July 18, 2018
My mind is on “covenants” this week as I prepare to talk on Sunday about “The New Covenant” from Hebrews chapter 8. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word: a binding and solemn agreement to do or keep from doing a specific thing. Two or more individuals make a compact to follow through on an agreement or a set of principles by which they will live.
Today we are more likely to talk about making a promise or signing a contract. People agree to certain ideals and each is responsible to carry out their part effectively. If one person fails to keep their commitment, the agreement is broken and certain consequences will follow.
Some covenants will be honored regardless of the other party’s faithfulness. These are unconditional covenants. God made this commitment to Abraham (Genesis 15). Jesus affirmed His promise by establishing His New Covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20).
Unconditional covenants depend on the one who makes them, not on the one who benefits from it. It is like a will or testament where the giver makes a commitment that is fulfilled after their death. The receiver has no say in what is given.
The writer of Hebrews, quoting from Jeremiah 31, reminds us that God’s promises to Israel to enjoy peace and prosperity in the land He gave to them was conditional on their obedience to Him. Israel failed to keep its side of the agreement and they lost their privileges until a future time.
The New Covenant is unconditional. What Jesus established in His death and resurrection is assured to all who will believe that He is God and receive His Gift of forgiveness and eternal life. I rejoice today in knowing that I am included in this covenant relationship with Him.
Pastor Bill Ehmann