Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
When I was in high school (before the Dead Sea was even sick), there was an urban legend about a man who kind of legally bilked the unsuspecting public for over a million dollars. For you post boomers, this was well before the internet. As the story goes, he took out an ad in several large papers promising to double any investors money in one year, or - "your money back". Lots of people sent him money; some a couple of dollars, and some thousands. He received well over six figures and at the end of the prescribed time, he said: "Well I'm sorry. I was unable to double your money, so here it is in full".  He hired a few temps and had kept good enough records to make good on the promise to return folks their investment. 
What he had done, was put the money in the bank for a year, and draw over $60,000 dollars in interest. As far as the promise to attempt to double folks investment?  All he had to do legally was say he had asked someone to double his money. Anybody. And when they said no, his obligation was satisfied. Thus endeth the legend. 
Let's turn the Spiritual Switch: Everything God does with regard to His children is in the form of a Covenant, while all man's dealings with each other are in the form of a contract. The differences are stark and critically important, so let's examine them. Let's use marriage for our illustration. Man thinks he is vaguely obligated to be faithful to his wife as long as she is to him. Makes sense after all right? If she isn't, he doesn't have to be. He is what the unspoken contract calls "off the hook". (This works both ways in our world).  We even have Pre-nuptial agreements to cover the inevitable split. This is a contract. When you buy a home you have to sign about forty documents waving flood insurance etc etc.   And for every contract, there are a half dozen lawyers trying to figure out a way out; a "loophole".  This is mans' way, it is pathetic and might be why the Bible says for us to "let our yes be yes, and our no be no".  So what does God say about Marriage?  Just as we are His bride, and He says "though all else be unfaithful, let Me be (remain) faithful".  Think about it. When we stand at the altar, we promise to be the best husband (or wife) regardless of what the other does. We hope with all our hearts that they will reciprocate, but at the end of the day, we pledged our undying fidelity to our spouse, out loud, to God, and before lots of witnesses - even if she/he doesn't reciprocate - "for better or for worse, till death do us part".  That's a covenant. What would our Christian walk look like if every time we let God down (I mean sin) He just said: "That's it, I'm no longer obligated, see ya".  But instead He says He will never leave us nor forsake us.  A covenant is based on Trust, while a contract is based on mistrust. Our responsibility is limited in a contract while in a Covenant, it is unlimited.  The duration of a Covenant is indefinite; a contract has a term.  The Covenant is conditionally unbreakable, while the contract is voided under  certain conditions. 
Fasten your pewbelts. The words covenant and testament are the same word in the Bible. At the Last Supper, when Jesus instituted the Lord's Super or Eucharist, He said: "This is the new testament (covenant) in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." What would the world look like, if we all viewed our relationships and obligations as covenant in nature? This is the essence of "What Would Jesus Do?"  God Bless.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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