No pain, no gain.
The saying is intended to validate the need for working through the hard stuff before expecting to acquire something of real value. The same principle can apply even to Bible Study and the persistent search for godly Truth.
Another way of saying it is that in order to mature in understanding the things of God it is necessary to come to the table prepared with fork and knife. Spoon feeding is for infants and those who desire ice-cream for their main course. But those who desire to chew on more meaty fare must be prepared to work at their meal prior to tasting it.
In the case of our nearly six month family study using the book Wineskins as our guide, we have finally made it through the ground-work. We have set the foundation and the main structure can now be built. We have dissected what God’s word has to say about the distinctions between his various covenants with man in order to be able to talk coherently about the main course: the New Covenant in Jesus.
We now venture into discussion of the main focus for writing Wineskins through the chapter heading of Reality of the New Covenant. In my limited years of experience, I have yet to come across a church that demonstrates recognition of the incompatibility of simultaneous adherence to the Old and New Covenants. In varying degrees all of us show signs of unbiblical syncretism.
Those who choose to read the book will discover in the final chapter that this author can claim no exception to this common stigma. And yet, it is not something that Scripture dismisses as a trivial matter. That is why I have spent such effort and time building the scriptural case for both the purposes of the covenants as well as how they are intended to impact Christians today.
Trained in the use of fork and knife, we are now prepared to define the New Covenant; we now have a biblical basis for defining exactly how God identifies a Believer, what the Gospel is, what true Faith looks like, how to distinguish between Holy days and Holidays, how a new Sabbath is commanded today and the significance of Christian Circumcision, how Tithing has changed, in what way the New Covenant Promises are considered “better” than previous promises, and examples of Prophecies that are specific to the New Covenant.
The author of Hebrews chides his audience in that most were still so immature spiritually that they remained stuck in sucking on the proverbial milk bottle. The Spirit declares that in these end times many will prefer to be served more popular meals that satisfy their “itch”. Even our Lord stated to his tummy-hungry followers that belief in God takes work.
It seems likely that many who desire the label of Christian may well incline their menu preferences towards dishes made by Gerber. Eating with a spoon is easy. For infants and for more casual moments, it is the perfect tool.
However, if Christians desire to know God, to mature in the Spirit, to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, they should expect to use adult skills.
Wineskins attempts to present the reality of the New Covenant in clear and simple terms, but if readers skip the foundational work leading up to this, if their fork and knives remain unused in digging into what Scripture says about the distinctions between the covenants, then it should be expected that the Spirit of God will likely not allow such charlatans to be served desert.
It is time to set down our spoons. No pain, no gain. Let our hunger for Christ drive us to more mature instruments of grace.
Continue with us in our study of the divine agreement between Christians and the living God. Come enjoy the depth of palate presented in the New Covenant.
What is the New Covenant?