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The Meaning and Significance of Covenant

The word covenant can be heard in any conversation and it is used in all the legal, social as well and theological texts. The terminology of Covenant has been derived from the Latin word con-venier, which means the essence of mingling or something coming together. It showcases two or more structures or communities coming together to create a contract and agreeing on rules as well as stipulations. It also talks about the different forms of responsibilities and privileges of the communities that decide to come together. In all the theological and religious circles, there has been a disagreement on the meaning of covenant. In certain political situations, this word can be understood as a treat or a contract (Pascarella, 2021). It means a lifelong agreement or a cooperative friendship between the two communities.

This brings up the fact that covenants are one of the main features that are seen in the Bible.  Covenants are not exactly strict contracts but they are similar in that aspect. It is essentially a relationship but this relationship has been formalized by sanctions. There are positive reinforcements in the form of blessings that arrive if the covenant is respected and kept and there are negative reinforcements or penalties which arrive if the relationship is broken. The covenant gained its significance from Genesis 1 and Noah (Acosta Rodríguez, 2021). The covenant was established with Israel and after that, there was a personal covenant that was established with David, and finally, the new covenant was announced after the announcement of Christ. These covenants were important aspects of understanding the relationship between God and man and vice versa.  All the covenants are not the same and they have different clauses (Block, 2021).  Even so, these covenants are all related to each other. The main part of understanding how the Bible teaches the scriptures and the Bible fits together the covenants can be understood through the covenants that God has revealed. It is also seen in how they introduce themselves. The covenant is based on the teachings of God and everything God does is based on the covenant. Both of them depend upon each other.  The New Testament represents the covenant as the offspring of Abraham who had trusted his Father. Jesus is regarded as the main mediator of the new covenant in the New Testament.  In this new covenant, the readers get a total amount of forgiveness from the sins and pure cleansing from all the shame of mankind. From the perspective of the Biblical storyline, this new covenant is a new perspective to the old covenants. This follows the teaching of Jesus who guides people to the light (Gentry & Wellum, 2018).

When Christians read the bible and try to search for the text that particularly speaks about predestination such as in Romans 8:29. The readers then get stuck with the assumption and the question about whether God has numbered them among the special elect. They also start thinking about how they can free themselves from the sins of mankind and it exposes the people to lose control of their destiny (Snodgrass, 2018). It is important to understand that God is the main fulcrum of predestination. God acts through the scriptures. This means that it is important to differentiate when a person reads God’s word, between human words which are about God and the words which are spoken by God himself. People start using Bible as a defense mechanism because they want to find the meaning of their existence.  The main covenant starts with Jesus because everything about God is revealed in Jesus. He is the image of God and the “fullness of the image of God” (Addo, 2019). Jesus also points out that “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39).

Connection between Covenants and the Relationship Between God and Man

The six major covenants of the bible are all connected through the teachings of God and Jesus. It is a set of morals and ethics that are not designed at random. If the readers do not understand the meaning of Jesus’s teaching or the covenants, they will not understand the meaning of life. The best manner to see the covenants and their meaning is through the scriptures and Jesus.

It is said in the Bible that humans and mankind have been made in the spitting image of God. The image of mankind was made by referring to God. This means that mankind is the children of God and is his family member. The aspect of humans considering themselves a part of God has a huge significance in a more unified biblical theology of personal identity. Adam and Eve indeed lost their identity as God’s children and the fall of Man is one of the two archetypal episodes of the sins of temptation (Young, 2020). The New Testament shows Jesus as the son of God and relates to the salvation of Christ. The union with the Son of God makes humans the children of God. The Bible also stipulates that human has a purpose in life. The Bible also states that real fellowship begins with the authenticity of two people. God created man in his reflection because God wanted an authentic relationship with mankind. God desired man to be his own reflection and to be truthful to their own identity. This is what brings out the true authenticity in mankind and they can remove their sins.

