Posted by: William | March 23, 2008

A Covenant Justly Observed

So it goes something like this;

Way back when, God made a deal with Adam and Eve. It was a covenant—a covenant of “works”. A covenant of works is an agreement between two people, it’s basically means “do such and such and you’ll receive such and such”. We make covenants like that all the time; with cell phone companies, restaurants, hair stylists. We’re actually very familiar with them, we just might not recognize it. Well, in Adam and Eve’s case the covenant of works sounded something like, “I’ve given you everything, now simply do not eat from this tree, and you’ll live”. The agreement that was made between God and Adam and Eve was that if they did not eat from the tree, they would live in the garden in perfect closeness with God forever. If they did eat from the tree forbidden by God, they would have to die. Each party had a responsibility, so to speak. If they did not eat, God had the obligation to allow them to the live with him forever and they had the obligation to enjoy it. If the agreement was broken, God had the obligation to cast them out and cut them off from himself and they had the obligation to die.

Well we know what happened. They broke the agreement and so God cast them out and cut them off from himself and of course as we can now see, they had the obligation to die and they did; immediately, in a spiritual sense. While already spiritually dead, humankind remained under that obligation, every man to die, both physically and finally. You see, God could not act in grace, lest he would not be holding up his end of the original agreement based on works, which would show God to be unjust. So, God remained under his own obligation to the original covenant that was broken, that every man should die in a physical and final sense—while spiritually already dead. But God, in all of his awesome mercy, made a new covenant with Abraham. He said that through Abraham God would bless all the people of the earth. This time, it was a covenant of grace. The only one with an obligation in this new covenant was God; his obligation was to pour out his grace through Abraham. While we cannot trust man, we can trust God

The promise that was made to Abraham was of Jesus who would eventually come through the Jewish people, Abraham’s descendants. When Jesus finally came on the scene, he lived blameless and perfect. He was, in a sense, Adam except without sinning. When he was crucified, all of the sin from mankind that we had accumulated and would ever be accumulated was placed on Jesus on the cross, and in doing that Jesus fulfilled our end of that original bargain that was made with God in the beginning. The covenant of works made with Adam and Eve was satisfied with Jesus’ death on the cross; the death we deserved to die, he died for us clearing us of our debt to fulfill our end of the agreement.

Three days following Jesus’ death, he came back to life. The grave could not hold him, the Son of God. Jesus had not only paid the debt we owed, but he defeated, he overcame death and so that spiritually, we could actually live in him. We can be new creations, living new lives, no longer in an agreement with God that required that we would die, but now much more beautifully in a covenant of grace. So, while we will eventually die physically, we life spiritually now and will never die finally.

The most amazing part of this story is when we pull back to understand that God made the agreement with Adam and Eve; they failed. Then God came and made satisfaction for the offending party of his own agreement. It’s unbelievably amazing how thorough and gracious and good our God is, how awesome is our king Jesus.

Jesus, thank you for your great mercy and incredible grace! Thank you for being stronger than sin, more powerful than death and for rescuing us from our own debt. Be glorified today, Jesus!


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