Apostle Peter in his last days (2Peter 1), seemed to have known before hand of his soon to be ‘departure’. Just like Apostle Paul in his last letter of (2Timothy 4:6) he knew the time of his death was near. I believe we all who walked with Christ closely will also know before hand, when our time of ‘departure’ draws near.
2Pet 1:12-14 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the PRESENT TRUTH. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.
Peter was saying that he was about to leave his body and his brothers and sisters, to be with Jesus soon, and before he left them, he wanted to remind all of them that they must always be established in the Present Truth, which is the Truth that is prevailing or presently in effect.
What is this Present Truth? It is the Truth that they Now have, Not the past Truth Nor the Future Truth. It is the prevailing Covenant we have with God, which is the New Covenant of Grace.
To illustrate this well, I will bring out only 3 major covenants for illustration purpose only. 1) Adamic Covenant. 2) Old Covenant of Law. 3) New Covenant of Grace. First, Let me bring you far back to the time of Adam and Eve. What was the ‘Present Truth’ then?
Gen 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
So, if I were to live during the era of Adam & Eve, lets assume Adam & Eve did not eat from that forbidden tree. His descendants are still living healthy and strong, thousands of years because they were created immortal; what would I teach as a pastor of a church during that era?
I would teach the Present Truth that is prevailing: “You can FREELY eat from every tree in the garden, but Do not eat from just one Tree”.
I would probably teach:
1) How Generous and Gracious God is to have given Everything He had created.
2) How to avoid eating from the forbidden Tree. I teach them various ways to avoid the Tree.
I certainly could not teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because this would be the future truth. Adam and his descendants would not have known about Jesus.
But, as we know Adam & Eve failed. Thus, sins, sufferings and diseases came into this world. We all inherited this curse from Adam. That one forbidden tree is not an evil tree. It is the tree that would make Adam have to depend on himself instead of God. God knows that Adam (mankind) would not be able to take it. But the tree has to be there for the sake of Free Will. For Free Will to be Free, there should have a choice, and God has given just one choice to choose among all trees, and yet Adam failed.
Another interesting thing to note is that it is actually better for Satan to have tempted Eve to murder Adam. If Adam died then there would be no mankind at all, and Satan could have won. But it seems Satan cannot tempt beyond God’s own commandments. There was only one Commandment not to eat from the tree, and Satan could only use this one commandment to tempt Adam. Adam had caused this world to decay, and mankind to become mortal. So it was the End of Adamic Covenant.
So, we know at the foot of Sinai, God gave the Children of Israel a choice whether or not they wanted to continue with the Grace of God? Because all along from Egypt God had shown His Grace by bringing them out, and God was always so close with them by the pillar of cloud in the day, and by the pillar of fire at night, God provided freely without conditions, and with fresh provisions for every fresh complaints and murmuring of them. God dealt with them by Grace.
And yet instead of being thankful and continuing with God’s Grace and Mercy, instead of depending on God, Like the first Adam, they chose to depend on themselves, as they boasted that they could do whatever God commanded them to do. Or in another words, they were saying “God I know you have been dealing with us with Grace, you brought us out of Egypt by Grace. But, right now we think You should assess us by our obedience to Your commandments, so give us Your commandments and we will be well able to obey You”. (Exo 19:8). In another word, bless us according to our own obedience, and curse us if we fail Your commandments! That was when God’s tone changed, “Do not get near me now”. There was a distance now.
That is when the next Present Truth was established, it is the Old Covenant of Law:
If let’s say Jesus did not come to establish the New Covenant, today as a Pastor I would still be preaching about the 10th Commandments, I will illustrate every bit and pieces of the Law, what is it and How to fulfill the Law by your own Strength. Because only by the Law can you gain your Righteousness. (Righteousness by Law)
I would also teach:
1) Confession of sins. To be forgiven you ought to confess every single sin.
2) Forgiveness of sins. To be forgiven you ought to forgive others who sinned against you.
3) Circumcision. Every one must be circumcised starting with you.
4) Tithing is a mandatory Law.
I certainly could not teach about the Adamic Covenant anymore, because it would be the Past Truth. Nor could I teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it would be the Future Truth, at this point of time.
This Old Covenant is too rigid, do or die. Because the Law is Perfect but God’s people are not perfect. God knows this and therefore God found flaws in this kind of Covenant.
Heb 8:8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “BEHOLD, THE DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD, WHEN I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH—
It was not His intention to give the Law in the first place. It was the Israel’s pride and proud to enter into this Old Covenant of Law. It was God who abolished / cancelled the Old Covenant of Law (Eph 2:15)
And this is now The Present Truth:
Heb 8:10-12 FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS IN THEIR MIND AND WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
NONE OF THEM SHALL TEACH HIS NEIGHBOR, AND NONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST OF THEM TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.
FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”
Heb 8:13 In that He says, “A NEW COVENANT,” He has made the first OBSOLETE. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
God Himself that found the Old Covenant of Law to be faulty, and God Himself can abolish and make it obsolete.
What is the nature of the New Covenant? It is all by the Grace of God. God is performing every single move. These are the premises of the New Covenant:
1) God will Initiate / make the Covenant without our interference. Jesus went to the Cross first, while we were still sinners.
2) God will put the Laws of Love in our heart and mind. It is not the 10th Commandments Law anymore. It is the Holy Spirit who will guide us and lead us by His Grace and Truth. God works the desire and willingness into your heart, and we just work it out.
3) God wants to position Himself as our God and makes us His people. This means we shall not Lack anything. If you are poor, and He is your God, then you won’t be poor but will be a blessed. If you are sick and He is your God, then you won’t be sick but will be healed.
4) Every one will Know God is Love and full of Grace, intuitively from their heart because of Holy Spirit inside them.
4) God will be Merciful to our unrighteousness. He will clothes us with His Righteousness as a Gift by believing in His Son. (Righteousness by faith)
5) God will never punish our sins and our Lawless deeds anymore, because He has punished them in the body of Christ Jesus.
So what is our part here? Just to believe! It really sounds too good to be true, too good to believe it!; and many Christians are not accustomed to this Good News, because of their long years of ‘working mentality’. Truly, our part is just to believe, the New Covenant of Grace is fully based on believing (Righteousness by Faith) We only need to REST (believe) and God will do the rest.
As we believe right – we will live right and every thing will be alright.