Four Steps to Covenant Faith
By Apostle Eric vonAnderseck
God uses the apostle’s calling to set order to the steps of conversion that are to be followed to bring a person into covenant with God. God then uses the apostles’ office to ensure that proper discipleship follows.
What we have seen in the absence of the apostle’s calling is people not building faith from the foundation. A believer doesn’t know how to start from the foundation and that means that confusion will follow as we’re going to see in a question that was recently posed that I’m going to share with you.
I chose to share this question because it is typical of the plight believers find themselves in when not building from the foundation of truth. The questions they have, no matter what they are, reveal the same chaos of faith taking place when knowledge is not set in order.
Question: “Apostle I am a little confused sealing of those ordained is the inward work of the Spirit now which u endorse illuminated r sealed or sealed r illuminated ?? One portion of the scripture comes in my spirit is Rom 1: 16b and 17 --- it is the power of God unto salvation --- for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written " the just shall Live by Faith." Sin caused Jesus death God punished His own Son in our place he bore our sins now God can be just and merciful at the same time Rom 3:26 cause of justification has two causes, the meritorious cause and the instrumental cause meritorious is the person and work of Jesus Christ His Life and death.”
I welcome your questions and don't want you to feel embarrased to ask them. We’re going to work from the foundation up to set order to your faith. Confusion is quite understandable. It is quite normal for wilderness believers who have not been properly discipled to not know the basics of the Christian faith.
Now that God has restored the apostles’ office to the church and transition is taking place back to the covenant of Jesus Christ, you’ll see Christian leaders calling for “revival” to distract the church, and you’ll see them scrambling to provide discipleship tools and resources. The problem is that these are the same tools and resources that led the Body of Christ in circles and kept believers in bondage to the flesh. God does not want those errors repeated.
Some will object saying, “We don’t need new doctrine.” But the doctrine of Christ, while seemingly new to wilderness believers who have not had the foundation of truth set within their hearts, is not new. It is the same foundation of truth taught by the early apostles and now restored to the church today.
The Elements of the Gospel Need to be Set in Order
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Reading the question again, you’ll see that 5 of the 12 elements of the gospel are present, but they’re not set in order. Grace (illumination) is present, faith is present, righteousness is present, justification is present, sanctification (the seal) is present – these elements are all present, but they’re not set in order in the way God designed for them function. That’s why they’re flowing with the natural of man rather than flowing with the Spirit of God. You can see that in how Jesus is presented as our substitute rather than the propitiating sacrifice for sin.
This means that faith is working from the natural man out instead of from the foundation of truth. The natural man initiates a one sided relationship with God based on his needs, desires, and logic apart from the covenant. Sin, still working in the members of the flesh, still finds a voice.
In that discipleship never took place, his reciting of the elements in a haphazard way shows his lack of experience with them. When true discipleship takes place, the first thing that happens is that the foundation of truth is set in the heart. You must learn the basics to begin building a strong faith.
Speaking From Scripture or From the Foundation of Truth
You’ll notice that everyone can speak from the scriptures, trying to sound analytical and scholastic . That is, to quote a scripture and talk about what you think that might mean. In this one question, we’ve got sin, righteousness, grace, faith and justification all wrapped up in a tangled ball of string.
If you have ever untangled a ball of string, you know that the temptation is to yank and pull at each thread, but you know that only makes it worse.
In the current Christian culture (believers lost in the wilderness), discipleship meant that each believer recognized they were in the same boat of ignorance, each trying to hear what the Holy Spirit was saying to them about this verse or that verse. Each yanking and pulling on the same string in different directions.
Each believer was trying to understand the will of God. What is truth? How do I serve God? How do I overcome sin? Where is the power of the Spirit? How do I worship God? What does it mean to be strong in faith?
These questions are not the result of a strong foundation, but the lack of the one foundation of truth that comes from the master builder – the apostle. The fact that these questions remain the center of faith means that each person has to work hard to untangle the hopelessly gnarled and twisted ball of string.
This lack of instruction from the apostle’s office and free-for-all approach to truth was the very reason why many resigned themselves to believing that truth did not matter. Instead of building faith from the foundation, they invested heavily into a one-sided relationship with Jesus, making that the center of their faith. It felt good, but it wasn’t God.
