Do you know the differences between contracts and covenants? If you’re a Christian, then that distinction is very important. Understanding it can be the difference between a blessed life and total frustration with your spiritual walk.
As we continue looking at Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he begins to talk about covenants. That’s important because we’re in a covenant relationship with Christ. The unfortunate thing is that we don’t usually talk about covenants in our culture. We’re most familiar with contracts.
Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.
Let’s start with contracts. They’re based on mistrust and works. We don’t really trust each other to do what we’ve agreed to, so the contract details out all or our responsibilities. For instance, you fix my roof in a professional manner and I’ll pay you $5000.
Contracts also have an escape. If you don’t fix the roof, I don’t have to pay you the money. If you complete the work, then I can’t legally refuse to pay you. The contract forces us to do the things we said we would do.
Covenants are a totally different thing. They’re based upon faith and love. In a covenant, two people pledge their lives to each other. There must be a great faith in each other in order to do this. Under covenant, I complete my part regardless of what you do.
Also, there’s no escape from a covenant. They’re in effect forever. They even affect the descendants of those who made the covenant.
The closest thing we have to covenant in our society is a marriage. God has designed marriage to be a covenant, but in many cases, we’ve reduced it to merely a long-term contract.
In Paul’s example, he explains that a covenant can’t be annulled and another covenant can’t be added alongside it. As I said, once entered into, it’s in effect forever.
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.
A covenant is in effect throughout the generations. In Abraham’s case, it was spoken to Christ through Abraham. That’s because Jesus entered the earth through Abraham’s family line.
But here’s the important piece that we often miss.
What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.
There are some who erroneously teach that the Law of Moses was a new covenant that God made with Israel. They say that once the Law was given, salvation was only obtained through the sacrificial system. This verse exposes the fallacy of that kind of teaching.
The good news is that the covenant of Abraham is still in effect. Over the past few posts, I’ve been talking about how the Apostle Paul explained this truth. As believers, we can walk in the blessings of the covenant.
Of course, there’s still the question about the Law of Moses. What exactly is our relationship with the Ten Commandments and all the laws associated with them? We’ll deal with that subject over the next few posts.
Question: Why is it important to know that we’re in covenant with God?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017