Posted by: Harry Sasnowitz | August 15, 2015

In Light Of The New Covenant, Common Teachings Come Crashing Down

The longer I live, the more I see how God wants to bring his people into alignment with New Covenant reality. To accomplish this, the Lord wants to bring to His people a Christ-Centered approach to the scriptures (both Old and New) so we can rightly divide the Word of truth. For example, to try to interpret Old Covenant scripture apart from the person and work of Jesus Christ will result in the embracing and adhering to belief systems that have no place in the lives of new covenant believers. The end result will be bondage of varying sorts. The second way the Lord brings us into alignment with New Covenant reality is by emphasizing the reality of the Holy Spirit WITHIN; we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Thirdly, He wants us to become established in our identity in Christ, walking by faith in those realities. And finally, He wants to establish our hearts in grace. Any paradigm, methodology or theology that violates the above needs to be questioned and hopefully discarded.

I’ve been in various gatherings over the years where things being taught were taught with much passion and emotion, stirring the hearts of those in attendance. Whether these things were appropriate to teach in light of the New Covenant is an entirely different story.

Below are common teachings and proclamations within various Christian circles that, when examined in light of the New Covenant, come crashing down. They sound very spiritual and inspirational, but will nonetheless bring believers into the bondage of performance based religion, or worse. Let’s look at these together:

1) “The Apostle Paul was at a higher level in “the glory” and we need to go to the next level like Paul, in the glory……”

Scripture tells us of a time when Paul was taken up to the third heaven. It was an exception. The glory that Paul experienced on a daily basis, which was sufficient for him and should be for us, was “Christ in him, the hope of glory.” The word “hope” means expectancy. Paul understood that Christ through His Spirit (the Glory) dwelt in him, and he expected it to manifest. That was his “Glory Reality.” To make it something more is a gross misrepresentation of scripture. We walk by faith in this reality, not by sight, not by feelings as to whether there is a “glory cloud” upon us (Old Covenant paradigm). The glory resides in the believer. The “cloud” of the Old Covenant was replaced by the indwelling of the New Covenant. The very Glory that God gave Jesus has been given to us. The glory is there always, whether we feel it or not, and as we walk by faith, the glory manifests in unique ways.

2) “When we feel the glory real strong, but later don’t feel it as much…. something is not right. We need to examine ourselves and do something for the glory to come back…

We walk by faith, not by feelings. It is a privilege when the presence of God touches our 5 senses, but to become addicted to it is totally unhealthy and will keep believers in spiritual infancy if they don’t break away from that mentality. Furthermore, the manifest presence lifting doesn’t mean God is upset and left the gathering….the glory abides in the believer forever; the manifest presence comes and goes….to measure God’s presence, or approval, based on WHAT WE FEEL is not walking by faith. In Christ, God is forever pleased with us, favors us, and has a disposition of good will toward us, regardless of whether we feel him or not.

The theology that says there is “another realm of glory to live in on a daily basis” other than the Glory already given us in Christ cannot be found as the “glory theme” of the new covenant and will surely lead to disappointment. One can spend their entire Christian life on that gerbil wheel if they wish, but it would be far wiser to understand that God exposing himself to our 5 senses in such intense ways, although real, is not to become something that we must experience in order to function. It is the exception, not the norm.

My union with Him, and the fullness I have in Him, does not become stronger, or weaker, based on feelings. My union with Him has forever been secured through the Covenant He initiated through His own blood. I receive it and walk in the benefits of this covenant by objective faith, not subjective feelings.

3) “The proof that God has confirmed a meeting and is present is a manifestation of the “Shekinah” glory of God.”

This can be classified as re-writing scripture. Since when? Is not a gathering of born again, spirit indwelt Christians enough confirmation that God is present? Is not a gathering of people who are “in Christ” enough proof that God is present and approves the get-together? Where two or three are gathered, is He not there?

