Covenantal Presence

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The apostle tells us that all the Jews in the wilderness drank the same spiritual drink. They all drank from the same spiritual Rock that followed them, the Rock that was Christ.

But with many, he says, God was not pleased. They were overthrown in the wilderness. In the same way, certain members of the church at Corinth were overthrown in their wilderness, and did not enter into the promised land of the Christian aeon. They came up out of Egypt, but died in the forty years between the crucifixion of Christ and the destruction of the old Jerusalem. They did not enter in because of unbelief. But the fact they did not enter in to the promised land did not keep them from communing with Christ in the wilderness. They did commune with Him in their unbelief, just as the Jews had done in a type.

When we look at the Jews in the wilderness and the Corinthians in their wilderness, we want to draw a contrast — everything must be different in the new covenant, we say — but Paul teaches that in this respect, everything is the same.

And so we reason by analogy to a third set of circumstances. The bread from heaven was Christ, but so was the bread of the land, so was the milk and honey.

This is our situation. Everyone in this room who partakes of the bread and the wine partakes of the same bread and the same wine. Christ is not present for the one who has faith, but absent from the one who does not have faith. Rather, He is present covenantally for both. His covenant presence is an enormous, glorious blessing for those who come in simple child-like faith. His presence is terrible for those who trifle with Him, and think that He does not see.

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