In applying covenant theology, we need to recognize that God covenants corporately and not simply individually. God’s covenant with Abraham was not just to Abraham but “to [his] offspring” (Genesis 15:18. 17:7). This does not remove the individual, but the individual does not simply remain an individual. Every individual is born naturally into a family and a people. Likewise, an individual believer is born supernaturally from above into a fellowship with Christ as Head. The individual Christian is part of a family; the “household of God” (Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 2:19, 1 Timothy 3:15, Hebrews 3:6, 10:21). Thus the application of the covenant primarily happens in the household of God, that is, in the church. It certainly has implications for the individual and for the natural family, but is seen primarily in the church. This means that a faith expressed solely as “just God and me” is foreign to the pages of scripture.
Covenant Theology Applied, Donny Friederichsen, Tabletalk, October 2020
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The providential timing of this month’s theme in Tabletalk magazine, “Fear,” is hard to miss. To encourage you and build you up in a time when our families, neighbors, and coworkers need to see Christians firmly trusting in Christ alone, we have made the March 2020 issue free to read.
Christians fight fear with faith in the Lord. Moreover, God’s people must remember that the fear of the Lord rightly orders all other fears. Long before this latest global health threat surfaced, the editors of Tabletalk planned this issue to address many of the concerns and anxieties that can beset all of us:
“Fear is a primal emotion so powerful that it can wreak havoc on our hearts. The question is, What do we do with our fears? Do we wallow in the mire of fear, act as if we have no fear, attempt to hide our fear, or try to face our fears with sheer tenacity? Or do we turn to the Lord? Only when we turn to the Lord do we hear Him say, ‘Do not fear.’ However, the Lord commands us not to fear not so that we might ignore our fears or overcome them by sheer willpower but because He has promised, ‘I am with you.’”
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To affirm true conversion implies that there is also false conversion. Put simply, there is such a thing as non-saving faith. Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” has entered the narrow gate (Matt. 7:21). People may know the truth and may have felt grief regarding their sin, but it is a selfish sorrow over what their sin has caused them to suffer, not how it has offended a holy God. The most stark example of a false conversion we have in Scripture is that of Judas Iscariot. In a counterfeit conversion, there is no death to self, no submission to the lordship of Christ, no taking up a cross, no obedience in following Christ, no fruit of repentance–only empty words, shallow feelings, and barren religious activities. On the contrary, with a true conversion sin is abhorred, the world renounced, pride crushed, self surrendered, faith exercised, Christ seen as precious, and the cross embraced as one’s only saving hope. more