4) “We are called to go to a higher level in the glory, for “Eye has not seen, nor ear has heard, nor has entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

The scripture goes on to say, “BUT GOD HAS REVEALED IT TO US BY HIS SPIRIT. THE SPIRIT SEARCHES ALL THINGS, EVEN THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD……….WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD, BUT THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THAT WE MAY UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS FREELY BEEN GIVEN US BY GOD” (1 Cor 2:9-10,12.) By reading the whole chapter within context, it is clear that Paul is speaking of the indwelling of the spirit…nothing more, nothing less. We already possess it; each one of us.

5) “We need to progress to a higher level, being transformed from one degree of glory to another.”

This statement is the epitome of performance based religion. I don’t progress to higher levels of Glory by striving in any religious exercise….I’m in Him, and He is in me, by His Spirit. And that Spirit within my body is the glory that transforms me into His image, as I walk out my salvation by faith, in communion with Him. (2nd Cor 3:17-18.)

6) “Most Christians are outer court Christians, but God is calling us to enter the Holy of Holies. We must progress to the point of being able to enter…..”

The book of Hebrews clearly states that Jesus Christ, through His finished work, was our forerunner and has already entered the most holy place for us. He has already made the way for all believers to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and grace to help in time of need.” To talk of still needing to strive or progress to enter is an old covenant mentality that has no place in new covenant exegesis and needs to be tossed. It keeps people in performance based bondage.

7) “The anointing of Elijah is coming upon you to strengthen you; the anointing of David; the anointing of Ester……”

This is definitely a symptom of losing connection with the Head. “In Christ all the fullness of the godhead dwells bodily….and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head of all power and authority” (Col 2:9-10). Through the New Covenant, our example is Christ, not Elijah. And the anointing we have in Christ is all encompassing. Who wants to downgrade to Elijah, or David, or any other Old Testament figure? The point is, we have fullness in Him already. Our covenant is a better covenant, established on better promises. But you wouldn’t think so by all the references in some Christian circles to “anointing” under an inferior covenant. It’s time to honor Christ by embracing and walking in HIS anointing.

8) “There is a place in the glory where sickness, disease, nor anything not of God can touch you….”

False. Paul was buffeted by a messenger of Satan, and interestingly enough, it was a direct result from his “ Third Heaven” glory experience!” If you don’t believe it, read 2nd Corinthians 12:1-9. Think of the horrible deaths of the disciples. Kathryn Kuhlman died of sickness.
Jesus said that in this world we would experience trials, and remember that He suffered, leaving us an example, that we should follow in His steps. And the Lord of Glory himself was crucified. No…..there is nothing that exempts us from being afflicted at times by the devil or by other influences deriving from this fallen world.

Some other thoughts:

Angels that teach?

According to scripture, the Holy Spirit is our teacher. Jesus himself said this. According to Hebrews 1:14, the role of angels is that they are “ministering spirits, sent forth to serve those who will inherit salvation.” The word “serve” (in some translations “minister”) is the Greek word Diakonia, which is always used to denote serviceable labor. The primary role of angels is to labor for us, not to teach us. Yet there is a phenomenon taking place that is an antithesis to living as we are instructed to live, which is through the leading of the indwelt spirit and the Word. It is the teaching of God’s people through “visions, dreams and angels that a gifted individual sees”. We need to take the time to test this, or else we are treading down dangerous waters. Angels don’t replace the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is man’s idea.

An inordinate focus on signs and wonders

There are some that have a strong focus on signs and wonders, teaching how we need these desperately to operate through us. I’m not against signs and wonders! My question is this: are we seeking His power apart from His person? Is power manifestation more important than communion with Him? Paul’s cry was to “know Christ in the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering (uh oh….), becoming like him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead…” His passion was to know HIM.

“Jews demand miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified………the power of God and the wisdom of God……” (1 Cor 1: 22-24). By some of the things we are witnessing in the Body of Christ, we don’t seem too different from the Jews. It all goes back to a Calvary focus. Lets keep the main thing the main thing, which is the person of Jesus and His grace extended to us. The signs and wonders will follow.

