Introduction to the New Covenant

Summary: The new covenant defines the relationship God wants to have with every human, what He intends to achieve through that relationship and how He does it.

Find other articles by Larry Fox about God’s covenant relationship with Christians

Contents:
Contract versus Covenant
The Covenant Book
The Extent of God’s Love
To the Jew First
To the Jew Forever
The New Covenant

The Bible describes a relationship that has been honored throughout history, but is largely ignored by modern western cultures. Though most of us don’t realize it, it’s the kind of relationship we have with God if we’ve accepted Jesus as our Savior and it’s called “covenant.” Yes, God is our Father and always will be, and the covenant perspective reveals why that relationship is possible and how it works.

In this study, we’ll investigate the major covenants described in the Bible to gain insight to God’s relationship with man throughout history and His intent for the covenant that’s available to us today. Especially in western culture, many people think that covenants and contracts are the same, so we’ll begin by considering their similarities and differences. Then we’ll examine the significance of covenants to the Bible and how they demonstrate God’s extraordinary love for mankind. All of this will offer some perspective and lay an essential foundation for the following chapters, in which we’ll investigate essential covenant elements, striving to correctly handle the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)

While this may sound like just an academic study, it’s my goal to show you the beauty, depth and balance of this astounding relationship we have with God. Maybe the Bible seems to be only a history book to you, maybe it seems to have no real pattern to it or the blessings and promises God offers in it seem almost arbitrary and unrelated. If that’s the case for you, I can relate because that’s how I used to view the Bible.

I don’t remember what I heard or read initially that made me aware of covenants in the Bible, but since then the Bible has continued to unfold and I’m increasingly awed at what God has done for us. I keep discovering more and more about God’s intent for us and it’s all based on covenant; all of it. Now I wonder how it’s possible to have a healthy relationship with God, serve him effectively and fulfill one’s life purpose without an understanding of our covenant relationship with Him. The more I learn about biblical covenants, the more I want to know, because they explain so many otherwise puzzling things we see in scripture. It’s like I can’t learn enough! I’m beginning to understand how angels can stand around God’s throne and call out, “Holy, holy, holy,” as they keep seeing new aspects of His nature and ways.

May this study revolutionize your perspective of the Bible and the God who wrote it.

Contract versus Covenant

Most Americans think a covenant is a contract or part of one. In the American legal system, a covenant is a promise in a written contract or deed of real property, that defines special permissions such as allowing use of an easement. Homeowners association covenants are promises to respect the rules of conduct or the use of the property, limitations on construction, and so on.

However, a biblical covenant and a western contract are totally different. Let’s consider their similarities and differences.

Both are legal agreements which define relationships. Both have terms or lists of expectations, blessings or benefits for adhering to the terms, and curses or penalties for violating the terms. Both require all parties involved to affirm the agreement and may require legal witnesses.

Although contracts and covenants may look very similar on the surface, the underlying motivation of a covenant is the exact opposite of a contract’s. A contract defines a potentially adversarial or hostile relationship, in which each party focuses on protecting their interests and maximizing their benefits within the contract terms.

A covenant defines a loving relationship, in which each party is fully committed to the other’s success and well-being within the covenant terms. Protection of each party from the other is totally unnecessary.

A contract defines a conditional relationship based on performance, so either party can cancel it if the other doesn’t meet the contract’s terms. A contract can be changed or cancelled.

A covenant defines an unconditional, enduring relationship. It’s a binding obligation between the parties that can only be broken by death.

Exchanging something of value is essential to a contract. In fact, most contracts require payment in exchange for a specified product or service.

In contrast, covenants typically involve an exchange of abilities and resources, but this isn’t its primary purpose.

Parties entering a contract seal it with their signatures, as a promise to fulfill their obligations under the contract. This promise is only as good as the party’s character, however.

Covenants, on the other hand, are sealed by an oath before God.

The difference between contracts and covenants is like the difference between law and grace. Law and grace both set standards and expect all parties to conform to those standards. The law requires obedience and penalizes any violation of the standards. In contrast, grace equips and motivates people to obey the standards.

In modern western culture, we may think grace simply excuses mistakes or overlooks problems, but the biblical perspective of grace is an enablement to do what is expected or needed. God’s grace toward us doesn’t excuse our sin, but enables us to become righteous! Law demands obedience, but grace enables us to obey.

We don’t have a good example of covenant in our modern western culture. In reality, God considers marriage a covenant between a man and a woman, but since we view marriage as a contract, we’re very lenient about divorce. (see Mal. 2:14-15)

A covenant is a loving, enduring relationship in which each partner focuses on the well-being and success of the other, including what they deserve, need or want.

The Covenant Book

The Bible’s Old Testament contains descriptions of several significant covenants before the time of Jesus, with special emphasis on the original covenant God made with Israel, and the New Testament describes the new covenant He initiated. When we understand covenants and read the Bible as a covenant book, which it is, things become much clearer and fit together. The Bible isn’t a collection of random stories or a list of arbitrary principles. There’s a cohesiveness through the entire Bible and the glue is covenants. To properly understand the Bible, we simply must understand covenants.

God initiates every covenant He makes with man, including the new covenant. He specifies every aspect of the covenant relationship, so it’s totally non-negotiable and we can only accept or reject the covenant in its entirety. Though that may seem offensive to us at first, we soon realize we have absolutely nothing to fear from Him because He always does the absolute best for us; that’s covenant. Once we accept His covenant, if we then try to interpret it our own way, we create problems in our relationship with Him. That’s not to suggest God gets angry and punishes us; rather, He may withdraw some of his protection and blessings, allowing us to experience more of the consequences of our choices. But He does that only out of love for us, encouraging us to return to Him. He honors us by accepting our choices, so though He tries to persuade us, the choice is ours.

Covenants around the world and throughout history fall into several categories, but we generally see only four of them in Scripture. We see a few examples of defense covenants in the Old Testament, in which two or more parties — individuals, villages or nations — pledge to defend and protect each other. We also see examples of peace covenants or treaties, in which potential enemies agree not to attack each other.

There’s also a beautiful example of a life covenant, in which two individuals fully devoted themselves to each other — David and Jonathan. We’ll investigate their covenant because it’s a key to some important events in the Old Testament, reveals a lot about David’s character, shows some of the reasons God also made covenant with David, and serves as an excellent example of covenants between people.

Defense, peace and life covenants are “parity” covenants, which means the partners have equal status. The majority of covenants we find in Scripture, however, are those God makes with people. God obviously is superior in every respect to those with whom He makes covenant, so those are suzerain covenants by definition. In such covenants, the superior party specifies all the details and allows the other party to accept or reject it as specified, without bargaining or negotiating.

Human examples of suzerain covenants are usually oppressive. For example, a strong nation conquering and occupying a weaker nation would dictate how the occupied nation may continue to operate. Scripture reveals that God’s covenants with people are suzerain, but not oppressive, because He’s motivated by love. Yet, such covenants are about Him and He offers covenant to those He loves, not because we deserve it or have anything He needs. We either go to God on His terms or we don’t go to Him at all; it’s that simple and that clear.

Many church traditions and all of God’s dealings with us under the New Covenant are based on our covenant relationship. The covenant enables us to come boldly into His presence, receive His help when we need it and become His heirs. It reveals why Jesus’ blood had to be poured out, why He has scars in his glorified body, why God gave us the Holy Spirit, and so much more.

The Bible is covenant book, so if we don’t understand covenants, we’ll misinterpret the Bible.

The Extent of God’s Love

As stated earlier, a covenant is a durable, loving relationship in which each partner is fully committed to the well-being and success of the other, including what they deserve, need or want. The nature of a covenant is basically the opposite that of a contract because relationship is the key and each party focuses on the other’s benefit; that is, covenants are relationships based on love.

Because we’re inherently self-centered, we’re naturally interested in the benefits we’ll receive from a covenant, including our covenant relationship with God. That in itself should demonstrate the importance of changing our thinking, because our self-centeredness violates the intent of our covenant with God and therefore interferes with our relationship with Him. To help us make this change in our thinking, let’s consider the magnitude of His love for us.

