Last Sunday I posted this article which was mostly a quotation from E.W. Bullinger's Great Cloud of Witness in Hebrews Eleven (the correct title of the book, by the way). When I realized I was running short on time I decided I would have to continue the quoted text in today's post and so I apologize for the incomplete article of last Sunday but perhaps it whet the appetites or curiosity of some of our readers.
The point I hope to make by offering this is that many Christians believe they must continually be confessing their sins in order for them to be forgiven. This belief can lead to an unhealthy preoccupation with one's sin and failures in spiritual matters. It is at odds with the belief that Christ paid the price in full, for once and for all, for all sin, past, present, and future. To believe otherwise is to put Christ back up on the cross. Bullinger apparently agrees. It's as though the believer is living under the Old Covenant rather than embracing the grace and freedom of the New Covenant. This passage taken from Jeremiah shows that the Old Covenant had failed because man failed to keep up his end of the deal so a new arrangement was to be established by God which was ultimately declared by Jesus during the last supper.
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
I hope to post some thoughts on the Old and New Covenants soon. In the meantime, here's the passage from E.W. Bullinger's Great Cloud of Witness in Hebrews Eleven pp. 176-7 in its entirety.
We hear, for example, what God says about our condition by nature; that we are not only ruined sinners, on account of what we have done, but ruined creatures, on account of what we are. Do we believe it? If so, we shall act accordingly, and the belief will make us so sad and miserable, that we shall thankfully believe what He says when He declares that He has provided a substitute for the sinner so believing and so convicted; and that He has accepted that perfect One in the sinner's stead.
If we believe this we shall be at peace with God; and have no more concern or trouble about our standing, in His sight; we shall have nothing to do but to get to know more and more of Him, and to be giving Him thanks for what He hath done in making us meet for His glorious presence. We shall not be for ever putting ourselves back into our old place from which we have been delivered. We shall not be always asking for forgiveness of the sins for which He was delivered, because we shall be always rejoicing in Him "in Whom WE HAVE redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Col. i. 14), and while we are giving Him thanks for "HAVING FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES" (Col. ii.13), we shall forget our old occupation of for ever confessing our sins and praying for forgiveness.
We shall be looking and pressing forward to the "CALLING ON HIGH" (Phil. iii. 14).
We shall be free to witness for Him, and to engage in His service, being no longer occupied with ourselves, our walk, or our life. We shall be no longer taken up with judging our brethren, knowing that the same Lord has "made them meet" also; and that they are members of "the same body," and that we shall soon be called on high together. We shall cherish our fellowship with them here (if they will let us) knowing that we shall soon be "together" with them there.
We shall hold not only the precious doctrinal truth connected with Christ the Head of the one Body, but the practical truths connected with the members of that Body.
We shall seek to learn ever more and more of God's purposes connected with "the great mystery concerning Christ and His Church," and to enter into all that concerns its glorious Head.
We shall have such an insight into His wondrous wisdom Who has ordered all these things that we shall thankfully prefer it to our own.
We shall recognize that His "will," manifested in the working out of His eternal purpose, is so perfect, that we shall prefer it to our own, and desire it to work out all else that concerns us.
We shall have nothing to "surrender." We shall have done with that new miserable "gospel" of self-occupation; and, all connected with its phraseology will have been left far behind, as being on a lower and different plane3 of Christian experience altogether.
Christ will be our one object, and we shall count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord (Phil. iii. 8).
If this be not the result of our believing God, it is proof positive that we have not a "living faith," and that all our works for holiness are only "dead works," because we have not this blessed evidence as the result of our "faith-obedience."
We have this simple test in our own hands.
Without the Holy Spirit's Word by the Apostle James we should not possess this test. But now that we have it, and see it, it will be our own fault if we do not profit by it, and use it for our own blessing and peace and rest.
If we do thus use it, we shall find ourselves strangely out of harmony with all that rules in modern Christianity, and all that characterizes present-day religion.
We shall realize that its phraseology and its terminology are all based upon a lower plane of experience. We shall find ourselves out of touch with many of our fellow-believers; for we shall have learnt to "cease from man." We shall have lost and given up "religion;" but this will be because we shall have found Christ, and know what it means to be "FOUND IN HIM."
BTW, if you missed the articles from yesterday, you can click on the March Archives link or see them here.