The Bible addresses the aspects of reality and the sin of man. This is done through the aspects of revelation. Revelation is how God reports on History, the nature of people, prophecy, the nature of God, and the relationship he has with mankind. The first thing which has to be understood, to understand the reality through the bible is the reconciliation. It is the understanding of the reconciliation of mankind to see himself through the sacrifice of his Son who s Jesus Christ.  God wants mankind to abide by certain ethics and morals which have been reiterated in the Bible. These are, for instance, not lying, not stealing, or committing adultery.  The main thing that God is interested in is the building and the creation of a proper character for mankind rather than fulfilling specific wishes they want (Schroeder,2015). For instance, an individual might be frustrated because God seems silent when the person asks about their job prospects. The actual truth is that there is not one specific career that God has in mind but there might be several throughout the life. God is more interested in identity rather than the job an individual does.

According to the Bible and the New Testament, God wants to formulate the character and the personality of mankind rather than judge mankind through their work. God does not expect mankind to be successful, rich, or famous, God wants mankind to trust him which in turn means that God wants an individual to trust themselves. The main matter of identity of man according to the Bible is to believe in oneself and believe in God. The best manner to interpret this is to ask oneself, “what would Jesus do in this situation?” (Schroeder, 2015).

The Role of Jesus in the New Covenant and the Idea of Predestination

The word “habit” only appears in the New Testament. This word speaks directly to the resilience and the perseverance of mankind. In the negative sense, mankind is told not to develop the habits of neglecting to meet together for Jesus.  The positive advice according to this is that mankind should have the habit of having a genuine fellowship for Jesus. Perseverance is not only in the achievements of bigger feats but it lies in the smaller day-to-day aspects and actions of life. These create an identity for the person and make their character. Habits are the core of a person’s identity and according to the Bible, inculcating good habits into day-to-day life helps in the formation of a good personality (Wright, 2015).

It is the natural tendency of human beings to search for their own identity in others. They try to search for their own identity in external structures. The first place where people look for external aspects of identity is their own career. People look for themselves in other relationships, careers, material success, and monetary success (Treek Nilsson,2018). However, God does not vouch for the material changes and the material identities that human beings favor. God wants mankind to be true and authentic to themselves not by comparing their own success. It is very important to define the identity with respect to God and the main values as well as the ethics which God has announced in the scriptures.

Therefore, it is essential to understand the identity along with the aspects of faith and the covenant through the Bible and the New Testament. Jesus gives a lot of light to the manner in which reality is perceived according to the Bible and about identity. It is ultimately in the faith of the believer as to what they would regard as their own identity and their own reality.  

References

Acosta Rodríguez, R. (2021). The word of God for safeguarding creation: Bible-based reflections to reestablish the God–humanity–creation covenant. Anglican Theological Review, 103(2), 112-131.

Addo, C. K. (2019). The Identity of the Spirit in John 14—16: A Contextual Bible Study with Two Baptist Churches in Adentan Municipality (Doctoral dissertation, University of Ghana).

Anderson, R. L. Religious Validity: The Sacrament Covenant in Third Nephi. By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley, 2, 1-51.

Block, D. I. (2021). Covenant: the framework of God's grand plan of redemption. Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Gentry, P. J., & Wellum, S. J. (2018). Kingdom through covenant: A biblical-theological understanding of the covenants. Crossway.

Pascarella, C. R. (2021). Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical Theology for Students at Lincroft Bible Church in Lincroft, New Jersey (Doctoral dissertation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary).

Schroeder, G. (2015). Science and the Bible: Two Views of One Reality. In Science, Religion and Society (pp. 419-425). Routledge.

Schroeder, G. (2015). Science and the Bible: Two Views of One Reality. In Science, Religion and Society (pp. 419-425). Routledge.

Snodgrass, K. R. (2018). Who God Says You Are: A Christian Understanding of Identity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Treek Nilsson, M. V. (2018). Imagination and Fantasy: the Contribution of the Bible to the Church of the Future. Concilium, (4), 75-84.

Wright, P. H. (2015). A Cultural Handbook to the Bible. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 58(1), 151.

Young, L. H. (2020). Holy Spirit: A Ruwach Refreshing: Bible Study Guide: A Beautiful Glorious She. Christian Faith Publishing, Inc..

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