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REAL REPENTANCE AND THE BLOOD COVENANT (AND ABEL AND CAIN)

In my last post I said repentance means to change one’s mind. That is the actual definition of the Greek root word metanoia. In our culture this means something far less…

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IT COST THE LORD JESUS EVERYTHING

It is the same for every real Christian. The Lord Jesus, the Man who is God manifest in the flesh and Immanuel—God with us—gave everything He had to purchase our salvation. He did everything He possibly could. He left nothing undone. At the end, right before He died on the cross, He said, “It is finished!” He absolutely completed His course and thereby made everything readily available regarding abundant life:

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.” [John 10:7-15]

Yet, why is it and how is it that so many Christians, a likely majority, fail to recognize this? How did it come to pass that so many Christians seem to take the Lord’s suffering and death in stride? It appears as if most take His death for granted. It doesn’t register as it should. There is a disconnect from the reality of Calvary and the understanding of many believers: These people were apparently never told they must also give all, or were told to do so in some rudimentary sense that has no spiritual impact, or maybe they simply chose to never do their part in full so as to apply it. For these, it means the Blood Covenant has never actually gone into effect in their lives. For a replacement, something to assuage their conscience, they may have given mental assent to the covenant or merely acknowledged it without giving their heart.

REAL REPENTANCE

In my last post I said repentance means to change one’s mind. That is the actual definition of the Greek root word metanoia. In our culture this means something far less, as merely changing how we may think about something in particular. If we take the word literally, however, which is how it was presented in Scripture, it means to change one’s mind in total—to transform it. This process must have a starting point, of course, and is something in general generated from without. This is because one most often cannot convict himself of sin. One’s conscience can convict which may result in changing certain behaviors, but after years of such conviction the work of one’s conscience is usually only acknowledged without the person doing anything substantial to change overall behavior.

When the Word of God is properly applied, however, there is a much different scenario. The Word of God, especially when delivered by an anointed minister of the Gospel, flashes like a bright laser light show within one’s mind and exposes everything in it and puts it on full display so the person can actually see what is resident there the way God does. It’s like living for years in a very dark house with heavy dark drapes and next to no interior light while wearing dark sunglasses and never doing any cleaning and simply losing track of actual conditions and everything resident there and not being aware of just how bad it has become and then suddenly have the brightest LIGHTS on the planet shining full bore in every room at the same instant. Yikes. This can be quite unnerving (understatement alert) and quite motivating. After the initial shock. Any sane person would want to immediately start a floor to ceiling whole house deep clean and not stop until everything was spic and span.

Such cleaning is accomplished through the application of the Blood of Jesus.

This is what the Word of God means by repentance. It involves commitment. It demands a real changing of one’s mind and a complete change of heart as well.       

THE BLOOD COVENANT

For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. [Hebrews 9:17-22]

Therefore, if one is to answer one’s half in the Blood Covenant he or she must also shed blood as the Lord did. This is not literal, of course, but real repentance does invoke the Old Testament Tabernacle Bronze Altar where the animals were sacrificed. Repentance essentially also means throwing oneself upon the altar of sacrifice and destroying the old life in order to save the new life. It is the end of the old mind, the mind containing the stain of sin, rebellion, and disobedience to God. It is the beginning of the new mind, the changed mind. John the Immerser said:

“Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance…” [Luke 3:8][1]

Real repentance is the initial act causing spiritual fruit to grow where it never grew before. The changed mind born of repentance and given to God, devoid of sin, is fertile ground for good fruit. The good fruit proves real repentance. It is the first step of the Blood Covenant. It proves one has laid down his life as the Lord did His. This good fruit is spiritual fruit and not mere works of the flesh disguised thereof. For illustration, Adam and Eve’s son Abel had properly repented and continued on to become mature in the Lord. He offered the correct sacrifices that God required. Cain, on the other hand, never repented and merely offered fruit from the ground which was indicative of the works of the flesh. Many Christians perform such “good deeds” as Cain did but do not please God. Abel understood what God required.

I wrote the following in my book Real Christianity:

To start with, there was a guy named Abel. He refused to do anything which didn’t show absolute respect for God. Because of his pure stand on this central issue of life, his brother killed him in a jealous rage. Abel was not like his mom and dad, and he was certainly not like his brother. He was thus the minority. His brother killed him because he couldn’t stomach the fact that Abel was blessed by God due to his righteousness which came as a direct result of obedience. Many Christians “kill” their brothers today for the same reason. Their sacrifice to God is not acceptable by God because their Christian service is not done in obedience to God but in obedience to man. Modern day Abels, therefore, are hated by the religious Cains who are envious of their brothers’ walks with God.

Abel was going to do the will of God even if it cost him his physical life. Contrary to prevailing popular opinion expressed through the worldly attitude of Cain, Abel understood that God required a pure sacrifice—a sacrifice represented by the ultimate in giving, with no strings attached. Cain, on the other hand, merely offered the fruit of a cursed earth.

