The first evidence we have of how God views covenant came right after Adam and his wife sinned in the Garden of Eden. God had instructed Adam, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Adam and his wife disobeyed God and ate of the tree that was forbidden. Their relationship with God was broken and they had to leave the garden God had prepared for them. If God had entered into a contract with them, He could have wiped them out and started again. He had, however, made a covenant with them and at that moment He showed how covenant is to be honored.
There were consequences to their sin, but He promised that although the enemy had succeeded in that situation, God would send One who would triumph over him. (I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”)
Our covenant-keeping God began a plan of redemption at that moment to bring mankind back into relationship with Him. He stood by them and looked forward to the day when Jesus would restore the depth of relationship lost that day in the garden.
Throughout the Old Testament God made a series of covenants with specific people. Each one of them took Him one step closer to sending Jesus to the earth. When he found someone who would be faithful to Him in covenant, He was freed as a covenant partner to do the same. For example, when He asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, He was asking if Abraham was willing, as a covenant partner, to give the life of his son to his partner. When Abraham was willing, God had the opening in the earth to send His own son to be sacrificed.
Jesus death and resurrection brought forth the New Covenant in the earth. At the Last Supper Jesus said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” His new covenant brought an end to the enemy’s hold on all who choose to enter into covenant with Him. God’s full relationship with man was restored to all who enter into the New Covenant.
All of us who have chosen to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior rejoice at the faithfulness of this covenant with Him. We are grateful for a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God who stands by His word and promises to not abandon us. We are a covenant people!
Yet, we often live as a contract people with others. We end relationships and hold grudges when we are betrayed. We speak against one another and gossip of faults and failures. We divorce because our spouse is not fulfilling our expectations.
Jesus is our example. He showed honor and love to Judas even though He knew he would betray Him. He forgave those who were crucifying Him. He endured the cross for the joy set before Him, the joy of being in full relationship with us! With all our faults and failings, He still is faithful to us in covenant!
We must learn what it means to be a covenant people. We should be the most faithful, loving, and forgiving people on the face of the earth. We should stand out among the contract thinkers. Then the world will truly be able to say, “See how they love one another!”