfilled in Christ established a new era that we might call The era of the New Covenant.

He says,'But after faith has come'.
Now we are living in the age of Faith in the atoning work of Christ.
Before the cross the Apostles knew about Christ and believed he was the Messiah and they believed in the OT and the promises yet none of these things save the soul. Only faith in Christs atoning work. Before the cross they didnt even believe that Christ was going to die, Inspite of being told three times.

The Old covenant was a covenant of works based on law, but the New Covenant is a covenant of new birth based on faith in Christs atoning work.

Its not faith that saves. There are people who believe that God exists that are not saved. Nicodemus was like this. There are people who worship God. Preach the word. They do Believe the scriptures yet are not saved.

Why is that?

Because they do not believe the good news that Christ has died for their sins. They either do not know about this or they do not believe it and therefore they are not born again.

Now does this mean that they do not have an experience of God? No of course not. There are many people who look up into the heavens and believe in God and at some level they worship God but thats not salvation.

Your thoughts are welcome


Understanding the Bible

Understanding the Bible

It is often said that there is a consistent theology right through the Bible and that Man has an unchanging relationship with God in all ages from Adam to Revelation.

That David has the same relation to God as do you.

That Gods dealings with mankind have never changed.

However we must understand that our Bibles contain two parts the OLD TESTEMENT – NEW TESTAMENT.

Have you ever tried to do a jigsaw?

Imagine that you struggle to make the pieces fit until it suddenly emerges that there are actually two jig saw puzzles in the box not one. Suddenly it becomes clearer what is your task. The first task is to understand the whole pictures and see the differences to enable you to get the clear picture.

There is a fundamental change between the OT and the NT.

Christ said…
Matthew 26v26: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29: But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

Paul said…
1Cor 11v This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

2 Cor 3v: Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7: But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9: For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10: For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11: For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 12: Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

Hebrews 9v15: And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 16: For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17: For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. 18: Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19: For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20: Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21: Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23: It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24: For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26: For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

The word Testament means Covenant

Actually in the Bible there are not just two testaments but eight.

So instead of just two jig saws there are eight jig saws!! The Bible now appears a bit more complex that was originally thought. However once the eight pictures can be seen the whole Bible starts to become so, so much clearer.

Lets look at the eight Covenants...

1. The Edenic Covenant
2. The Adamic Covenant
3. The Noahic Covenant
4. The Abrahamic Covenant
5. The Mosaic Covenant
6. The Palestinian covenant
7. The Davidic Covenant
8. The New Covenant

Before we look at each covenant first we must realise that there are two types of Covenant

There are conditional covenants and unconditional covenant

In the Conditional Covenants we find the formula – If you will,..... then l will. We find that Obedience brings blessing and that Failure bring judgment. There are two Covenants like this Edenic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant.

In the Unconditional Covenants we find the formula – I will.- period. These covenants are a Sovereign act of God and of his intension to bless. The Blessings of God are secured by the Grace of God alone. there are six Unconditional Covenants
1. Adamic Covenant
2. Noahic Covenant
3. Abrahamic Covenant
4. Palestinian covenant
5. Davidic Covenant
All of these covenants are still in force today
6. The New Covenant is a covenant that the LORD will make with Israel and Judah in a coming day but in which the church enjoys the spiritual blessings today.

The Covenants with Israel number five. The four unconditional covenants with Israel are Literal covenants, Eternal, they are not broken by disobedience, they are ONLY to Israel, Roms 9v4
Eph 2v11,12 The One Conditional covenant with Israel is the Mosaic Covenant.

Now lets go through the eight covenants

1. The Edenic Covenant - Gen 1v28-30 – (Hosea 6v7)
In this Covenant is between Adam and God. Adam is representative head of the whole human race – thus the actions of Adam are attributed to all men
There are seven provisions of the Covenant
i. Be fruitful and multiply 1v28
ii. Subdue the earth 1v28
iii. Dominion 1v28
iv. Diet 1v29-30 2v16
v. Dress and keep the garden 2v15
vi. Forbidden to eat – Tree 2v17
vii. The warning of Spiritual death 2v17
This conditional Covenant was broken and man was banished from the Garden of Eden

2. The Adamic covenant - Gen 3v14-19
This Covenant is between Adam as representative of the whole human race again
However there are four provisions mentioned in the four principle characters
i. The Serpent 3v14
ii. Satan 3v15
iii. Woman 3v16
iv. Man 3v17,19
This Covenant is unconditional and is still in force today. That is why women have pain in childbirth, and man sweat over their work. It will cease when the Second man the last Adam comes to establish a kingdom that will be Edenic in character.

