The New Testament and the ‘isms

Through Jeremiah the prophet, the Holy Spirit inspired the promise of a new covenant to replace God’s covenant with Israel (Jer. 31:31-34).  Jesus Christ inaugurated this New Covenant at His Last Supper with His disciples before His crucifixion (Luke 22:20).  The writer of the book of Hebrews repeated Jeremiah’s prophecy in Heb. 8:6-12, adding in the next verse that it made the Old Covenant obsolete.  This New Covenant was not between God and a nation but God and His chosen people of all nations through Jesus Christ, as made clear in Gal. 3:26-29; the mention of “Israel” by Jeremiah applies to “the Israel of God” that is not limited to “the circumcision” – ancient jargon for Old Covenant Israel (Gal. 6:15-16).  Instead, as explained in Eph. 2:11-13, through Jesus Christ all previous foreigners to the covenants of promise are included.

The New Testament name of this group of people is “Church” – a group of people called out and set apart to belong to Jesus Christ (Mat. 16:18); they are not defined by tribal, geographical, cultural, or language distinctions.  The Church is not national, and it does not have a God-ordained economic system that looks like one of the ‘isms.

Jesus’ teachings to those who are set apart to belong to Him fly in the face of all economic principles of this present world.  He taught that money is a “master” of humans in this age (Mat. 6:34-35) and told His followers, “You cannot serve both God and Money.”  He said that “the meek” will inherit the earth (Mat. 5:5).  He considered the tiny donation of a poor widow greater that the large donations of the rich (Luke 21:1-4).  His measure and value of currency was altogether different than either capitalists or socialists.

Those set apart to belong to Christ are heirs of the promises of God (Gal. 3:29).  Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15), which upon His return His followers – those who accept Him as their King – will inherit (Mat. 25:31-34).  Since Jesus came, all nations, including the vast Roman Empire, tiny Judea, as well as all nations today, while hosting this group of heirs of the Kingdom of God, have been free to use the economic system that they choose. 

With that said, what does the Church that consists of heirs of the Kingdom of God have to do with these ‘isms?  I know of people who confess faith in Jesus Christ and hold tenaciously to one of these isms as if Jesus commanded them to do so.  They listen to preachers and political talkers who impress these strong beliefs upon them.  My prayer is that this Blog leads them to the one reservoir of the mind of Jesus – the Bible – to look closely at what He and His Apostles said and did as recorded in the New Testament.  If they sincerely and carefully do that, it will become clear that God has something better in mind.  In the next Blog post, we will look at what the Spirit of God has to say through the Church about the ‘isms.