Jesus, Forgiveness, Healing, Grace, Mercy, Redemption are all words that are associated with Christianity but the understanding of them is being lost today's world.
What is a Covenant Relationship?
Earlier Chapters on the Web site have been making a case out that Christianity is not just one of the many Religious options that are availble. It is not even a 'Religion' bound by a set a set of rules but a unique invitation from God himself seeking a 'Covenant Relationship' with each and every person who has ever lived. So, what is a Covenant Relationship?
As time passes the meanings of words often change and for this reason it is important that you, Reader, first of all have a clear understanding of the Biblical meaning of this word ‘Covenant’. Unlike in Biblical times, a ‘Covenant Agreement’ today is understood to be a ‘mutual agreement’ or a ‘Contract’ between two parties. But as used in the Bible, a 'Covenant' differs from a 'Contract' in that the parties involved also have a clear understanding that they agree to share, not just some of their worldly possessions, but everything, including their very selves with each other. Thus, for example, a true Christian Marriage is a 'Covenant agreement' where the partners not only agree ‘for better, for worse etc. …’ but also agree to even share their bodies with each other.
Another important difference, that will be referred to again later, is this - A contract takes the form of a written document whereas a Covenant is based upon an unwritten promise that is often sealed with a sworn verbal oath or act. For example, in a marriage ceremony the official witness declares the couple as being 'man and wife' before the register is signed. The register only serves as a record of something that has already taken place.
Jesus, at his Last Supper introduced God's New Covenant and offers what amounts to a proposal of marriage between each individual and himself. He said in effect - ‘ I have given you a free will to choose what you want to do with your life but on offer from this time onwards is a 'Covenant' promise from me whereby, if you give yourself back to me, then I will give myself to you in a way that will leave no doubt about my loving presence in you life’
This promise from Jesus was sealed with his shed blood at Calvary when he died and paved the way for God the Father to be merciful to us all.
Those people who, upon hearing this good news, and who are prepared to turn away from their previous, often self-centred, lives and take up this Covenant offer find that God really does enter into their lives in a way that will leave no doubt about his existence and loving presence. From this a personal relationship develops with Jesus' via God's Holy Spirit living in our Hearts.
It is worth repeating here an earlier quote from St John - "But although he made the world, the world didn't recognise him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few would welcome and receive him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was trust him to save them" (John Ch 1:10 to 12).
Such a lived experience is what 'Conversion' is all about and provides us with the strength to live lives, not as others do, but into a lifestyle measured against the life of Jesus himself. Conversion sets in motion a life of 'Grace' that is motivated by love rather than a fear of breaking the 'Law'.
It’s a new life that is so different from an ‘unconverted one’ that is very often based on self-justification that insists that I am not worse than others.
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