3. The Noahic Covenant - Gen 9v1-17
This covenant is with Noah as head of the Human race - after the flood
There are eight provisions of the Covenant
i. Repopulation of the earth
ii. The fear of man - animals
iii. Diet will include flesh
iv. No blood to be eaten
v. Capitol punishment
vi. The promise of no flood ever again
vii. The Token – rainbow
viii. The seasons will not cease
This covenant is thankfully unconditional

4. The Abrahamic Covenant - Gen 12v1-3, 12v7, 13v14-17, 15v1-21, 17v1-21 22v15-18
This covenant is with Abraham as representative head of the nation of Israel
There are fourteen provisions of the Covenant
i. A great nation
ii. Land - River of Egypt to the Euphrates
iii. Abraham greatly blessed
iv. Abrahams name would be great
v. Abrahams a blessing to others
vi. Those who bless Israel will be blessed
vii. Those who curse Israel will be cursed
viii. In Abraham All will be blessed one day
ix. A Son – Sarah
x. Children – Egypt
xi. Other nations from Abraham
xii. Name changed
xiii. Sarah’s name changed
xiv. Circumcision
d. Confirmed in Isaac, Jacob and his sons
This is an unconditional covenant. The Palestinian and Davidic covenants are part of this covenant. It is fully fulfilled in the New Covenant.

5. The Mosaic Covenant - Ex 20v1 all the way to Deu 28v68
This covenant was ONLY with Jehovah and Israel. Ex 19v3-8 Deu 4v7-8 Psa 147v19-20 Mal 4v4
There are seven Provisions of the Covenant
i. The Whole Law 613 - Mitzvot
ii. Conditional Covenant - Blessings and Curses
iii. Blood sacrificial system
iv. Diet restrictions Clean – Unclean
v. Capitol punishment expanded
vi. Sign of the Covenant Circumcision
vii. Token of the Covenant Sabbath observance – only for Israel not Church
viii. Ended at the Cross Rom 10v4 2Cor 3v3-11 Gal 3v19-29 Eph 2v11-18 Heb 7v11-12, 18
ix. The Law of Moses did not end with his coming but with his death.

6. The Palestinian Covenant - Deu 29v1-30v30
This Covenant is with God and Israel
There are eight Provisions of the Covenant
i. Disobedience of Israel
ii. Future repentance
iii. Messiah will return
iv. Israel will be regathered
v. Israel to possess the land
vi. Israel to be regenerated
vii. The Enemies of Israel to be judged
viii. Israel to be blessed

7. The Davidic Covenant - 1 Sam 7v11-16, 1 Chron 17v10-14
This Covenant was with God and David as King of Israel
There are seven provisions of the covenant
i. Eternal Dynasty
ii. Solomon to be established on the throne
iii. Temple
iv. Throne of David’s Kingdom to be forever
v. Gods loving kindness to Solomon
vi. Solomon king forever
vii. Christ throne house kingdom forever

Lastly the New Covenant

8. The New Covenant - Jeremiah 31v31-34
This is a Covenant with God and Israel Isa 55v3 61v8-9 Jer 32v40 Eze 16v60 34v25-31 37v26-28 Rom 11v26-27
There are nine provisions of the New Covenant
i. Unconditional covenant between God and both houses of Israel
ii. Distinct from the Mosaic covenant Jer 31v32
iii. Salvation to Israel – regeneration Jer 31v33 Isa 59v21
iv. It will be universal to all Jews. Jer 31v34 Isa 61v9
v. It will include forgiveness of sins Jer 31v34
vi. It will include the indwelling Holy Spirit Jer 31v33 Eze 36v27
vii. Material blessings Isa 61v8 Jer 32v41 Eze 34v25-27
viii. New Temple Whole of Eze
ix. The Law of the Messiah Rom 8v2 Gal 6v2

So how the church fits in!
There is a false teaching called Replacement theology, which says that the Church replaces Israel. This is not true at all. The truth is explained in Eph 2v11-16 Eph 3v5-6. The blessings to the church are ‘Spiritual’ not Physical.
There is another false teaching that Christians become Jews!! This is not true either. Gentiles are included in the New Covenant Rom 15v25-27

The New Covenant is unconditional.

