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Promises From a Covenant-Keeping God
By Mary Craig
"Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments." (Deuteronomy 7.9) As we come to understand God as a God of covenant, that truth and relationship bring strength and joy to every person in covenant with Him.
Men make covenants, to end enmity or to bond friendship, or to legalize the terms and conditions of binding agreements. What a person believes rules and moves his life. When Adam broke the terms of the covenant of works which God administrated, Adam found his relationship with God destroyed. He feared and fled. He no longer trusted God, for he listened to and trusted another word. In believing the lie of the serpent along with Eve, Adam demonstrated that he was no longer loyal to his Creator, and thus, no longer loved Him. The lie was the "seed," believing the lie was the "root," and the resulting work of darkness brought death.
Faith always has an object. Thus God has also sought for us to believe the truth that the resulting work of light might bring forth life. By promise and threatening, by mercy and judgment, God sought to spark faith in men and women, boys and girls. His vehicle of Covenant revealed His purposes, held out His promises, and provided a means of security and guarantee of what God would bring to pass and work out in those bonded to Him by covenant.
Godís covenant gives believers a hold upon God. Godís Word calls us to know and worship and trust God as a Covenant-keeping God. Jeremiah 32.40 says:
I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts that they shall not depart from Me.
So many express to me their desire to have more of God, to have a closer relationship with God, to experience the very thing for which we were created, to enter into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. God also desires to bring His people to Himself, to be one with Him, to delight in Him, to see Him as the very fountain of goodness and glory, of beauty and blessing, of help and holiness.
Now along the continuum of history, God made a covenant with Abraham. He gave Abraham promises, and many times He intervened in history because He remember the promises made to Abraham. He also made a covenant with the people He brought out of Egypt. It is called the Mosaic covenant, or Old covenant. With a redeemed people, God entered into a covenant that set forth blessings and curses, blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. God gave commandments for the people to perform. If they "kept" the covenant, God would perform accordingly. (Exodus 19.5; Deuteronomy 7.12) God graciously provided a means of atonement for when the people broke the covenant, which they did.
Paul, in Galatians, says that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The terms of the Old Covenant made with Godís people Israel were designed to awaken desire, to call forth manís best efforts, to convince man that try as he might, he failed. He fell short of the glory of God, i.e., the standard of Godís holiness and righteousness. The deal was, "Obey My voice, and I will be your God." (Jeremiah 7.23; 11.4) Everywhere, obedience conditions the blessing.
Grace always accompanied the Law. The Law promised life; but it could not give it (Deuteronomy 4.1; Galatians 3.21). The Law was a ministration of death, convincing everyone who tried to fulfill it that they couldnít do it. It was a school of grace to prepare for the fullness of grace and truth in Christ Jesus. The Old Covenant had its own glory (2 Corinthians 3.10-12), but it is called a ministration of death because the curse was its outstanding feature.
Now many who come to faith in Christ for salvation and eternal life do so as they see their sinful condition and give up their attempts to please God. They know they need the grace of God because they are totally unable to work in themselves what is good, because all their efforts yield nothing but failure.
Is Godís will the delight of your heart? Jeremiah 31.33, 34 speaks of a New Covenant with a fourfold blessing.
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those Days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their Hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach No more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me; from the least of them unto the greatest of them, Saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no More. (KJV)
God takes the initiative to do something about the bent of the heart in all of humanity in Adam toward evil. He will take it upon Himself to do something about the principle of sin, the iniquity in the human heart. The Blood of this New Covenant promises to be of such infinite worth and the Mediator and High Priest in heaven of this New Covenant promises to be of such divine power and perfection, that there will be a divine blotting out of sin, cleansing and setting believers free. Divine teaching and the law in the heart follow.
In the New Covenant, all is of faith, faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. In commenting on Paulís message to the Galatians and the contrast of the Old and New Covenants, Andrew Murray says, "The law and its works is contrasted with the hearing of faith, the flesh and its religion with the flesh crucified, and inability to do good with a walk in the liberty and the power of the SpiritÖ.In Jesus Christ nothing avails but faith working by love."
Many do not realize that obedience and adhering to the terms of covenant appear in every form of contractual agreement. Disobedience forfeits the privileges of the covenant agreement. If either party to a covenant breaks the terms of the covenant, the covenant is broken.
In the New Covenant, God graciously undertakes to secure and guarantee manís part as well as His own. (Jeremiah 32.38, 40; Ezekiel 36.26, 27; 37.26) Jesus fulfills all righteousness and secures atonement through the sacrifice of Himself. The Holy Spirit indwells the believer to be the unceasing, universal, all sufficient worker of everything in the believer. God, faithful and true, does it all. God cleanses the heart and makes it new and puts His Spirit within. He makes His own promises true. We honor God by believing all that He has for us in Christ Jesus. We honor Him by desiring the promises of the New Covenant. God sends forth the Spirit of His Son into the believerís heart. (Galatians 4.5, 6)
God is after your heart. The chief triumph of His grace occurs as the renewal of the heart becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit. God works inside out, to cleanse the heart from all that defiles flesh and spirit. The New Covenant blesses as it is a ministration of the Spirit. Thus we are exhorted not to limit the Holy Spirit, not to grieve or resist Him. Rather, we are to honor the Holy Spirit and yield to all that He wants to do within us. The Holy Spirit is the promise of the New Covenant and Godís gracious gift to every believer. He communicates, mediates, enables, and glorifies Jesus by bringing many sons to glory. By acknowledging the sentence of death on everything that is of the "self-life" and keeping the place before God of utter unworthiness and helplessness, we fix our heart in faith for every blessing of the covenant of grace.
The new heart can be yours. The law written in the heart can be yours. The Holy Spirit, seal of the New Covenant, can be yours. Walking and living in covenant relationship with God and knowing His love can be yours. Being taught by the Lord can be your experience.
"I will be your God, and you will be My son." Believe, and you will see Godís grace and love pouring forth into your heart today.
© 2000 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.
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