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- Foundational oaths and agreements
- Antecedent to Law
- Noah (Genesis 9)
- Abraham (Genesis 12)
- Jacob (Genesis 28)
- Jew-Gentile Controversy (Acts 15)
Covenant-Keeper vs. Self-Maximizer
[This dichotomy is taken from Lewis B. Smedes, Mere Morality: What God Expects From Ordinary People.]
Covenant-Keeper is ...
Holds relationships together
Keeps life decent
Self-Maximizer is ...
Evaluates relationships on basis of return
Seeks maximal happiness
Striving for personal growth
The virtues of the covenant-Keeper are what we want in all other people. But they can be personally demanding.
The virtues of the self-maximizer are not all bad, but if everyone felt that way society would collapse.
When staying committed is drudgery and self-mortification, why? Why keep covenants?
Why Keep a Vow?
- We give ourselves over to a permanent identity in the face of an unpredictable future
- Covenants and name-changes go together
Abrahams covenant with God assures Abraham that he will be Father of a Nation even though he cannot secure that future for himself.
In a marriage, a man and wife assure one another that they will be one even though they cannot guarantee how their lives will turn out.
- Breaking a vow is murder and stealing.
- Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Parsons Tale - Understand also that adultery is fitly placed in the ten commandments between theft and homicide; for it is the greatest theft that can be, being theft of' body and of soul. And it is like homicide, for it cuts in twain and breaks asunder those that were made one flesh, and therefore, by the old law of God, adulterers should be slain. But nevertheless, by the law of Jesus Christ, which is a law of pity, He said to the woman who was taken in adultery and should have been slain with stones, according to the will of the Jews, as was their law: "Go," said Jesus Christ, "and have no more will to sin," or "will no more to do sin."
Submit to One Another
- Ephesians 5:21
- The Bride of Christ
- Christ takes care of the Bride as if she is part of his own body
- More than not committing adultery
- Covenant-keepers seek the growth, enrichment, pleasure, and freedom of the other (1 Corinthians 7)
According to the prophets, God himself suffered the pain of a bad marriage a marriage hurt by adultery.
- Ezekiel 16
- Isaiah 57
John 8 There is grace and renewal for all broken covenants in Jesus Christ.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 18 November 2007
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