The Covenants of Promise (01): Covenant Rites
The Covenants of Promise (1): Covenant Rites and Church
How Church, Children and Culture are Transformed by Covenant Faithfulness
How has God worked in your family? What is your family heritage? My father and grandfather were unbelievers.
Ephesians 2:12–22 NRSV - Remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ . . . that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace . . . So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
In this three part series we will see how God has fulfilled His covenant promises to undo the fall of Adam by making a new Adam (a new man or a new humanity) in Christ. We will see how this affects belief and practice about Church, Children and Culture.
What is a covenant? Palmer Robertson's definition of covenant as "a bond in blood sovereignly administered." The Covenant Lord is a God of promises. Promises imply relationship and responsibility. The Covenant is foundationally the union of love within the Triune God. The Trinitarian God has been revealing Himself throughout history. God’s covenant character is revealed in the pattern of promise and obligation in the unfolding story of redemption. The “eternal covenant” (Heb. 13:20) manifests the nature of the Covenant Lord (Yahweh).
What are the covenants? This one redemptive Oath guiding cosmic history (Eph. 3:10-11) has been administered through the biblical “covenants of promise” (Eph. 2:12): Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and supremely and finally declared in the New Covenant and fulfilled through the One Mediator, Jesus.
Deuteronomy 5:2–3 NAS95 - 5:3 “The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today.
So what? Understanding the Covenantal backbone of the Bible dramatically affects “Church” - that is our assembly for Worship. Covenants include worship-actions, visible oaths which structure liturgy and by which we are to live.
The genealogical realities in covenantal succession with Abraham , Moses and David demonstrate not that they are different covenants, but that they are successive of one divine covenant. This was true of all biblical covenants but now in the new covenant these are distilled into two: baptism & communion. Baptism and Communion structure our liturgy and are to be reflected in all of life.
We only need the smallest particle of faith to see God enact His promises . . . How does God work?
A few loaves and fish feed multitudes
Scattered seed becomes a harvest
The tiniest seed of faith moves mountains - it must be faith and not self righteousness
A little yeast changes the whole loaf
A little seed becomes a great plant
HIs power is perfected in weakness.
1Corinthians 1:26–28 - For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 1:28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
Maybe you thought it was power and wealth and and talent, but it's not. God keeps His promises.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more