Covenant, pt 2 (Genesis 15)

If anyone asked me what piece of doctrine can, properly understood, have the greatest positive impact on the life of the average Christian, I would answer: “Understanding that your relationship with God is not a contract, where you get what you deserve.  Your relationship with God is a covenant, where you belong to him and he belongs to you.”

The covenantal basis of your relationship with God is the foundation for understanding grace, faith, obedience, EVERYTHING.

And the background for understanding this doctrine is Genesis 15.  I am not overstating when I say that this is the most important chapter in the Old Testament for Christian theology, faith, and life.

I taught the following lesson at Kristova Crkva Kušlanova in Zagreb, Croatia, on 25 March 2018.  Slides and audio are in both English and Croatian.

Here are the handouts:

Pt 1: Review and background for understanding Genesis 15; in this section, I discuss the context of Genesis 15 in the Abraham story.

Pt 2: God renews and expands his covenant promise to Abraham.  What is the point of this odd story in Genesis 15, where Abraham cuts animals in half and sees fire hanging in the sky?

Pt 3: How does God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15 play out in the rest of Abraham’s story?  The rest of the story shows Abraham’s faithfulness and failures.  Through it all, God demonstrates his faithfulness to Abraham, even when Abraham is faithless.  2 Timothy 2.13: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”

Pt 4: How does the covenant of Genesis 15 apply to our lives?  It shows us the promise that provides the foundation of God’s faithfulness to us.  We are just like Abraham, and our relationship with God is based on HIS relationship to God.

Covenant, pt 1

Part 1 of the Narrative Discipleship lesson on Covenant (Savez): “God the Redeemer”.

I taught this at Kristova Crkva Kušlanova in Zagreb on 18 March 2018.

In our review of the second part of the story–Corruption, the effects of the fall–I pointed out how God acts as redeemer from the minute sin and destruction enter the picture. God is ALWAYS acting to save sinners, and to make good things happen in the midst of the wreckage we leave behind.

Part 2: “What is a covenant?” How did ancient Near-Eastern covenants work?

Part 3: “Abraham’s Covenant and Ours”.

Why should you care how ancient Near-Eastern covenants worked?  (How Abraham’s covenant with God helps us understand our covenant with God.)