So, you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you say.
You have been saved. You celebrate being justified, forgiven, reclaimed, and transformed. You and God have an agreement about your life and future, you say. You believe this status is indicative of you, and you believe it strongly enough that you have hitched your hope to its star.
But upon what basis do you believe?
In other words, do you have a guarantee? Do you have a promise of some sort? Are you under contract with God—or do you have a covenant with Him? Does it matter?
You bet it does!
Contracts are powerful, legal instruments. For example: I purchased our home based upon a contract. So long as the contract is viable, the house is mine. By signing at the bottom of the page (and a few other places), I expressed intention to work with the mortgage company to secure our property.
If either party to this contract decides our agreement needs to be modified—or even nullified—it can be done. It will be painful and costly, but it can be accomplished. This is the nature of a contract.
Note: I did not enter into a covenant with the mortgage company. As a matter of fact, I only have a covenant with two people: my wife and God. And while both are covenant partners with me, they are different types of covenants.
When I married Dianne, we entered into a marriage covenant, “…for better or worse, for richer or poorer…until death do us part.” I made a covenantal pledge to her and her to me.
Even though the presiding minister declared a clear warning to anyone who might tamper with our covenant—“Now what God has joined together, let no man separate!”—many do so anyway. Divorce treats a marriage covenant as though it was a contract, and as we all recognize, the dissolution of a marriage covenant is catastrophic.
To summarize to this point, if you are willing to pay the price, you can modify a contract. If you determine to do so, you can dissolve a marriage covenant, but the suffering of doing so is immeasurable. You can alter both a contract and a marriage covenant, but such is not the case with God’s covenant.
While God uses marriage as a symbol of His relationship with us, the parallel goes only so far before we must springboard into a deeper understanding of how God views our relationship. As people who are included in the life of Christ via salvation, we are in actuality participants in a blood covenant between God and Jesus.
There are two aspects of this covenant that are significant for my purposes in this note to you: First, this covenant is between God and Jesus, not God and us.
As you know—or as I hope you know—because we are in Christ Jesus, we are members of God’s family. From our Heavenly Father’s perspective, this position we occupy is as it has been since before the foundation of the world. When God entered into covenant with Jesus, because we were seen in Him by God, we were included as beneficiaries of the covenantal agreement they made.
Second, this is a blood covenant, not a marriage covenant and certainly not a contract. What’s that distinction and why does it matter?
A blood covenant is sealed with blood and is made between equals.
Obviously, even though God desired for us to be the beneficiaries of His covenantal heart, we were not—are not—His equal. This means we were not qualified to enter into covenant with God. Thus, in order to resolve our inadequacy and His desire to spend eternity with us, He had to conceive a plan for reconciliation. To achieve this end, He placed us in the crucified Christ long before we ever physically showed up (cf. Eph. 1:4; Rev. 13:8 (NKJV); Gal. 2:20).
By placing us in Christ Jesus, God included us in His covenant when He and the perfect man, Jesus Christ, agreed to covenant together. An agreement, or contract, or pledge were insufficient to accomplish what was in God’s heart and achieve what He desired. Only one instrument was of sufficient legal force to bind God’s heart and our hearts inseparably. And, this type covenant exists in perpetuity.
By design, a blood covenant is irrevocable and unalterable. Further, in the case of the covenant spoken of between God and Jesus, it was sworn to with an oath from God. Let me quote Malcolm Smith, “In the new covenant that God makes with us, He swears by Himself; He is the guarantee both of the human and divine side that the covenant shall be made and kept. This is the absolute certainty that we have of the covenant: It is made and guaranteed by God. It is as sure and unchangeable as God is.”
It is significant that your Bible is comprised of an Old and a New Covenant (or, Testament). You need to know about covenants, given they are how God thinks! Your understanding is part and parcel of how you must view life and living...provided you wish to view life and living as God views life and living.
And what exactly are the terms of this covenant. In other words, who gets what?
A blood covenant is made between equals. It is unchangeable. It is irrevocable. It cannot be altered. It exists in perpetuity. And last, a blood covenant stipulates that each party gains everything of his covenantal partner.
This means that Jesus received everything that belongs to God, and this means God received everything that belonged to Jesus. Since we are in Jesus Christ, this means we are the beneficiaries of all of God. Conversely, this also means that God gets us since we are in Christ.
You are not your own. You were bought with a price and all of you—everything about you—belongs to God.
But neither is God His own, in a fantastic way. All of Him belongs to you.
You may find this awkward. Sensational, perhaps. In a way, it is this and more. But it is true. This is the way the mind of God is playing out His hand in blood covenant in/through Jesus Christ—and in/through you and me as well.
You may even find the magnitude of this too remarkable to embrace—seemingly—and wish to be selective about the covenantal agreement. I understand, but modification is not an option, at least not with a blood covenant. A blood covenant is irrevocable, unchangeable, unalterable, and it exists in perpetuity.
Our options are two: a) pretend the covenant isn’t so, or b) endeavor mightily to live in the magnitude of being a covenantal partner.
Personally, I have made a determination: I call upon the Holy Spirit, the one who is the pledge of the covenant, to exhibit through me and in me all the power of God indwelling my frailty. Never mind my stumbling and tripping. Never mind my bloody nose. Never mind my blurry vision.
My full intent is to march in step with the great figure who is my mentor, my family, my redeemer, and my brother, Jesus the Christ. After all, because I’m included in His covenant with God, and sealed with the pledge of the Spirit, this is what He expects of me, suffered exponentially to make available to me, and dwells in me to make possible.
To read about the blood covenant in depth, I highly recommend Malcolm Smith's, Power of the Blood Covenant.