God’s covenant of peace and blessing – Part 1
As we commemorate today the highest event in Christendom, which is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is important to draw believers’ attention to this event, which is the focal point of our belief. Unfortunately, many Christians will mark this event in their closet, as some of them may have been quarantined or are in self-isolation, and some, not because they are suffering from the illness or infected by it, are indoors in compliance with government’s ban on the gathering of people, meant to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.
Although one would have thought that in a time like this, people should be encouraged to worship God, Who alone has the power to address the problem because without Him we can do nothing, what we are witnessing, today, is the reverse. Frankly, any measure applied to address this pandemic without taking into consideration people’s repentance and prayer will attract another plague. We should realise by now that the situation we have found ourselves evidenced the fact that God is angry with humanity. Thus, a call for repentance and surrender to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour becomes necessary. Closing worship/church centres are not to be considered a wise idea, as such decisions negate the principle upon which God built His relationship with a man. Church is called the house of God and not house of man.
However, whether the devil likes it or not Jesus is risen. If Christ had not died, buried and resurrected, our belief will have been in vain and there would not have been any hope of restoration of the covenant we had with God before our fore-parents severed it through sin. It is at Easter that we are reminded of how God sent His Son to die as a sacrifice for all our sins in order to rescue us from the impending destruction that has been earmarked for us, as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin. Thus, by His death, burial and resurrection, the covenant of peace and blessing, which mankind originally had with God at creation were restored.
The Almighty God established this covenant with our fore-parents in the Garden of Eden, where He blessed them and gave them dominion over all other creatures, but with a caveat not to eat the forbidden fruit. This warning was disobeyed and thus, the covenant was placed in abeyance, until Christ made the highest sacrifice and restored it to mankind.
Gen. 1: 28-29 says, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 ¶ And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you, it shall be for meat.”
God Almighty put everything He created under man’s control. What a blessing man had when everything was subjected to him. Adam lacked nothing in that beautiful garden, where he had the privilege to play host to God. But this blessing was jettisoned, as soon as Adam broke his part of the covenant by eating the forbidden fruit.
Gen. 2: 16- 17 says, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
God subjected man to trial by commanding him to observe rules and regulations that will help him enjoy the pleasures of the garden fully. But Adam flouted the divine directive and allowed his will to contradict God’s Will and thus sinned against God. As a result of that, he was sent out of the Garden of Eden and thus lost everything he got from God. The consequences of Adam’s disobedience extended to all mankind, as God severed all relationship with man, including the covenant of peace and blessings. Accordingly, the man started suffering and dying because he was left with a miserable inheritance, an unhappy portion of sin and death.
However, when God saw man’s wretchedness, He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice by which God’s wrath is appeased. And this propitiation extends as wide as the sin extends. If Christ did not shed His blood, our sins could not be washed away. And without shedding of blood, there would be nothing like forgiveness of sin, and that is why Jesus went to the cross. He died to save us from the wretchedness of sin and satanic slavery, and God used the occasion of His death and resurrection to restore to us all that we lost in Adam.
Rom. 5: 12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Adam’s sin transmitted guilt upon our nature and put a stain on us. But what we lost in Adam has been recovered by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who purchased salvation for us and offered it free to all men, thereby restoring afresh the covenant of peace and blessing. So, at Easter, we reminisce and celebrate this new refreshed covenant that rekindles hope in man. Easter, therefore, brings that optimism that no matter how difficult or how challenging our situation maybe, when we remember what Christ has done, we will be reassured that there is hope. It also suggests that as bad as the prevailing situation, occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic might appear, there is the expectation that things will get better if we can repent from our sin and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. This is the intangible chord that will help people get beyond this quagmire that gives them a sense of hopelessness. And this is the only panacea for our deliverance from the pandemic and anxiety surrounding the unknown, which has become the very bread we eat now.
Beloved, the finished work of redemption on the cross of Calvary is for all creatures, though accessed by believers only. The reason is that, if you are not born again, you are suffering from Adam’s sin and your life will still be full of sorrow, struggle, and lack of every good thing. But if you are born again, you are a partaker of the restored covenant of peace and blessing. If you have, however, not started benefitting from the covenant and all that Christ has made available for you, this is why we brought this sermon to you, because as freely as the sun dispenses its influences to every inhabitant of the earth, so freely does our Lord Jesus Christ dispenses the merits and blessings of this covenant to every soul. From the influences of this spiritual gift, no soul is reprobated any more. Only those who wilfully shut their eyes, remain un-repented and hide in darkness, are deprived of the gracious benefit of this covenant, which includes salvation, mercy, dominion, health, honour and glory.
Christ laid down His life for the love He has for mankind and was not coerced into it, for He has the power to give it up on His own free will or take it back.
Jn 10: 17-18 says, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
By the power of His resurrection, the challenges of humanity, including that of the pandemic, physical, spiritual, political and economic challenges that are distorting the progress of man are addressed.
So, the resurrection of Christ brings that optimism that no matter how difficult or how challenging our situation could be, as long as there is resurrection, there will be a restoration. This also suggests that as bad as the prevailing situation in the world vis-à-vis COVID-19 might appear, there is the expectation that things will get better if we can boldly come to His throne of Grace for the covenant of peace to be reactivated. If the nation can come to Him today, I am sure our problem shall cease, because it is only in having a union with Christ that we will have peace. Closing of Churches cannot produce the desired peace. For how long will we practise social distancing, remain isolated, pay rent without income, close schools, markets, e.t.c?
Beloved, only God has the power to give peace. Neither Babalawo nor your father or mother could give you that blessing of peace that will positively change your life. Your boss in the office lacks what it takes to give you an all-round blessing, as only God has all the blessings and peace of this life and the life after.
When there is no peace in your life, family, business or the nation, it is prudent to know that it is time to enter into a covenant to seek God for peace to reign. When there is a crisis in the society, you should know that something is wrong, that their relationship with God has broken and that it is time to enter into a covenant of peace with God.
2 Chron. 15:1-2 says, “And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”
Those that seek the Lord shall experience a special manifestation of His presence and favour, as a token of His covenant of peace and blessing, while those that forsake Him shall be forsaken and left to their ruin, which they deserve. If we can use the occasion of this Easter to steadfastly adhere to the cause of God, we are assured of His blessing, as the catalyst for the covenant of peace and blessing in our life. But if we choose to abandon it, we will surely harvest the bitter fruits of disobedience.
We wish to express our avowed support for all the precautionary measures put in place by the government meant to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus.