“Let you conversation be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have, for He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
It would be easy to conclude that this is a passage of exhortations and admonitions wherewith we may scrutinize each others lives and help remove those most obtrusive beams from another’s eyes. We may look for areas of covetousness in our lives and work diligently to over come them and find the victory and present ourselves as good stewards living the victorious christian life. But such is a lie.
Covetousness is a characteristic of the nature of the flesh. It is the love of wealth, money, fame and prominence which every child of Adam lusts after continually. It is the way of the world and as primal to the earth as the dust from whence Adam was formed. This is not an exhortation to ‘clean up your natural man’ but rather and acknowledgment of the warfare of the flesh against the Spirit.
The chapter begins with “Let brotherly love continue”. This is the second commandment (which is like unto the first) and is not a right of passage into the family but an identifier of the family members. If the love of the Father is within, then one is a child of grace. And if the same everlasting love abides in brethren then do they love one another. Not according to the attributes of the flesh or the accomplishments of the arm of man, but because He first loved them and gave Himself for them. By this all men shall know that these are disciples of Christ because they have love one for another. No one who is not born from above can possess this love, though many support a cheap facsimile filled with shallow praise and ulterior motives, and no thought word or deed of the flesh can promote, enhance or deter this love. It is not of this world and with all his natural abilities, Adam cannot prevent it for it is based upon the eternal vital unity between the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and the seed. Thine they were and thou hast given them unto me, and I have lost none but have raised them up in the last days.
So it is when the writer said, “Let you manner of life be without averace”. If this were of the flesh then there should be nothing but want and desire for the things of this world, for the flesh desires the things of it’s origin and is sustained by the dust of the earth. But since this is the personification of the love of the brethren, then there shall be no envy of the persons, possessions or station in life which God has assigned His people. “Thou shalt not covet” means “There shall be no discord in the pasture”. Each one has been assigned a time of habitation in a perfectly designed earthen vessel, with a labour to perform, trial to encounter, temptations to endure and chastisement to receive from the hand of He who worketh all things after the good pleasure of His most Holy will. Shall the hand be envious of the eye because he is not the eye? And if we were all eyes, wherewith shall we stand having no feet? All the elect family is the body of Christ yet they are members in particular, each with a specific duty assigned to them which they perform without possibility of failure according to the determinate counsel of His will. There can be no covetousness of the members of the pasture because He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”.
This is not, as I was told so many time while growing up, ‘don’t do that ‘cause Jesus is watching’ or ‘when you tell a lie God hears you’ or ‘if Jesus was with you would you be doing that?’ and many other self righteous comments designed to coerce one into obedience. This means that the fullness of the Godhead, Father, Son and Spirit, dwells in the child of grace and nothing can ever separate them from each other. Let the Trinitarians divide the Godhead into three separate persons each with distinct functions and identities and you will be able to find a way in which the children could be separated from the Godhead. Christ said, “I and the Father are one” and since they cannot be divided neither can the children be removed from the everlasting love of the Father and His covenant of mercy. Nothing in all of creation can come between the purpose of God, according to election, and the subjects of His grace any more than any agent other brought them together. He is the Everlasting Father and they are the seed that shall serve Him and be accounted as a generation.
“That we may boldly say” not of ourselves or of the works of our hands or by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His immutability, “Jehovah is my help and I will not fear what man shall do unto me”. We do fear after the flesh for it is our nature and just as the dog returns unto the vomit, we are fearful and uncertain in Adam. God has decreed that men shall do things to His people just as what happened to Paul when he was assigned labours more abundantly, stripes above measure, in prison more frequently and in deaths often. Five time receiving 39 stripes of the Jews, thrice beaten with rods, only once stoned, thrice suffering shipwreck and spending a night and a day in the deep. Journeying often in perilous waters and being robbed of his own countrymen and strangers, in the cities and in the wilderness, at sea and among false brethren he was weary, painful, watching often, naked, cold, hungry, thirsty and often without food. And beside all these things from without the daily care for the churches was set on him, yet his contentment and sufficiency was that his God never left him to his own strength or devices and was an ever present help in time of need. Therefore he did not fear what man would do to him, though the hand of God had ordained it to be done and had prepared those wicked hands to do it and therein did he rejoice in his infirmities.
Stand fast dear one and see the hand of our God. He has not left His people unarmed and defenseless for He shall fight for us. Even though the wicked hands of men shall do many things to His children in the fulfillment of His will yet do we know that we wrestle not against flesh and blood and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. He has gone forth conquering and to conquer and has overcome all. He is seated in the heavens and is our surety of His faithfulness. As the wind and the waves cause our flesh to quake and fear we know that He dwells with His children even unto the ends of the world.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
February 20, 2011