To begin with, consider the Trinity, the three members of the godhead — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — who are in such close relationship and unity we refer to them collectively as God. Among other things, this indicates a very close, loving and supportive relationship among them. Jesus used what we might consider unusual language to describe his relationship with Father, saying He was in the Father who also was in Him. (John 17:21) Significantly, Jesus also stated He wanted us to have the same kind of relationship; one with each other in complete unity and Jesus in us, just as Father is in Jesus and Jesus in the Father. (John 17:21-23) In other words, God wants us to have a very close, loving and supportive relationship with Him; something even the angels don’t have.

Think about how He made that possible. In the creation account of the Book of Genesis, God stated he would make man in His own image and likeness. (Gen. 1:26) The words translated “image” and “likeness” are very similar in meaning and refer to God’s essential nature, what or who He seems to be, so He patterned Adam after Himself. The Bible refers to angels as “sons of God” because He created them, but nowhere does it state He created them in His image or likeness. (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7) So man alone is the image and likeness of God.

God designed marriage as the ultimate loving relationship among humans, in which a man will leave his parents and be united with his wife. (Gen. 2:24) It likely is God’s intent for this relationship to help us understand the close, loving and supportive one He wants to have with each of us. Marriage is unique to humans, by God’s design; angels do not marry. (Matt. 22:30)

He gave man and other living creatures on earth the ability to procreate and populate the earth. (Gen. 1:22, 28; 8:17; 9:7) For man, this parallels God’s ability to create other beings and is reserved for the marriage relationship. In the Law God gave Moses for the Israelites, any other sexual relations were unacceptable and the New Testament refers to them as sexual immorality. (Lev. 18:6-18, 20, 22-23; Rom. 1:24; 13:13; 1 Cor. 6:9, 18; et al) It wasn’t God’s will for angels to procreate and those who abandoned their place in heaven, took on physical form and produced children through human women received severe judgment. (Gen. 6:4; Jude 6) Among sentient, spiritual beings, God limited procreation to humans.

In Psalm 8, David wrote that God made man a little lower than elohim, and various Bible versions translate that Hebrew word as God, heavenly beings or angels, based on the original Hebrew text and the Greek translation. (Ps. 8:5) It’s significant that David wrote that God made man lower or inferior, decreased or lessened his status, and only by a small amount or for a short time. So when did God make Adam lower than the angels; when He originally created him or after he sinned? Let’s examine other passages that will clarify this.

God gave man his own domain over which he was to rule, which included living creatures. (Gen. 1:26) Nowhere does scripture state God did this for any other beings. He created a hierarchy of spiritual beings and gave archangels authority over other angels, but He didn’t give them their own planet and creatures to rule over. He only did that for man.

God gave spiritual beings free will, including man, knowing some would choose to reject his standards. One of the archangels, Lucifer, wanted to usurp God and was expelled from Heaven. (Isa. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:14-17) Lucifer then usurped Adam and Eve, becoming the prince of this world and causing them to be expelled from the Garden of Eden. (John 14:30; Gen. 3:23-24) Because they listened to Lucifer and disregarded what God said, they came under Lucifer’s control, literally making them a little lower than both God and the angels, as David wrote in Psalm 8.

God knew before He created the universe this would happen and decided to send His Son to die for mankind’s sins, but not for those of the fallen angels. (Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:20) Forgiveness of sin is only available to man, which also makes us unique.

God loved the world — all of mankind — so much that He gave His one and only Son to die for everyone’s sin while we were still sinners. (John 3:16-17; 1 John 2:2; Rom. 5:8) He doesn’t want anyone to die for their sin, so He paid the price for all sin and invites us all to repent so we can be saved from sin and death. (2 Pet. 3:9) Everyone who rejects His offer of salvation will pay the price for their own sin because they’re still guilty and deserve spiritual death. (Rom. 6:23)

God delivered Jesus over to death as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:3; 1 John 4:10) He forgave all our sins and keeps no record of them. (Col. 2:13; 1 Cor. 13:5) He works everything together for our good or benefit. (Rom. 8:28-29) He’s given us everything we need for life and godliness. (2 Pet. 1:3) He’s developing His nature in us, making us like Christ, so we can experience Him as he really is, participate in what He does and receive all He has; and it’s all for our benefit! He does none of this for angels.

