If you were to look up the meanings of the words covenant and contract in the dictionary you would find the same general meaning for each word – a mutual formal agreement between two or more people to do (or not do) specific things. An additional definitions occur for covenant – 1. promises made by members of a church to be in harmony with the Gospel; and 2. conditional promises made by God to humankind, providing the Israelites were faithful. I did find additional definition for the word contract stating that a break of a contract was enforceable by law.
We seldom see or use the word covenant these days, and if you were to type the word covenant into an internet search engine a majority of the website suggestions/articles are in regards to faith. If you’ve spent time reading through the Old Testament you would come across the word covenant where God talks about keeping a covenant with His children. There are seven different covenants in the Bible: Abrahmic, Davidic, Mosiac, Palestinian, Adamic, Edenic, and New. The first four covenants listed were made with the nation of Israel, with the Mosiac covenant being the only one that is conditional in nature (Mosiac – which brings blessings or curses depending on Israel’s behavior of obedience or disobedience). So, upon learning about these seven Biblical covenants, sources led me to believe that six of the seven covenants listed are unconditional. So then I can conclude that the definition of covenant above, in regards to God is not quite accurate.
The one covenant the quickly comes to mind that we humans enter into is the covenant of marriage. We readily enter into the covenant with our spouse because we love them and want to spend the rest of our lives together. On our wedding day, we promise to love our husbands no matter what happens – and the Bible confirms that the only way to dissolve our marriage is through death or infidelity. We don’t enter into a contract of marriage – at least I didn’t. If so then our marriage would be based on reciprocation which would be more like us saying “you owe me, because I did this for you.” I don’t know about you, but my happily ever after marriage wouldn’t go far if it was based upon either of us wielding a sense of entitlement. Even with our best intentions, many Christians break their marriage covenant as time goes on. I don’t think that anyone ever sets out to break the covenant of marriage. Some couples who despite having the best of intentions simply cannot maintain enough of a commitment to stay together. Then, there are those couples whose marriage covenant withstands the test of time, whose commitment to each other is rock solid, they’ve weathered all the storms that were thrown their way, and they’ve grown stronger because of it. That’s the covenant marriage that I want.
The truest, purest love comes from God – He loves His chosen unconditionally. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done before you gave your life to Christ, there’s no offense too big for God to forgive. His covenant is the only covenant that I know of that is truly everlasting. And, that’s good news for us. We are not perfect, we will make mistakes, we will fail. But as my favorite Pastor says time and again “failure is not final.” Through Jesus’ sacrifice, God’s unlimited love, unlimited grace, and unlimited forgiveness is granted, and an everlasting covenant is established.
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8, ESV)
“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19, ESV)
“And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” (Genesis 17:7, ESV)
“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” (Jeremiah 32:40, ESV)
“I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore.” (Ezekiel 37:26, ESV)
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21, ESV)