The word ‘covenant’ is not one we often give much thought to in our culture, yet the deep significance of the word still permeates through our everyday lives, whether we are aware of it or not. As we look around, all kinds of covenants seem to be under attack from many directions. So it is great to be reminded of the significance of both the earthly and spiritual covenants we have entered into from time to time.
The term ‘covenant’ is of Latin origin (con venire) and means ‘a coming together’. It presupposes two or more parties who come together to make a contract, agreeing on promises, stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities.
You may be aware that in the Bible, two covenants are referred to: the Old Covenant (The Old Testament) and the New Covenant (The New Testament). Zillions of people have already commented on the richness and meaning of both these covenants God has made with His people, so I won’t even try to add any more. But this week, as we are meditating on God as the Promise Keeper, it is vital we do so in light of the New Covenant He has made with us through Jesus Christ.
It is so assuring to know that the covenant God has made with us is initiated, sustained and fulfilled by Him! I invite you to learn as much as you can about the New Covenant Jesus has made us partakers in – you will be amazed when you begin to grasp what the New Covenant means for your life! For me, this week I have had a visual reminder of what biblical covenant in Christ looks like. I was involved in the wedding of dear friends and witnessed the young couple making a binding covenant with each other. Christian marriage is supposed to reflect the greater covenant Christ has made with His Church (Romans 7). The big difference however is that Jesus has taken all responsibility to both make and to never break His covenant promises. Oh what a Bridegroom we have! He is the perfect husband, ever faithful and true to all the promises He makes His bride – a bride who is so often unfaithful, fickle and even adulterous.
Yet, even as unworthy as we are, Jesus calls us to BE Promise Believers and Covenant Receivers. It is a high calling indeed, but one that He Himself grants us grace to uphold. What mercy, what unconditional love! In Romans 4 and 2 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 10, we learn more about the Old Covenant God made with Abraham and how it was a forerunner to the New Covenant that has now been fulfilled in Christ. There was no possible way any human being could ever keep up our end of the first covenant – we are powerless on our own to do so. This New Covenant in Christ shows up the flaws of the old one. The New is glorious! It is superior in every way and to be partakers in it is the ultimate joy and the destiny of our lives!
Even though I am living in the truth of the New Covenant, I still slip into ‘Old Covenant’ ways. At times I still steep into deep sadness as I wait for the covenant promises to be fulfilled. The wedding this week has stirred up all sorts of emotions. On one hand, the wedding has reminded me afresh of the promises of God in Christ, strengthening my resolve to believe that my promise-keeping, covenant-making God has the power to do all that He has promised. But on the other, the grief is especially raw at special occasions like these. You see, it was Jade’s brother who just married and we really all missed Beth, celebrating with us there at the wedding.
After some tears, I remembered back to when Beth made Jade laugh during that last shopping trip together. Beth was determined to get that second ear piercing she had always wanted and wasn’t allowed at school. In the end, she was too unwell to sit through it, but her fun personality shone through for as long as it could. I remembered that as Beth went about keeping her promises in the best way she could, she had her mind set on what she wanted to buy that day… a gift for me, a gift for her best male friend at school, Jimmy, and a pair of sunglasses for herself. (This was the only thing she bought for herself during the whole year.) Jimmy scored a lovely shirt and tie. (She loved giving them to him a few days later and he really played it up as he tried on the outfit! He then wore her gifts when he spoke at Beth’s celebration service and looked pretty handsome!)
The gift Beth bought for me has been illustrated for you in this week’s chapter of Heartbreakingly Beautiful – a lovely white-gold pendant in the shape of a heart. As you can imagine, it is now one of my most treasured earthly possessions and a daily reminder that the promises I am clinging to are securely centred on the love of Christ as I live under the New Covenant in Him.
What kind of promises are you clinging to in your time of trouble? If you are desperately holding onto promises made by a doctor, specialist, husband, wife, child, parent or friend, please remember that these people are all merely human and may not be able to fulfill or even desire to keep their promises. But if you are clinging to the promises of God – signed, sealed and delivered by the sacrificial blood and saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ – then you are in sure hands! ALL the promises of God will be fulfilled in the light of eternity – you may have to wait awhile, but you will see!
Have you ever tried counting the promises of God given to us? Try this challenge: Search the internet for: How many promises are there in the Bible? – you’ll be amazed with the answer!
Songs to encourage you:
Wait and See by Stephen Curtis Chapman
Promises Sanctus Real
Daily Covenant Promises:
A great way to remember God’s promises and live as covenant people is to sign up for the 365 Daily Promises by email. Here’s the link to help get you started: www.365promises.com
Here are some more scripture references to the New Covenant: