10 Reasons I Got Teary-eyed Over Deuteronomy

The title of this blog may seem a little surprising. 

When most people think of reading Deuteronomy they probably picture it being as moving as watching the grass grow, but for those people I feel very sorry. Relatively recently in my Christian walk I have discovered the treasure of reading through books of the Bible in one sitting; usually those books I’ve read through in one sitting have been New Testament books which consist of only 2-3 pages. 

A friend of mine created a Bible reading plan that allows you to fall behind a little and still stay on track with reading the Bible through in a year; the catch is that he has you read certain OT books in one sitting. I was intrigued by the idea of reading through an OT book in one sitting, but knew the challenge that it would involve. Today, I read through this quarter’s OT book of Deuteronomy in one sitting. It took me about and hour and forty-five minutes, and my eyes were a little red afterwards; but let me just say, my eyes were not red primarily because of staring at a page that long (though that may be part of the reason). They were red primarily because I was overwhelmed with God and the way he dealt with his chosen people Israel. What led me to be teary-eyed over Deuteronomy specifically? Here are ten glorious truths that stood out to me about God (fitting, as it goes along with the Ten Commandments):

1. God alone is totally sovereign over all that he has made. There are no others gods really. God himself testifies that all other gods are no more than the work of men’s hands and cannot truly deliver the people who follow them.

2. God deserves the worship of all peoples, yet all peoples have rejected him. Sometimes we forget that the people of Israel were once not a people at all, but rather entailed only Abram, who was himself a worshiper of false gods and lived in the region that would later become a symbol of enmity against God.

3. God chose, of his own grace and purpose, to set his love on a people. God’s choice of Abram was not because of anything in Abram. I love Deuteronomy 7:7-8, which reads, “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Abram wasn’t looking for God. God wasn’t sitting around in heaven on some recliner waiting for man to respond. God sought out Abram. Why? His grace! Glorious grace!

4. God graciously delivers these people he has chosen from slavery and destroys their enemies. The repeated theme of Deuteronomy is a call for the people of Israel to remember that they were slaves for 430 years in Egypt and God delivered them by his almighty power.

5. God lavishes these people he has chosen with rich blessings. God chooses to lead these people out of their slavery and through the wilderness for forty years, yet they never starve or have to change clothes or shoes. God not only provides for them, but leads them to defeat all their enemies during that wilderness wandering and promises to bring them into a land with seven nations mightier than they, assuring them he will destroy those peoples and give them the glorious land of Canaan.

6. God calls these people to a radical lifestyle of worship to him that acknowledges his saving them. Moses repeatedly reminds these people to live their lives within the framework of a rebellious people who were once enslaved and serving their enemies, whom God has graciously redeemed and set free. Moses calls them to constantly remind themselves of their once slavery and so to treat others with the grace they have been given, except when those others will turn their hearts away from the God who alone has saved them and who alone is worthy of their praise. Moses even calls them to teach their children they were saved by nothing but God’s grace.

7. God calls these people away from pride by calling them to remember his gracious salvation. God knew these people he had chosen, graciously redeemed, and blessed would turn away from him after they entered the promised land; all because they would think they did it by their own power and efforts. We are still so prone to think we have earned the grace of God by our efforts, but we must guard against such ridiculous lies, for they minimize the true power of God.

8. God disciplines the people he has chosen when they rebel. God is not content to let his chosen people be destroyed by their own sins, so he disciplines them and reminds them whose they are.

9. God graciously forgives these people he has chosen when they repent. The result of God’s hand of discipline always achieves from his people a repentant heart, which is why he disciplines them in the first place. Our God is not angry with his people, but disciplines those he loves, so they will come back close to him.

10. God promises to one day set a people free from slavery to their own sinful desires so they can worship him from the heart

But perhaps the sweetest truth from Deuteronomy was the way the people of Israel were so rebellious and never seemed to learn these lessons fully, yet God promises: “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deut. 30:6). 

