During this time of Lent as we draw our minds and hearts toward Easter, let us understand what Calvary really means to the believer's life. We first, have to have an understanding of what the covenant means. The covenant relationship is one of the oldest ceremonies in human history. We see it throughout the Old Testament and before we can understand fully what Christ atoning work means at Calvarly we must first become familiar with the Covenant.
The Covenant Relationship
Read Joshua 5
The children of Israel have crossed the Jordan and they are standing on the “redemption side” of the river. They have established the memorial called “Gilgal” with twelve stones taken from the river bottom where the priest had been standing. A new beginning has begun for them and without a doubt there was excitement in the camp. The wilderness was behind them and Jericho lie ahead them. It would seem to us as it probably did to them that the time is perfect for them to attack the enemy. But God doesn’t command them to attack. Instead he commands them to sharpen the flint knives. Instead God says that a covenant must be established with this generation. You see these Israelites needed to re-establish the covenant that had been ill observed by the generation before them. They were in the camp, they had gone through the waters, yet Gilgal was more than just a place of rememberance, and resurrection. Gilgal was also a place of renunciation. Each person must come before the presence of the Great Physician of the soul and go under his knife. It was important that the covenant be established by each individual.
So, what is a covenant? Its root meaning literally means “to cut.” It was an all-encompassing agreement that was entered into to bind two parties together with stated and clear conditions outlined for the agreement. In a covenant were specified promises and obligations that were to be fulfilled.
Turn to Genesis 15, and let’s examine the covenant God initiated with Abram.
Steps of the Covenant ceremony
The Exchange of Robes = exchange of identities
The two parties would remove their outer garments and exchange them it was meant to confuse the identities.
The Exchange of Belts = exchange of strength
The two parties would literally trade belts. These were big and used to carry military items such as weapons. This represented a sharing of strengths or assets. (everything I have is yours)
The Exchange of Weapons = exchange of enemies
My enemies are now your enemies.
The Sacrifice = irrevocable contract of the blood covenant
The Walk of Death = loss of identity
The two parties would face each other and would walk through the mass of blood patterning a figure 8
The Mark on the Body = signing of the contract, it was the seal of it.
The Pronouncements of Blessings and Cursings = oneness
The Covenant Meal = fellowship/oneness
The Exchange of Names = commitment/oneness
New Covenant of Calvary
Jesus robe of righteousness exchanged for mine of sin
Jesus belt of strength-his grace given to me 2 Cor.12:7-10 Grace is God’s willingness to unleash his power on my behalf when I don’t deserve it. (Thorn is referred to three other times in OT in reference to those opposing the work of God; Numbers 33:55, Joshua 23:13, Judges 2:3)
Jesus took on our enemy, death while we took on his enemy, Satan. Gen.3:15, Ephesians 6 10-18
Jesus cross and shed blood my giving to him my life.
Jesus death and resurrection our baptism
His hands, our heart
You see I had to take us to this place so that you could fully understand why God didn’t allow the Israelites to move forward before they had entered into the covenant relationship for themselves. Because to operate in Canaan, victory doesn’t come by the relationship your parents had, but by the one you have with God.