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As we saw in a previous article, a covenant defines an unconditional, enduring and loving relationship in which each party is fully committed to the other’s success and well-being within the covenant terms. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that covenants typically include specific blessings and identify possessions available to each party.
During a covenant ceremony, those entering the covenant typically pronounce blessings over each other, which are benefits for adhering to the terms, including rights, privileges and assets. Why assets? Because they become the covenant partner’s legal property and the partners own everything in common within the scope of the covenant. If a covenant partner needs anything of the other’s, they simply take what they need, since it belongs to them. This may seem alarming to us, but only because we don’t understand covenants.
In covenant, the partners are no longer independent or self-focused. Ideally, each person is more dedicated to the other’s well-being than their own and would never do anything harmful to the other. As a result, each is entitled to use the other’s possessions as their own as a covenant benefit.
One of the most obvious blessings we receive from our covenant is forgiveness of our sin. The night before he was crucified, Jesus offered his disciples a cup of wine, which he said was his “blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28, NIV). The new covenant completely cleanses us from sin and erases every record of it.
We deserved death and God’s wrath because of our sin. But his grace motivated him to give his son to die for our sin so we might receive salvation, which includes safety and deliverance from the effects of sin (Rom. 6:23; 1 Thess. 5:9). We’re saved by God’s grace through the exercise of our faith in Jesus’ death for our sins (Eph. 2:8).
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1). Spiritual regeneration, or new birth, is unique to this covenant because nothing else can radically and completely transform our nature. This new birth makes us children of God and allows us to call him our Father (Gal. 3:26; 1 Cor. 1:3; 1 John 3:10).
As in other covenants, our covenant with God makes his resources available to us. Jesus explained this when he told his disciples the Holy Spirit “will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you” (John 16:14-15). Why would the Holy Spirit reveal Jesus’ possessions to us? Because they’re now our possessions. Jesus the man is in covenant with God the Father and has access to everything that’s his, and now we do, too.
A covenant partner’s possessions are available to the other. However, what we have now is only a small part of our future inheritance. In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote that God has “given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor. 5:5). As valuable as it is to have the Holy Spirit within us, he is a first installment of our inheritance. The issue here isn’t greed, but understanding the unlimited resources of God’s kingdom.
There are many, many other blessings and benefits we receive by being in covenant with God, including healing, miracles, deliverance, eternal life and spiritual authority. These are not arbitrary; rather, every one meets a specific need and moves us closer to God’s intent, which is a covenant relationship with him that begins now and lasts forever.
As bizarre as it might seem, God receives covenant blessings from us. We’ll consider just a few.
One of the most widely known verses in Bible is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God the Father loved us so much he sent his Son to die in our place, for our sin. In turn, we bless God by responding to his love and we honor him by accepting his gift of salvation. He doesn’t want any of us to die in our sin, so he is blessed every time someone enters covenant with him.
Once we enter that covenant, our love for him should grow. Jesus said the greatest commandment — that is, from the Law of Moses — is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Though we’re not under the Law of Moses, think how God must feel when we return his love by loving him with everything in us, withholding nothing from him. What else can that be, if not a great blessing to him?
As we learn what he’s done for us, we honor God the Father by giving thanks to him for everything (Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:17). We even teach our children to express appreciation for what others do for them. How can we not appreciate absolutely everything God does for us? We bless him by thanking him every time something he’s done comes to our attention.
The Book of Hebrews encourages us to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Heb. 13:15). A sacrifice of praise is choosing to praise God regardless of how we feel or think. We praise him for who he is, not because of how we feel at the moment. As before, think how God must feel when we choose to praise him despite our circumstances, problems or feelings. What a blessing that is for him!
We even cause others to praise God by what we do. “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). This isn’t a matter of doing good deeds to draw attention to ourselves. Instead, we can and should do good deeds as an expression of God’s love for people, which causes them to praise God for who he is. We also bless God by representing him accurately to our world; our service to others is an expression of his love and nature to those who need him.
We also bless God by reading the Bible, worshiping him, giving him our time by sitting and meditating on him, giving him our finances through tithes and offerings, and many other ways.
Everything we are and have belongs to God and everything he is and has belongs to us. That’s covenant.