God’s Fatherly Covenant With Disciples
‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.’ ~ 2 Timothy 2:13
When we enter a covenant with God through faith, repentance, and baptism into Christ, our relationship with God changes drastically. He now is our Father and we are his people!
What does it mean to be God’s children, his special people? How exactly is our relationship different then what the unbelievers have with God? How will God treat us if we sin against him? Can God’s children and special people still perish in the judgment?
1.1 We Become God’s Children – His Own Special People
There is a unique relationship that only God’s children have with him.
1 Peter 2:9-10 ~ Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.
- In the past, before we became Disciples, we were not a unique special people to God. There was nothing that differentiated us with the other people of the world.
- After we repented and believed on Christ, we entered into a very different unique relationship with God. It was at this point that we truly became his very own special generation of holy people.
2 Samuel 7:14-15 ~ I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him.
- When you become a Disciple of Jesus, you become a family member in God’s holy family. God now chooses to take you as a son or daughter.
- In this unique relationship, we experience God’s mercy and grace. It is as a loving parent who disciplines his children but does not take away his kindness.
Hebrews 12:5&7 ~ Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children… If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
- God deals with us in the same way that parents deal with children and we know that all children undergo loving discipline.
1.2 God Treats Us Much Different Then He Does Unbelievers
Jeremiah 3:14 ~ Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you.
- God uses powerful metaphors to illustrate both the quality and strength of this New Covenant. Previously, we saw that the elements of our relationship with God are now the same as parents have with children. Now we see here that the strength of our new relationship is also likened unto an eternal marriage covenant.
- Both of these are very unique relationships that God only has with those who have repented and become Disciples of his Son.
- Notice also, that it is in a time when Israel was being very wicked that God reminded them of this covenant. Even the abominable sins they were committing were not powerful enough to destroy this covenant relationship.
Amos 3:2 ~ You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
- God reminds his people that out of all the people that dwell on this planet it is they and they alone who he has this relationship with.
- Because God has known us or entered into covenant with us, he will not just let us go on in sin that will destroy us. Rather he will aggressively chasten and punish us that we might be saved.
Jeremiah 46:28 ~ I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.
- Other nations and people who sin against God are completely wiped out by God because they have not sought after him and therefore he does not know them in a special way.
- It is much different for those who are God’s children. He will surely discipline us greatly but he will not completely destroy us unless we continually despise this correction.
Luke 22:31-32 ~ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
- It is in the case of Peter and Judas that the contrast between those who are in covenant with God and those who are not is most beautifully illustrated.
- Notice here in these verses the heart of Jesus towards Simon Peter. Jesus knows Peter is about to sin greatly and deny him but does not get upset and disown Peter. He instead, lets Peter know that he has been engaged in fervent prayer for him that this act of rebellion would not cause him to completely abandon the faith.
- Oh, how marvelous that in a Disciples worst moments of sin and defeat the Savior is crying out to our Father that the sin would not have it’s finished work in us but that we would be converted again and healed!
John 13:26-27 ~ And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
- There was another man named Judas who was about to betray Jesus and thereby commit the same type of sin as Peter. In the book of John we read that this man was not a true believer but was rather a child of the devil as the rest of the world [See John 6:64&70]
- What were Jesus words and feelings towards this man who was not a believer as Peter? Listen how Jesus basically says ‘do what you’re going to do’. Notice the lack of feeling or concern. There is no prayer or desire for Judas not to fall by this sin or that he would afterwards repent. The relationship is so much different!
1.3 This Fatherly Covenant Is Everlasting And Unconditional
Jeremiah 32:40 ~ I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good.
- God here summarizes the nature of the wonderful covenant he has with his people.
- It is simply that he will never turn his back on us and stop attempting to work good in our lives.
- The covenant is not that God will ensure that we never perish regardless of our behavior. No, the covenant is that he will never stop disciplining us and doing all the good he can for us to influence us to not continue on the paths that will lead to our final destruction.
Isaiah 54:10 ~ For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
- God promises that his covenant with us is steadfast and can be fully relied upon. If the mountains and hills can be removed then so can God’s kindness towards us!
- This covenant is a covenant of peace. Which means that just as God has commanded that we be peace makers, he also had chosen to do everything possible to bring us to a place of peace with him.
Isaiah 44:21 ~ O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.
- Through his life-giving Word, God has formed us and created us as his children. He tells us that this absolutely ensures that he will always remember us to do us good.
Isaiah 49:14-16 ~ Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
- God says that as unlikely as it is, a nursing woman could actually forget her baby but God will never forget to have compassion on his children!
- Have you ever had something extremely important that you wanted to remember so you wrote it down on your hand? God says he went a step further and has tattooed the names of his children on the palm of his hand. Yes, this is figurative but it powerfully illustrates the great length that God has gone to ensure that he never forgets us!
Jeremiah 51:5 ~ For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.
- Here we see that things had gotten very bad with God’s children. The entire land of God’s people was filled with sin against him but God says that he had still not forsaken them!
Isaiah 65:2-3 ~ I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face
- Instead of forsaking these wicked people God continued to spread out his hands to them and call them to repentance daily.
- See the mighty love of God! Even those rebellious children of his who are continually provoking him by their wicked acts to his face he seeks to bring to restoration!
- The kindness that God shows to his people is not to justify or save them in their sins. He will never do this. But what he does do is stretch out his arms to them every day of their lives, doing everything he possibly can to call them out of their wickedness so that they may be saved from his wrath. That being so, they must respond to be saved!