God was not a fool. He knew that the people of Israel would not obey the 10 Commandments. In fact, Paul tells us much of the reason God gave these commands to rebellious people like Israel was to remind them how they were in desperate need of a Savior to live them on their behalf. In the New Covenant, God has graciously cut away the wickedness of our hearts through the new birth and has stamped his law on our hearts. Jesus has obeyed where we have rebelled and by faith in his finished work and victorious resurrection, God credits his righteousness to our account. This doesn’t mean believers obey all the time from the heart, but it does mean that believers are no longer bound by their sins, but have the power of the Spirit of God within them to kill their sin…more radically than the people of Israel had to destroy all that tempted them to turn away from God.

I have pages of Scripture from Deuteronomy I have underlined and may include more of it here, but for now I’m content to let these glorious truths of our gracious saving God keep me ever close to him, rejoicing in his grace towards me in Christ, and in the company of those he has redeemed to himself. May your eyes ever be teary and red from our God’s grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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What is Covenant Theology?

The short answer to the question ‘what is covenant theology?’ is simple: covenant theology is biblical theology. Let me explain.

Every time God engages with mankind either to save or to condemn God does it through covenants. So in order to have a true and healthy understanding of the doctrine of salvation (and really the whole Bible) we must look first to covenant theology. Covenant theology is merely an explanation of the special grace given by God to man. Common grace, or general grace, is something we’ll look into later.

Let’s begin with a simple question: what is a covenant?

Throughout the Bible we come face to face with the reality of the covenant on many occasions, and when you look at all of them there appears to be only three kinds of covenants in Scripture: man making a covenant with man, man making a covenant with God, and God making a covenant with man. In each occasion of these covenants there are similarities that can be compiled together as a whole to form a working definition of covenant. O. Palmer Robinson does this in his book The Christ of the Covenants and says a covenant is “a bond in blood sovereignly administered.” (The Christ of the Covenants, page 4) Can you see the different aspects at work in his definition? First, a covenant is a bond. Second, a covenant is a bond in blood. Third a covenant is sovereignly administered. Let’s look into these further:

A Bond

To say a covenant is a bond is to say a covenant results in binding people or parties together into a kind of relationship. This is most clearly seen in Scripture when God establishes a covenant with His people, declaring that He is forever committed to them and that He will always relate to His people in a certain manner. Then in response the people or parties on the receiving end of this bind the covenant by performing a kind of external practice. It could be a verbal oath (Gen. 21:23-24), the giving of a gift (Gen. 21:28-32), eating a meal (Ex. 24:11), making a memorial (Josh. 24:27), sprinkling blood (Ex. 24:8), offering a sacrifice (Gen. 15), and passing under the rod (Ezek. 20:37). Along with these external practices there are always signs that follow covenants. For example we think of the rainbow in Genesis 9, and circumcision in Genesis 17. These signs were more than external practices, these signs function as a token or pledge (like a wedding ring) symbolizing the permanent nature of the covenant bond.

A Bond in Blood

To say a covenant is a bond in blood is to say a covenant is a bond of life and death. “It involves commitments and life-an-death consequences.” (Robinson, page 14) And once the covenant has begun only the shedding of blood is able to relieve any covenant obligations. This is why there are covenant blessings for those who obey the stipulations of the covenant, and covenant curses for those who disobey, clearly the largest curse for covenant disobedience is death. This shedding of blood exists within covenants to show how strong the promises called for are within a covenant.

Sovereignly Administered

Robinson adds the last phrase ‘sovereign administered’ in his definition for needed clarification just in case we wrongly think covenants involve a lengthy agreement over details, or a kind of bargaining back and forth between the parties. This doesn’t happen in biblical covenants. Every biblical covenant is initiated by a greater party to a lesser party. An example of this would be when a conquered people are brought into a covenant relationship with their new masters. The best example of this is when God (the sovereign Lord) enters into covenant with His creation. Because God is greater He gets to be the One who decrees the stipulations or terms of the covenant.

So, a covenant is a bond in blood sovereignly administered. Our next question then comes in afterwards: what covenants are in the Bible?

We see a plethora of covenants being made throughout Scripture between man and man, and even man and God. But when it comes to those covenants God makes with man, six covenants stand forth in blazing clarity.

