Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The January “Covenant” Craze

Sphere: Related Content In the next few days, we’ll enter the month of January and into a New Year, 2012. One of the focuses of many preachers will be to find a way to give hope to many of their members and raise their expectations for the New Year. For many of them, their theme in December 2011 was, “It’s not over yet. You can still make it before the year runs out”. Then suddenly, the year comes to an end and 31st December night and 1st January Services will be another declaration periods. Now, is there anything wrong with raising people’s expectations and giving them hope? NO! But is there anything wrong with raising people’s expectations based on lies and giving them hope based on false prophecies? YES! Everything is wrong with it and those who want to live their lives in such a way that they please God must avoid such falsehoods.

In January 2011, many churches organized fasting and prayers and at the end of the period, made many ‘prophetic pronouncements’ and led the congregation into covenants. These covenants were followed by covenant offerings depending on what you are expecting from God in the year. In fact, in one of the churches, their covenant was so unique that they brought articles of sand, stone, flowers etc to present to God to represent people’s situations. Some questionable things indeed! This actually disturbed me so much that I had to start doing further studies on the issue of covenants, the result of which I will document in a book that will come out soon.

For some churches, they have done this so called covenant Sundays for years with their associated prophetic declarations. My concern is that nobody monitors these prophecies and asks questions. Nobody tries at the end of the year to take stock of the things declared the previous year before buying into the declarations for the New Year. Everybody seems to flow with the tide and enjoys the palatable words and feels good. This is a very disturbing trend indeed especially since we know that one of the major tools the enemy of our souls will use in these Last Days will be deception.

Several questions come to mind: why are we making all these covenants? Who are we to initiate these covenants with God? Do we have precedents from the Scriptures? I mean, did Jesus or the apostles teach such a practice? When we read old Christian materials by church fathers, do they allude to Christians entering into several covenants with God apart from the celebrated and commemorated Covenant the Lord Jesus Christ brought us into? Covenant agreements can be entered into between equals; between a higher and a lesser and between peoples. In our case, we are the lesser trying to initiate a covenant with God, who is the Higher. Where did we get the mindset that we can initiate a better covenant than the one God Himself initiated in Christ?

For the New Covenant we have with God in Christ, the whole New Testament books of the Bible make up the pact. Remember that New Testament means New Covenant. There in are all the promises and oaths of God that supports the New Covenant. Of course we know that some of the words have their connections to some sayings in the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus is the Guarantee. Who told us that because we have some needs and a few troubles and challenges, we will have to enter into other covenants with God for them to be solved? Who told us that for God to show up in our affairs in the year, we will have to enter into another covenant in the first month of the year? Who wrote down the pact for the covenant? This is because, you cannot use the pact of the New Covenant we have in Christ (The Bible) to claim to enter into another covenant. Meanwhile what brought you near in the first place, to have anything to do with God, was the New Covenant in Christ.

This is all about deceptions and confusions. Some people feel that these things are working, hence dry men, who are struggling with what to tell their congregations buy into it. Some buy into it because it seems popular while others do it so as to keep their roaming members who are having itching ear challenges.

If we understand the New Covenant we have in Christ, initiated by God, made effective and guaranteed by Christ who also officiates as the High Priest before the Altar in heaven, sealed by the blood of Christ which equally serves as the Covenant Offering, strengthened by His Oath and Words of Promises, confirmed by the Presence of the Holy Spirit and commemorated through Holy Communion, then, we can be content and say to our hearts, “He is enough for me”. The new birth brings us into this covenant relationship with God. How we fare in our personal experiences depends on how we obey the terms and instructions of this New Covenant - The Bible. The Bible is actually a Covenant Book. All the authority and dominion we exercise, promises we claim, position we occupy as sons and heirs, and the ultimate hope we have are based on this New Covenant. Every other covenant we saw in the Law and the Prophets all either points to this New Covenant or to the Person of Jesus Christ. All we can do now is to renew our loyalty, dedication, devotion and commitment to this New Covenant, to love and obey Him.

Please let nobody get you deceived. If you base your Christian practice on lies, your spiritual house will definitely crumble sooner or later. But if you base your Christian life on the Truth of God’s Word, though may not be popular among the Last Days believers, you will discover that you have built on the Solid Rock that can never fail. It does not matter who wants to introduce another covenant into your life again this January, do not play the ignorance any more. God has not placed anybody, no matter his/her position in your church, to be a facilitator of covenants.

In His capacity as the High Priest of this New Covenant, Jesus Christ has no assistants.
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