God hadn’t meant for Christianity to be like that, but assigned apostles to instruct the church to follow the 4 steps of conversion and then to disciple believers in the faith by teaching the basics – laying the grounds for faith in the covenant – teaching believers how faith is to labor with the tools of the covenant Jesus sanctified in His blood – teaching them how to use the gifts of the Spirit – teaching them to fight the good fight of faith.
When the foundation of truth is not properly laid within the heart, believers are battling against the devil on the battlefield of the flesh. It is now time to build from the foundation up.
There are 4 Steps to Covenant Faith
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“And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the STEPS of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.” (Romans 4:12)
Abraham is called “the father of faith” because God uses him as the example and pattern of faith that the church is to follow (Rom.4: 11,16; Jn.8:39; Gal.3:7; Jas.2:23). The pattern of faith that Abraham set for us follows this course: GRACE, FAITH, RIGHTEOUSNESS, and THE SEAL.
GRACE: God made Himself known to Abraham to establish a covenant with him (Gen esis chapter 12, 15, 17). God reveals, makes known, and illuminates, to join man to Himself through a covenant.
FAITH: Abraham demonstrated faith in God by obeying God. He yielded his mind, emotions, and actions to the revealed will of God (Genesis 26:5; Heb.11:8). This is why grace is given, to draw faith from the heart.
RIGHTEOUSNESS: Having met the standard that God set for his obedience, Abraham was declared righteous. The covenant that God established with Abraham must now be sealed. This seals the righteousness of Abraham's faith.
THE SEAL: Genesis 17:11: "And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a TOKEN (sign, seal) of the covenant between Me and you."
Romans 4:11: "And he (Abraham) received the sign of circumcision, a SEAL of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe..."
Although this token in the flesh seemed foolish, circumcision as the sign or seal of Abraham's faith was not optional, but a commandment meant to be obeyed. Abraham is called “the father of faith” because God uses this same pattern of grace, faith, righteousness and the seal to bring us into covenant with Him.
GRACE: God’s revelation is Jesus Christ. He is the Saviour of the world. God reveals to the sinner the purpose of the redemptive work of Christ. This communication of grace brings illumination and enlightenment, awakening the sinner, "By grace are you saved through faith," Eph.2:8.
FAITH: Just like Abraham, we must obey the grace of God; there must be a yielding of the heart. When the grace of God is present, the sinner can say as Peter, “Thou art the Christ.” To which Jesus replied, “Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father which is in heaven.,” Mt.16:17. The grace of God birthed faith in the heart.
RIGHTEOUSNESS: Having met God's standard of acceptance (which is obedience to grace), the sinner is declared righteous. The sinner demonstrated faith by yielding to the revelation of Jesus Christ, accepting the testimony of Jesus Christ to be true, repented of sin, and agreed to the terms of the covenant.
Just as God sealed the righteousness of Abraham’s faith and brought him into covenant, God must also seal the righteousness of the faith of the sinner and bring him into covenant.
THE SEAL: God uses the Holy Spirit to seal our faith. This seal is called, “The baptism of the Holy Spirit.” The primary purpose for God using the Holy Spirit to seal our faith is to bring us into covenant with Him.
Many people DO believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, yet their faith is NOT sealed and they are NOT brought into covenant with God. They follow the pattern God set through Abraham in grace, faith, and righteousness, yet not the seal.
Therefore they are unconverted believers. The power they felt in the grace of God to bring them to repentance soon dissipates and they soon begin to look for purpose in their life.
God engrafts the Holy Spirit within the heart of the repentant sinner to separatehim from the world unto Himself. When we are brought into covenant with God, we find purpose through faith that never grows old because the Spirit makes it new each day.
The faith of the repentant sinner needs to be JOINED to God through covenant. The covenant is designed for service. When sinners do not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit after repentance and confession of faith in Jesus Christ, they don’t know how to serve God and begin to look for the will of God because they don’t sense that connection to God.
Let’s read Ezek. 20:40: “For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, SERVE me: there will I ACCEPT them, and there will I REQUIRE your offerings, and the first fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.”
God always requires those who love Him to also serve Him. The service must be accepted of God, and this is why God grants the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If our faith is not sealed, if we are not joined to God in covenant through the engrafting of the Spirit in us, we are not separated from the world, and we cannot serve God acceptably.
It’s through CONTACT that we experience these things:
A. God tests our faith
B. God establishes relationship
C. God receives fruit
D. We gain trust
E. We are brought into God’s care
F. We are preserved in His framework
G. We experience the circumcision of the heart
God designed the baptism of the Holy Spirit for covenant contact. Without this contact believers begin to feel as if something is missing in their faith.