Adamic Covenant – commencement

Noahic Covenant – preservation

Abrahamic Covenant – promise

Mosaic Covenant – law

Davidic Covenant – kingdom

New Covenant – consummation

That these are God’s covenants made with man tells us that there has been, and there will never be a time in history when God has dealt with mankind outside the realm of covenant. Or to say it another way, from creation to consummation God’s people have always related to God on the basis of covenant. Some people think that covenant didn’t exist until Noah because it isn’t until Noah that we find the word ‘covenant’ used in Scripture. But even though the word covenant isn’t in the early chapters of Genesis the presence of a bond in blood sovereignly administered is. This is why Hosea 6:7, long after Adam and Eve, in talking about the adulterous ways of Israel says this “Like Adam they transgressed the covenant…they dealt faithlessly with Me.”

So all the way from the garden to glory, God is a covenant God with a covenant people.

Now, we would be wrong to embrace this covenantal framework and conclude that God works differently in each covenant. Though the covenants are different, and made with different parties, they all serve the same ultimate purpose. More so, rather than replacing covenants beforehand, each time God makes a new covenant with His people the new covenant expands on the reality of all previous covenants. So to this end let’s look briefly at the diversity and unity of the covenants.

Covenant Diversity

First, the distinction between covenant of works/covenant of grace. The term ‘covenant of works’ describes God dealing covenantally with man in his pre-fall condition. So Adam and Eve, pre-fall, were in covenant with God and could have received the covenant blessings of God solely by their own works. They were not yet fallen, and so they had a nature that could produce righteousness. Contrast that with the term ‘covenant of grace.’ This term describes God dealing covenantally with man in his post-fall condition. So after the fall all men can no longer come into any covenant blessings of God based on works, but solely by the grace of God. This distinction is why some people refer to the covenant God made with Adam and Eve simply as the ‘covenant of works’ but that is misleading because even in the covenant of works we see grace at work in that God didn’t have to make men at all, but did and willingly entered into covenant with them. Some people also call the Mosaic covenant a covenant of works because by keeping the Law Deut. 6:25 says “it will be righteousness for you if you are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God.” To call the Mosaic covenant a covenant of works is misleading as well because the Law was given to show that we cannot do enough on our own to earn a right standing with God. The only covenant that can truly be called a ‘covenant of works’ is the covenant God made with Adam and Eve in the garden.

Second, the distinction between old covenant/new covenant. That we make a distinction between an old and a new covenant does not mean to imply that one is simply old and one is new. It’s far greater than mere age in view here. All of the covenants before Christ are in the category of ‘old covenant’ while the one covenant after Christ is in the category of ‘new covenant.’ The old covenants are seen as ‘promise’ ‘shadow’ ‘prophecy’ while the new covenant is seen as ‘fulfillment’ ‘reality’ and ‘realization.’

So even in the diversity among the covenants we see a harmony, which is glorious. Let’s now look at the unity among the covenants, we see this in two ways as well.

Covenant Unity

First, structurally in that all these covenants were initiated by God, given to an underserving people, with blessings if they obey, and curses if they disobey. Second thematically in that one theme resounds throughout them all, “I shall be your God and you shall be My people.” Not only is this theme continually present in all covenantal dealings between God and His people, but the result of this wondrous theme is that God actually dwells in the midst of His people. It doesn’t stop here either. All of this moves covenantal structure moves forward throughout redemptive history and culminates in the moment when God dwelt among His people in a single Person, our Lord Jesus Christ.

O Palmer Robinson comments on this saying, “In the Person of Jesus Christ, the covenants of God achieve incarnational unity. Because Jesus, as Son of God and Mediator of the covenant, cannot be divided, the covenants cannot be divided. He Himself guarantees the unity of the covenants because He Himself is the heart of each of the various covenant administrations.” (Robinson, page 52)

So we can conclude with one grand statement: from seeing the unified covenantal structure of all Scripture we see that in Christ is the fulfillment of all of God’s covenantal purposes.

Praise God!

