Keeping the Faith
Jesus of Nazareth is the most influential figure in history. There is, however, one man who is the model of fidelity for every follower of the monotheistic faiths. A synopsis of his story shows why.
God called Abram (later named Abraham) from ancient Iraq to leave his family and his land. Because Abram trusted God, he left Mesopotamia and immigrated to Israel. Abram in his nineties had neither biological offspring nor a single square foot of real estate. Yet God promised to make Abraham’s descendants a great nation, and Abraham believed that God would be true to his word. Eventually, and against all odds, God fulfilled his promise to Abraham, whose son Isaac had a couple of kids who had a gaggle that became a horde.
A golden strand runs the length of Abraham’s biography—a promise. That’s important today because Christians grasp the other end of that golden strand when we put our faith in Jesus. This promise is a legally binding agreement. In the Bible it’s called a covenant. The concept of covenant undergirds virtually every relationship God ever had with any human.
In fact, our faith in Jesus, our connection to the Holy Spirit, our belonging in the body of Christ are all contingent on a covenant. This implies both responsibility and community. God calls us to be part of a nation, a heritage, a people. We call it the church, but it’s bigger than that. We’re members of a global enterprise—a kingdom—that spans every time zone and all eras.
In Jesus, God fulfilled every promise he made. The night before Jesus died, “He took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:27–28).
The condition of every covenant, including our covenant with Christ, is faith. According to the Bible faith is not a leap in the dark but a walk in the light. Your character is only as deep as the covenant you keep. That’s true in business, in marriage, and certainly in our relationship with God as we respond to his desire for a covenant relationship with us.
Why do you think God wants a mutual covenant relationship with us rather than a forced relationship?