What Does Covenant Mean?

A covenant is an agreement between two parties. God made a bilateral covenant with his Old Testament people at Mount Sinai. God promised Israel would be his treasured possession if they obeyed his commandments (Exodus 19–24). It was a conditional, bilateral covenant. Unfortunately, Israel could not keep their side of this agreement.

So, God promised a new covenant: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That I will make a new covenant….They shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:31,33–34). There are no ifs in this covenant because it is a unilateral agreement, dependent on God alone. Jesus is the way God accomplished this new covenant.

Jesus fulfilled the old covenant by obeying the commandments perfectly as our substitute and giving us credit. As a result, this first covenant was made obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). In its place, Jesus instituted the new covenant “in his blood” (Luke 22:20) through which we have forgiveness (Colossians 1:14). Since this covenant’s promises depend entirely on Jesus, we can now approach God with confidence.

Study Covenants in the Scriptures

Exodus 19-24

Jeremiah 31:31, 33-34

Hebrews 8:13

Luke 22:20

Colossians 1:14

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