Tolkien & Owen On Communion With God

 If you have ever read The Lord of The Rings or watched the movies, one of the main themes that drives the plot is fellowship. You are introduced to characters like Frodo Baggins, Gandalf, and Sam as well as the silly and inseparable duo that enjoy second breakfasts Merry and Pippin. The relationships each had with each other were deep before the great journey and it grew more intimate while on it. Struggles and battles, victories and loss all shaped the fellowship they had with each other. At the end you got a glimpse of how the bonds that they made were indivisible.

This is the stuff of communion.

And it doesn’t just happen in fantasy. The fellowship of close friends in a common purpose embodies one of the most precious privileges that we cherish and long for in this life. Whether in a strong Christian marriage or with that friend who sticks “closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24), or, ultimately, in our union and communion with God.

Communion With God 

Normally when we see or hear the word ‘communion’ we automatically think of the ‘Lord’s Supper.’ Communion hopefully does happen when we do the Lord’s Supper, but it’s not limited to that event. John Owen says it like this, “Communion relates to things and persons. A joint participation in anything whatever, good or evil, duty or enjoyment, nature or actions.” To have Communion with God is an intimate, mutual, covenantal bond between God and his people. Normally when the Bible talks about communion and fellowship, specifically in the New Testament, the Greek word is koinonia. The words primary meaning is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion.” J.I. Packer does much for us in explaining what this kind of communion with God looks like, “Communion with God is a relationship in which Christians receive love from, and respond in love to, all three persons of the Trinity.”

Read the words of Owen. “Now, communion is the mutual communication of such good things as wherein the persons holding that communion are delighted, bottomed upon some union between them. Our communion then, with God consists in his communication of himself to us, with our return unto him of that which he requires and accepts, flowing from that union which in Jesus Christ we have with him.” So without Christ and ultimately because of sin, communion with God is impossible. As Owen puts it, “By nature, since the entrance of sin, no man hath any communion with God. He is light, we are darkness; and what communion hath light with darkness?” Communion can only be a reality because of the Triune God being sovereign has sought to reconcile His enemies to Himself. By sending His Son, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” The wrath we deserve fell upon Him and He stood in our place as our substitute. “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:9-11). “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

This communion is possible because each of the persons of the Trinity plays a unique role in the salvation of the elect (1 John 5:7). The Father elects to save His people in Christ (Eph. 1:4). The Son is appointed and willingly offers Himself as the Savior and Mediator (Luke 22:29; Heb. 10:5–7). The Holy Spirit furnishes Christ with the gifts necessary to accomplish His saving work (Luke 1:35; 3:21–22; 4:18), and also applies the benefits of Christ’s work to those whom the Father gives to the Son (John 6:38–39; 17:4). Thus, in a delightful harmony of mutual love and purpose, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have eternally covenanted to redeem the elect community.

The glorious truth is this that, all areas of our covenant relationship to God are Triune “so that no one may boast.”

Our justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification are ‘Triunely’ planned, purchased, and applied. Our access to God is through Christ, by the Spirit, and to the Father (Eph. 2:18). The gifts of the Spirit are won by Christ and offered to the Father (1 Cor. 12:4-6). Our worship is through the mediation of Christ, by the Spirit, and presented to the Father. Our prayers are in the name of Christ, by the Spirit, and addressed to the Father.

All that we have from God and enjoy with him is Triune.

Christ, the Image of God and Goal of Redemption

Let’s back up from yesterday’s theological discussion and ask a broader question: Why did God give a command to Adam and Noah, and give a promise to Abraham? Why the change? I think God still had Gen. 1:28 in mind. I think that God was planning to display the fulfillment of Gen. 1:28 through the obedience of His Son. Follow me, I just said that Jesus is now fulfilling Gen. 1:28, we need to ask how did He is doing this? Remember, Adam was commanded to do 4 things:

1) Fill the earth with the image of God through procreation

2) Subdue the earth

3) Exercise authority over the creation

4) Accomplish these tasks with the assistance of his helpmate, Eve.

