Monday, April 27, 2020

Making Covenant

Today I believe that most Christians have little understanding as to whether they are in covenant with other believers or have a contract with them. For all who are born again, those who confession Jesus as LORD and receive Him as Savior, automatically enter into the New Covenant that was established through the blood of Jesus Christ. But by virtue of ones covenant with Christ, believers also become covenant partners with every other believer. Many may be quick to say amen to being in covenant with the LORD and all believers, but is it true ? 

Covenant is defined as the mutual consent or agreement of two or more persons; to do or forbear some act or thing; to enter into a formal agreement; to stipulate; to bind ones self to another. Some of the differences between a covenant and a contract are; A covenant contain unlimited liabilities, a contract has limited liabilities; A covenant does not contain terms, a contract has terms; A covenant requires commitment between the partners to fulfill what has been stipulated in the body of the covenant and to see to the success of the covenant; The termination of the covenant occurs only at the death of one or both partners. A contract only requires the parties to fulfill the terms which have been stated in the body of the contract and at the fulfillment of such terms the contract is terminated.

An example of the two may look like this. A person purchases an automobile which requires them to have a loan to pay for it. The contract (the loan) stipulates that a certain amount of principle and interest must be paid on a monthly bases for a certain amount of months. When the amount required by the contract is fulfilled then both parties are released from what was required by the terms of the contract. However, covenant can be seen through the agreement that is established between a man and a woman binding themselves together in marriage. The stipulation set forth in the covenant may be something like this; I take him/her in marriage to love, honor, respect, care for until one or both depart from this life. Both partners have come into agreement and have committed themselves to uphold what has been stated in the body of the covenant which is terminated or fulfilled only  at the death of one or both of the partners.

The following are some components of a covenant; Agreement: Union of opinions or sentiments resulting in harmony and conformity...Commitment: The act of engaging; to pledge; or to pledge by implication...Stipulation: An agreement or covenant made by one person with another for the performance or forbearance of some act...Conditions: To make terms; to stipulate...Duration: Continuance in time...Exchange: To give and receive reciprocally...Bind: To tie together; To confirm or ratify.

Notice, these are not terms with limited liability, but unlimited liabilities binding the partners together to see the success of the covenant. Why have I spent so much time laying a foundation between covenant and contract. Because it shows us that unfortunately most believers today have a contractual relationship with other believers rather than a covenant relationship. How so? Have you ever broken off a relationship with another believer or have left the congregation that you said you were called to? Have you done this because you had a misunderstanding? Did someone say something that you did not like? Did someone say something to you about someone else and you bought into it?

No matter what the reason was, if you did not fix the problem, but turned your back on it and walked away, then you had a contract with specific terms. The terms were yours and the contract was terminated when something or someone rub you the wrong way. When a husband or wife end a marriage for any reason, they separate and then eventually divorce and break covenant. It is no different in God's eyes when a believer has broken off a relationship with another believer or they have left the congregation that they said they were called to? It is rooted in selfishness!!!

God is a covenant maker and a covenant keeper. Today, like always He still hates divorce. Aren't believers suppose to hate what God hates and love what God loves? It is apparent that most believers still miss the commandment that Jesus gave, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) The word love refers to the God kind of love not the natural kind of love that all people have. The God kind of love for believers to live and operate by, is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 which basically has no conditions (terms) and is spiritual, whereas the natural kind of love has conditions because it operates through the flesh, it is carnal. The God kind of love takes faith to live out, whereas the natural kind of love does not. So in a sense, covenant is rooted and grounded in the God kind of love and contract is rooted and grounded in the natural kind of love.

So if you have broken off any relationship with another believer or have left the congregation that you said you were called to and have not reconciled and restored the relationship, then it's time to do so. Why should you do this? Not only is it right in the eyes of the LORD but the apostle Paul when confronting the Jews who did not obey the law said this, "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles (World) because of you, as it is written." (Romans 2:24) Look back at why Jesus tells believers to love one another, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Could our lack of upholding covenant with one another in the God kind of love be one of the main reasons why the world rejects the LORD and calls Christians hypocrites? I think that it might be. So, let's reverse our attitudes, renew our minds and let the God kind of love dominates us now. 

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23) The God kind of love is already in every believer. Let's choose to operate in it...

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