The Comfort of Covenant Theology

SARAH IVILL|CONTRIBUTOR

One of the things I love to do is sing covenant theology with my children. We have CDs that put the First Catechism: Teaching Children Bible Truths to music, as well as CDs that put the Westminster Shorter Catechism to music. I love both! I have found that we learn the questions and answers better when we sing them. Not only do I love to hear my children sing these truths, I love to sing them too. Whether I’m singing the catechism while doing chores, or while homeschooling, the truths of covenant theology comfort me.

Perhaps comfort isn’t the first thing you think of when you hear “covenant theology.” Maybe you’re not even sure what covenant theology is, or if you do, maybe you aren’t confident in explaining it to others. I want to help you associate covenant theology with comfort, and hopefully be better able to teach it to others.

We need comfort on a daily basis, and we don’t want to get it from the wrong sources, such as food, shopping, or media. We want to remember that the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God is with us in our physical pain. He is with us in that messy relationship. He is with us as we battle habitual sin. And He is with us as we engage in service.

Five Ways Covenant Theology is a Comfort

Covenant theology is a comfort because it teaches us that God is the Creator and Redeemer who wants to be in a relationship with His people. He created us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever, so our greatest satisfaction will always be found in Him. He could have chosen to relate to His people in any number of ways, but He chose to relate to us by way of covenant. We could not have initiated a relationship with God, but amazingly He initiated one with His people. This isn’t a relationship that can be broken; it’s binding. And this isn’t a relationship without structure. It’s grounded in His grace and promises. Furthermore, this isn’t a relationship without security. The blood of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, secures it.

Covenant theology is a comfort because it teaches us the promise of God’s presence. God dwells with His people. From the garden to the tabernacle to the temple to Christ to the consummation, God dwells with us. He is with us when friends reject us. He is with us in that challenging class in graduate school. He is with us when our job is difficult, or we lose our job. He is with us in relational difficulties. He is with us when the diagnosis is given. He is with us when divorce papers are served. He is with us when our child walks away from the faith we hold so dear. He is with us as we bury our loved ones.

Covenant theology is a comfort because it teaches us about the person of Jesus Christ. He is the final and perfect prophet, priest, and king. He is the center of the story of salvation. He reveals God’s will for our salvation. He has reconciled us to God and intercedes for us. He rules over us and defends us from our enemies.

Covenant theology is a comfort because it teaches us about the people of God. God calls out a people for Himself from every tribe, tongue and nation to worship Him, work for His glory and witness of His great name. Together we worship the triune God each Lord’s Day. Together we use our gifts to work for His glory. Together we tell others about Jesus. When I battle sin, it’s a comfort to know I can reach out to the family of God to pray for me. When I am suffering, it’s a comfort to know I can call on the body of Christ for tangible needs. As I serve, it’s a comfort to know that my brothers and sisters are supporting me and interceding for me.

Covenant theology is a comfort because it teaches us that the practice of God’s people is supposed to be different. We’re supposed to feel like aliens and exiles as we interact with the world around us (Heb. 11:13-16). In light of our salvation, we are called to love God and others. We are called to trust Him. We are given the privilege of enjoying Him by way of union with Christ. We are called to obey Him. We are also called to be prophets who proclaim the name of the greatest Prophet. We are called to be priests who offer our very lives to the High Priest. And we are kings who are called to fight against our enemies—the world, the flesh and the devil, by the power of the King of kings.

In what situation or relationship do you need to be comforted today? Sing the truths of covenant theology. You will be reminded of the comforting promise, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” You will begin to understand God’s covenant love, His loyal lovingkindness, is to govern all your relationships with your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. And you will be filled with joy as you recall often who God is, the covenant Lord. Then look around you. There are people who need to be comforted. Sing or speak the truths of covenant theology to them. Together you will be comforted as you center your lives on God, exalt our beloved Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and live in dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

About the Author:

Sarah Ivill

Sarah Ivill (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is a Reformed author, wife, mom, Bible study teacher, and conference speaker who lives in Matthews, North Carolina and is a member of Christ Covenant Church. She is the author of Hebrews: His Hope, An Anchor for Our SoulsRevelation: Let the One Who Is Thirsty Come; Judges & Ruth: There Is A Redeemer1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Jude: Steadfast in the Faith; and The Covenantal Life: Appreciating the Beauty of Theology and Community . You can learn more about Sarah at www.sarahivill.com.

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