I am working to better understand salvation. What is it and what does it really mean. What is expected of me and what do I have to do. Mortal questions to an eternal promise. Salvation is based on a promise from God, so I am trying to better understand the promises that God has made.
Gen 9:9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:
Covenant usually refers to promises made between two people. A legal contract so to speak. It was a promise that was not to be broken and required a commitment and fulfillment of promises from both sides. God is a God of covenants. He makes promises with man, but man fails to live up to it. The story of Noah and the flood shows a covenant between God and man, where God promises to never again flood the entire earth and the rainbow is His symbol of promise. There was no requirement for this covenant.
Gen 15: 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
A covenant between God and Abram. Abram was asleep while God was making the covenant. God made promises, but required no action on the part of Abram to fulfill. God told Abram he would have a child. Instead of waiting on God to deliver His promise, he and Sarai decided that her handmade Hagar would bear him a child instead. Instead of trusting God, they put their faith in their physical plan and Ishmael was born. Ishmael would multiple into what would become the Muslim people.
Gen 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8 And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” 9 And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
God comes back and restates His covenant with Abram with a few extras this time. We know that Ishmael is the first born, but he was not the promised son of Abraham. If he were, the covenant would not have been restated. This time, Abraham will be blessed even more, but there is a price. All males will have to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant. In addition, Abraham is charged with walking before God and being blameless. I am guessing that Abraham’s desire to fulfill God’s promise in his own life led to these new requirements. Hard to wait on God to fulfill His promise, but who else can really do it?
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
Jumping forward a bit, we see the first of the new covenant that God is making with the nation of Israel. This is an interesting one and the events that follow are one of my favorites. God says He wants His people to purify themselves and not approach Mount Sinai for three days. After three days, when the trumpet blows, they are allowed to go to Mount Sinai and be in God’s presence. Pretty cool right? Moses leads the people out of the camp after three days have passed. They approach the mountain and God warns for them to be calm while they approach lest many should perish. Moses responded that they couldn’t approach because God had set limits around Mount Sinai. They totally missed it. God sends them back and calls for Moses and Aaron and then gives them the ten commandments. Did they just not understand or where the people scared? Regardless, the world now has the Law.
John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Jumping forward even more, look at how much has changed. This isn’t all of the covenant that Jesus made with us, but the requirements have become to belief or have faith in Jesus. Amazing isn’t it?