Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Honoring HIS Choices’
© November 13, 2016, by Steve Mickelson
Announcements and Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #641 (Christian Assurance – Romans 8); Prayer
Opening Hymn #317: Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine; Choruses
Prayer and Tithing Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings
Scripture Verses: 2 Peter 1:1-14, Romans 8:31-39, John 3:16-18
Let us pray…
Welcome to BLCF Church’s Sunday Morning Praise and Worship Service. For today’s lesson, we will talk about three aspects of our relationship with the Lord which some Christians casually use interchangeably: covenants, promises, and contracts relating to God.
To understand the differences between the terms let us briefly look at the definition of each term.
Covenant vs Promise
Although some people consider a covenant and a promise as synonymous, it is a wrong assumption because there is a difference between a covenant and a promise. First, let us define the two words. A covenant can be defined as a formal agreement between two or more parties where they agree to do or not to do something. This word is mostly used in religious backgrounds as well. On the other hand, a promise is an assurance that one will do something or that something will happen. The main difference between a covenant and a promise is that while, in a covenant, both parties have clear obligations and responsibilities, in a promise, this characteristic cannot be observed. Instead, in a promise, what we can observe is the active role undertaken by one party while the other remains passive. Through this article let us examine the differences between these two words, covenant, and promise.
Difference between Covenant and Contract
A covenant is defined as an agreement or written promise between two or more parties that constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something. Thus, an agreement that requires the performance of some act is termed an “affirmative covenant” while an agreement that restricts or refrains a person from performing something is called a “negative covenant.” In other words, a covenant is a type of contract and falls within the purview of contracts in general. The person making the pledge or promise is called the covenantor while the person to whom such promise is made is known as the covenantee. In addition, covenants are also included in a contract, thereby forming part of the contract. In certain instances, it may constitute a particular condition in a contract.
In simple terms, a contract is an oral or written promise that is enforceable by law. It is defined in law as a voluntary agreement between two or more parties, who intend to create legal obligations, in which there is a promise to do or perform some work or service for a valuable consideration or benefit.
Scriptures describe two Covenants; one is described as Old and the other as New:
The Old Covenant
The content of the Law is spread among the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and then reiterated and added to in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy is Latinized Greek for “Second reading of the Law”). This includes:
- theTen Commandments
- Moral laws – on murder, theft, honesty, adultery, etc.
- Social laws – on property, inheritance, marriage and divorce,
- Food laws – on what isclean and unclean, on cooking and storing food.
- Purity laws – onmenstruation, seminal emissions, skin disease and mildew, etc.
- Feasts – (eg.Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks )
- Sacrifices and offerings – (eg. sin offering,burnt offering, whole offering, Passover sacrifice,
- Instructions for thepriesthood and the high priest including tithes.
- Instructions regarding theTabernacle, and which were later applied to the Temple in Jerusalem, including the Holy of Holies containing the Ark of the Covenant ( which housed the Tablets of the Law, Aaron’s rod, the manna), and instructions f for the construction of various altars.
The New Covenant
The New Covenant is a biblical interpretation originally derived from a phrase in the Book of Jeremiah, in the Hebrew Bible. Generally, Christians believe that the New Covenant was instituted at the Last Supper as part of the Eucharist, which in the Gospel of John includes the New Commandment.
There are several Christian eschatologies that further define the New Covenant. For example, an inaugurated eschatology defines and describes the New Covenant as an ongoing relationship between Christian believers and God that will be in full fruition after the Second Coming of Christ; that is, it will not only be in full fruition in believing hearts, but in the future external world as well. The connection between the blood of Christ and the New Covenant is seen in most modern English translations of the New Testament with the saying: “this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”.
Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant, and that the blood of Christ shed at his crucifixion is the required blood of the covenant. As with all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, the New Covenant is considered “a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God.” It has been theorized that the New Covenant is the Law of Christ as spoken during his Sermon on the Mount.
Believers in the Resurrected Christ should focus on God’s New Covenant. Let us recap the important points of the New Covenant terminology:
The New Covenant
- A covenant is defined asan agreement or written promise between two or more parties that constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something.
- Covenants are also included in a contract, thereby forming part of the contract. In certain instances, it may constitute a particular condition in a contract.
- In a promise, what we can observe is the active role undertaken by one party while the other remains passive.
- Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant, and that the blood of Christ shed at his crucifixionis the required blood of the covenant. As with all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, the New Covenant is considered “a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God.
Now that we understand the differences between
2 Peter 1:1-14 (ESV) Greeting
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Confirm Your Calling and Election
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence,[d] 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,[e] and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities[f] are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters,[g] be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body,[h] to stir you up by way of reminder,14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.
Footnotes: a. 2 Peter 1:1 Some manuscripts Simon b. 2 Peter 1:1 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface c. 2 Peter 1:3 Or by e. 2 Peter 1:3 Or virtue f. 2 Peter 1:5 Or excellence; twice in this verse g. 2 Peter 1:8 Greek these things; also verses 9, 10, 12 h. 2 Peter 1:10 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters i. 2 Peter 1:13 Greek tent; also verse 14
Romans 8:31-39 (ESV) God’s Everlasting Love
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[a]against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[b] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 3:16-18 (ESV) For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
If we view Christ who has called us to his glory and excellence and by accepting the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross, we enter a spiritual contract.
Elements of a Contract. The requisite elements that must be established to demonstrate the formation of a legally binding contract are (1) offer; (2) acceptance; (3) consideration (price); (4) mutuality of obligation; (5) competency and capacity; and, in certain circumstances, (6) a written instrument.
So, let us examine the elements of this contract, that as Christians we are bound:
(1) Offer – God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son
(2) Acceptance – Whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life
(3) Consideration – God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him
(4) Mutuality of obligation – Whoever believes in him is not condemned, (saved) but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God
(5) Competency and capacity; and, in certain circumstances – Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love
(6) A written instrument – (written by the blood of Christ) As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #225: Standing on the Promises
Benediction – (Psalm 121:7-8):
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.