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August 12, 2021
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August 26, 2021
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A Covenant, Not a Contract

burning torch in the night

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

Years ago, I was sitting with a single friend of mine, who was recovering from yet another disappointing relationship. In utter despair, she said, “I just want someone to love me for who I am!”

God Almighty, El Shaddai, promises he does—take you as you are. Apart from your performance.

Is your heart not yearning for this?

In a ceremony that is strange to our western eyes, God gives Abram this exact unconditional promise. In his actions and in his words, God in essence says: “My promise is unconditional; I will do my part no matter your performance.”

At Genesis 15, God sets up an ancient Near Eastern covenant/contract ceremony: animals are split in half, then laid on their sides on each side of a little gully or path. As the blood forms a small flow, each participant walks through the path, splashing the blood on themselves, saying, “May it be to me as this, if I do not uphold my part.”

In essence, “You can kill me if I don’t do my part.”

Fun, huh?

But in this ceremony God is the only one who walks through the blood—in the symbolic form of a torch and a smoking lamp. Abram is not required to walk through, nor to make the same pledge. God knows he couldn’t uphold his end.

God is saying, “I will do my part, because I will never leave you nor forsake you. But even when you do not do your part, I will still do my part. And,” and my friends this is unfathomable, “you may do to me what has been done to these animals … when you do not do your part.”

Two thousand years later, Jesus uttered these words from the cross: “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

His words in the Greek are “Paid in full.”

Hanging on the cross, Jesus had the blood of the animals from the Abram covenant splashed all over him. He took your punishment for not upholding your part of the covenant God provided in Genesis 15.

God started the covenant in Genesis 15; Jesus finished it on the cross.

Paid in full. It is finished.

What this means to you and to me is that you are not in a contract with God; you are in a covenant. A covenant of love, not labor. A covenant of peace, not performance.

Your job, your part of the covenant, is to surrender to Jesus. Not just believe in a man called Jesus, but to fall to your knees in surrender and utter joy that the work has been done. The covenant is complete in Jesus.

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