Look up the following verses. What is the one point they have in common, and what does it teach about the nature of the covenant?
God openly acknowledges Abraham’s faithful obedience to “my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” (Genesis 26:5). It is implied that God expected such a lifestyle from His human partner in the covenant. The full statement of the biblical covenant at Sinai makes it abundantly evident that conditions of obedience are one of the basic aspects of the covenant.
Exodus 19:5 made it clear, “if ye will obey … ” The conditional aspect of the covenant is undeniable; though bestowed by grace, though unearned, though a gift to them, the covenant promises were not unconditional. The people could reject the gift, deny the grace, and turn away from the promises. The covenant, as with salvation, never negates free will. The Lord does not force people into a saving relationship with Him; He doesn’t impose a covenant upon them. He freely offers it to everyone; everyone is invited to accept it. When he or she does, obligations follow, not as a means of earning the covenant blessing but as an outward manifestation of having received the covenant blessings. Israel should obey, not in order to earn the promises but that the promises could be fulfilled in her. Her obedience was an expression of what it is like to be blessed by the Lord. Obedience does not earn the blessings, in that God is obligated to bring them; obedience, instead, creates an environment where the blessing of faith can be made manifest.
|“Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess” (Deuteronomy 5:33). Is the Lord saying here to Israel that if they obey they will earn these blessings, that these blessings are what the people are owed? Or is He saying: If you obey, these blessings can result because obedience opens the way for Me to be able to bring the blessings upon you? What is the difference between the two ideas?|