In spiritual terms, Abel gave of his spirit, while Cain gave of his flesh. In order to relate this to the present, we must see Abel as the very first type of Christ. We must also see the true followers of Christ as those who are set on doing His will regardless of the costs involved. Abel’s sacrifice, therefore, relates in the present sense to recognizing the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, followed by the giving of ourselves—a sacrifice which must come before any other we might make and which must be complete. This is what real repentance is. If we understand this and apply it to ourselves, there is no need to make Abel prove his case. Instead, the burden of proof should fall squarely on Cain, an Old Testament type of the religious Christian whose alternative sacrifice has not been accepted by God. [2]

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Here Comes the Ark—2015 (Part 4)

EXCERPT FROM PART 4:

         Proper sacrifice was the answer. Repentance is the first part of the equation. The circumcision of the heart is at the heart of the New Testament. The preaching of the cross is core, foundational, at the nucleus thereof, and points directly to what salvation entails. Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness… [Hebrews 9:22]”

Link to Part 4:

Here Comes the Ark (Part 4)

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Here Comes the Ark (Part 4)

         Proper sacrifice was the answer. Repentance is the first part of the equation. The circumcision of the heart is at the heart of the New Testament. The preaching of the cross is core, foundational, at the nucleus thereof, and points directly to what salvation entails. Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. [Hebrews 9:22]

         One does not often hear about the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus so much anymore. It is not so seeker-friendly. People are put off by it, pretty much the same way most people would rather never be reminded of over fifty million unborn American babies ripped from the womb and literally thrown in the trash.

         The crucifixion of the Lord is not pretty, but His perfect sacrifice remains the most beautiful thing anyone has ever done or will ever do. It was the greatest and best offering ever made. His death brings our life, if we so choose. In Part 3, David discovered the secret of repentance. He discovered the proper protocol. He understood that sacrifice must precede the presence of God. No one is saved without real repentance. It is impossible.

         There is no new birth without a surrendering of the life that resulted from the first birth.

         You must be born again [John 3:7]. All great movements of God over the last twenty centuries have been preceded by heart-changing individual repentance, including the Great Awakenings in America.

         In the initial event of the Church Age, the 120 real believers who gathered together at Pentecost were exactly on time and properly prepared. It had been ten days since the Lord Jesus had ascended to heaven. Ten is the Biblical number of ordinal perfection or testing. It is readily apparent that not everyone gathered at the beginning remained until the big day. For those who did, they had fully repented and prepared themselves. Such individuals had bowed the knee to the Lord and confessed His glorious Name, and this resulted in the beginning of an incredible worldwide movement that continues to the present.

         According to the Hebrew calendar, today is Erev Shavuot. Wednesday morning, June 8, is the morning of Pentecost, the official anniversary of that bright dawn when the community of the Lord Jesus burst forth on the scene in unity and power 2000 years ago. The apostle Peter then preached a message containing the very truth the 120 had obeyed and what would be required for the movement to continue. He spoke of the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Under great conviction, voices from the crowd asked, “Brethren, what shall we do?” The first thing Peter said was, “Repent.”

         There has always been much theological discussion about when the blood of the Lord Jesus is applied, but there should not be. The cleansing blood of the Lord is applied at real repentance. When David sacrificed the ox and fatling at the rebirth of the procession, he understood this. A Christianity without repentance is a faux Christianity. A Christianity without the preaching and teaching of the shed blood of our Savior is worthless and dead, regardless of any other factor. It is impossible to properly recognize, worship, and glorify God without mentioning His cleansing blood on our behalf. Those Christian bodies and groups who understand this and act accordingly are blessed with His presence, just as the city of Jerusalem was 3000 years ago. Those who don’t, aren’t.

         Then it happened as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. [2 Samuel 6:16]

         Uh oh.

         As always, the previous generation resists a new move of God. Saul had grown to hate and despise David, and had acquired bad spirits as a result of his hatred and resistance. Every time the Lord does something “new” it is resisted by the previous generation of His own people. Why would Michal suddenly turn against David? She was one of his wives, and had previously promoted him. There are several possible reasons:

(1) She did not think it proper for a king to behave in such an undignified manner.

(2) She thought he was unduly grabbing the spotlight.

(3) She still resented him for his rise to power at the expense of her father.

(4) She thought dancing was only for dancehalls and weird churches.

         The predominant reason, of course, is that she despised God because she had an irreverent unrepentant heart. She opposed a life-giving move of God and was greatly offended at the actions of her husband, who seemed to violate all the laws of man’s protocol, both civil and religious. She preferred a controlled religion of decorum, dogma, and duty. The tares fight against the wheat. The goats fight against the sheep. The unreal fight against the real. Religious people killed the Lord. They killed Stephen. Millions of real believers have been killed since. Why?

         It is simple: Those who refuse to die to themselves and bring a proper sacrifice end up killing their brother instead.

         So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” [Genesis 4:3-9] [1]

         When the Ark was coming into Jerusalem, however, the circumstances were such that Michal was greatly outvoted. In fact, she knew this and therefore despised David somewhat secretly in her heart, at least for the moment, though she may have been staring darts. The city as a whole was celebrating. Jerusalem had properly prepared itself. David corrected his mistakes. He discovered God’s proper protocol. He no longer resisted the move of God or tried to control it. Instead, he jumped into it joyfully with both feet—literally! So must it be for us also, if we really want the actual loving and powerful presence of God in our lives, both individually and in collective unity on this eve of Pentecost. [Part 4 of 4]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.