What does covenant theology teach us about God? Dr. Guy Richard illustrates what we learn about God through the lens of his covenants.
Covenant theology teaches us many things about God.
1. God is Personal
It teaches us first that God is personal. He’s not an impersonal force or an abstract idea. We know that just from the very fact that impersonal forces and abstract ideas can’t enter into covenant agreements. Covenants are things persons do. Ideas don’t enter into covenants. Principles don’t enter into covenants. Forces don’t enter into covenants. The fact that we say that God has entered into covenant with his creatures tells us that our God is a personal God. He is not an impersonal force. He is not an abstract idea.
2. God is Relational
Secondly, covenant theology teaches us that God is relational. The covenant relationship is oftentimes pictured in the Bible in terms of marriage. You can think about the Book of Hosea, where the Book of Hosea is all about depicting the covenant breaking, the covenant unfaithfulness of the people of Israel and comparing it to an unfaithful wife. So the marriage image, the marriage relationship is the metaphor that God so often uses to describe and to picture, to communicate his covenant relationship with creatures.
God’s covenant faithfulness is not only depicted on every page of Scripture, but it finds its completion and its consummation in the cross.Our God is a relational God. The central covenantal promise of the Old Testament shows us how God is relational. That central promise says, “I will be your God and you will be my people.” It communicates to us right there that God is not only personal, but he is also relational.
3. God is Trustworthy
The third thing that covenant theology teaches us is that our God is trustworthy. Because he enters into covenant with his creatures, he therefore binds himself to act in a certain way. He tells us what he expects of us, and he tells us what he expects of himself and what he will do for us. We have every reason, because of the covenant, to take him at his word. We know that he will do what he says he will do. He is not capricious. He is not unpredictable in that sense. He is very predictable. He has bound himself to act in certain ways. So we know that we can trust that he will, in fact, do what he says he will do.
4. God is More Committed to Us Than We Are to Him
God is more committed to us than we are to him, even to the point of giving his own Son for us.The fourth thing that covenant theology teaches us is that God is more committed to us than we are to him. The whole record of the Bible is, in one sense, a record of the covenant breaking of God’s people, the covenant unfaithfulness. From cover to cover, we see a chronicling of the covenant unfaithfulness of God’s people, and at the same time, the covenant faithfulness of God. God’s covenant faithfulness is not only depicted on every page of Scripture, but it finds its completion and its consummation in the cross, in and through the cross. That’s the place where God’s covenant keeping finds its center, its core. Covenant theology teaches us that our God, as Paul says in Romans, is just and the justifier of all who believe in Christ because he not only is faithful to his end of the covenant bargain, the covenant agreement, but he is faithful to our end as well. He’s just in upholding his side of the arrangement, but he’s justifier in that he takes all of the blame and all of the guilt and all of the curses for our covenant breaking. He takes all of that and he lays it on Christ rather than upon us. So covenant theology teaches us that God is more committed to us than we are to him, even to the point of giving his own Son for us.