"Your Covenant With God"

One of the most important doctrines of the Church of God is one, which has to do with the covenants God has made with His people down through the ages. God has made covenants (agreements) with different people at different times as He chose to deal with them.

He made a covenant with Adam, which covenant Adam failed to keep. (While the Bible does not specifically refer to God’s Words in Gen. 2:16-17 as a covenant, God did make a binding commitment, here, with Adam, that if the man failed in this requirement God placed upon him, the penalty for disobedience was death.) Adam, rather, chose to walk in Satan’s ways instead of God’s righteous Way and, thus, all of mankind has been made subject to death.

God made a covenant with Noah, and the sign of that covenant is still with us, today, available for all to see, as a witness of the agreement God made with Noah and of Noah’s obedience to God. (Gen. 8:16, 9:8-17)

We are all cognizant of the covenants God made with Abraham and his seed and of Abraham’s obedience and the fact that the world today is still being blessed because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were faithful to God in the keeping of these covenants. Of course, there is the special Sabbath covenant which we find in Exodus 31:12-18, and the covenant God made with His servant, David. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)

Abraham’s descendants, the Children of Israel, entered into numerous covenants with God, but like Adam, they failed to keep their part in these agreements. In these covenants, Israel agreed to be obedient to God’s Sabbath, to His Laws, and to His Way of life. God, in turn, promised to Israel, material and national blessings and a superior position in the earth, if they would be faithful to these agreements. (The gift of God’s Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life were not made a part of these agreements with Israel.) Israel failed in keeping their part in these agreements.

Jesus Christ came to this earth to establish a special covenant between God and those He would call during this lifetime. God would give them His Spirit as a help, for them to be able to fulfill their part of the agreement, which He would be making with them. Additionally, He would allow Jesus Christ to offer Himself as a living sacrifice such that a means for forgiveness of sin was available for them, upon repentance, when they failed in their part of the agreement.

The question for God’s chosen people, today, is … how are we doing in our resolve to keep the covenant we made with Him at the time of our baptism?

We saw how God blessed His Church during that period of Church history we have all come to know as the Philadelphia era of God’s Church (Revelation 3:7-13). But, now, we have seen the end of that era and the onset of a new era … Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). We have seen the beginning of the apostasy, as it has encompassed God’s people. And we have seen the scattering of the sheep and the offense that has been caused by this momentous event.

Today, the Church is much smaller than during the latter years of the Philadelphia era! How should God’s people be relating, today, in light of all the events, which have taken place?

Our admonition is, first, to hold fast to those things, which we first learned. (2 Timothy 1:13-14; Revelation 3:11). We must persevere. If this requires further separation, God will see that it happens. Second, our admonition is to watch, always, and to pray that we be accounted worthy, when Christ comes to establish His Father’s Kingdom. (Matthew 24:42-47). Third, our admonition is to endure. (Matthew 24:13). We must not waver, brethren, in our dealings with the Almighty. (James 1:6-8).

God, the Father has allowed the Church to be scattered at this time (Daniel 12:7), yet, it is He Who will gather them at the appropriate time. (John 11:51-52).

But we, brethren, must remain faithful to God’s Truth, never wavering, never losing faith that our elder brother will keep His promise as quoted by Paul in Hebrews 13:5, where He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” If we remain faithful to Jesus Christ and to the Father, they will certainly remain faithful to us.

In Malachi 3:16, we read that “…those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, (if we fear Him, we will obey Him), And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.’ Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.”

Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong admonished us to “prove all things.” He taught us to believe him only if what he taught was provable by scripture. We must not change from that approach. We must not follow any man, except as he follows Christ. Only then can we demonstrate true loyalty to the Almighty. He tells us in His Word, “For I am the LORD, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6 – KJV).

"How Convicted Are We?"

