Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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God’s Covenant Friendship

Rev. Angus Stewart

(originally published in the "Paper Pulpit" of the Ballymena Times)


The covenant that God makes with elect believers in Jesus Christ is a warm and loving relationship of friendship and fellowship.

This is the teaching of the "covenant formula" repeated often in Scripture in many forms: "God is our God and we are His people." As "our God," He is and will be to us all that Jehovah is and can be for us. He unites us to Himself through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit. He pardons our sins, embraces us in His everlasting arms and guides us to glory. As "His people," we cleave to Him, cast our burdens upon Him and trust in His mercy.

In the very first promise of the coming of Christ to crush Satan's head, our salvation is described as "enmity" with the devil, which is friendship with God (Gen. 3:15; cf. James 4:4). At the end of the Bible, the realization of God's covenant is His dwelling with us eternally as close friends who tabernacle together in the new heavens and the new earth—that realm without sorrow, crying, tears, pain or death (Rev. 21:3-4).

Throughout God's Word, He presents His covenant as an intimate marriage bond between Himself and His beloved bride, the church (e.g., Eze. 16). In the covenant, Jehovah establishes a Father-child relationship (Ex. 4:22) with us as His sons and daughters, for He has begotten us by the Spirit and we bear (though in a weak and creaturely way) the image and likeness of our Father.

The biblical truth of reconciliation through the cross of Christ is a covenant idea because reconciliation is the restoration of friendship. As those brought into God’s friendship, we enjoy eternal life, which is sharing in the life of the Triune God, the everlasting fellowship of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.

King David affirmed, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant" (Ps. 25:14). The root meaning of the Hebrew word "secret" is cushion or couch. The idea is that of two friends sitting close together in familiar conversation and communicating in confidential fellowship. The word "secret," therefore, speaks of the intimacy of our covenant friendship and fellowship with God.

The covenant blessings the Lord reveals to, and confers upon, us include righteousness in Christ, an eternal inheritance, protection from all our enemies and provision of all our needs. Our Father shows us His covenant secrets through the reading and preaching of the Scriptures, and by the inner working of the Holy Spirit, He applies His Word to every God-fearing hearer, so that he is assured that these covenant blessings are for him personally. God, as it were, sits down with those who revere Him and shares His secrets with him in a personal way: "In My covenant, I am for you and in you and with you in Jesus Christ."

Do you know the secret of the Lord? Has He showed you His covenant?

For more on God's covenant, see our Covenant & Baptism resources page and the relevant section of our free pamphlets.