God’s Covenant – Chapter 1

Preaching the Word of God

God is!…. Chapter 1…..In the beginning God!

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth

The main subject of the Bible is God. The Bible does not attempt to prove there is a God, but proclaims the fact that God is! The Bible starts by showing that God is eternal and existed in the beginning and He created everything including all humans. Elsewhere the Bible states that God is the “Alpha and Omega”, the “First and Last”, and the “Beginning and End”. The fact that “God is” is the focus of all Scripture. Hebrews states “without faith a person cannot please God. We must believe that “God is” and that He rewards us who diligently seek him”.

God’s primary way of revealing Himself is by His Holy Word, which we have given the name Bible, which contains what man calls an Old and New Covenant.  This covenant relationship started shortly after God creates Adam when He tells Adam (Gen 2:16-17) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

In Hosea God calls this a covenant as we study God’s Covenant relationship, we will see that that command is the basic thought of all the covenant revelations.

Our belief system determines our behavior. The Bible states as a man think so he becomes. Some say that God is dead or does not exist. The Bible calls such a person a fool. Our faith in God and the Bible as TRUTH are very important beliefs. Our understanding of God and His Word determines our Biblical worldview (belief system) and our behavior. Jesus says the Word of God is truth and that a person is sanctified and set apart by God’s Word.

Paul, like Jesus, points out in Romans chapter one that man is without excuse. Paul said that God shows His anger against all sinful, wicked people who refuse His truth. He goes on to say that not only do we have creation (the created) as the truth, but God also left the truth about Himself in the hearts/conscience of all mankind.

God is a relational being and has made us in His image as relational beings. Based on God’s covenant revelations, He desires a relationship with man. The conditions for this relationship are dictated by His Everlasting Covenant. As we study God and His creation let us look at the following three things: (1) God’s Attributes, (2) God’s Character/nature, and God’s Work.

God’s Attributes

The Bible states that God is self-existent and eternal, without beginning, and end. In many places, God’s Word speaks of His eternal nature. In Isaiah God says that He is the First and the Last and that there is no other God besides Him. Isaiah continues this thought as he speaks of God when he says there is but one God and He is a just God and a Savior. There is but One God, but He manifests Himself as three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He is the One who was, is, and is to come. This is the basis of the doctrine of a triune God (Trinity).

The Bible is very clear in the fact there is but one God (presented in three persons). Not only is there but one God, the Bible states there is only one way to God. John says, Jesus is the way of truth and life, and no one goes to the Father, but by Jesus. Also in Acts, it is stated that there is no other name than the name of Jesus that one can call on for salvation.

The Bible states that God is unchanging. God tells us that He is the Lord and does not change. The Bible shows us that God is constant and unchangeable in His revelation and response to mankind. God gives His name to Moses as “I AM that I AM”. God tells Moses that He is the God who is and will be what He has already been in the past (unchanging). He goes on to tell Moses that He is “the Lord God of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and that will be His name forever”.

God is all-present or is everywhere present. He tells us that He is everywhere in all the heavens and earth. God has the capability of being present everywhere in the world at once. He is never separated from any part of His creation. The psalmist exclaimed, “Where can I go from thy spirit, where can I flee from thy presence?” If I go up into heaven, you are there, if I go down to hell, behold, you are there. We cannot hide from Him.

Not only is God all-present, but He is also all-knowing. The Bible states no creature is hidden from God’s sight, all things are naked and open to the eyes of the One to whom we must give account. God’s all-knowing nature is a matter of experience for the righteous and is no cause for alarm but assurance. But to the unrighteous it should be cause for alarm since His eyes are everywhere, watching both the wicked and the good. Not only does God know everything as it happens, but He also knows all events, past present, and future (foreknowledge). There are no surprises to God. There is no one else that can tell you what is going to happen in the days ahead.

Remembering that God knows all our actions and thoughts encourages us to evaluate our actions and see if there is something of which we need to confess or repent, such as gossip, anger, hatred, or an offense against a brother or sister in Christ.

God is all-powerful. Nothing can limit Him except the limits He places on Himself. Scripture affirms that all power belongs to God and that all things are possible for Him. God can accomplish any task He chooses. Also, we see that we can accomplish any task for God because with God all things are possible. God could make anything happen, but He limits Himself through His Everlasting Covenant relationship in which He explains His requirements for man. God is faithful and keeps His Covenant for a thousand generations. He grants men freedom and holds them accountable. There is no excuse.

God’s sovereignty and His delegated responsibility to man presents a paradox in Scripture. Although He is all-powerful and could cause anything He desires to come to fulfillment, He has delegated to man certain freedom. This freedom of man is defined by His Everlasting Covenant relationship. Man is not a robot or a puppet on a string. God has created man as both a rational and volitional being. God allows man to reason and make choices. God desires that man love Him voluntarily and not by force. Man’s most important decision is to love God and keep His commandments.

The book of Revelation states that God created everything for His pleasure, and He is worthy of worship. God desires that we bring Him pleasure through worship, praise, and obedience. God has created man with the ability either do these voluntarily or not. The Bible states that even though they knew God they refused to give Him glory or thanks. God goes on to describe the punishment that will come to the ones who chose not to honor Him.

