For True National Reform
The undercurrents of American exceptionalism concurrent with the renascence of Christian Orthodoxy are now revealing a historic emphasis on covenant-thinking. In short; covenant-thinking heralds that the God who created the universe, reveals himself in history by laying down fixed laws or Covenant. God then brings predictable measurable historic results both blessings and negative sanctions in terms of these laws. The ultimate result in relation to “covenant” being the exaltation and increase of God’s people and the disinheritance of the wicked who seek their own autonomous rule apart from or against God. God dictates the terms of reconciliation and relationship in concrete terms which can be understood, are not shrouded in mystery, and that gives a positive vision of the future or national purpose and destiny under God.
It is critical to note that all covenants have external signs which ratify, seal, and bring into force the elements which are held within the covenant agreement. These holy signs and seals are the oath bearing instruments which make the covenant visible, concrete, and binding. Another term for the notion of an oath is that of sacrament.
The Sacraments purpose then is to:
- Represent and Demonstrate The God of the covenant and his promises
- Confirm our fidelity to Him
- Place a visible difference and barrier between the Church and the World
- Consecrate and mark us for service as Christ’s image-bearers.
Sacrament shows the real spiritual relation between the sign and that thing which is represented. Hence there exists a sacramental union between God, what He has promised in Word, and the one who partakes of the sacrament.
The most familiar sacrament is noted in the Passover and carried forward in history to Holy Communion.
Exodus 12:7-14. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.
First notice the sacramental union. The blood was the blood of a lamb. Yet it represented faith and obedience and the death angel passed over.
Secondly a visible difference is placed between God’s people of faith and obedience and the rebels against God or the Egyptians. Consequently we see in Exodus 12:29-36, the inheritance and disinheritance dynamic. 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, we be all dead men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
This same covenant-sacramental dynamic is brought forward in the New Testament through Christ our “Passover” through Holy Communion; I Corinthians 11:23-30 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
In these verses we see Christ’s life imparted to the faithful as the NEW TESTAMENT or covenant! Yet those who are not of faith eat and drink damnation to themselves. Again; those of faith receive and exemplify the vitality of the covenant through Christ in the oath instrument or the sacrament! The anti-covenantal are diminished even to death. The faithful over time are increased! As a national force nothing is more critical than American covenant renewal ratified in the Body and Blood of Christ or the sacramental union.
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…. Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these United States… that we then may all unite unto him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed…. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions…to promote the knowledge and practice of the true religion and virtue…. Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd of October, A.D. 1789″
Notice the covenant language of Washington’s proclamation
: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
On November 20, 1798, in his Last Will and Testament, Henry wrote:
“This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed.”
Again in leaving an “inheritance” Henry exhibits covenantal thinking and the perpetuation of the vision!
:“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever. The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not … It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world … and I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
See here the covenant thinking in terms of the relationship between ethics and economic prosperity!
Yet, without Eucharistic blessing such thinking falls short of Divine ratification. A ratification America desperately needs so as to bless the people of God and to rescue this nation from those who count the blood of Christ unholy and seek the destruction of our great land. A national Holy Communion rightly discerned will do more for our sickened country than any quick political scheme!