We are living in perilous times. We hear of suicide bombings in Israel on a weekly basis. We hear of wars and rumors of wars at the India-Pakistani border. In following the news carefully, we realize that the relationship between the United States and Europe is steadily deteriorating. We recognize the grim reality — for example, that large arsenals of nuclear weapons are stored, many of them undetected, around the world. We hear of increasing earthquakes, wild fires, hurricanes and tornados. Understanding prophecy, we know that all of these, however, are just the beginning of sorrows.

What is our responsibility in the face of coming disaster? Since God showed us what is to come, He wants us to respond! We are to warn our fellow man of the evil times ahead of us. But, in order to do so effectively, we ourselves must be convinced and convicted that God does in fact mean what He says.

Notice Abraham’s conviction! He is the father of the faithful — one whose faith we are to imitate. We read in Romans 4:21 that Abraham was “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”

Sometimes, we may want to give up. We may think that we have done all that we can do, and that it does not really make a difference. But it does. God would not give us a job to do, if it were hopeless. At least at one time in his life, Paul was ready to die. But, he realized that it was needful for the brethren that he stay alive and continue to do his job. He explains in Philippians 1:21-25 (NIV):

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith…”

And so, we, too, must be “fully convinced” in our own minds (Romans 14:5) that God still wants us to preach the gospel and to feed the flock, and that we have a part in this commission. And while doing God’s will, let us, too, be convinced that our labor is not in vain and that we, with God’s help, will succeed. Notice these encouraging words of Paul, a deeply convicted apostle:

— “For this reason I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

Paul knew that he would succeed — because he knew something about God, which kept him going. Paul wants all of us to come to that same conviction and persuasion:

— “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose … For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:28, 38-39)

The righteous men and women of old had strong convictions. These convictions motivated and inspired them to accomplish mighty deeds. They knew that God’s word was true. They had no doubt about that:

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them…” (Hebrews 11:13).

God gave all of us very powerful and encouraging promises. They should motivate us to actively respond to God’s love. But they only will, if we are convicted that those promises are for real.

"Measuring UP"

The department of the company I work for is called “Measurement Technologies.” Part of what we do is involved in the measurement aspect of both electrical and natural gas usage. Thus, being involved relative to measurement in the electrical and gas business in Canada, we must follow specific standards, which are laid down by Measurement Canada, a department of the Federal Government. Measurement Canada also checks scales in stores and pumps at gas stations, all to ensure that the customers are getting what they pay for. The test results are compared to the standards set by the government.

Our God has established standards, which His people must be measured against. In Rev. 11:1, John is told not only to measure the temple, but also those who worship there. Since we have been called of God to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23), that measurement is on us, today. We need to ask ourselves, how are we measuring up?

In Eph. 4: 11-13, we find the reasons why God gave different offices or positions in the Church. Notice the reasons in verse 13, “…till we come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the MEASURE of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

What we are to measure up to is Christ. He is the standard against which we are measured. Now it’s obvious that without God’s help and power through the Holy Spirit we would fail in this endeavor, but we have Christ in our corner to help us achieve that goal. God also gave us His laws as a guide or rulebook to follow in our task of measuring up to the stature of Christ.

We can be grateful to God for not only setting the goal for us, but also for giving us the tools to achieve that goal.

Let’s ensure we stay close to God and keep our eyes on the goal. If we do so, we shall succeed. The promise in Heb. 13:5 is that we will not be left or forsaken, so let us in all things pertaining to our Christian lives make sure that we are “Measuring Up.”


Consider the following dictionary definition of the term imprinting: “A learning process occurring early in the life of a social animal in which a specific behavior pattern is established through association with a parent or other role model.”

Research has proven, for instance, that if baby geese hatch and the first role model they have is their surrogate human “parents,” then the geese imprint on them. They follow their human role model even if they are later exposed to adult geese.

We have unfortunately done the same thing in our human existence. We have been born into Satan’s society–the god of this age. Note what Paul stated concerning the people of this society in 2 Corinthians 4:4: “…whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

Again, Paul in addressing Christians of his day, spoke of God’s calling to salvation. In Titus 2:12, he contrasted God’s way: “…teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, and GODLY in the present age.”