When thinking about the difference between the OT and the NT the main contrast is between the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant. In Romans and Hebrews the writers concentrate on this contrast.

There are at least six differences between the Old Covenant the OT and the New Covenant the NT

1. The New Covenant is unconditional covenant between God the believer - and is based on Faith and Grace.
2. The New Covenant is the basis of the blessing of God for Christians
3. The New Covenant is based on regeneration
4. The New Covenant includes forgiveness of sins
5. The New Covenant includes the indwelling Holy Spirit
6. The New Covenant includes material blessings however this is not for the christian. The Land, the Temple and the material wealth of Israel is part of the earthly Kingdom but our inheritance is heavenly.

Rom 8v1: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Gal 6v2: Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.



I am the true Vine

I have struggled with the concept of fruit and fruit bearing for quite a while. In the Gospels Christ is addressing Israel of course and we as christians need to be careful how we apply things regarding Israel to NT believers.

Often John 15, where Christ talks about the true vine, is applied to christians and the general challenge to fruit bearing goes out to christians however l believe that this is incorrect.

Lets look at the scriptures to see how the word vine is used.
The vine is mentioned in the life of Noah and the dream of Joseph. In Genesis 49 we have a prophecy of the foal being brought to the vine this is a prophesy regarding the Kingdom. Next we are told in the law the regulations regarding keeping vines. On and on the references come and on each occasion the vines spoken of are real physical vines every time. As the focus of the OT increases on the coming kingdom so the vine becomes a symbol of rich blessing which will be enjoyed by Gods people in the Kingdom.
In Psa 8 for the first time the vine is used metaphorically of Israel.
7: Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. 8: Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
14: Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;
in Psa 128 the image of the vine is used metaphorically for a mans wife...
3: Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
In Isaiah 5 the prophet gives a parable of a vineyard that will be destroyed even as Israel will be destroyed.
1: Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 3: And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 4: What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 5: And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: 6: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7: For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
So Isaiah now brings the OT references to the Vine and the vineyard into its full significance.
He says...
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant:
I believe that this is the imagery that Christ speaks of in John 15.
In Luke 20 Christ says...
9: Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. 10: And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. 11: And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. 12: And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. 13: Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. 14: But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. 15: So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 16: He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
The religious leaders were very familiar with the link between the image of the Vine and Israel as a nation. In this parable Christ takes the image from Psa 8 and Isa and describes a vineyard in which the servants who are to look after it refuse the messengers sent to it and finally kill the Owners Son. Then Christ poses a rhetorical question What will the owner of the vineyard do? And he answers his own question - He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
What did the king want of the men who were looking after the vineyard? He wanted fruit.
Then we turn to John 15 and Christ addresses his disciples who in this passage are the true representatives of Israel.
The disciples were the true alternative leaders of Israel and in a coming day they will in fact take the leadership of Israel. Christ was raising up a new leadership in Israel.
In Matthew 19v28 Christ said...And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29: And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30: But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
The regeneration is the new birth of the Nation of Israel in the Kingdom. At that time the Apostles will sit on twelve thrones to exercise judicial rule over Israel. Then it will be said that the decisions they make will be ratified in heaven. - Matthew 16v19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. The men who had the keys were the magistrates and they sat in the gate of the city and opened and shut the gate and executed judgment on the citizens.

Now lets get back to the True Vine.
1: I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2: Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3: Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6: If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8: Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Christ says firstly, I AM the TRUE VINE. He is saying Israel is the vine of the LORD but I AM the TRUE VINE. Christ is saying l am the Messiah of Israel. Then he says...6: If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Now this cannot be said of the least christian. No christian for lack of fruitfulness is cast into the fire. But Israel? that is a very different thing altogether. Israel is made up of a mixed multitude. there are those who are righteous and those who are unrighteous (That can never be said of the church, In the Church the - the true church there are only the saved and they have the very righteousness of Christ) And there are those in Israel that are unrighteous. How does the Lord judge Israel? He judges them on the basis of the righteous life lived under the law. If a man does that which the law demanded he is righteous and will be raised from the dead to receive eternal life in the kingdom. The christian is not like this, he has eternal life now on earth before he goes to heaven.

So what does God look for in a man who lives under law? He looks for righteousness. And the righteous deeds he does are the fruit of the inner man.