The incessant pursuing of God in order to obtain “greater intimacy, deeper experience, more of Him, etc…”

In the New Covenant, “intimacy with God” is experienced not so much by pursuing, seeking and searching as it is through accepting/embracing what has already been freely given us in Christ, and yielding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit within. Our incessant drive for “greater intimacy” may be nothing more than a work of our flesh, born out of the fact that we refuse to walk by faith.

Consider the following, which are already true RIGHT NOW for the believer:

“You’ve died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”
“You are blessed with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”
“You have been given fullness in Him”
“You are more than a conqueror in Him”
“You are raised together with Him at His right hand in the heavenly realm”
“You’re a joint heir with Christ”
“You can do all things through Him”
“Christ is in you, the hope of Glory”
“You are the temple of the Holy Spirit…He already possesses you”
“You are complete in Him”
“You’ve been given all things that pertain to life and godliness”
“You’ve been crucified with Christ”
“You are no longer under law, but under grace”
“He has already lavished His grace on you in all wisdom and prudence”
“You are His child”
“The Spirit of the Lord lives in you, and where He is, there is freedom”
“You’ve been declared righteous in Him”
“In Him you are redeemed and forgiven of all sin”

I’ll stop there. I must ask, how much more “intimacy” does one need?  All these are reality; they are true right now for the believer; Christ has accomplished this for us already through His finished work. And we are called to walk in these realities by faith.

We are called to relate to and receive from God by grace, through faith, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Intimacy with God is not experienced through labor, but through the rest of faith.

The Bible talks of “the simplicity that is in Christ.” Man tends to complicate it. Is it simple? Yes! Is it easy? No! The question is this: Is our focus ourselves and our problems? Or is our focus Christ and His sufficiency? Most of us don’t need “more intimacy” or “more of God” like we think we do. What’s needed is faith, which will require a change of thinking… a renewal of the mind to get into agreement with God regarding our identity in Christ. In so doing, we lose ourselves and begin to hear from God, and Christ’s life that already dwells in us can begin to freely manifest through us.

As a friend of mine recently said, “This thing called Christianity, and “relationship with God” or “intimacy with God” sells a lot of books, but has been made a whole lot more complicated than need be by the well meaning misinformed.”

Grace to all of you.

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Responses

  1. So may believers get caught up in chasing “Holy Ghost goose bumps” and “the next great move experience” that they miss the joy of walking under the Lordship/Headship of Jesus administrated by the Holy Spirit in them day by day. Like the Pharisees of Jesus day whom he scolded saying “You search the scriptures because in them you think you have eternal life; it is these that testify of me; And you are unwilling to come to me so that you may have life!” (Matthew 5:29) Many believers today do the same thing with the Holy Spirit, who is very God, has moved into us to dwell and to administrate the Lordship/Kingdom of Jesus since His ascension. They are so busy seeking the “manifest glory goose bumps” or “move of the Spirit” to consume it upon themselves and their feelings that they look right past His fullness in them to lead them and thus manifest the fullness of Christ as His body, and the opportunity to co-labor with Jesus in the Father’s purpose empowered by the Holy Spirit.

    As far as greater glory goes, the principles of the Kingdom are (1) Faith comes by hearing, the outworking of Faith is Obedience, The outworking of Obedience to what He has spoken is seeing the fulfillment of His purposes. (2) Suffering and Glory go hand in hand. (3) Humility and Exaltation go hand in hand. (See Philippians 2 for Jesus example in all of these, or look for Paul’s references to his experiences). Want to see greater glory, get in line to empty yourself of all that you have and all that you are and be servant of all at the calling of the Father, a bond-slave of Jesus, and be the first to be crucified trusting that Holy Spirit will give life to your mortal body.

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    • Thanks for the feedback, Randy. Agreed. There is a simplicity in Christ that we are never going to be able to improve upon through our own spiritual calisthenics, and regardless of how much we run around trying to get in on the “next fresh move of God….,” etc..

      Jesus said, “It is finished.” The Holy Spirit moved at Pentecost. And we’re as revived as we want to be.

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