Adam failed to do these things, and so did Noah. But where these two failed, the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, succeeded. Here’s how:

1) The first Adam failed to fill the earth with the image of God by procreation with his wife Eve. But the last Adam, Jesus, is now filling the earth with the image of God, not by procreation, but by making new creations out of us. When someone is made a new creation in Christ, they begin to be conformed more and more to His image, the image of Christ, and Christ is Himself the image of God. Therefore Jesus is filling the earth with the image of God by making new creations out of people through the gospel. Because the first Adam was created in the image of God and the second Adam, Jesus Christ, is the image of God, then the overall message of Scripture is that though man was made in the image of God and lost it through the fall, the image of God will be restored to fallen man through the work of the second Adam. Thus, when we talk of man being created in the image of God we cannot stop in Genesis we must move forward into the rest of Scripture to see the One who is the very image of God Himself.

Anyone have Hebrews 1:1-3 in mind? “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the Heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” Lesson? The triune God created man, male and female, in His image. That God did this and placed mankind in His world to rule over creation was a declaration that the triune God ruled over creation. That man is made in the image of God shows that both male and female possess many of the qualities of God, reflecting God’s own character. Because the fall took place, this image of God in man was marred, and in made complete when we become new creations in Christ, who is Himself the very image of God.

Christ as the image of God means that the image of Christ defines what man is truly supposed to be, He is indeed the Perfect Man. Yes, both Adam was and Jesus is the image of God but one was created while the other always has been the uncreated image of God. To look at Christ, the image of God, is to see what man is truly supposed to be like.

Christ as the image of God also means the image of Christ is the goal of mans redemption. Think Romans 8:29 here, “Those whom God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” The goal of a Christians sanctification therefore is Christ-likeness. Anthony Hoekema once said, “Since Christ is God’s perfect image, likeness to Christ will also mean likeness to God. This perfect likeness to Christ and to God is the ultimate goal of our sanctification. John Calvin said in two ways: one quote says, “All that we lost in Adam we regain in Christ.” Another quote says this, “The beginning of our recovery of salvation is in that restoration which we obtain through Christ who also is called the Second Adam for the reason that He restores us to the true and complete integrity.”

2) The first Adam failed to subdue and exercise authority over the earth, but who is it that the NT says has all authority in heaven and on earth to do whatever He pleases? The Last Adam, Jesus. Jesus is obedient where Adam was disobedient. The first Adam failed when he tried to grasp equality with God by grasping the fruit. But the Last Adam, the true Son of Man, Jesus, was equal with the Father and yet He didn’t use His equality with God to save Him from the cross, but He willingly went to it, as Phil 2:6-8 gloriously states, “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (like Adam did), but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

In the disobedience and failure of the 1st Adam, we see how glorious the obedience and humble submission of Jesus is.

more tomorrow…

Reformed Theology Begins with Covenant Theology

Now we come to another distinctive of reformed churches, the covenant, or as others would call it, covenant theology.

Covenant theology means that God has always dealt with humanity in the same manner, through covenant.

From Genesis to Revelation God says repeatedly, “I will be your God and you shall be My people.” This is not a request, as if God were asking people permission to do this. It is a declaration of what God will do because by His nature He is gracious and kind, wanting to draw men to Himself for His glory. This may seem simple enough, but there are massive implications to the central theme of covenant throughout the Bible.

First, since covenant is God’s way of dealing with His people, covenant must be the lens through which we interpret all of Scripture. Thus, the Old and New Testaments are not to be looked upon as separate books, as if the Old were a Jewish Scripture and the New a Christian one. No, the reformed tradition has always been eager to see the Bible as a unified whole.

In Genesis we see what is called the covenant of works (Hosea 6:7 seems to imply that the Covenant of Grace was here with Adam and Eve as well) begin at creation between Adam and God (Genesis 1:28). Adam was commanded to not eat; he ate and failed to keep the covenant with His Creator. We see similar things with Noah. His son committed evil and failed to keep the covenant as well (Genesis 9:1-2). Then we see something different when Abraham comes into play (Genesis 12-17). Beforehand with Adam and Noah, men received commands from God, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.” But Abraham receives a promise, not a command.

Why the change?

