The word, covenant, is not one we often use in a sentence. It is understood that there was an old covenant, and we now live under a new covenant. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, fulfilled the old covenant by bringing us a new and better one. When we hear the word, promise, it speaks to us a bit more clearly. “I promise,” is what we sometimes say to reassure someone that we will for certain do whatever it is we said we would. We might also say this to emphasize that we are speaking the truth, and not telling a lie. When Jesus said in Matthew 5:37 to simply let our statements be “yes” or “no”, we should be the type of people who shouldn’t have to back up what we say with an additional statement to confirm it. With people, we have to discern whether they will do what they say they will, or if they are telling us the truth. When we trust in God and His promises, we need not worry.
A couple of hymns come to mind: Standing On The Promises and There’s A Rainbow In The Cloud. God’s promises are firm, solid as a rock. Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18 both say that God cannot lie. We can indeed stand on His promises without the worry of falling through as if skating on thin ice. The rainbow is a reminder of God’s promise to us that He will never again destroy the earth with a flood like in the days of Noah. The Word of God is like a rainbow; when we read it we are reminded of His promises. If we become anxious, we can read Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. If we pray to Him, and humbly plead with Him, He will give us peace. This is just one example of the many promises that God has made to us.
Our salvation in Christ is the ultimate promise of God. However, this covenant is conditional. True, salvation is a free gift to us, but it cost Jesus His life. Philippians 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Our rebellious nature cringes when we hear words like commandment and submission. Jesus was God, but did not consider Himself His equal. Jesus is a prime example of what it means to obey the Father. We need to learn to embrace obedience. Knowing that God is pleased with us should encourage us to want to obey Him. Shame on us for searching scripture for evidence in support of our own views and agendas. Whatever God tells us in His word that He wants from us, we should give it to Him without question. Jesus gave His life for us; we should give up sin for Him. God’s promises will always be firm, but our access to them can be severed if we choose to disobey. How do we show God that we love Him and are grateful for the promises He has made with us? 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. This verse is a reminder that under the new covenant, it is not like the old covenant packed with laws that are impossible to comply with. If we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, as well as, love our neighbors as we would ourselves, our obedience to Him will be a joy to us. The only way that obeying our Lord becomes burdensome is when we are stubborn and choose to do things our way instead of His way. Trust in God that His ways are best. His covenant with us is conditional. Do His will, and the only way to understand what all is included in His will, is to read and study His Word.
~ Chris Melton