Covenant or Contract? Many say we are in covenant as Christians and that Jesus is doing His part but are we. If that is true then my question here would be this: What’s our part of the bargain?
I will say that little (or not enough) is taught about our covenant relationship with the Father. The covenant is not something widely understood today but in times of antiquity, it was often used and, it was much more than a contract-a contract being something we understand in our current generation. I think it has been misunderstood on who the covenant partners are though. It is not between the Christian and Jesus. If it was it would be sorely incomplete and would be similar in nature to those covenants in the Old Testament. The covenant today is between Jesus and God. Throughout the Old Testament there are various covenants that God made with man-the primary ones being the Abrahamic covenant and the Mosaic covenants. Those covenants had faults though because man was never able to keep his side of the bargain/agreement. Hebrews 8:9 (Jer 31:31) states this clearly ‘…because they did not remain faithful to my covenant and I turned away from them’. This is the very reason Jesus came, was to create a new and better covenant as it says just one verse earlier in Hebrews 8:8 ‘then I will make a new covenant with them’.
Jesus came into this world (being fully God) but lived fully as a man. He lived the perfect life, free from not only committing sin but also free from being born into sin (since He was conceived by the unction and seed of the Holy Spirit and not the transferable seed of sinful man). Jesus went to the cross and became the perfect sacrifice for our sins-once for all (Heb 8:12, 9:15, 2 Cor 5:21)! Jesus was the one who entered into covenant with God the Father! The covenant had to be between man and God but natural man (in his sinful state) was unable to fulfill this covenant, so Jesus, who came fully as a man but was completely sinless, entered into covenant with God for us!! And because He WAS sinless and IS sinless forevermore, that covenant is perfectly fulfilled for all time.
“Well if that was the case then how do we play a part in that?”
We don’t play a part in that, because if we did we would corrupt it and the covenant would fail. This is the beauty of the Gospel, we come into that covenant simply on our belief in Jesus and acceptance of all that Jesus did for us before the Father in Heaven. You see, in antiquity, if I cut covenant with someone, not only was I in covenant with that person but also my entire family and that person’s entire family. I would have access to all that person’s benefits, resources, protection, provision-just as they would have the same access to all those things of mine. This is clearly demonstrated in the story of Mephibosheth in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 9). David had entered into a covenant with Jonathan but after Jonathan had died years later, Mephibosheth still lived, a relative of Jonathan. Now David was the king and because of his previous feud with King Saul, Mephibosheth had gone into hiding for fear that David would kill him. But once David realized there was still a relative of Jonathan remaining, he called forth Mephibosheth and blessed with everything he owned and made him to sit at the King’s table! Glory to God in the highest!!! This is the same relationship we have with God. The Bible declares we are brothers with Jesus, joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17), sons of the Living God!! Halelujah!! We are blessed to have come into covenant with God almighty and have access to everything of His-this is why the scriptures say we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
So, back to the original question. I ask, what’s our part of the bargain? Our part is simply faith-that of believing in what Jesus has already done for us!! Like Mephibosheth we have been blessed beyond blessed on no part of our own but simply through our being a part of the family!! Let us walk boldly in then because in Christ, we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!!