Covenant

Allegiance to God is the basis

for our allegiance with each other.

covenant

No matter what.

One of the earliest and most important themes in all of Scripture “covenant” literally means to “cut”.  Creating a agreement in the Old Testament economy meant an animal was killed then sawn in two (Gen 15:7-21; Ps 50:5). Principal in its theological understanding is that God establishes an unconditional covenant (“I will no matter what”; Gen 6:18; Ex 6:4-5). The Almighty will always be faithful to His people (Lev 26:44-45; Deut 4:31).  Declaring a binding agreement between parties, the declaration resounds through Scripture, “I will be your God and you will be my people” (Gen 17:7; Ex 6:7; Rev 21:2-3). Though there are multiple covenants between individuals and God from Adam through Moses, the Old Testament considers all covenants to be one (Ex 2:24; 6:4-5; Ps 105:9-10). In the end, covenantal loyalty is the essence of relationship.

Even though humans do not have to “keep up their end” to ensure God’s faithfulness, keeping the covenant still falls to them (Deut 7:9, 12; 1 Ki 8:23). In fact, the covenantal relationship envelops everything in daily life from law to communal worship (Ex 24:7-8; 31:16; 34:28). Hence, the consequences of internal commitment are tied directly to covenant observance (Lev 26; Deut 28). Generations are bound by the covenant established with ancestors in keeping with the ultimate tie between Adam and God (Gen 2:16-17; Hos 6:7; Rom 5:12-18). Scripture recommends that covenants should be renewed (“I will continue what those before me have begun” Deut 5:2-3; Josh 24:25-27). In spite of safeguards, the fidelity between people can by violated by a sheer act of the will (Ps 55:20). Reconciliation can be appropriated through repentance (2 Kin 11:17; 23:3; 2 Chr 15:12; 29:10; 34:31). Jesus, whose blood is The covenant (Luke 22:20), creates a “new” covenant (Heb 9:15-22; 10:16; 12:24) satisfying The Father’s eternal covenant (Heb 13:20). Relationship is restored by Christ’s sacrifice, maintained by The Spirit, demonstrated through life, sustaining adequacy for service (2 Cor 3:1-6).

Allegiance to God is the basis for allegiance with each other.  Covenantal teaching produces the following guidelines for service in the Christian community:

(1) Faithfulness to the task for which Christ has gifted each person in their vocation (1 Cor 4:2; Eph 4:7-11);

(2) Commitment to the teachings established in Scripture are reconfirmed in the signing of a doctrinal statement (Eph 4:14);

(3) Solidarity with others in a church of common obligation maintaining the unity of Christ’s body (Eph 4:13, 16);

(4) Dedication to the process of preparing people to live out the vocations to which they have been called to serve in the world (Eph 4:12).

(5) Devoted to the mission of the gospel (Col 1:7; 4:7, 9), refusing to compete with each other to satisfy personal agendas (cf. Phil 1:15-18; 4:2-3);

(6) Supportive to the various members of the church community who have subscribed to the same agreement of service in training people to think and live Christianly.

“Biblical Doctrine of Relationships: Covenant” was first published in 2002 for ACSI’s Biblical Integration Enabler.

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One comment

  1. Gen. 15:17, “When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.”

    Historically, when this kind of covenant was made and the beast was torn in two, both parties walked between the torn beast. This was a statement: May what has happened to this beast happen to me if I back out on my covenant.

    With this knowledge, what is happening here when God cuts a covenant with Abraham is very interesting. God is essentially declaring, “May this happen to me if I fail to uphold the covenant.” God did that.

    And yet, it seems He did not require that action of Abraham.

    What an amazing God.

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