Jesus also demonstrates the extreme nature of God’s love for humanity. The Son of God became the Son of Man by laying aside His divine nature, His equality with God, to become Jesus the man. (Phil. 2:6-7) He became totally impoverished and destitute so we could become rich, prosperous and generous not in material wealth, but in every aspect of our lives, relationships and beings; especially our spirits. (2 Cor. 8:9) He was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet didn’t sin. (Heb. 4:15)

At the end of Jesus’ ministry, the religious and civil authorities arrested Him and subjected Him to brutal physical punishment before executing Him. The Roman soldiers struck Him in the face with their fists. (John 19:3; also the Sanhedrin, Matt. 26:67) They flogged Him, which often was fatal because it tore the person’s flesh open. (Matt. 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:1) The soldiers then placed a crown made of thorns on his head, piercing his scalp. (Matt. 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2, 5) They struck him repeatedly on the head with a staff; scripture doesn’t say they first removed the crown of thorns. (Matt. 27:30; Mark 15:19) Isaiah prophesied he was unrecognizable, so disfigured He didn’t even look like a man. (Isa. 50:6; 52:14) The soldiers forced Him to carry His cross but eventually He couldn’t, so they forced someone else to carry it for Him. (Matt. 27:32)

The Romans had perfected crucifixion, nailing the criminal’s hands and feet to a cross, because they knew exactly where to drive the nails to sever major nerves and maximize the pain, so Roman crucifixion was a slow, torturous death. The guards had stripped Him of His clothes and divided them among themselves. (Matt. 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:23) The Holy Son of God, the sinless one, took all the sin of the whole world on Himself, becoming the most despised person in history, so that God had to turn away and forsake Him. (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34)

Jesus hung on the cross for six hours in excruciating pain, bleeding and suffocating to death, until He cried out, “It is finished.” Then He breathed His last breath and gave up His spirit. (Matt. 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30) He went to the place of torment for all sinners, and preached the good news to the people who were there. (Rom. 10:7; Eph. 4:9; 1 Pet. 3:19-20) Finally, after three days, God resurrected Him from the grave. (Matt. 12:40; 27:63; Mark 9:31; 10:34).

Jesus knew beforehand what He would experience, but accepted this as the only legal way to rescue humanity from bondage to sin and spiritual death. Beyond question, this demonstrates how much Jesus loves you and me. Though it’s greater than anything we’ve ever known and we’ll never know the full extent of it, with God’s help we can begin to comprehend the magnitude of His love for us. (Eph. 3:18-19)

To the Jew First

Out of all humanity, God has a special love for Israel and repeatedly referred to Israel as “my people.” (Exod. 3:7; 5:1; Lev. 26:12; Jer. 31:33; et al) In the Old Testament, He was among the Israelites on the ark of the covenant in the Most Holy Place. (Exod. 28:35; Lev. 16:2; 1 Sam. 4:4) He even placed his name on Jerusalem. (1 Kings 11:36; 2 Kings 21:4, 7; 2 Chron. 6:6; Dan. 9:18-19) In the future, the New Jerusalem will be the location of His throne so He literally will be among His people and they will see His face. (Rev. 22:3-4) That has always been His intent.

As we’ll see in later chapters, God made his original covenant with Israel while they were en route from Egypt to the Promised Land. That was a covenant of law and provided blessings or curses dependent on the people’s obedience. (Lev. 26:1-39) The people eventually rejected that covenant and God promised to make a new and different covenant with them. (Jer. 31:31-32) The new covenant is based on God’s grace and provides salvation and other blessings for people who accept Jesus’ sacrifice for their sin.

Jesus stated he was sent only to the Jews, the “lost sheep of Israel,” and initially sent His disciples only to the Jews. (Matt. 15:24; Acts 10:36; Matt. 10:5-7) He initiated the new covenant by paying the price for all sin, so anyone could enter the covenant by faith. (John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 John 2:2; Eph. 2:8) He’s the mediator of the covenant, so He reconciles God and men. (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24) Because of God’s love for Israel and because He sent Jesus to the Jews, the new covenant offers salvation to everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Rom. 1:16)

