Blood of the Covenant
Scheduled for February 2
happened once that I took a course in Business Law. The crushing boredom of
the instructor gave me what little evidence I might have needed to decide that
the life of a lawyer is not for me.
concept, however, stuck in my mind. That concept is the business notion of a
contract. In law, several things are needed to make a contract binding on both
parties; the one most important is “the exchange of consideration.”
Consideration is anything of value -- money, services, property, etc. A
contract is not binding unless both parties exchange consideration.
Interestingly, there is no requirement that the exchange be fair; just that
the exchange take place. You may have seen newspaper articles telling of some
charity renting office space for a dollar a year; the dollar is the
consideration which makes the contract binding.
I have heard various speakers attempt to explain the concept of a covenant as
being “God’s contract with us.” Education can make you dangerous. A covenant
is not a contract. The comparison is interesting:
In a contract, there is
negotiation. Sometimes even the wording of the contract is negotiated; other
times just the price. God’s covenants have been non-negotiable, for who would
tell God, “I have a better idea?”
With a contract, negotiations come
before delivery. In a covenant relationship, God does something first -- for
example, He delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt -- and then
establishes the covenant.
A contract is optional for both
parties. I don’t have to sign the contract with the car dealer -- if I don’t
want the car. A covenant can be rejected -- at a terrible price.
Finally, a contract requires the
“exchange of consideration.” I provide the car dealer with money; he provides
me with the car. In a covenant, God provides the payment first, and then
offers the rewards of that payment to His children.
is an old saying: “Your arms aren’t long enough to box with God.” Neither is
your pencil so sharp that you can bargain with him. We are so often tempted to
say, “God, if you’ll get me out of this mess, I’ll do thus and such for you.”
That’s a contract. God does not work that way. Rather, we should say, “God,
you have done so much for me. Now, allow me to do thus and such for you.”
That’s a covenant.
Communion we celebrate what Christ called “the New Covenant.” He gave us the
symbols of the Lord’s Supper so that we might know the terms of that covenant:
It is not negotiable; it is
God has already paid the price of
We can reject it -- at the price
of our souls for eternity.
God has paid -- and the rewards of
that payment are ours.