covenant old testament relationship god humanity Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1318 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Religion

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[. . .] However, God essentially raises the stakes with Abraham, demanding faith in addition to righteous action (Padfield, 2018). “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness,” (Genesis 15:6). Thus, the covenant with Abraham offers a new feature of the redemptive power of God; human beings must take action but their faith is a prerequisite for salvation. God also offers specific concessions to Abraham and his descendants through this covenant, specifically in response to Abraham’s need for land (Barrick, 2007). While the substantive content of the Abrahamic covenant centers on the necessity of faith and commitment to God, God also demonstrates redemptive power through the fulfillment of worldly needs.

One of the most remarkable Old Testament examples of a covenant between God and humanity is the Mosaic covenant, between God and the People of Israel. The covenant arrives at a nadir in the life of the Jewish people, the time of enslavement to the pharaoh in Egypt. At this point of tremendous human suffering, God offers the ticket to salvation through a new covenant given through the vehicle of the Ten Commandments. With the covenant with Moses, God outlines a rule of law and establishes the standards for human law and social behavior that continues to define many ethical and legal codes. Moses also makes a point to “write down” what the Lord had said, thereby creating one of the first and most important binding contracts (Exodus 24:4). An animal sacrifice that seals the covenant is symbolic: “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words,” (Exodus 24:8). Human beings must make sacrifices in order to receive God’s grace and salvation. God also promises redemption from sin and suffering, but in return requires the gift of faith and obedience to God’s ethical codes. In fact, none of God’s covenants with humanity are negotiable; God has the upper hand in all such agreements. God authors the Covenants in ways that promote divine will and duties, not the mundane wishes of humanity (“Covenant In the Old Testament,” n.d.). Yet God’s covenants do ensure salvation, as it is only humanity in its sinfulness that is capable of breaking a sacred promise.

Conclusion

Covenants are like promissory notes, contracts between God and humanity that outline the provisions and parameters of this sacred relationship. God’s relationship with humanity evolves, evidenced by the changing nature of the covenants and their different dictums. In the Old Testament, God establishes covenants with key figures including Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. The covenants help solidify the patriarchal leadership of these men, and also set forth the Jews as the chosen people. God’s covenants outline Jewish customs and law, offering the promise of protection and redemption in return.

Mutually binding agreements, covenants require obedience on the part of both parties. Through the series of Old Testament covenants, God establishes the ground rules of the relationship with humanity. When humanity strays from or disobeys the terms of the covenant, the consequences can be dire. Therefore, the relationship between God and humanity is loving but does have boundaries that are important to recognize and uphold. When humanity fulfills its end of the spiritual bargain, salvation and redemption are possible through God’s grace. The New Testament establishes a new covenant in Christ, which while it supplants those in the Old Testament, is still grounded in the same principles. Through faith and obedience, humanity may receive the redemptive power of God.

References

Barrick, W.D. (2007). New covenant theology and the Old Testament covenants. TSMJ 18(1): 165-180.

“Covenant (In the Old Testament),” (n.d.). Encyclopedia of the Bible/Bible Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Covenant-Old-Testament

Padfield, D. (2018). Five great Biblical covenants. Church of Christ in Zion. http://www.padfield.com/2004/covenants.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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