God’s Character

The most basic word to describe God’s character is the word holy. True holiness belongs to God alone. It is a unique quality of God, separate and distinct from all else. Holiness includes the ideas of righteousness, justice, and purity and belongs to God alone. The Bible says we are to “Be holy because He is holy”.

Who can come into God’s presence? Who shall climb the hill of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place? Only the one with clean hands, and a pure heart; He that is Holy. We are to be holy. We only become holy by being drawn into a relationship with God and assuming His holiness by being cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

God’s love is coordinated perfectly with His holiness and His righteousness. God’s love is always just. Love is the primary motivation behind His revelation. His covenant is given for our good. God’s love is primarily expressed as His mercy in forgiving sinners. Jesus expresses this love when he states that “God loved the world so much that He gave his Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

God has made us rational beings. We must receive His expression of love by faith. Right behind this expression of love is His statement of holiness and righteousness where Jesus states if a person believes in Him, they are not condemned but if they do not believe in Him, they are condemned already.

God is impartial. God treats everyone the same and he allows everyone to believe. The book of Romans says that God is no respecter of persons. Deuteronomy says that God shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. Peter says that God wishes none to perish. Therefore, God does not choose one over the other. God used His foreknowledge to carry out the plan that He initiated before the world was formed which was that Christ is crucified for the sins of man without neutralizing the freedom that He has allowed man.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also the sins of the whole world.

His death (blood) is sufficient for all mankind but is efficient for only those who choose to place their faith in Christ.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God did not and will not break His Everlasting Covenant. It is a man who breaks the covenant relationship. God’s all-knowing ability is displayed by His perfect awareness of all events past, present, and future. He knows the outcome (foreknowledge) of each human but allows free choice. This is a paradox. Theologians differ with the interpretation of Ephesians chapter one. Some read it with a focus on Christ and God’s predetermined plan of the crucifixion of Christ and others read it with a focus on man and see it as God predetermining an individual’s salvation. In either case, you will see that God’s foreknowledge was involved before the foreordained event.

God’s word says that God has chosen us in Jesus (method of salvation) before the foundation of the world and predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus. If the focus is on Christ we see the method of salvation, the cross. This is more consistent with all of Scripture and agrees with the “whosoever will”, “all”, “wishes none to perish”, etc. However, if the focus is on an individual’s predestination for salvation, then the many references to “whosoever will” and “all” will be in conflict.

If we interpreted these verses with a focus on man, then one could build a case for the doctrine known as election. The election (selection) of one human over the other seems to violate the attribute that God is impartial and wishes none to be lost.

We must somehow reconcile God’s Word. God is always faithful to His Word. God’s Word stands forever firm in heaven. His faithfulness extends to every generation, like the earth He created; it endures by His decree, and everything serves His plans. God is faithful to His Word.

He tells us that He will never leave, nor forsake us, but does not say we cannot forsake Him. Israel’s defeat at “A I” came after God promised not to “leave nor forsake”. God’s character dictates His action. Sometimes we forget that God is a perfect balance of these attributes. His love does not sway His justice.

God’s Work

God in His sovereignty moves toward a particular purpose. Yet, at all times allowing man the freedom to operate within God’s Everlasting Covenant revelation. God’s purpose is to bring His creation to completion, to fellowship with Him: The Bible says that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. The kingdom of God “in Christ” is the end toward which God moves His creation.

Man was created in the image of God. He gave us the attributes of being rational, relational, volitional, and emotional. These attributes with God’s commandment for man to rule over God’s creation under the terms of His Everlasting Covenant give us freedom but holds us accountable. Starting with Adam, God has established an Everlasting Covenant relationship with man. This Covenant defines our relationship with God. The Bible tells us that God desires a relationship where we recognize that “He is our God, that we are His people, and that He dwells with us”. This three-part formula culminates when the Bible states in the book of Revelation, that God will dwell with man, and we shall be his people, and He will be our God.

God with all of His power could mandate this to happen with every person. If He were to do that, then the person would lose the freedom of choice (volition). God does not want robots or puppets. He desires a person’s free worship. We need to recognize that we were created for His pleasure and that all things were created by Him and for Him.

Using our God-given rational and volitional ability to reason and choose, we can either choose to trust and obey (worship) or reject His offer of a relationship. We can choose life or death, blessing or curse.

What all this means is there is a God that grants all men freedom, and He holds us accountable for our decisions. This freedom and accountability are defined in His Everlasting Covenant revelations. God rules and sets rules. He does exist and does reward those who diligently seek Him. God has established a set of rules, which are included in His Everlasting Covenant. Yet, this Covenant is a paradox, because our all-powerful God limits Himself by assigning our responsibilities and giving us the freedom to obey or not.

We must understand God’s Everlasting Covenant and live within its constraints. This is the third lecture in a series that discusses God’s Everlasting Covenant Relationship with mankind.

This series of lessons on God’s Everlasting (Eternal) Covenant was written about 15 years ago. In recent years a new theological concept named “Progressive Covenantalism” looks at this subject through a different but related set of lenses.

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