We must overcome our imprinting to Satan! Satan’s pattern of living does not call upon one to live “soberly, righteously, and godly.”

God wants us to imprint on Him! (Cp Mat 5:48). To do that, He has given us His very mind and the power to do so through the gift of His Holy Spirit. In addition, He has provided a role model to assure our success in transforming the wrong imprinting human kind has yielded to. Our new pattern is Jesus Christ.

Brethren, let each of us carefully and with all diligence continue to grow in the stature and fullness of our Savior. Let us submit to the imprinting that will lead to eternal life. Finally, Paul sums up our task in Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

"To Tell The Truth"

How difficult it is for us to admit when we are wrong! How easy it is, instead, to justify our mistakes – to deny the facts; or to shade the truth; or to set forth a “multitude of words,” when we want to avoid speaking the plain and simple truth.

Many years ago, when reading about Cochise, the war chief of the Chiricahuas, I was appalled by his cruelties and murders, but, at the same time, I was impressed by his sense of honesty. In his book, “The Apache Indians,” (copyright 1938), Frank C. Lockwood quotes on pp. 111-112 a conversation between Cochise and his white blood brother and Indian agent, Thomas Jeffords: “‘The following will illustrate a point in Cochise’s character: He said to me once, ‘Chickasaw [i.e., Brother], a man should never lie.’ I replied: ‘No, he should not, but a great many do.’ He said: ‘That is true, but they need not do it; if a man asks you or I a question we do not wish to answer, we could simply say, I don’t want to talk about that.'”

When I read this statement for the first time, I wondered how an unconverted so-called “heathen” could know or appreciate, what many professing “Christians” seemed to have forgotten. And then I began to ask myself, What about true Christians? Are we always willing not to lie – no matter what the consequences?

Do we always know, and live by that knowledge, that “no lie is of the truth.” (1 John 2:21)? Following the living God, we must become perfect as He is perfect – and God’s perfect and holy will and character make it impossible for God to lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; Numbers 23:19).

Lies can appear in many different forms and shapes. They can be blatant denials of guilt, as was the case with Adam and Eve; or they can be more subtle. Abraham claimed that his wife Sarah was his sister (Genesis 20:2). This claim was partially true, as Sarah was indeed his half-sister (Genesis 20:9-13) – but since Abraham made the statement to deceive Abimelech, it was a complete lie.

Whenever we lie, we follow Satan’s lead (John 8:44). Unless we repent of lying, unless we stop lying and change, we will end up in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8; 22:15). God wants us to be true, honest and sincere. We must put away lying, and speak the truth with our neighbor (cp. Ephesians 4:25). Our words must be as good as gold – better than any written, notarized, sealed and delivered contract could ever be. We don’t need to verify the truthfulness of our words with an oath (James 5:12), as people will know, in time, that our words are true. They will be able to rely on us — they will know that when we say that we will do something, we will do it (cp. Psalm 15:4). Rather than being forgetful hearers, we will be known as doers of God’s work (cp. James 1:25). There is never a need to lie. We don’t have to say everything that we know – but everything that we say must be true.

"What the Holy Spirit Means to Us"

Historically, Pentecost was when the Church of God had its beginning, complete with signs and wonders and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. For us in the Church, the receiving of the Holy Spirit occurred at our baptism. We had hands laid upon us and if we fulfilled the requirements, we received the Holy Spirit. We read about the beginning of the Church in Acts 2.

Just what does the Holy Spirit do for a person who receives it?

