PMT 2016-059 by J. Vaden Cavett
Gentry note: This article was originally published in The Covenant Quarterly and is used by permission of the author. We are in a political season which requires that we bring our faith to bear upon this important topic. This is part 1 of a three part series.
Before we begin, just know this article is unique. It is a systematic presentation of the Bible texts relevant to the topic of the Kingdom, and it contains very few of my own words. Volumes and volumes have been written on this subject, most of which you can find online for free.
My main purpose for writing this article is to summarize, from Scripture, how God will transform the world under the scepter of King Jesus. To start that discussion, we must begin with the tools by which redeemed man exercises dominion.
The Tools of Dominion
“God has a plan for the conquest of all things by His covenant people. That plan is His law. It leaves no area of life and activity untouched, and it predestines victory. To deny the law is to deny God and His plan for victory.” (God’s Plan for Victory, R.J. Rushdoony)
In Deuteronomy 28, God tells Israel she will be a prosperous nation if she keeps the law of the Lord: “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth….” (Deuteronomy 28:1; cf. vv. 2-14)
The national blessings God pours out in response to obedience to His law includes fruitful wombs, fruitful fields, fruitful livestock, financial and physical security, and success in military campaigns (though the blessing is voided if the campaign is unlawful or unjust).
One characteristic blessing of obedient nations is particularly haunting in light of our national debt: “The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.” (Deuteronomy ?28:12?) America’s debt, among other things, is the direct result of us rejecting Christ as King.
How do nations become obedient and receive these blessings? Heart regeneration.
The Promise of the New Covenant
The Lord gives Israel a precious promise in Ezekiel 36: “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (vv. 24-27)
After driving His rebellious people into exile, the Lord promises to gather them from the nations and bless them. This gathering is the work we are called to in the Great Commission. We’re sent to gather all God’s elect into the New Jerusalem, the Church.
The Church is commanded: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
The second part of the command, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”, is the fulfillment of God’s promise to “sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.”
Confronting the Anti-Christian Bias of the American News Media
By Marvin Olasky and Warren Cole Smith
Issuing a clarion call for Christians to reclaim American journalism, Olasky and Smith examine the influence of worldviews on reporting, objectivity, sensationalism, and crusading; the impact of legal, ethical, and technological changes; and the changes brought about by the 24/7 news cycle, the Internet, and social media.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
This sprinkling (notice the mode of baptism is sprinkling, not immersion) removes our filth, and as we read in Hebrews 10:22, purifies our consciences: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
This sprinkling is nothing short of the baptism of the Holy Spirit: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost….” (Titus 3:4-5) This is exactly what the Lord promises will happen: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you.”
At Pentecost, Peter proclaims this promise to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38-39) At that moment, everyone knew, God was keeping His promise.
The Result of Regeneration
What’s the result of the Great Commission and of heart regeneration? Obedience. “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
Paul, writing after Pentecost, says much the same thing: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4) Spiritual renewal and heart regeneration always result in obedience to God’s commands. Which ones? The ones Israel knew about, God’s statutes and judgments, the Ten Commandments and all their applications.
To be continued…
Jonathan Cavett is a writer and instructional designer at an alternative finance company. He is co-founder of TheCovenantHerald.com and their newsletter, The Covenant Quarterly.