In Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (P&R Publishing, 1987), John Frame writes that everything is in covenant with God.
“During the creation week, all things, plants animals and persons, are appointed to be covenant servants, to obey God’s law, and to be instruments … of His gracious purpose. Thus everything and everybody is in covenant with God … The Creator-creature relation is a covenant relation, a Lord-servant relation.” (p. 13)
This idea of everything being in a covenant with God is central to Reformed theology and philosophy. It is not just obedient creatures that are in covenant with God. Disobedient creatures are also. In other words, believers are in covenant with God, and so are non-believers. Everything is in relationship to God the Creator. Therefore, no-one is able to escape the presence of God, and no-one is able to escape covenant relationship to him (Psalm 139:7-12, Isaiah 24:5).
What is most central for us as creatures of God is to decide whether we want to be in a covenant of grace and love, or a covenant of sin and wrath. These are Reformed systematic theology categories, but in short we must be either in Jesus Christ (Grace) or in Adam (Wrath). It’s up to you. If you choose Christ, you choose life. If you reject Christ, you choose Adam and your sin. Read Romans 5 to see what Paul has to say about this.
In any case, you’re in a covenant with God. Which one? That’s what we all need to decide.
I have been a Christian now for about 17 years. The more I learn the more I realize I don’t know. God has a funny way of humbling us and making us realize that we are not the centre of the universe, we are not what is most important. One of the greatest challenges any Christian faces is the life-long process of “denying ourselves‘ (Matt 16:24) and “walking in the Spirit” (Gal 5:17), or in other words living our lives to please God and not primarily ourselves. We will never fully realize this until we go to be with our Lord in heaven.
Jesus said “if you love me you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). It’s pretty clear. If we say we love God, we will inevitably strive to obey Him, to allow His Spirit within to refine us so that, bit-by-bit, we reflect His character. This is to glorify God’s work in our lives as well being a beacon to the hope Jesus gives to us all. What a privilege… what a blessing… what a calling on our lives!
Why then do we often struggle so much to see this in our lives? Why do we find ourselves so enticed to feed our own self-absorbed desires rather than God’s? Why do we struggle so much at times to walk with God and follow His lead in our lives?
Here are three points that I believe can help us all to follow and enjoy God more in our lives: Continue reading
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I was recently reading Luke 12:4-7 and was struck by an aspect of our relationship with God that we maybe don’t talk about enough… fearing God. This doesn’t seem to be spoken of much in Christian circles, as more often than not, people tend to focus on the “God” of love always being there for us and providing for us. However, this passage takes a different approach. Luke bluntly says, “don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” This sort of teaching about God can sound unfamiliar and foreign to many church congregations today.
However, we must remember that although God is merciful, gracious and loving… clearly highlighted by Jesus’ sacrifice for us, not to mention continual patience to the Israelites in the Old Testament… God is also to be feared and revered. He is righteous and holy. He hates sin and will punish it… His nature demands it. He will cast into hell those who choose to turn from Him and not to accept Jesus as their savior (John 14:6, Rom 3:24-26, 2 Peter 2:4-22). That last statement sits very uneasy with many people. ‘A loving God will not send people to hell??!!’ However, in thinking that we miss two points: Continue reading