A covenant between two people is an agreement, a commitment, a promise. It is a pledge of affection and loyalty with a mutual duty.
In Abraham’s time covenant agreements were traditionally made by slaughtering and cutting animals, representing the fate of the person who breaks the covenant. The two parties involved would “pass through” the pieces to seal their agreement. In Genesis 15, when God makes a covenant with Abraham (or Abram), Abraham is actually asleep when this happens:
“When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.”
This is a very different kind of covenant, because Abraham didn’t pass through the pieces: it was only God, represented by the fire. God covenanted with Abraham, giving Himself as the guarantee of the promise. Salvation is God welcoming us all into this love-covenant, paid for in full by Jesus’ sacrifice.
From the 1500s, plenty of churches have gone against “easy come, easy go” Christianity by pledging to be true to one another in formal covenants. Love commits: our covenant reflects God’s faithfulness. The heart of covenant isn’t in rules, words or expectations placed on us but a heartfelt commitment to faithfully continue loving one another in specific and devoted ways.
What difference does covenant make to our church?
What are some of the ways we’ve misunderstood or abused covenant loyalty in the past, and how can we correct this?
Talk about some of the ways God has been faithful to you.
Wednesday 5 to Tuesday 11 April 2017 | © Jesus Fellowship Church Download this post as a pdf