We are told in John 16:13 that the Spirit will guide us into ALL truth and tell us things to come. What God is revealing to us through John is that His Spirit helps us to understand the Bible since the truth is God’s word. We also see things in the Bible we never understood before. God’s word becomes alive — a guide for our Christian living.
God also promises us through John that the Spirit will tell us “things to come,” in other words, our minds will comprehend biblical prophesies which we may not have understood before. God’s Spirit also gives us a sound mind. In John 16: 7, the Spirit is referred to as a “helper.” A helper assists us in completing a task or a job. A helper does not push, cajole or force us, but rather encourages, advises and assists us in the accomplishment of our goals. This is how the Spirit works in our lives, acting as an encouraging and helping force to do the will of God, and not our own.

With the gift of the Spirit to us, we become begotten children of God and thus if we remain faithful to the end, we will be partakers of the resurrection to eternal life (1 Cor 15:51-52), and we will rule with Christ in the Millennium (Rev 5:10; Rev. 20:4) and for all eternity (Rev. 22:5).

Let us be grateful to our God for giving us Pentecost as a reminder of our heritage and our future as kings and priests in the world tomorrow.

"And Satan Came"

As we approach the Feast of Pentecost, we are encouraged because we are reminded of all God has done for His people on this day, down through history.

The Ten Commandments were spoken by God to His chosen people on the day of Pentecost — a law, which defined sin and distinguished right from wrong — a standard to live by.

God gave His Spirit of Power to His Church on that first Pentecost following the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, whereby, it would be possible for those God calls, to live by that standard He had established.

And, God established the New Testament Church on the day of Pentecost, at that same time, so that people of like mind could assemble together as a help to one another as they worked toward the goals established by the Almighty.

We are thankful for these wonderful gifts from our Father.

However, there is a god of this world. His purpose is totally contrary to God and His perfect Way of Life. And, he injects himself into the lives of those God has called, with the express purpose of thwarting the plans God has established.

In Genesis 3: 1-4, we see Satan as he came to Eve in the garden. Through his lies, he convinced Eve to go contrary to God’s Way, thus causing her to reject God’s Spirit (Genesis 3: 24). Satan has not changed his ways. He has been able to influence mankind throughout man’s generations.

In Job 1: 6, we read that Satan came among the angels of God, as they presented themselves before the Lord. His express purpose was to attack and destroy God’s servant, Job, whom God described as “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and shuns evil” (Verse 8).

To add to our problem of having to deal with this spirit being, we are told he is a liar (John 8: 44) and that he walks contrary to our calling (Ephesians 2: 1-3). Yet, he transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor 11: 14). He is our enemy.

We must become even more cognizant of his strategies and of his tactics, since we are living in the end-time. We are warned in 1 Peter 5: 8, to “be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Our admonition in James 4: 7, is to “Submit to God and resist the devil.” We must draw near to God (James 4: 8). And we must hold fast, as Paul instructed Titus, to “the faithful word” we have been taught, “that we may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict, those who contradict (Titus 1: 9).”

If we do these things, God tells us in 1 Peter 5: 6, that “He will exalt us in due time.”

Let us keep these things in mind as we approach this season and realize that we have the power to overcome Satan and those who walk in his way, if we will obey our God and stay close to Him.

"The Times We Live In"

Today’s newspapers, magazines, television, movies–ALL MEDIA–continue to herald the debauchery and madness that has set in as a kind of world disease.

However, the precious few people who both know the true way to live and still hold to those practices that please God must remain alert to the forewarning we all have been given about these last days. As we each “plug in” for the latest world events, let’s also be constantly reminded of the kind of society in which we now live.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 reads, “But KNOW THIS, that in the LAST DAYS perilous times (times of stress) will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving (irreconcilable), slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And FROM SUCH PEOPLE TURN AWAY!”

These words from almost two thousand years ago accurately describe this age and this generation. Christians have long understood that these very troublesome times will come to an end when Jesus Christ returns to establish the Kingdom of unending peace and happiness–the Kingdom of God! Then, and ONLY THEN, will these prophesied headlines for today give way to the promised GOOD NEWS of God’s majestic Kingdom.

