Until several years ago, I did not find any reason for myself to pursue any understanding about God. That was because I honestly wasn’t sure if God cared for the people of this world. Looking at the situation in the world, anyone would tend to agree with me. However, after being through a really difficult situation in life where I had no other choice but to trust in God, I had an amazing experience, which made me rethink my understanding of God. So, a deep desire to know God, arose within me and I had a lot of questions that I needed answers to. This is how, my journey on getting to know God and about His love for me began. I do not say that I have all the answers, but this I can say for sure that God is real and He loves me more than anyone can imagine. My relationship with God has taken on a new meaning and there are things He reveals to me day by day that just makes me feel special.
I invite you on this journey to have a glimpse of history revealing God’s heart of love. It is important to understand that God chose men to write down this history which you will find in the Bible, however man cannot be called the author of the bible because it was under the guidance (& inspiration) of God that all the content was written. There were many efforts to destroy the Bible, however God supernaturally protected it, because I guess, He knew there would come a time and a day (as is today) when people would no longer trust any word about God and doubt that He exists.
More importantly, the Bible reveals the Word of God, this is explained further ahead. Through the Word of God, God reveals Himself, His true nature, His plan of salvation for mankind and what He achieved through this plan. In a nutshell, God’s Word reveals His goodness and His Love for His people.
In our journey, divided into 2 parts, we will look at:
1. How God’s amazing love is revealed through His Son Jesus who became our Savior?
2. How the outcome of this Love results in establishing a new identity for us in Christ?
In this first part, we will begin to understand how the Word of God reveals His love for His people, how He established His covenant with Israel first and then with all of mankind and how the fullness of the revelation of God Himself is completed in Jesus Christ His Son. Let us first take a look at what is a covenant and then we will try to understand the 2 main covenants mentioned in the Bible i.e. the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
A covenant is a type of promise or agreement or treaty or contract between 2 parties that is in force during the entire lifetime of the 2 parties, in other words a covenant is not a temporary contract for a specified duration, but is a permanent agreement. A covenant is usually established between a greater party and a lesser party where the greater party promises either security or protection/help to the lesser party. Many kings of nations established covenants with one another; this is an example of man-to-man covenant. However we are going to focus on the more important God-to-man covenant.
The Old Covenant:
God made some important covenants with His people:
1. God’s covenant with Noah
2. God’s covenant with Abraham
3. God’s covenant with the nation of Israel
These are not different or exclusive covenants but the same covenant being progressively revealed to His people as they began to receive a better revelation of God and His love for them.
When God establishes a covenant, He assures us that He will be faithful in every word of His covenant; secondly it is God’s covenant with man so no man can void it and thirdly God himself will never revoke or reverse His covenant. From this we can say that only God can end the covenant or replace it with a new one. Man can either be in agreement or disagreement but cannot terminate the covenant that God has initiated.
That was the technical definition of God’s covenant, however in simpler terms God’s covenant is an act of love to protect, preserve and prosper his finest creation ‘man’. It is an initiative from God to establish a relationship with man so that man – His creation is not left alone to himself, but is under the guidance of God Himself.
But as men multiplied on earth, their wickedness grew and their hearts were continually evil [Gen 6:5]. However, God, out of His love and patience waited till there was just one man (Noah) and his family, on earth, who was just and then God sent forth the rains so that there was a great flood to wipe out the evil generation. God’s covenant with Noah (and his seed) was that He would never again wipe out the entire humanity or destroy the earth by the waters of a flood. The sign of this covenant was a rainbow in the clouds. [Gen 9:11-13]
This covenant was further extended with Abraham (and his Seed) so that Abraham would become a father of many nations and that God would give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants. The sign of this covenant was circumcision. [Gen 17:4-11]
God’s covenant with Israel was a further extension of the Abrahamic covenant which included forgiveness, protection, deliverance, prosperity and healing as blessings of the covenant to those who kept the covenant and the law which He gave to the Israelites through Moses [Ex 24:1-11].
Blood of the Covenant
Every Covenant involved innocent blood known as the ‘Blood of the Covenant’. This was so that the sinfulness of man could be exchanged with the sinlessness or blamelessness of an innocent life by the price of the blameless or innocent blood. In the old covenant, blood was needed for the purification of flesh [Heb 9:13]. While establishing His Covenant with Noah, the blood of innocent birds and animals was shed [Gen 8:20]. Again for His Covenant with Abraham, the blood of innocent birds and animals was shed [Gen 15:9-10]. While renewing His Covenant with Israel, the blood of innocent animals was shed [Ex 24:5-8]. Without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins [Heb 9:22].