Posted under The Rectory Bulletin

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations
Deuteronomy 7:9

When I worked as a Chartered Surveyor I was always on the look out for ‘restrictive covenants’. These covenants were normally put in place when a plot of land was sold, and they would restrict the future use of that land. It might be that you sold a field behind your house to a farmer, and wanted to make sure that your view remained unspoilt. Well then, when you sell the land you put a restrictive covenant in place forbidding building and - hey presto - the view remains. It is not uncommon with Victorian property in cities to find covenants forbidding the keeping of pigs and chickens.

You get the idea.

God deals with his people by means of covenants. It is a way of us knowing - knowing - that we can rely upon the steadfast love of God. It has been covenanted. On the other side of the covenant are the commandments which we are to keep. That is the contract. That is the covenant.

But what happens when we break our end of the covenant? The truth is, of course, that none of us has perfectly kept all the commandments of God. No-one has led a perfect life.

Well, except one person.

Part of the logic of Christianity is that Jesus fulfilled all the terms of the covenant with God. His righteousness is transferred to those who place their trust in him and his work, rather than ourselves and our work. As Paul puts is: “by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

So it is that the notion of covenant is a great comfort to the Christian. God keeps his side and - in Christ - God also keeps our side. That is why we can be assured of his “steadfast love”.

The Hour Has Come

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him (John 17:1) - “The hour has come” and a new dawn has flickered into view.

Athanasius Contra Mundum

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 Peter 4:12) - The life of Athanasius is a great example of standing firm.

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