The Promises and Covenants of God are ALWAYS Conditional!
(Ver 1.1) I want to discuss a difficult subject found in the Bible that is hard for many Christians to get their minds around. Too many Christians like to put everything on God’s back and make Him completely responsible for everything that happens to them. It is like when a major storm comes and blows their house down and they believe God is in control and He had a higher purpose for doing this to me. However, when you read the Bible and study it closely we find out some very surprising things that should cause us to begin to think differently.
When God makes a covenant with a People on the earth, you will find that God is always capable of keeping the covenant and to Him it was a forever agreement and arrangement. However, what we find in the Bible is that it is not all completely up to God and that you and I have a part to play in the relationship for the continued blessings of God to manifest. Let’s review the principle and then establish this spiritual law Biblically and learn what we can:
Isa 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
In this verse in Isaiah, God puts forth a promise to His covenant people. But, this promise comes with conditions. In order for God’s people to eat the good of the land, they must first, be willing and obedient. These sound like two little requirements that are placed upon God’s People! But they really are larger than you think. If people fulfill only one condition such as being willing but not obedient or being not willing and obeying does that match the conditions necessary to eat good? Obviously not, they fail and do not eat the good of the land. This is the basis of a spiritual law, that I call the “IF YOU DO THEN I WILL DO” law! “IF” “THEN” is a popular computer programming construct that is widely used in programming languages. There is also a converse or inverse part of the law that goes something like this:
IF YOU DO THIS
THEN I WILL DO THIS
ELSE THIS HAPPENS!
God knew about IF THEN ELSE computer programming constructs before we knew there were computers. God uses this construction in the Bible in the promises that He makes with humans and the Covenants that He implements with the People. If we apply this construct to the verse we just read in Isaiah 1:19 we can see it more clearly:
IF (YOU ARE WILLING AND OBEDIENT)
YOU WILL EAT THE GOOD OF THE LAND
YOU WILL NOT EAT FROM THE GOOD LAND
This is some very basic Computer Logic applied to the Word of God and yet so profound! If you understand what I have said so far, then let’s go through some other verses in the Bible and determine what else God says about conditional requirements.
Let’s go back and review some words spoken to Natural Israel by Moses from God. These are the Words of God spoken directly to them, but if you look closely they are also prophetic and we can easily notice that they are very conditional:
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
What does it mean to be conditional? If I said I would give you $1000, if you would stay silent for 24 hours, is that $1000 conditional or automatically yours? No, it not guaranteed! We can see that conditional means, if you follow the instructions and rules you will get the $1000, otherwise you do not. The key word is “IF” you satisfy the requirements! Pretty simple concept isn’t it? However, Christians I guess do not understand these concepts, especially when it comes to God and the Bible.
When we read a verse like Exodus 19:5 and it says to Israel that “you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me and above all people”. What was the requirement for this to happen in the natural realm? God clearly said, “if you obey my voice and keep my covenant”, then I will do what I said and make you above all others. So when did natural Israel ever fulfill any of these requirements? If you searched your Bible and could not find it in the Bible, I have to admit that I couldn’t either. It would seem to me, that Israel has a major problem. Let’s continue with the next verse:
Exo 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
Exodus 19:6 continues to demonstrate what God will do, if Israel obeys and keeps the covenant. What we see in these two verses are a discovery of the fact that God’s blessings to Natural Israel are conditional. In order for those in covenant with God to obtain the best that He has for them, they must do something to qualify for them. Did any of the words in these two verses ring any bells to you? Did you see any parallels or glimpses into another reality that God is prophesying about? To me it was obvious, but to others they miss it, because they may be slightly dull of spiritual eyesight. These key words are echoed in a verse found in the New Testament:
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Peter writes to the church and declares to them that they are these “peculiar” people, the holy nation unto God, being priests and kings of the Most High. Isn’t that an amazing coincidence? Of course God doesn’t do anything by accident and this verse is put here to show you who the church really is. I know I haven’t introduced you to this concept yet. Many Christian people do not like to think or believe that the Church is a spiritual version of the natural nation of Israel, but yet it is so prevalent in the Bible I do not know how people miss it. This is based upon the concept of natural patterns that point us to greater or higher truths within the spiritual realm. Let us read another verse:
Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Again we see John this time writing about the church and to the church, calling them the kings and priests of God. That qualifies the church as being these royal rulers of the spiritual domain of God. That makes the church a new spiritual priesthood unto God. This is of course difficult to fully accept for many believers. Please do not let it offend you. I will not be offended if you believe something else.
Heb 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
So as we have seen, the blessings of God are conditional. The human continuation and participation within the covenant of God is also conditional. People want to put all of the responsibility on God to whether or not a covenant is valid and that is not what God says in the Bible. You can always depend on God to be faithful and He will never fail you, but that does not relieve you of your responsibility in the relationship.
What if you are married to a spouse and you are the one that is faithful and they are not. Will that work for very long? I know my wife would not put up with it. If you think you can then you are a fool. Is faithfulness a two way street that is required of both marriage participants? Of course it is! So do not put all of the responsibility upon God, God will not fail the covenant. God is eternally faithful. However, humans are imperfect and fail, people make mistakes and God will forgive us. But only if we ask for forgiveness. Repentance is an essential and valuable key part of any Christian life. If we are not sorry for how we how we act and the things we use to do, we are not a Christian. We are just someone who doesn’t want to go to hell.
