God the Creator is a “Covenant” making God. So what does that mean for you and me? Why are the covenants of God important and do I have any responsibility to God because of them?
11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:11-13 ESV
The Hebrew word for covenant here בְּרִית is used hundreds of times in the Old Testament text but it is used first with Noah and his family at the start of the flood. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology defines Covenant as an agreement between two parties obligating themselves to certain ways of life. However the Covenant between God and Noah’s family here is very one sided. It is more of a promise from an all-powerful God that never again would He destroy all life with water in the way that was just completed when Noah stepped on that Ark. This covenant is not a contract or a simple promise. It is a binding unalterable truth given by a King and Ruler to a powerless subject. A contract might be between two people who have business and both enter into the deal as relative equals. God’s covenants to man are not like that.
Noah’s covenant one of the first of many from God does not even require any response from man other than to be reminded and to know who God is and where we stand with Him. God out of his own mercy promises to never flood the world again and then God gives a sign the rainbow in the sky for men to remember forever who God is and what He has said he will do.
14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Genesis 9:14-15 ESV
God has made other covenants and the one that currently applies to us today was first announced by the Prophet Jeramiah. This covenant like the one to Noah is a promise from God to man where God is promising to act on our behalf for our benefit.
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeramiah 31:31-34 ESV
This “New Covenant” that God is promising is one where he will write onto the hearts of his people who he is and everyone covered by the covenant will have a relationship and know who God is. This covenant will be for people of simple means and people of powerful means.
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13 ESV
God has accomplished this New Covenant by sealing His people with His Holy Spirit changing who we are with a new heart that comes from Him. This could not be accomplished until Jesus the change agent of the New Covenant completed his ministry.
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9:15 ESV
Jesus when he died fulfilled the temporary placeholder covenant from God. The new covenant that God set in motion at the very beginning is now in full effect. God having paid for our sins with the death of Christ is able to give to us, His children with His Holy Spirit and effectively remove our old dead hearts of stone and rebellion.
24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:24-29 ESV
This New Covenant is so powerful and so effective that through it people from the greatest to the least can be saved to live eternally with their Creator. But this covenant must be entered into unlike the covenant with Noah. God in his mercy gave a promise to all people that never again would He flood the world. This new covenant requires that individuals agree to a baptized life clothed with Christ by way of the Holy Spirit transforming the heart. Salvation stands before every man, woman, and child. A transformation and new life await. Will you too submit to Christ and be God’s child transformed into the new covenant?