The Covenant: What Is A Covenant?
Gen 15:18 ~ “In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates”
Gen 17:2-14 ~ “And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. And God said unto Abraham, And as for thee, thou shalt keep my covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt me and you. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.”
That everlasting covenant to the “seed” of Abraham was to be the Covenant of the New Testament, covered by the blood of the perfect Lamb, God’s only Son, and the expression of Faith under that covenant. But “as for thee” and the following generations throughout their generations, Abraham was to keep the covenant of circumcision.
Romans 4:11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while he was in uncircumcision; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be in uncircumcision, that righteousness might be reckoned unto them. Abraham received this sign of circumcision before he was circumcised in order that he could also be the father of all them that believed even though they are not circumcised (Gentiles); believing before a seal of righteousness of the faith is performed. This is not easy to understand, but when God adds us to His Church which is the Body of Christ, He records it, gives us our name, and He knows us because we belong to Him. (Revelation 3:5)
2 Timothy 2:19 "Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let everyone that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness."
The covenant with Abraham was for the obedience by faith of Abraham, and God promised land, prosperity, and through the posterity of Sarah’s son it was to include the “seed of the promise” that was to bring salvation. Abraham’s obligation was that every man born in his house was to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth, and those bought and brought into his household were to be circumcised, for all generations, and if this was not performed the covenant was broken and that man was excluded. (Genesis.17:12-14). The analogy of circumcision in the New Testament covenant was the circumcision of the heart, by separation between the “flesh” and the “Spirit”. The ‘killing’ of the old man of sin and burying him in the waters of baptism to be ‘resurrected’ to walk a new life given to the Spirit under the blood of Christ. (1 Pet. 1:23-25 : Titus 2:11-14) The covenant God made with the Children of Jacob/Israel under Moses was to bring them under the obligation of the Law and made sin manifest. God wanted to make them a royal priesthood unto Himself, but they were afraid and wanted to hear God’s commands through Moses only (Exodus 20:19). The children of God under the LAW were given no choice but to obey or die, just as God told Adam that if he and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would surely die, which meant separation from God as well as physical death in the future. God wanted honor and obedience from Israel. However, in return for Israel’s obedience, God gave physical and eternal promises. It was supposed to have been an everlasting covenant, but the Children of Israel continued to break the covenant with God, so God took it away and nailed it to the cross when Christ was crucified for our sins to make way for a better and more perfect covenant. (Heb. 8:6) But it was the “toiling of the works” of the law that was done away with - not God’s precepts or statutes. Sin is still sin, and we are to walk in the light as Christ is in the light, and not after the sinful flesh (condemned by the ‘The Law’). We were freed from the binding of that Law because it was only the “tutor to bring us to Christ” making it understood what sin is and what God expects of us in our service to Him. Therefore, we are released from “the Letter of the Law”, and when we sin, and if we repent, we are forgiven, being covered by the blood of Christ and under His promises. (1 John 1:7).
Sometimes our path leads us over the hot sands of the desert. Our feet drag, and we dehydrate; our lips burn and chap, and our mind sees illusions of beauty and peace that is not there! In seeking out a waterhole, we might find a place that looks so refreshing, but find it poisoned! Where do we find relief?
The journey that we take, may not always be upon a pleasant path, for there will be hills and valleys; forests, plains and deserts; but there will also be paths mapped out to make that journey just a little bit more secure, if we follow those that we have known to be traveled safely before us. The Old Testament is a guide book for our comfort and compass, and there will be paths that are marked with warnings, as we reach the forks that lead aside; so if we make the right choices our journey’s end will not be unattainable.
Mary Esther Smith Wacaster
A stranger and a Pilgrim
Walks through foreign field,
Following Jehovah God,
Obeying as He willed.
No longer a wanderer
Like a ghostly wraith,
But like a wandering pilgrim
Upon the path of faith.
Not like a pilgrim
Wandering a path of strife,
But as a chosen vessel,
Following the path of life.
Not as a pilgrim following
A path wide and strange,
But as a sojourner on a path
Of strait and narrow range.
The journey that he travels,
This pilgrim of God,
Is not without its purpose,
As o’er the path he trod.
For the compass that he uses
Is true and faithful still,
And the map he utilizes
Is the Father’s Holy Will.
The journey of a Pilgrim
Down a long and 9onely road,
Comes out of darkness to the light
And lays down his heavy load.
Again, man had no choice but to obey or die, but through the mercies of His Grace, God promised blessings and life everlasting, if we would follow His way, obeying and keeping His commandments; if we fulfill our part and enter into that covenant with Him according to His Will, and then maintaining those covenant obligations according to His Will - as the designation of a true priest - then we will inherit the promise of life through Jesus Christ.
And what must we do to receive (to take hold of) that Grace? Acts 2:38 states it very plainly:
“Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” We then are the recipients of the gift of life, given by God’s grace through His Spirit by divine assurance, if we continue to walk in His light.
Entering the covenant is what we understand as obedience to the “gospel” and yielding ourselves to His Will. The “gospel” was the “good news” giving man the opportunity to return to a good relationship with God; i.e.: the covenant with God through Christ since He became our High Priest (our mediator in the “new” covenant in His blood). (Galatians 3:19-22; 1Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 12:23-25)
Christ died upon the cross, in our stead to fulfill all righteousness, and propitiate as the atoning sacrifice for man, so that man should be able to enter into that new covenant in His blood.
(References to study : Matthew 15:20; Matthew 7:21; Matthew 18:3; Matthew 19:23; Matthew 19:24; Mark 23:13; Mark 9:47; Mark 10:15; Mark 10:23; Mark 10:24; M ar 10:25; Luke 18:17; Luke 18:24; Luke 18:25; John 3:5; Acts 14:22).
His body died to sin as He put the flesh and all its evil to death. God raised Him from the grave to the Spirit, victorious over the grave, receiving the power to redeem those who would return to God in obedience. Because He passed through death (separation of flesh from the spirit) (Hebrews 2:14), he paid the full penalty for the violations committed during the space of the Old Testament, having lived an exemplary life under the Law without blemish to fulfill the requirements of the Law, and became the mediator of the New Testament (our High Priest), the channel through which we go; and we are offered the divine assurance to come forth and take hold of that which is proffered, by obedience to the gospel; the proof of the trust and expectations of our conviction.