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The Daily Word of Righteousness
God's Unfolding Plan, #2
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to practice righteousness, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)
The study of covenants and of "dispensations" may tend to fragment God's intention toward His children. However, God's desire for us never has changed and never will change.
Micah 6:8 (above) applies to Adam and Eve, to Enoch, to Noah, to Job, to Abraham, to Moses, to David, to Paul, to Peter, to you, to me, and to all other persons—past, present, and future—forever.
The entire Scriptures have one subject—righteousness; not a righteousness we hope to achieve by our own dead works but the true righteousness derived from placing our hope and trust in God. Righteousness is the Presence of God in Christ.
No person ever at any time has been found righteous (justified) on any basis other than hope and trust in God. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews teaches us that Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and the rest of God's worthies were justified by faith. That faith was—as it always must be—expressed in their behavior.
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews reveals to us the unity, the sameness of God's relationship with all of His children.
Why, then, does the Scripture appear to teach that God keeps changing His relationship with us? It is because there is a progressive unfolding of the unbelievably marvelous aspects of the Kingdom of God, of the Divine plan to reveal the Father through Christ and Christ through the members of the Body of Christ.
That God did not explain the whole scope of His plan to Adam and Eve does not mean He desired one thing for them and then changed His mind and desires something else for you and me. The concept of foreknowledge and predestination prevents the conclusion that God keeps changing His mind.
We can think of God's working in terms of the curriculum of a school that begins with kindergarten and is completed with graduation from a university.
How would it be if we considered progression from the kindergarten to the first grade to be a change of covenant or a different dispensation? Would the "graduate" to the first grade look with pity on those of the kindergarten who were laboring under a lesser covenant, a different dispensation?
The Book of Hebrews does teach that there has been a change of covenant and that the new covenant is superior to the old covenant, and so our analogy of the school curriculum is not completely fitting. Nevertheless, the change of covenant does not signify a changing of God's mind or Nature. Rather, it is a more complete step toward the same purpose that existed at the time of Eden.
Have not all the covenants been for the purpose of bringing Micah 6:8 to pass throughout the earth?
We think the concept of a comprehensive, unified working of God with man is helpful in understanding what has happened, is happening now, and will yet take place in the Kingdom of God.
The concept prevailing today is that God has changed His expectations concerning man. An even worse idea is that God somehow has "grown up"; that working with people has "educated" God. Will the pride of men never cease?
To be continued.