Covenant: God’s Way of Relationship Mary Craig, D. P. M. © 2006 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved United States of America 1 Covenant: God’s Way of Relationship “I will be your God and you will be My people” expresses the heart of God in relationship. God’s covenant binds Him to us and us to Him. Understanding the binding character of the covenant, the signs and seals, the granting of gifts, the offering of sacrifice, the fellowship of a meal, and the necessity of the bond in blood satisfies the yearning of our hearts to rest in the love of God our Creator and Redeemer. In this study we will explore the nature and diversity of the divine covenants, their unity, their promises, and their benefits for us, the believers. We hope to establish and strengthen our faith in God and His promises to us as we grow in our understanding of covenantal relationship. We hope to discover the basis of God’s provision, God’s protection, God’s pity, God’s preservation, and God’s pursuit of His enemies while growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Christ of the covenants. © 2005 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc. Mary J. Craig, D.P.M. All rights reserved If you want something to keep you close to God and give you the confidence that you are never without Him, then you are looking for God’s covenant. God relates to His people in covenant. God’s covenants provide the foundation and structure for life. For true assurance, you want to become enmeshed in the reality of God’s covenants in order that you may benefit from their promises and their surety. What is a covenant? We may as well be trying to define motherhood. Instead, let’s listen to an example from O. Palmer Robertson’s book Covenants. “This was our first time to be surrounded by a group of angry cannibals, but God delivered us.” (From an old missionary diary; Garlock, H. B. Before We 2 Kill and Eat You, ed. Ruthanne Garlock. Christ for the Nations, Dallas, Texas, 1974: 75). “Five missionaries were surrounded by natives with cutlasses and spears, threatening to kill. A native boy had disappeared from the missionary school and the missionaries were being blamed. Since the natives were cannibals themselves they may have suspected that the missionaries had eaten the poor lad. That evening King Tho and his elders returned, begging the missionaries to overlook what they had done in anger. The child had returned on his own, safe and sound. After the apology the throat of a white bird was cut. The blood was sprinkled first on the missionaries and then on the natives. The chief declared that a blood covenant had been made between the two parties. Never would they shed the blood of the missionaries and never would the missionaries shed the blood of the natives. All future generations on both sides of the covenant were committed by this ceremony.” (Robertson, page 7) Today we enter into contracts. We sign them and seal them and have them notarized to indicate that we have entered into a legally binding oath that is violated only with severe legal consequences. There are differences, however, when we talk about the covenants of God. God established a covenant with creation, a/k/a the covenant of works or the covenant of favor; and the covenant of grace, which was revealed in the covenants with Noah, Abraham, Israel, and David and climaxed in what we call the new covenant in Jesus Christ. The Character of Covenants 1. A Bond. A covenant is a bond in blood sovereignly administered. It is a bond of life and death. It is inviolable. It is relational. The result of a covenant commitment is the establishment of a relationship “in connection with,” “with,” or “between” people. God’s covenants are divine. They are established by a verbalized declaration of the character of the bond being established. God speaks to establish His covenant. He commits Himself to His creation and declares the basis on which He shall relate to it. 2. A binding oath. This oath might be verbal alone or a symbolic action might be attached to it or the granting of a gift, the eating of a meal, the setting up of a memorial, the sprinkling of blood, the offering of sacrifice, the passing under the rod, or the dividing of animals. The oath establishes the commitment being made. 3 3. Signs. Covenantal signs enforce the binding character of the covenant. Examples include the token of the rainbow, the seal of circumcision, the sign of the Sabbath, baptism, covenantal meals like Passover and communi

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