Let us all continue to watch as we are admonished (Luke 21:36). And let us also do so with great confidence and eagerness, because we know with complete certainty that both we and this world really do have a future and a hope!

"Be Converted (A Lifelong Process)"

If we lost the use of our dominant hand through an accident, we would be forced to change and learn to use the remaining good hand. That wouldn’t be easy, but it would be possible. If we lost our home through some disaster, we would have to build anew.

Again, even though this would be terribly upsetting, this is something we could do. Finally, even if our whole world was turned upside down such as happened to Job, we could still start over and carry on.

In a very true sense, all of the above and more has happened to each one of us who have been called to conversion. Our walk in this world, in this age, has been dramatically altered. We must never allow ourselves to grow dull and lethargic in this new pattern of living and learning.

Each year at Pentecost we are reminded of our calling. As we once again approach that special time for this current year, let’s consider those momentous challenges we accepted at God’s calling. In Acts 3:19 we found our first steps with these words from Peter, ” ‘Repent therefore and be converted…’ ” In our zeal of “first love” we embraced these commands with conviction and commitment.

Now, most of us find ourselves well along the path of our calling with much personal history of our Christianity already written. Another insightful directive in this process of our change was taught by Paul in Acts 26:20, in which he taught that all “…should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” Where do we find ourselves, now? Have we changed? Are we converted to God’s way of life–still growing vibrantly after all these years with “works befitting repentance”?

Brethren, being called now is not easy. The proof of that is measured against how much we have changed. Central to the meaning of conversion is being changed into a different form or state. Christ told those willing to hear that humanity faced an almost impossible challenge when He said, ” ‘Therefore you shall be PERFECT, just as your Father in heaven is PERFECT.’ ” (Matthew 5:48).

For certain, we must remember and always consider the awesome and ongoing challenge we face in the conversion process. However, let us also thankfully rejoice that our Father in Heaven has given us of His Holy Spirit so that we can become what He desires of us–converted, sons and daughters of the Living God!

"Right Kind of Balance"

How balanced are we – including in our approach to God’s truth? The Bible warns against extremes. Solomon cautions us in Ecclesiastes 7:16-17, “Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, Nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time?”

During the many years in the Church, I have seen people jump from one extreme to the other. Some of those who seemed to be extremely conservative turned out to be extremely liberal. They did not really change – all they did was to replace one extreme with another.

The Bible encourages us to hold fast to the truth that we have (cp. Revelation 3:11; Jude 3), and, at the same time, to increase in God’s knowledge of the truth (cp. 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:13). To be complacent with what we got (cp. Revelation 3:17) – thereby resisting the acceptance of newly revealed understanding – is as wrong as rejecting the truth that has been delivered to us (cp. 2 Peter 2:15, 21; 3:17). And, if we have rejected aspects of God’s truth, we must return to it. We are told in Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.'”

We will be celebrating Pentecost in a very few weeks, reminding us that we have received God’s Holy Spirit. It is God’s Spirit that leads us into all truth (John 16:13) – showing that we do not have all of it yet. Even the apostle Paul said, prior to his death, that “now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Jesus came to teach us new understanding – He came to exalt the law and make it more honorable (cp. Isaiah 42:21), showing us how we need to keep it, not just in the letter, but also in the spirit. He knew that some would resist that new understanding. It takes time to let God’s truth sink in – and some are unwilling to do that. Notice Luke 5:37-39, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. AND NO ONE, HAVING DRUNK OLD WINE, IMMEDIATELY DESIRES NEW; FOR HE SAYS, ‘THE OLD IS BETTER.'”

Some went so far as not to even follow Christ any more when they could not understand aspects of the teaching that He brought (cp. John 6:53-60, 66). We must never make the same mistake of ceasing to follow Christ when He, through the Holy Spirit, reveals new aspects of the truth to us.

A balanced person will be able to combine “the old” with “the new,” seeing how it all fits together. Christ said in Matthew 13:52, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Let’s continue to do so.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God