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Covenantal Promises

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     We worship a God who keeps his promises!  Amen?!?!

     The significance of covenants (the Bible's term for God's promises) is a key theme throughout scripture.  The formal process of tracing the progression of God's covenantal promises throughout redemptive history, as they have been revealed in God's word, is called Covenant Theology.  Covenant theologians distinguish between two fundamental covenants that establish God's plan for mankind.  First, the covenant of works, as established with Adam before his fall into sin; and second, the covenant of grace as established through Adam (after the fall), on to Noah, to Abraham and the patriarchs, to Moses, to David, and finally consummated in Christ.

     The covenant of works points us to our desperate need for all that God has provided to us through the covenant of grace, but they reveal much more than just that.  God's covenantal promises don't simply reveal what God has intended to do in history, but also establish the means through which he will accomplish those ends.  True indeed, God alone is the keeper of the promises (man has shown time and again our inability to live up to our end of the "deal"), but the covenants don't exist within a vacuum.  In every case, indeed by definition, a covenant requires two consenting parties.

     Throughout scripture we see God's election (his sovereign choice) in the establishment and administration of covenants.  No one ever goes to God to propose an arrangement.  To really hammer this point home, scripture often prescribes the timing of both the establishment of his redemptive plan and the election of those who would be his means in accomplishing it as being, "before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24, 1 Peter 1:20, Ephesians 1:4, Revelation 13:8).  Consequently, there is no way to point to any effort on the part of man.

     Perhaps the greatest testimony in all of scripture to the sovereignty of God in election is seen in his choosing to use the nation of Israel.  As Cody pointed out in his sermon, there was nothing significant about Israel.  There were many more powerful and influential cultures in the ancient world (the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, etc.).  However, not only was Israel of little to no significance as a people group before being thrust into the spotlight of redemptive history by God himself...THEY DIDN'T EVEN EXIST AS A PEOPLE GROUP!!!  That's right!  Before electing to use the nation of Israel as his chosen instrument, he first sovereignly decreed to establish them as a people unto himself.

     In Genesis 12, we find God's promise to establish, through Abram (Abraham) a great nation, through which he would ultimately bless the whole world in Christ.  The nation of Israel carries the God-given namesake of Jacob (the grandson of Abraham).  Abraham and his offspring didn't descend from a great Jewish bloodline, rather in them, God established the Jewish bloodline that would eventually lead to Jesus.

     I believe that God choosing not to work through the heritage of a mighty nation, but instead establishing a new nation of his own, is yet another reminder to us that salvation depends entirely on God.  Throughout history, sinful man has warped and twisted election to make it about something meritorious in us, instead of finding contentment (and honestly a great deal of grace-fueled freedom) in resting in the merits of Christ alone.  If it in any way depends on me, then I am forced to carry a weight I am woefully ill-equipped to shoulder.  Isn't our long history of broken promises and failed commitments all the evidence we need?

     God always keeps his promises.  He never changes.  He never fails.  He never falls short.  If I'm betting my eternity on someone or something, I want to bet it on someone or something with that kind of track record!

In Grace,
Chris Morris

If you missed this week's sermon (or just want to listen again), follow the link below to listen. Or subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.

Part 29 - Sovereign Grace

Questions discussed in this sermon:

1.  What is grace?
2.  Why did God choose Israel?
3.  Why are you among the chosen?

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