SEAL / CIRCUMCISE / TOKEN
God uses the baptism of the Holy Spirit to seal our faith and circumcise our heart. Romans 2:29: "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit…”
We read in Colossians 2:11: "In whom also you are circumcisedwith the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." God circumcises the heart, cutting away the sins of the flesh, through the Spirit. When believers are not baptized with the Holy Spirit they don’t experience this separation of the flesh by the Spirit and fail to gain victory over sin.
2 Corinthians 1:22: "Who has also sealedus, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."
2 Corinthians 5:5: "Now He that has made us for this selfsame thing is God, who has also given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."
Ephesians 4:30: "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealedunto the day of redemption."
God told Abraham that circumcision was a token; and God wrote through the apostles that circumcision was a seal. What do the words “token” and “seal” mean?
TOKEN: (Webster) A signal as a flag, beacon, monument, evidence, mark, sign.
SEAL: (Gr.) A private mark which protects from misappropriation. To stamp with a signet or private mark for security or preservation or to attest as genuine. (Webster) That which effectually shuts or secures.
A seal or token is a private mark from God that effectually shuts or secures the provisions and promises of God's covenant to us; it attests to our faith as being genuine and becomes the means for God to protect us from what is not of Him.
In Abraham's case the outward circumcision of the flesh was a private mark, a sign which indicated a covenant had been established. This private mark stamped Abraham's faith as genuine. It took an act of obedience for Abraham to circumcise the flesh, and this act showed that Abraham was serious about his faith in God, serious about keeping covenant with God.
Acts 7:8: "And He (God) gave him (Abraham) the covenant of circumcision..."
As God provided physical circumcision for Abraham to enter into covenant, God also provided spiritual circumcision for us to enter into covenant with Him. Circumcision provided a way for God to mark His people, separate them, and set them apart from the rest of the world.”
Under the New Covenant of Christ, God gives the seal to a believer by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (the inner circumcision of the heart) to provide the token of our faith. In the case of the New Testament believer, the inner circumcision of the heart is the private mark or sign indicating covenant has been established; this private mark stamps our faith as being genuine.
It takes an act of obedience on our part to receive this token from God. Therefore, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is given to all those who OBEY Him (Acts 5:32). This is the point of sanctification God identifies.
Sanctification: The act of God separating the believer from the world unto Himself.
Sanctification: That soul is being brought into God's care through contact.
Sanctification: The believer’s destiny is being governed by His presence.
Many believers have accepted the testimony of Christ, however they are not sealed with the Spirit. These believers feel an inner void because they have not been brought into God’s care through contact. They feel a sense that they have lost direction because their destiny is not being governed by His presence. After they believed, they were not sealed.
This is what we read in Ephesians 1:13, "...AFTER you believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." This gift was given to indwell a believer AFTER he had repented of sins, AFTER he had believed Jesus to be the Son of God the Saviour of the world, and AFTER he had accepted the testimony of Jesus Christ and agreed to the terms of the covenant.
AFTER believing we are to be sealed with the Holy Spirit; this means that a believer is to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. When God baptizes a believer with the Holy Ghost (witnessed by tongues) these things are taking place:
1. The believer is separated from the world and brought into covenant with God in order to serve Him.
Heb.8:6: “But now hath he (Jesus) obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
2. The believer is now born again. When God places His Spirit into a believer, He is causing a spiritual rebirth.
John 3:6, 7: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
3. The believer, being born of God, is now a child of God (the adoption).
Romans 8:15: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
Galatians 4:5: “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
Ephesians 1:5: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
4. The believer is given an eternal inheritance.
Ephesians 1:13,14: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
5. The believer is baptized into the Body of Christ (to function in the priesthood).
1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
[Eric vonAnderseck serves the Body of Christ as a confirmed Apostle in the government of God. He is the founder of Second 8th Week Ministries & founder of the Network of Apostles Today. He is the IDCCST® Christian Education Curriculum author and author of over 100 ground breaking books and articles, spearingheading the return of the apostolic calling and anointing to the church.
Apostle Eric ministers extensively nationally and internationally. He is the pioneer of the new apostolic age and recognized as the leading authority in the fields of church growth, foundation building, spiritual gifts and spiritual warfare, and the leading voice in the transition of the church into the new apostolic season and reformation.]
Last Revised: 2016-06-19