Covenant In The Bible (Part 2): Why God Covenants With Us
Updated: Feb 3, 2022
Why does God invest so much into making covenants with us? Why should we take the time to understand then? In Part 1, I mentioned that God chose to covenant with men to provide assurance, certainty and security in our relationship with Him. Particularly since God is superior in every way, it is incredible that He graciously chose to give us certainty by making such promises.
There are also other major reasons why God made covenants with us. Reasons which make it crucial that we understand the purposes of His covenants. In the following are unpacked some of these.
TO DEMONSTRATE GOD’S FAITHFULNESS AND TRUSTWORTHINESS.
Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV84) Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
God always keep His part of the covenant. He keeps His promises to all the generations.
God always keep His part of the covenant. He keeps His promises to all the generations. God is not capricious. God does not change the relationship according to His mood. God does not change the terms from one generation to another.
Leviticus 26:45 (NIV84) But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.
Making and keeping covenants with His people proves to us that God is faithful and trustworthy.
TO REVEAL GOD’S MIND AND PURPOSES TO MAN
Every God-covenant encapsulates some powerful truths. It applies some crucial eternal principles.
Every God-covenant encapsulates some powerful truths. It applies some crucial eternal principles. But its expression can change in different time periods. Like between the Old Testament and New Testament.
For example, circumcision in Old Testament is removing the flesh from males. But in New Testament it is about the heart. Romans 2:28–29 (NIV84) 28 A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.
Physical circumcision conveys the principle of removing the flesh of our hearts graphically and symbolically. Our fleshly self-reliance is to be removed so we are left totally relying upon God. Just as circumcision of the flesh is physically done by someone else, the circumcision of the heart is done by someone else, the Holy Spirit. Different expression, same eternal principle.
The failure to realise that God’s eternal principle remains unchanged leads to theological mistakes.
The failure to realise that God’s eternal principle remains unchanged leads to theological mistakes. For some teach that dispensations, or administrations of God changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament as if they were unrelated. Without recognising the connection through principles.
For example, some teach that God saves the Jews through one covenant and the church through another covenant. That the Jews are only saved through observing the Mosaic Laws and Gentiles are saved through Jesus Christ.
The eternal principle is that all are saved through God’s grace
But the eternal principle is that all are saved through God’s grace. God provided the means of salvation requiring our faith response, trusting only in God’s provision. Whether it be through observing the Mosaic Laws in Old Testament but now only through Jesus Christ. So the covenants are different but the eternal principle is the same.
Let me throw a theological dynamite to the thinkers in our midst. Salvation through Jesus Christ is not the eternal principle. Salvation through Jesus Christ is the means. God could have chosen any means. Could be an angel, God the Father or even Holy Spirit. For the principle is always that salvation is by God’s grace for no person could ever earn salvation. But I do believe that Jesus is the ultimate means because it requires the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son.
If you carefully study each covenant, you will discover the eternal truths behind it. Because God also used it to reveal His thinking and His purposes.
TO FULFIL GOD'S OVER-ARCHING PURPOSE FOR MAN
God has an over-arching aim for man. To have a holy love relationship with man.
God has an over-arching aim for man. To have a holy love relationship with man. Matthew 22:37–38 (NIV84) 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
It is a two-way love relationship that God seeks. A relationship that climaxes with the marriage of Christ and the Church made holy.
It is a two-way love relationship that God seeks. A relationship that climaxes with the marriage of Christ and the Church made holy. Ephesians 5:25–27 (NIV84) 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Rev 21 reveals the Church, arriving as a Bride prepared for her husband, Christ. What a beautiful imagery!
But to have such a wonderful loving relationship requires man to have the ability to choose to freely love. True love absolutely requires free will to make such choices. Love that is enforced, coerced, manipulated, programmed or ordained by God – is not true love. That is one of the reasons why I believe God gave men freewill. It also makes best sense of all the Scriptures.
However, we all know that man fell in sin back in the Garden of Eden. Because the ability to freely choose can also mean making bad choices, sinful choices. Every one of us have experienced that. Hence, man’s relationship with God was broken by sin. Yet God is determined to restore that loving holy relationship and even bring to its ultimate level of heavenly marriage. Every covenant God has made is intended as another step to reach this fulfilment of a committed, holy loving relationship.
Every covenant has key relational components. Firstly, faith, is about trusting God. Secondly, obedience.
This is why every covenant has key relational components. Firstly, faith, is about trusting God. Secondly, obedience. These are foundational for us to walk with God. Such that we allow God to transform our hearts experientially from sinfulness into holy maturity. To be more Christ-like. That the Church may be prepared for its ultimate relationship of marriage.
TO ENABLE MAN TO FULFIL HIS ROLE IN GOD'S PLANS
God covenants with man to increase his faith, enlarge his vision and increase motivation to walk in God’s purposes.
God wants to bring us along His great redemptive plan to reach His great ultimate purposes for us. God covenants with man to increase his faith, enlarge his vision and increase motivation to walk in God’s purposes.
For example, God enlarged Abraham’s vision for his descendants and inspired his faith at the same time. Genesis 15:4–5 (NIV84) 4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
God challenged Abraham to leave his household and follow God’s leading. Genesis 12:1–3 (NIV84) 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Today, God still wants to increase our faith, enlarge our vision and increase our motivation to walk in God’s purposes. This will happen when we seek to understand His covenant with us. We can understand God’s covenants and its implication for ourselves from God’s Word.
Part of the New Covenant is the Great Commission. Go and make disciples of every nation of the world! God will fulfil it! We are to go! To win souls! To make disciples! To build churches, to plant churches in every nation!
When I was a young Christian, I used to think that the Great Commission was only for the pastor, evangelist, apostle, and so forth. But eventually I realised that it is for every Christ-follower! Because it is part of the covenantal promise of God.
God is a covenant making God. Through God’s covenants, we experience His faithfulness and trustworthiness. It also provides us insights into God’s perspectives and purposes for His people. God’s covenants are a key instrument through which God will fulfil His purposes for man as well as enable His people to walk in it. For that reason, we must understand and value His covenants with us.
Copyright©️2022 by Wilson Lim. All rights reserved. Materials are free to be distributed in whole or part as long as proper acknowledgement is given to the author and not sold for profit.