Saturday, 29 August 2009

Living in a patchwork covenant?

Changing the mind-set is a process rather than the result of a single flash of light. The famous Ironebridge in Shropshire, UK was opened on New Year's Day in 1781, the Iron Bridge was the first arch bridge in the world to be made of cast iron. Architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard commissioned Abraham Darby III, an ironmaster working at Coalbrookdale in the gorge, to cast and build the bridge over the river Severn, which had until then been crossed by ferry. The construction had no precedent, so Pritchard, whose background was in joinery, based the design on carpentry, with joints including mortise and tenon, and blind dovetail.
Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
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iron 'dovetail' joints

Pritchard had a whole new discovery at his feet but initially he was stuck in the mind-set of a previous era. Don't mock him, it happens to Christians all the time. It has sometimes been the habit for preachers to deride the slowness of Peter and the early disciples to 'follow through' in the implications of a New Covenant, but how many who mock Peter are still building iron bridges with dove-tail joints?

One of the great cures for this phenomena is a careful reading and re-reading of the letter to the Hebrews. The New Covenant is not, according to this letter, transition but replacement; then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. Heb 10:9. It is a theme which begins in Chapter 7; there has been 'a change in the priesthood'; Heb 7:12 and the law was a function of the priesthood in the same way that the priesthood was a function of the law; Heb 7:11. The result is that the 'first' or 'earlier' commandment has been 'set aside' as in Heb 7:18.

The New Covenant is not the next step in a kind of evolution of truth but a brand new beginning. It is not a new patch added to an old garment. To live it to its full purpose we shall need to 'set aside' all the 'dovetail joints' of our previous religious experiences and trust the Mediator of this New Covenant to do 'a new thing'. Is 43:18-19

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