Galatians 3:14 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (NIV)
Galatians 3:16 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds", meaning many people, but "and to your seed", meaning one person, who is Christ. (NIV)
The blessings of Abraham were given for Christ. In Christ we receive these blessings. This is what makes an understanding of the covenant vital to us Christians today.
1. What were the blessings proclaimed on Abraham?
Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 12:7, Genesis 13:14-17, Genesis 15:1-20, Genesis 17: 1-27
Genesis 22:15-18 reveals the importance of the old testament promises. Everything in the old testament was pointing towards Christ. The covenant God made with Abraham grants us a clear understanding of our inheritance in Christ
2. What was the purpose of God?s covenant with Abraham.
Genesis 22: 7 Gal 3:14-17
3. What is a covenant?
Looking at examples of covenants in the Old testament will increase your understanding of them. Try writing out what these covenants involve and what they promise.
- Marriage Covenant
Genesis 2:25-25, Matthew 19:4-10, Ephesians 5:22-33
- God?s Covenant with Noah
Genesis 9: 8-17
- God?s Covenant with Abraham
Genesis 15:1- 19
- The Covenant between Abraham and Abimelech
- The Covenant between Isaac and Abimelech
Genesis 26: 26-33
- The Covenant between David and Jonathan
1 Samuel 17, 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 1 Samuel 20:14-16 (read the entire chapters)
This was a covenant between two men. We see the strength of a covenant when we consider how Mephibosheth, Jonathan?s son, benefited from it.
Jonathan?s son - 2 Samuel 4:1-12
David?s kindness to Mephibosheth 2 Samuel 9:1-13
Notice that Mephibosheth initially found it difficult to accept David?s kindness. He thought he did not deserve it.
A Covenant is a promise made under the most solemn sanctions and binding the consenting parties in the most definite and impressive way. A covenant with God is as sure and even more stable than the everlasting hills (2 Samuel 23:5)
You will come across several other covenants in the Bible ( Deu 30:1-10, 2 Samuel 7, Exodus 19, 3-6, Joshua 31:31-40) All these are an extension of the covenant God made with Abraham.. Learn them and claim them as promises for yourself.
4. Covenant involves friendship
Three times in scripture is Abraham referred to as the friend of God. 2 Chronicles 20:7, James 2:23, Isaiah 41:8
Notice that in one of the references God Himself called Abraham His friend.
Notice what Jesus had to say about us and friendship John 15:15, James 4:4 (also read John 17)
Abraham is the father of faith and he was God?s friend.
God told him where to set His focus - Genesis 13: 14-18 Where should we set ours - Colossians 3:1-3
Abraham regularly built altars and worshipped God - Genesis 12:7-8, Genesis 13:18, Genesis 22:9 Are we expected to do the same - Hebrews 13: 14-15, Colossians 3:15-17, Colossians 4:2-3.
Abraham communed with God, interceding on behalf of people. - Genesis 18:16-33 We also have the same privileges - 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Abraham was obedient - Genesis 22 So should we be - 1 Peter 1:13-18
Nevertheless, the greatest testimony about Abraham was his faith, he believed God. Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:1-4, Genesis 12:1-9. Hebrew 11: 4-12
Faith in God and His word is the foundation of our Christian walk and the whole basis of the covenant
The covenant brings us into a friendship with God. Friendship means being close to God (John 15:15)
5. Circumcision and the covenant
Genesis 17, Exodus 4: 21-27
Circumcision was a sign of the covenant. It was so important that Moses was nearly killed because he had not circumcised one of his sons ( Exodus 4:21-27, Amplified bible)
You can see why circumcision was such a big issue in the early church John 7:23, Acts 7:8, Acts 10, Acts 11:1-18, Acts 15:1-29
What does circumcision represent to the Christian today? Romans 2:25-29, Romans 4, Galatians 5,
How are we circumcised in Christ - Philippians 3:3, Colossians 2:11-14
6. How does Christ bring us into a new covenant
Jeremiah 31:31-40 Isaiah 61, Matthew 26: 17- 30, 1 Corinthians 11:25 Colossians 2:11-15
When we receive Jesus Christ as Lord he writes his law into our hearts. We no longer need to struggle to obey him ( John 1:12). Jesus gives us a new heart which longs to obey him (Romans 2:28-29).
Abraham?s covenant with God could only have been claimed by the Israelites as long as they walked in obedience to God?s commandments. Jesus has now established a new covenant with us. Our covenant with God is based on Jesus obedience. This makes it far better than the old covenant. God has also written his law into our hearts. We serve God in the power of the Holy Spirit and not in our flesh. (Hebrews 8:7-13).
God did not break His word when He gave it to Abraham. We can be sure that the covenant we have in Christ Jesus can never be broken by God.
The covenant is a very wide and interesting area. For further study read any of the following books.
The Two Covenants
by Andrew Murray
Christian Literature Crusade
ISBN 0 87508 396 X
Life and Power of the Blood Covenant
by Bill Basansky
P.O. BOX 35035
Tulsa Oklahoma 74153
ISBN 0 89274 824 9