This is what theologians call the move from the covenant of works (which men cannot keep) to the covenant of grace (which men do not have to keep). Abraham is told that one of his descendants will bless the nations. We then see Abraham’s descendants (Israel) come into covenant with God on Mt. Sinai (Exodus). Though Israel has godly men, women, and prophets within it they too prove unfaithful to the covenant with God (Judges – Esther). As you follow along throughout the Old Testament you find yourself yearning for someone to come and be faithful to God. That’s when Jesus comes on the scene.

Jesus, unlike Adam and unlike Israel, is faithful to the covenant, and perfectly obeys every part of it. Jesus is the blessed One, the Descendant of Abraham through whom the world will be blessed. When God’s people were faithless, God was faithful to them through His Son Jesus. This reveals to us that Jesus did not begin a new religion or start over from scratch when He came to earth. Jesus brought the Old Covenant to fulfillment in Himself (Matthew 5:17). Much more Jesus was the fulfillment of all that was previously established in the Old Covenant. Adam failed and tried to grasp equality with God by grasping for the fruit (Genesis 3), while Jesus obeyed and did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but willingly emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, to die on a cross (Phil. 2:6-11).

Israel , God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22) failed to be obedient to God, but Jesus, the true Israel (Son) of God was fully and perfectly obedient to God. Jesus Christ is announced in Hebrews as the mediator of the covenant relationship (Heb. 7:22, 8:6). The gospel offers Christ, and through being united to Christ by faith we enter into a covenant relationship with God. If you do not look at the Bible through the lens of covenant you lose the unity of the Scripture, and thus, redemptive history as a whole. Thus, the gospel cannot be rightly understood outside “covenant.”

This then makes the Church the covenant community.

The preaching of the Word, the practice of shepherding and discipline, the participation in worship together, the sacraments/ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are all signs, seals, expressions, and instruments of the covenant, through which the covenantal benefits and blessings of God pour out onto those who within the covenant community.

The backbone of the Bible is the revelation in space and time of God’s unchanging purpose of having a people on earth to whom He would relate to covenantally for His glory and for their joy – “I will be your God and you will be my people” implies all of this. John Wesley was often heard saying, “Everyone who belongs to Jesus belongs to everyone who belongs to Jesus.” We are part of a covenant people that is not isolated to our church, our denomination, our country, or even our time. By being bound to God in covenant we are bound to Christians forever in a mystical and beautiful way that we can never fully understand.

Abraham, Moses, Paul, and Jesus – Unified Entirety

A Brief Description Denoting the Intricate Relationship, Comparison, and Connection of the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants in Direct Relation to their Application to the Letter of Paul to the Church in Galatia, particularly 3:15-18

Galatians 3:15-18

“To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.  Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.  This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.  For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.”

Definitions

1) Abrahamic Covenant: Where God promised: 1) To make of Abraham a great nation and bless Abraham and make his name great so that he will be a blessing, to bless those who bless him and curse him who curses him. All peoples on earth will be blessed through Abraham. 2) To give Abraham’s descendants all the promised land. 3) To make Abraham the father of many nations and of many descendants and give “the whole land of Canaan” to his descendants. (See Genesis 12-17) Circumcision is to be the permanent sign of this everlasting covenant with Abraham and his male descendants.

2) Mosaic Covenant: Where God promises to make the Israelites His treasured possession among all people and to make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation if they follow God’s commandments (Exodus 19-24).

The Relation of the Covenants to Galatians 3:15-18

God made a covenant promise to Abraham and this promise will stand forever. Because God made another covenant promise with His people through Moses at Sinai does not mean the former covenant made to Abraham is void and no longer needed. The two covenants, though different in content and application for the people of God, find their the fulfillment in Jesus. The Abrahamic Covenant is fulfilled in Jesus, because He is the one Descendant who’ll bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3). The Mosaic Covenant is fulfilled in Jesus, because He is only One who can keep the Law of God, which points out our need for Christ (Galatians 3:24) and reveals the righteousness provided to us through His Law-keeping (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Bottom line? When God interacts with His people He does so through covenant. All of the covenants (Covenant of Works, Covenant of Grace, Noahic Covenant, Abrahamic Covenant, Mosaic Covenant, Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant) contain requirements of the people of God, and more so exist to point to Jesus, find their fulfillment in Jesus, and reveal glorious things about Jesus.