The new covenant applies first and primarily to the Jews, the nation of Israel, and the New Testament is very clear that Jesus came to earth to serve the Jews. (Matt. 15:24; Rom. 15:8) All of Jesus’ original disciples and followers were Jews, and they believed He was the Messiah, Anointed One or Christ they anticipated. (Matt. 16:16; John 11:27; 20:31) They believed, however, the new covenant was exclusively for the Jews, so they were surprised when God included the first Gentiles. (Acts 10:44-46; 11:18) Soon afterward, however, Jewish believers began sharing the gospel with non-Jews, who received the good news about Jesus. (Acts 11:20-21; Gal. 2:7-9)

It was always God’s intent for Jesus to be a light to the Gentiles. (Isa. 42:6; 49:6) So, through His death and resurrection, Jesus destroyed the wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles, uniting them into one body to reconcile both to God. (Eph. 2:14-16) As a result, Gentiles who accept Jesus’ death for their sin enter the new covenant, becoming fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. (Eph. 2:19) The Book of Romans describes this union as grafting wild olive shoots into a cultivated olive vine. (Rom. 11:13-24) This is the “mystery of Christ,” that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members of the same body. (Eph. 3:4-6) Stated another way, Gentiles who believe in Jesus are Abraham’s seed and heirs. (Gal. 3:29) Notice that Gentile believers aren’t the seed of Moses, because the Law of Moses never applied to Gentiles, but they’re the seed of Abraham, to whom God attributed righteousness because of his faith.

To the Jew Forever

Unfortunately, many churches and denominations believe what is called replacement theology, supersessionism or fulfillment theology. There are several forms of this, but essentially it’s a belief that the church has superseded or replaced Israel in God’s plan. This view interprets God’s relationship with Christians as either the replacement, fulfillment or completion of the promises He made to the Jews in the Old Testament.

This belief is widespread today and many mainline churches adhere to it. As a result, many churches believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, that the modern nation of Israel is illegitimate and has no right to exist. Therefore, these churches openly oppose what they call Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, the return of Jews to Israel, building new Israeli communities and defensive barriers. However, Israel has always been the center of God’s attention and always will be, because He honors His covenants with Abraham and Israel, and will never violate them. (Lev. 26:44; Judg. 2:1)

When God made covenant with Abraham, He said, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” (Gen. 17:7–8) Like His covenant with Abraham, God’s covenants with Israel are everlasting or never-ending. (Isa. 61:8; Ezek. 37:26)

Even the land of Israel is part of God’s commitment. The land itself belongs to God (Lev. 25:23, Isa. 14:25; Jer. 2:7; 16:18; Ezek. 38:16; Joel 1:6-7; 3:2) and He gave it to Israel as an everlasting gift or inheritance. (Gen. 13:14-15; Gen. 35:12; Deut. 4:40; Deut. 21:23; Deut. 24:4; Deut. 25:19; Deut. 26:1)

When God made these covenants, He knew Abraham’s descendants, the nation of Israel, would ignore the covenant and not serve Him, that they would collectively reject Jesus as Messiah. Yet He repeatedly stated the covenants are everlasting. History clearly shows the nation suffered the consequences for rejecting covenants — commonly called covenant curses — but their actions didn’t nullify the covenants because God considers them everlasting.

The new covenant extends God’s grace to both Jew and Gentile. “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Rom. 10:12-13) Today, Jewish believers in Yeshua or Jesus call themselves Messianic Jews, while Gentile believers call themselves Christians. These titles reflect the people’s origin and culture, but before God there’s no distinction because all believers are one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28)

Although most Jews have experienced a partial spiritual hardening, eventually all Israel will be saved. (Rom. 11:25-27) God’s gifts and His call to the descendants of Abraham are irrevocable. (Rom. 11:28-29) He will never forsake the nation of Israel or the Jewish people, so any description of the new covenant that excludes them is incomplete and misrepresents God’s plan.

The New Covenant

In the beginning, God made covenant with Adam, whom He created in His own image and crowned with glory. (Hos. 6:7; Gen. 1:27; Ps. 8:5) God created a peer, as much as a created being could be a peer with his Creator, endowing him with qualities and attributes similar to His own. He gave Adam a domain to rule over — all of physical creation — just as He ruled over His domain. (Gen. 1:28; Ps. 8:6-8)

I suggest God did this because He wanted relationship with someone who had a lot in common with Him, who could relate to Him and participate in what He does. God created angels as servants, but it’s impossible to have a close relationship with servants. (Heb. 1:14) God wanted a bidirectional relationship, in which both parties voluntarily serve each other and have a lot in common so they can relate to each other. That’s God’s intent for us; not because we’re such wonderful people, but because it’s an expression of His nature and it’s what He wants. We’ll discover that didn’t change when Adam and Eve sinned. Instead, God uses the new covenant to bring His covenant partners into that kind of relationship.

