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What is a covenant, anyway?

black background with gold lettering spelling COVENANT and a red cross wax seal

God set up a covenant with us. Did you know that? What is a covenant, anyway? I didn't know what a covenant was growing up but now understand what it is. I understand what God has done and given to us.  Understanding the past is very important in interpreting & understanding the present and living victoriously in it as strong warrior of God. So, let's dig in! Are you ready?


First off, what is a covenant? Webster defines the word, covenant, as a "formal, solemn, and binding agreement; a written agreement between two parties, especially for the performance of some action."  So, there was something each party was to do. God has always kept his part of the covenants He has made with man but I can't say that for us. But God goes way and above for His part of the covenant, covered in the next paragraph.


God made a covenant with Adam and Eve, who broke their side of the covenant. In the covenant with Abraham, God promised that through Abraham and his descendants (Jewish nation), all the world would be blessed (Genesis 12-15). (Abraham was about 100 years old and Isaac wasn't even born yet!) Circumcision was given as a sign for every male child to show that God would be their God.  They became a set-apart people, into the beginnings of a community of true worshipers of God.  Abraham "believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness" which is why he is called the father of the faithful (Galatians 3:6-7). Abraham didn't violate the covenant to believe God and have faith.


God said in Exodus 19:5-6, and asked Moses to tell the Israelites, who were slaves at the time in Egypt, "If you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."   T.B Maston, in his book Biblical Ethics, states that "God is always the initiator of the covenant; it is not a contract between two people of equal or near-equal standing [like Webster says].  It is unilateral. GOD ALONE states the conditions of the covenant; the people could not negotiate with God about the covenant nor change its conditions.  They could either accept or reject it.  Once accepted, they could not annul it but could violate its conditions.  God alone had the power to dissolve the covenant, a power He never used.   God is revealed not only as a covenant-giving but also as a covenant-keeping God." 


Part of the Old Covenant was a promise from God to the Jewish nation who left Egypt to go to the Promised Land. This nation had been slaves in Egypt and God sent Moses to lead His people out of their bondage/slavery from the Egyptians.  God led them Himself by a pillar of clouds during the day and a pillar of fire by night. While their departure was an event worthy of writing about, we will bypass that for now to not make this post too long!   It was on the trip to the land of Canaan (the promised land) that God called Moses up to Mount Sinai and gave him the Ten Commandments that He had written on stone tablets (Exodus 24:12) and what we have today.


But, there is a New Covenant! The Old Covenant required blood sacrifices for the people's atonement of their sin. (see previous blog about blood sacrifice). This atonement never really did the job as our hearts are despicably wicked and it's our hearts that needed to change from the inside out.


There are many reasons Jesus was born to die but die He did. A perfect blood sacrifice for us. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our sins so we don't have to do penance or walk in condemnation and self-hatred. Our hearts can turn soft and pliable in His hands. We are guilty no more! I won't forget to also state that He rose from the dead, walked amongst His disciples and at the right time, ascended on high!


This is the covenant we now live in, the New Covenant. You can be forgiven of your sins and walk with God intimately by asking Him to come into your heart and teach you, His ways. He promises to do so if you ask. He's a gentleman, so it's up to you. Will you ask Him to come in?


Please use the contact form if you have any questions as I'd love to chat with you about God and His ways.


Enjoy the journey,


Nancy



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