Hebrews 8:9 clearly tells us that God disregarded Israel, because Israel did not keep their covenant. The Bible says this, God says this and I did not write the Bible. Is God anti-Semitic? That is what some will try to call me for saying something like this. So you can accept it for what it says or you can attempt to explain it away. Covenants with God are always Conditional! Let’s review another Old Testament example of these conditional promises of God:
Deu 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
The key word “IF” is given to the nation of Israel again and God tells them that “IF” they would diligently follow the Word of God that “THEN” God would make them above all nations. There are very specific requirements to the blessings of God and if you continue to read down in this chapter you will also find that there are very specific curses for not following these instructions. This is a Bible principle and a spiritual law being established by God. This is how God works and this should inform us of our responsibilities to listen and obey. We start by recognizing that we have some responsibilities and then we go about finding out what they are and how to follow them or fulfill them.
Jer 4:1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, the shalt thou not remove.
You see in Jeremiah God says to Israel, if they would return and put away their abominations, that God would not remove them. There is a very strong statement with very direct consequences being made to the Natural Nation of Israel. There are just too many verses in the Bible like this that declare God will do something if you first do something.
We cannot pray and ask God for something and then when it does not come, think that God said NO! Many times things like praying for specific answers in the Bible have specific conditions and requirements attached them. You have to base your prayer on the Bible promises that provide the answer, pray the right way, believe the right things, do the right things, say the right things, act in the appropriate manner and then God will do His part. This is a staggering concept to many Christians, but yet it is in the Bible if we look.
God always tells us what to do and then expects us to do it. Then God will always step in and do the rest. Read the Old Testament very closely. Notice things that God instructs Joshua when taking Jericho and other such examples. God would always tell them to do something very specific and if they did it, God would come through and do the rest. When Moses went to God with a problem, either about Pharaoh or the children of Israel, God would always tell Moses to do something with very specific steps and requirements or conditions. If Moses followed and obeyed, God would always do His part faithfully. The Bible is full of examples like this.
Jer 31:36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
I guess many Christians cannot comprehend that God would require humans to do anything in order to obtain God’s Grace. It is almost unimaginable that Israel could do anything that would cause God to end their Covenant. I have read in a few Bible lessons from other teachers that some people think that God’s love and all of the blessings of His Covenants are unconditionally guaranteed and nothing that anyone does can cause God to back out of it.
We should go back and reread the Bible and look for how many times the word “IF” is used in verses concerning Israel. We will discover that God has put conditions on many of the things that He has given to His people. God placed responsibility of the continuation of the covenant into the hands of those who He was trusting to do the right things and be obedient. If you study carefully you discover that Israel did a very bad job of fulfilling their end of the bargain. What a bargain they had, they had the fastest and most direct way to the Messiah, they had the first choice at Salvation, they were the keepers of the Holy Word of God and they blew it.
NEW COVENANT CONDITIONS
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Just as the Old Covenant was conditional, entrance into the New Covenant is also conditional. There is no such thing as Universal Salvation. There is no such thing that everyone is saved automatically, because God wants them to be. God always requires action by man. People need to realize that God has already done everything that He needs to do to get all of the people on the earth saved. However, that does not mean everyone is saved or will be saved. Jesus tells us clearly in Revelation that He is standing at the door of the heart of man, knocking and that clearly indicates that He wants to come in. However, the conditional part of the verse clearly states that the Man on the inside is required to hear the knock and open the door to let Him come in. There are conditions to people getting saved. People are required to act appropriately and let Christ in. There are also specific conditions to staying saved. I really do not want to get into this subject any deeper for I have touched on this subject in other lessons. Realize and understand that the Old Covenant of God with natural Israel was a conditional agreement. It was very clear in the Bible that in order for Israel to remain in Covenant with God, that Israel was required to be faithful to God. Just like in any natural human marriage contract, God’s covenant works this way also. Both parties are either faithful to the vows, commitments and conditions of the agreement or the agreement is terminated. If one party is faithful and the other party is not, the agreement is terminated. There are many very difficult things like this in life and they are also revealed to us in the Bible. Recently in national news several prominent men have been caught being unfaithful to their wives. They have discovered the hard way that there are consequences to their actions in life. Israel may learn very soon that she has also encountered the consequences of her actions.
Then pay attention to things God writes to the church in the New Testament. Why would Jesus and God say so many times a warning for us not be deceived? There appears to be some unseen consequences for being deceived. Perhaps a Christian does not live a long life. But perhaps the Christians finds out like one of the 5 foolish virgins that they were not really known by Jesus. Remember in the 10 Virgin parable there was a need to have oil for the lamps. This sounds like a major condition for entering into the divine wedding feast.
Thank you for reading this lesson. I know there are a of other Bible verses that come to mind that teach this concept that I did not get to include. I appreciate your time reading and I also appreciate your comments, and questions. If you have a prayer request, please leave it and we will pray for you and add you to our prayer list. God bless you until next time.
Posted on May 12, 2010, in Bible Study, Covenants, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Covenants, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Israel, Jesus, Prophecy, Religion, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.