Hosea 6:4 ~ O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
- In the Bible Ephraim & Judah are representations of God’s people and God says that the faithfulness of his people to him was like a cloud which quickly fades away.
- That being the case here, notice God’s heart towards them still. He is like a bewildered loving Father who only wants the best for his rebellious child. Realizing he has done everything possible to help his child, in sorrow he declares ‘what more can I do?’ Oh, the great love of our Father! Let us never break his heart like this.
Hosea 11:8-9 ~ How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee.
- See the passionate yearning of God for his people. He knows they are on the path that will surely lead to their destruction and he is in great turmoil because he does not want them to perish. They are his people!
- Therefore, he chooses not to let the full force of his anger wipe them out. Instead, he continues in kindness to them because his heart is full of care and concern for them.
Jeremiah 31:20 ~ Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.
- We are made in the image of God and God himself is a very emotional being. He basically says here that his stomach is tied in knots over the situation his children have gotten themselves into.
- God declares that yes, he has spoken harshly against his children but in his anger he remembers his covenant of love and will surely show mercy to them sin continuing to stretch out his hands to them!
1.4 God Will Now Lead & Chasten Us As His Own Children
Psalms 89:30-34 ~ If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
- God loves his children very much and as all loving parents will not just let us go on in our sins without punishing us with something that will get our attention.
Lamentations 3:32-33 ~ But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
- The punishments that God deals out to his children are much different from those he deals out to the world. He loves his children with a special love and it breaks his heart to cause them any pain, just as it hurts any loving parent to spank or inflict any type of pain on their children.
- When God punishes his children it is not to give them justice but rather it is for the express purpose of disciplining them so that they will ultimately reap compassion.
Proverbs 3:11 ~ My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
- When the Lord loves a person, he will do everything possible to correct that person even though it appears to be wearisome for the person being disciplined.
- Being corrected, disciplined severely by God for our sins, and not allowed to continue in our wickedness, is actually great evidence that the Lord loves us!
I Corinthians 11:32 ~ When we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
- When God sees his children turn from him, and he chooses to judge that sin, and bring discipline upon them, it is for a particular purpose.
- This purpose is so that you will not be condemned with the world. By this, we see that until we respond to the discipline of the Lord we are in a state, which will result in condemnation if not repented of.
- This is very important to realize because many to their own peril presume that God’s discipline means that they are in his favor and cannot possibly be condemned. This is far from the truth.
Hebrews 12:6&10 ~ For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness… without which no man shall see the Lord.
- God has set a clear standard that only those who are holy will see him and inherit his Kingdom.
- Therefore, the purpose of God’s discipline is that his children would turn from their sins in repentance and be made holy. The end result would then be that now, as partakers of his holiness, they would not be condemned with the world but be fit to inherit his Kingdom.
2 Timothy 2:13 ~ If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
- In his writing to Timothy, Paul summed up the teaching of God’s faithfulness to wayward children.
- He states that if we [his people] rebel against God in unbelief, God will still remain faithful to continue chastening us and stretching out his arms to us because we have become his very own people and to deny us would be to deny himself.
- Many have distorted this passage to teach that those Disciples who rebel, turn to a life of sin, and die in that state, are still saved. From the verses we have examined it is clear that the only thing that is meant by this faithfulness is a faithfulness to chasten us and do everything possible to lead us to repentance.
1.5 Many Of God’s Own Children Will Still Perish
Proverbs 29:1 ~ He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
- When a person is continually reproved and corrected but they don’t respond to the discipline in repentance then they enter into a very dangerous place.
- The scriptures call this horrifying place… without remedy!
2 Chronicles 36:15-16 ~ And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
- In great compassion, God will stretch out his hands and discipline his children for a very significant amount of time but there does come a time when there is no more hope.
- If we are being chastened and disciplined often by God and we keep hardening our hearts against him and refuse to turn and repent then what more can God do? There is nothing left for us but destruction.
- This is not because God feels no more compassion towards us. It is simply because God, who knows the hearts of all men, knows that discipline will do no more good for us. There is simply no more hope or remedy for us because after God has done all he can for us, we still continue in our sin and rebellion without repentance.
Hebrews 10:29-31 ~ Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
- It is a very serious thing to have been set apart by God to be his special people and yet to despise that goodness and compassion that he has shown to you by continuing in sin and rebellion.
- The Lord will not only judge this world for their sins but he will also judge his own people! Oh, how fearful the punishment is that awaits his people who have despised his discipline until there was no hope.
2 Peter 2:20-21 ~ For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
- The punishment for these people will be worse than it will be for those who never knew God.
- It would actually have been better for these people to have never been adopted into God’s family than for them to have been adopted, experience all the love and compassion from a merciful Father and yet to despise that mercy.
Revelation 3:19 ~ As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
- In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 we see Jesus himself warning many of the churches that they had fallen and needed to repent of their sins.
- He told them that he really did love them and that is why he was rebuking and disciplining them but that they absolutely had to repent!
Revelations 3:3 ~ Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
- Let us fear our great God! If we keep hardening our hearts against the truth and do not heed the loving discipline of the Lord then he will come upon us suddenly like a thief in the night.
- You will be thinking that everything is just fine and that you will repent again later just like always and then wham! Lights out, game over, no more chances, no more remedy, nothing but horrific judgement!
- God forbid this be our end.