Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Good Covenant

A couple of days ago, we talked about the real problem with sin - which is not that we commit sin, but that we deny our sin and pretend we haven't done it. It's amazing how often we can see this subtle difference if we are looking for it in the Scriptures, even in stories we think we know so well. 

There is yet more proof that God accepts (though does not condone) our sin as part of being in a relationship with us, and it comes from, among other places, Jeremiah 11. Here, we see God keeping His promise to curse His people when they sin.

You might think, now, wait a minute. If God curses His people when they sin, isn't that proof that He isn't willing to accept sin as a part of our relationship? Doesn't that mean just the opposite of what you just said?

Actually, no. Because here's the beauty of this: God wrote sin into the covenant that He made with His people. That's what the curses mean.

The curses are part of the covenant because sin is part of the covenant. Because our falling short is part of the covenant. Because our turning away is part of the covenant. God knew that these were things that we were going to do, being in nature who we are as a fallen race of human beings, and He made provision for our sin in His covenant, so that we would know that He is still who He says He is even when we are not who He wants us to be. 

He wrote right into His covenant with His people, "This is how I'm going to act and how I'm going to love you according to my nature even when you have acted according to yours." 

In other words, when we're human, He's still God, and He made that part of the promise from day one so that we would never forget it. 

It's a strange idea. Most of us only covenant in the positive. We make agreements based on mutual good and it's why so many of our covenants end up broken. Because when someone else breaks the covenant, we feel justified in breaking it, too. That's not God's style, though. 

What God says is, When you break this covenant, I covenant with you right now that I will continue to covenantly love you. Think about that. We think that God's punishment is anger or disappointment or a disowning or a giving up on us, but it's not that. It's Him still loving us, just as He told us from the very beginning that He would. Just as He promised at the very start of the whole thing.
The curse? It's love. The curse? It's covenant. The covenant? It's real. The covenant? It's good. That's how you can tell you've got a good covenant - if it's a covenant still even when it's broken. Mind-blowing. 

And yet...amazing. 

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