Covenants and Repentance
NCW 25, November 1995
Q. If a person decides to leave one of the degrees in the temple and so remove himself from the covenants, does that person cease to be bound by the covenants?
Once you become aware of a truth through hearing the Word, and this truth reveals a fault in your nature, sin conceives and you are guilty. That guilt remains until it is repented of. If can be suppressed or buried in the subconscious but it will always resurface at some time in the future, and frequently with a vengeance.
Covenants have two aspects -- a covenant with God and a covenant with the Body. If a person falls out of a temple degree by transgression or by choice, that person is no longer bound by covenants to the Body, or Church. However, a covenant entered into with God is eternally binding and cannot be ended without committing the unpardonable sin. It can be broken, by the one covenanting failing to live up to his promises, but unless the Lord personally abrogates the covenant, that covenant stands. That means that the guilt associated with breaking a covenant remains in either the conscience or the subconscience.
It is a great mistake to believe that by simply falling out of the Holy Order a person is no longer accountable in his heart. One remains accountable to the Lord. The same is true of baptismal covenants into NCCG. There are some who, having fallen out of the temple but who remain in NCCG, erroneously believe they are no longer under covenant. This is not so. The baptismal covenant, which is to take upon oneself the Name of Christ and be obedient to His commandments, is the greatest covenant of all. Every covenant in the temple is but an amplification of the baptismal covenants.
If a person falls out of a covenant because they do not understand it, then they are not, of course, accountable. It is only when understanding comes -- which is a gift of the Holy Spirit -- that accountability comes into existence. It may be that a person is genuinely incapable of living a covenant at a particular point in time in which case that person is also unaccountable. But if a person withdraws from a covenant, understanding it, and are capable of living it, then he is accountable.
The Lord calls no person into any covenant they cannot keep. Sanctification is a gradual process requiring much time and patient spiritual labour. It comes about as we understand a principle and are obedient to it. If we understand and are disobedient, then the Spirit withdraws, we suffer guilt and pain, until our understanding is lost. Once the understanding is lost, then accountability disappears also. Our punishment is to live on a lower level of light where we can either remain or, if we choose, repent and ask the Lord to bring back to remembrance what we understood before. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to bring such things back to our remembrance. To obtain that which we once lost requires much will-power and determination -- God will not reveal something to us which we are insincere about living to the full. This He does out of loving kindness, so that we do not condemn ourselves to more pain and suffering. Thus, for mercy's sake, He keeps the ignorant in ignorance until they are willing to work a real repentance. This is also in part to enable them to work within the areas they are conscious of and understand. If they were to suffer in areas they could not work with, they would be unable to make progress in the areas they could because the pain would be a constant distraction. There is therefore always something we can be doing in order to grow and we can never say that there is nothing we can do.
This page was created on 2 May 1998
Last updated on 2 May 1998
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