God’s Covenants, an Introduction

Our God is a God of covenants. He has made many covenants with His people. Like many of us, I have not been studied in them enough to understand what they mean to us.

I am determined now to know what covenants we as believers are under in order to better understand and obey the faith God calls us to.

Every where I have been reading in the Bible, I see faith as an integral part of God’s covenants. Faith is the mortar that connects the bricks of God’s covenants. Grace is the paste that keeps them together.

Amazingly, God has been slowly revealing His plan for us from the beginning. He has shown us that it is a cooperative effort between our obedience to the faith He gives us and His guidance through grace.

In order to lay the foundation of God’s covenants for His people, we have to understand the meaning of faith.


The Biblical Definition of Faith


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,

the evidence of things not seen. 

For by it the elders obtained a good report. 

Through faith we understand

that the worlds were framed

by the word of God,

so that things which are seen

were not made of things which do appear.

Hebrews 11:1-3


For most of my Christian life, I have thought that faith was believing and hoping. I thought that if I just believed, I would be okay and get to heaven. Not so much anymore. Now I realize faith is fragile and needs to be nurtured . . . by God through obedience.

What has always amazed me is that faith is a substance.

A substance of things we hope for. God shapes our hope and one day it will become tangible.

The interaction of God’s will by faith through grace is an integral part of all of God’s covenants and will be further explained in the following 5-part series on God’s Covenants.

Faith is an action word. It becomes the reality of God’s will in our lives through submission to His word, grace, and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Faith initiates a holy journey.

Once again, I find it amazing how God wills His intentions, purpose, and plan in our lives through our obedience of faith.


A word of warning. Faith can be lost. Mine was once. I lost faith in God, I no longer believed the Bible was true, and fell under the bondage of my sinful nature.

This is especially important since scripture consistently warns believers that their faith can become shipwrecked. This cannot be stressed enough. God is longsuffering and kind. His grace reaches out to us encouraging us to come back to Him. If we fail or remain faithful, in the end, He will give to all justly, either with rewards unto life or judgment unto death.

Scripture exhorts believers over and over to stand firm to the end lest we be found wanting, to be judged and subject to the wrath of God (Romans was written to believers in Christ).


This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy,

according to the prophecies which went before on thee,

that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 

holding faith, and a good conscience;

which, some having put away concerning faith

have made shipwreck: 

of whom is Hymenæus and Alexander;

whom I have delivered unto Satan,

that they may learn not to blaspheme

(1 Timothy 1:18-20).


We need to guard against having our faith shipwrecked and stand firm. One more point needs to be made regarding the passage above:

Paul was not afraid to name names of those who have caused others faith to fail or become jeopardized. The New Testament church practiced discipline, which is rarely seen these days.

As a result, we have compromised the church deeply. Divorce, remarriage, adultery, pornography, materialism, and many other sins are tolerarated in the church today.

God is not mocked. those who practice sin and not righteousness will not inherit the Kingdom of God.


Hebrews Hall of Faith


By faith Abel offered unto God

a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,

by which he obtained witness that he was righteous,

God testifying of his gifts:

and by it he being dead yet speaketh.


Able though faith his obedience of faith was able to obey God and his works were witnessed as his righteousness. This is exactly what was said of our Lord, Jesus:


By faith Enoch was translated

that he should not see death;

and was not found, because God had translated him:

for before his translation he had this testimony,

that he pleased God. 

But without faith it is impossible to please him:

for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,

and that he is a rewarder of them

that diligently seek him. 


Enoch was so faithful to God that he was given the honor of foreshadowing Christs ascension and the rapture when the dead are raised and those that are alive and remain are gathered together to Christ at His second coming.

This is why we must remain faithful unto the end. Because God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

He does not reward those who say a prayer and then continue to live in the bondage of sin. We are commanded to be diligent and overcome our sinful nature and live by the spirit.

We have to like Enoch show that we believe through our daily life unto the end. Then and only then will we raech the end of the race and claim our heavenly prize.


By faith Noah,

being warned of God of things not seen as yet,

moved with fear,

prepared an ark to the saving of his house;

by the which he condemned the world,

and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 


The Noaic covenent was the first covenant God made with the people of the world. Before the flood it had never rained. Noah is also an example of active faith and we should heed his example.

Noah feared God.

So much of Christianity has lost the fear of God. Jesus spoke to His followers about Hell and warned the apostles to fear Him who could destroy soul and body in hell.

The first covenant with Noe was both a picture of Jesus’ death and His second coming. It took Noah 100 years to build the ark with never any rain on Earth and in the face of a violent and evil generation. That is obedient faith.


By faith Abraham,

when he was called to go out into a place

which he should after receive for an inheritance,

obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 

By faith he sojourned in the land of promise,

as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles

with Isaac and Jacob,the heirs with him of the same promise: 

for he looked for a city which hath foundations,

whose builder and maker is God.


Abraham’s faith took him on a long journey, with a hard life of tent dwelling, to unknown and fearful places. His faith was repeatedly tried over and over again.

His wife was also a participant in the covenant God made with him.

Abraham was hoping in things not seen and one day will dwell in a living city built by God.


All heirs of the kingdom of God will receive the promise because of Abraham’s active faith.


These four examples of faith are all linked either directly or indirectly to one of God’s 5 greater covenants. God calls us to obedience and we must have faith in order to obey Him. Lest no covenant will ever come to fruition.

So, the beginning of all of God’s covenants starts with the calling of a faithful servant. Like Jesus, who is our supreme example of faith and obedience to God, we must also learn the faith of obedience.


Who in the days of his flesh,

when he had offered up prayers and supplications

with strong crying and tears

unto him that was able to save him from death,

and was heard in that he feared; 

though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience

by the things which he suffered; 

and being made perfect,

he became the author of eternal salvation

unto all them that obey him;

Hebrews 5:7-9

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,

and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 

And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16).


Conclusion

The foundation of any covenant is God and the active ingredient is a faithful servant submitting his will to the graceful works of his master.

It is an awesome thing to realize that God in all his wonder chose to create a universe, inhabit it with humans, come down to live among them so He could redeem to Himself a holy and righteous people.

God made 5 covenants with us:

  • The Noaic Covenant
  • The Abrahamic Covenant
  • The Mosaic Covenant
  • The Davidic Covanant
  • The Messianic Covenant

Four out of the five covenants above are active today and are relevant to us as Jesus’ disciples.

We will review all five greater detail in order to know how they should be applied to an obedient and faithful people.

Now we understand better the main ingredient God uses to mix in our heart and use in His covenants. We must be faithful to water it, fertilize it, and grow it to maturity as God calls.

Blessings in Christ,

~ D

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