Eventually writers get beyond the point of explaining how they came to the knowledge of what they write and just write what they have learned. Perhaps this is the difference in a theologian and a simple disciple of Christ, (the sheep) like me.
The new wine after twenty-two years is still new and sometimes I have to write about how God has grown me with this new wine. This is the case of the two subjects here. Until a few years ago I had never heard that God relates to man only through covenant. Since His creating everything in covenant with His Son and the Holy Spirit, “creating man in our image,” He has established covenants with men; the covenant of works and the covenant of grace (the everlasting covenant established and fulfilled in Christ.)
The first man Adam, never entered into covenant with God, but refused to accept this relationship with Him.
His people could not enter into His sabbath rest because of unbelief in the covenant. (Hebrews 3:18-19)
What is a Covenant?
If this is God’s way of relating to us it behooves us to find its meaning. Still not understanding all that it entails, nor its ramifications, I continue to seek understanding through God’s word and prayer.
Basically (for the sheep’s point of view) a covenant is an agreement between two parties (persons). One of the two is the initiator of the covenant, whose work is to bring the second party (person) into the agreement. The first party must reveal and present the content and the intent of the covenant to the second party. A covenant can be understood as a set of rules established by the first party; with its purposes and promises.
God, Creator and Initiator
God as the initiator established His covenant through His Son, Jesus Christ, before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:9) The world was created through Him; all things consist in Him; and in Him all God’s fulness dwells (Colossians 1:15-19). (Is it any wonder that we must believe that there is no life apart from His Son?)
All things are sustained and fulfilled in the power of His Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead are parties of the first part of the covenant. They each have their place in the presentation, the preservation, and the perseverance of those in the covenant.
I like to think of the covenant as a house or building that is constituted for the protection and provisions of those who are brought in. His covenant is our home.
It is where He teaches us what He will do and work in us through His covenant. Hopefully this is enough for the basic understanding of His covenant, which He has established for His people.
“They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying,
Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant
that shall not be forgotten.”
The Eternal Sabbath
The eternal Sabbath is similar in that He, in the three persons of the Godhead, provided the Sabbath by His own work and initiation. He, by His work of creation, established the first Sabbath, the seventh day, of His rest. Jesus, by His work of redemption, established the first day, of His rest. The Holy Spirit is still in the process of presenting the covenant and bringing God’s people through the covenant into His eternal rest.
For us, the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, is lived in observance of the covenant, with a resting and remembering all that He has done and is continuing to do. As we look forward to that eternal Sabbath promised in the everlasting covenant we worship and live the day, in light of the promises, as if we were there with Him. (Ephesians 1:3, 20: 3:10) He is the center of the day, even as He is the center of everyday and all of life.
“And hath raised us up together,
and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
Life in Christ is life in the covenant. He was given to us as our covenant.
Life in Christ is our resting in His work, just as we rest in God’s creation of us. We can do nothing toward either birth, but as His Holy Spirit births Christ in us, we, in agreement, turn in repentance and faith entering into Christ, the everlasting covenant and our eternal rest.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Dear Father, thank you for your covenant, established in Christ your Son, and for that eternal rest into which you have brought us, now and for eternity. Let us live this day in honor and remembrance of Him as your covenant to us. In the power of your Spirit, fill us with the fulness of your truth to worship and live in praise to you everyday. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
The Baptist Covenant of Grace ~ The New Covenant