I live in a place, as I suppose many of you do, that has a covenant. The HOA (Home Owners’ Association) makes the rules. You know—what’s the earliest time you can put out your trash, how many cars can you park in your driveway, what color can your front door NOT be—things like that. I kind of chuckle when we call it a covenant. Technically, I have a say. Frankly speaking however, I’ve never exercised my right to say anything. The reason I don’t is because the HOA has a better idea than any of my pet peeves.
It’s not unlike Biblical covenants. God lays out the covenant and I let Him do it (in a manner of speaking—plus, I realize I’m not going to stop Him even if I wanted to do so). In other words, He knows a whole lot more about what I really need (and frankly want) than I do. I believe that, so I trust that.
Going with my theme of Local Church Prisoners, it is apparent to me that we’ve become Biblically illiterate to a major degree. That illiteracy adds to the thickness of our prison walls. We don’t seem to understand (or care) about covenantal history, which is a major part of the Scripture.
Our covenantal history is the framework of the Bible. It’s deeply woven into the fabric of who we are. Unfortunately, if we consider it at all, it’s usually as a means to an end. But it’s not. The end game is to be in covenant with God Almighty. In fact, I’ve heard it pointed out (and I believe it to be true) that everyone on the face of the earth is in covenant with God.
How can that be? A lot of folks don’t even believe in God. It’s a little like my HOA covenant. I’m sure I have a lot of neighbors who are oblivious to our covenant. Yet they’re still in covenant relationship with me, like it or not. So all human beings are in some kind of covenant with God. It’s either a covenant of works or a covenant of grace.
We already know from Scripture that a covenant of works hasn’t got a chance of fulfillment. I don’t know anyone who can live up to it. Every one of us will break that covenant before the day is out. We can’t give enough, do enough, or obey enough to earn our keep before a perfect God. So the only way it can work is if He does it for us.
That’s where the covenant of grace comes in. A covenant of grace has a mediator—someone who can fix what we’ve broken. Only Jesus can do that. He’s our mediator sent by God. We know that and give it lip service. Yet the church so often ignores the covenant of grace and tries to live by works. Will we ever learn? No wonder we find ourselves behind spiritual bars.