Can you imagine what it would be like to attend a congregation where everyone agreed to take their complaints against each other to the congregation and accept their decision? Wouldn’t this be a good example for the world to see? Paul says we should be able to judge the trivial things ourselves. Anything short of salvation is trivial. Why do we ask the world to judge between us? Is it ego, greed, or revenge? Since we have access to heavenly wisdom, who could be wiser in judging than God’s children? We are all one family, the family of God. For us to ask the world to settle our disputes is somewhat like hanging out the family’s dirty laundry. The world is probably never going to recommend that we just forgive each other and move along since they look on humility and meekness with scorn. But that is exactly what the Holy Spirit recommends for members of the body.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.—Eph. 4:31-32 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.—Gal. 3:15-18 (NIV)
Just as Jesus used everyday examples to teach, Paul does the same thing here. Everyone who had ever made a purchase of home or land, easily understood that once the transaction had been completed and witnessed, it became a legal contract. While contracts and covenants are both legal and binding, the big difference in the two is this; A contract is valid only as long as both parties do what they have bound themselves to do while a covenant is binding on one party even if the other party fails to keep their end of the deal. So, since God knew man would not keep up his end, He made a covenant that bound Him regardless of what man did. Once God made the covenant promises to Abraham, God was bound by His own word to keep it forever. Nothing man did or does or will do can change God’s plan. He was faithful to Israel even though they failed Him time after time. The new covenant is not a change in God’s plan, it was decided on long before the foundations of the world were laid. Under the new covenant, God is faithful to all who receive Jesus as Savior, even though, we, like Israel fail Him time after time, He is bound by His own Word to remain faithful to us.
17 I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near—a star shall come out of Jacob,
and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the borderlands of Moab,
and the territory of all the Shethites. Numbers 24:17 (NRSV)
This would have been a strange prophecy for the Israelites to hear. This was a conformation of the prophecy in Gen 49:10 that the scepter would never depart from between Judah’s feet. All priests were to be of the tribe of Levi and Jacob was of the tribe of Judah. How could a priest rise out of the tribe of Judah? But God had a plan that would not violate the laws that He had handed down. When the scepter rose out of Israel, there would be a change in the way people were to worship God. This is explained further in Hebrews. 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 Now the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 It is even more obvious when another priest arises, resembling Melchizedek, 16 one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life.–Hebrews 7:12-15 (NRSV)
So, we see that while the priesthood of the Levites was established by the law, the priesthood of Jesus was established through the power of an indestructible life that could only be from the Creator. It was decided before the earth was formed. Jesus would be the final and perfect blood sacrifice for all the sin of the world. He was not, can not, and will not be destroyed or defeated. What Adam gave up in Eden, Jesus took back with His death and resurrection.
Now, we celebrate His birth, but that truly was just the beginning.