So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. (Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT)
As a writer, I’ve had opportunity to enter into a few contracts over the past five or so years. We’ve signed agreements with homes sellers to buy real estate from them. We’ve accepted bids from contractors to do work for us. We even have an informal arrangement with our son to cut the grass. He mows. We give him twenty dollars.
Because contracts are such a common part of our dealings, we often fall into a trap of thinking our relationship with God is like a contract. If we pay with the proper obedience and devotion then God will, in turn, render the necessary service of providing answers to prayers, or bestowing blessings or what have you. If we fail, then He responds with judgment or a curse or mild irritations depending on the offense and its severity.
You can hear it in subtle “if … then” statements. If I have more faith, then God will hear my prayers. If I stop swearing for a month then God will help me find a job. That is the language of contracts and God doesn’t make contracts. He makes covenants.
God’s covenants rely solely on His holiness for fulfillment. He doesn’t require anything from us but acceptance of the terms. They are eternally binding and utterly unbreakable. When Jesus makes a statement like, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life,” (John 5:24 NKJV), He’s making a covenant. We just accept the terms and it is irrevocable. When He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV), that’s a covenant that we cannot undo, not with actions or words or attitudes.
God knows our frailties. He knows that if our salvation, our blessings or any of His good gifts depended on our ability to keep up our end of a contract we would be left destitute. His boundless love and His infinite grace won’t allow that. He takes all the responsibility on Himself. We just have to accept it.