The new covenant is with Israel, which is an important point, but Israel wasn’t ready for it so God made it available to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. (Rom. 11:11) At the appropriate time, Israel will be “saved” or brought into the new covenant. (Rom. 11:25-27)

The new covenant defines the relationship God wants to have with every human, what He intends to achieve through that relationship and how He does it. He begins with our original spiritual condition: we were totally enslaved by sin and death and desperately needed someone to liberate us. (Rom. 3:23; 6:17; 8:2; Rev. 1:5) Through the new covenant, he pays the price for our sin and reconciles us to Himself, legally transferring us from our bondage in Satan’s kingdom to His own kingdom. (2 Cor. 5:18; Col. 1:13)

He fully redeems us from the effects of sin, making us His children and citizens of His kingdom. (Tit. 2:14; Phil. 2:15; 3:20) He develops us spiritually to be like His Son, Jesus, places us in positions of kingdom responsibility and equips us to do the work of His kingdom, which includes destroying Satan’s works. He removes the debris left in us by sin’s destructive power and rebuilds the basic qualities that are like his. He endows us with the Holy Spirit to work directly with us and perform God’s work in us.

As we examine the new covenant, it’d be easy to conclude it’s about God meeting our needs and blessing us beyond what we can imagine. The covenant benefits we experience now are wonderful, even beyond description, but they’re only a taste of things to come. The Bible states that no one has seen or heard or even imagined what God’s prepared for us in this life and eternity. (1 Cor. 2:9) Yet the covenant is about God, not us. God does all of this because of who He is, not because of who we are or what we do.

He’ll show everyone — those who love Him and those who oppose Him — the unlimited power of His love, His mercy, His grace, His holiness and His devotion for His creation. Ultimately in eternity, after He completes His work in us, it’ll be as though sin had never affected creation — other than the marks in Jesus’ body, which will be eternal reminders of what it cost God to redeem us from sin — and the end will be even greater and more glorious than the beginning. He will have purified us from our sin and that purging will produce a splendor that will exceed Adam’s, simply because that’s God’s intent and it’s the way He works.

The new covenant describes the relationship in which God and those humans who accept His covenant offer devote themselves fully to each other. It’s an eternal pledge sealed by His unbreakable oath that brings us into the highest relationship anyone can enjoy with God, and that brings Him the greatest pleasure. (Heb. 6:16-18; 13:20) His grace and love motivate Him to raise us to His level so He can share all that He has and all that He is with us. Through the covenant, we become a unique people who draw great strength and new character from Him and He accomplishes the seemingly impossible through us.

Almost everything you will read in this study you will have read before. It may be very familiar. Our purpose for studying this material will be to put it into the context of the new covenant, our relationship with God. Sure, we know Jesus died for our sins, that we are now members of God’s family, that we have authority, that we can ask God for help. What I want to show, however, is that these are not random facts, or that God decided to do these things arbitrarily. Instead, these all are based on our covenant relationship with God and they are relevant only within the context of that covenant. It’s important for us to see the reason God says what he does in the New Testament, and the new covenant is that reason.

We see that man was and remains the pinnacle of God’s creation, the only creature that bears His image and likeness, though temporarily lowered in the cosmic hierarchy by sin. He created us to become like Him and eventually rule with Him. His response to man’s sin makes the extent of His love for humanity extremely clear. He lovingly comes down to our level, in a sense, to honor us by dealing with us more or less as His equals, and He does this by offering us covenant relationship. He doesn’t just feel or express love; He is love and He expresses it freely to humans. (1 John 4:8, 16) He doesn’t love us for what we’ve done, but because of Who He is.

All of this is evidence of God’s extraordinary love for man. Now let’s look at the biblical covenants to see how He expresses His love through covenant relationship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*