This week, we continue exploring the two-way relationship with the Father through faith in the Son and holding up our part of that relationship.
Quick review: the Old Covenant relationship was modeled after the human suzerain-vassal (lord-servant) treaty in place at Abraham’s time. The New Covenant connection to the Father by way of the Son is a continuation because Father, Son, and mission are the same in both, and so are the terms.
Terms. God’s obligation was to send a savior and love humans (John 3:16; 1 John 4:19). He has honored the terms and continues to keep close to Him anyone who chooses to remain (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:38-39). Jesus expects devotees to profess Christ to others openly (Matthew 10:32), confess sins, and bear each other’s burdens (James 5:13-16). They are to honor the Father with everything they are and have in complete devotion and charitably love one another (Matthew 22: 37-40). Loving actions born of faith prove allegiance to the Father through Christ (e.g., John 14:15 and 21; 15:8). Finally, Christ-followers are obligated to grow in spirit and make disciples who, in turn, create more disciples (e.g., Ephesians 4:11-16 and Matthew 28:18-20).
Blessings. Blessings by way of God’s knowing Christ-followers include receiving His Spirit, eternal life, and partnership in the age to come. However, curses also exist for those whom God does not know—anyone who has rejected Him, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Knowing of God isn’t enough – He must ‘know’ us by our obedient love (1 Corinthians 8:3).
Curses. Negative consequences exist for refusing or walking away from a relationship with God. For instance, Jesus teaches that anyone who does not obey the call to be charitable to others will suffer judgment and destruction (John 15:6; Matthew 25:41-46). The same fate awaits those whose practices oppose God’s standard. The Psalmist David calls for the unrighteous to be removed from the Book of Life (Psalm 69:28). Similarly, Jesus tells John that He will not remove the name of the righteous from the Book (Revelation 3:5). Finally, the names of the people who will choose poorly and align with the end-times Antichrist will be absent from it (Revelation 13:8 and 17:8).
Remain. A fruitful and continuing relationship demands that both parties remain in, and true to, the agreement. The covenant with the Father through Christ is no exception. The language used to denote the need to stay in a relationship with the Father refers to remaining or staying put. In scriptures like John 15:4-10, Jesus explains the need to stay with Father and Son, sometimes using conditional statements that insist people can choose to remain or leave. The apostle John continues the theme in 1 John 4:16.
In summary, your Creator has called by giving you a way back to Him through Jesus. It’s your turn: devote, love, and stay.
Blessings and peace,