But what is a covenant and how does it differ from a contract?
How many covenants has God made with humans? How many of these apply to Christians today?
These are crucial questions for the interpretation and application of Scripture. The Bible is divided into two testaments, another word for covenants. Does this mean the Old Testament is only of historical interest to disciples of Jesus ? What about the Ten Commandments? – and the other six hundred and three given to Moses?
Some of the major differences in the Church go back to the different answers given to these questions. For example, whether baptism should be of babies or believers, whether priests, altars, vestments and incense should be used in worship, whether re-marriage is permissable after divorce and whether we should work a six day week.
By His covenants of grace, the Lord has bound Himself to us and bound us to Himself. That is the heart of Biblical revelation and Godly living.
- There is a word which is the key to understanding the Bible and unlocks the whole book: covenant.
- A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties with mutual obligations based upon promised commitments.
- There is a huge difference between a covenant and a contract.
- A contract is an agreement that is bilateral; "I'll do this if you do that." Each person has something that the other needs, so you negotiate on the terms of the exchange.
- In a contract, if one side breaks it, then the other side is free from the terms of the contract.
- A covenant is unilateral, because the two parties are not on equal footing. The stronger party determines the terms and the other party can only accept or reject the covenant (they cannot change the terms). Covenants can be conditional or unconditional.
- Marriage is a covenant. The man is the leader of the covenant, which is why men are the ones to propose (Proverbs 18:22).
- A will is a "last will & testament (meaning covenant)". You are the stronger party and determine the terms for who shall receive your property. Others can only accept or reject it.
- Our God is a covenant-making God. The Bible is the story of the covenants which He has voluntarily made to us. Through such, He has obligated Himself to provide for, bless, and marry us.
- God makes and keeps covenants. Each covenant is for a particular people, purpose and period.
Biblical Covenants and the Christian
For THERE the Lord Commanded the Blessing
Salvation is the Result of Covenant
Was the Abrahamic Covenant Unconditional?
God's "Unconditional" Love