What is the difference between a covenant a Promise?
A covenant involves two parties, that is to say, a covenant is undertaken by two people or two parties whereby both will be responsible for upholding the said Covenant at the time it was undertaken, and for the length of time it should run also and it’s usually sealed with an oath.
A promise is usually from one party to another party, a person to another person but only one party or person is responsible for bringing to pass that promise. A Promise always has these two features — an active participant (Promisor) and a passive recipient(Promisee).
An example of what a covenant relationship looks like can be seen in the covenants God entered into with mankind. God made a covenant with Noah, God made a covenant with Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus(New Covenant)
For the purpose of this article let’s examine the covenant of God and Abraham. God and Abraham God made a covenant with Abraham and it was circumcision that was a sign or token from Abrahams’s side. God promised to make Abraham a great nation and to give his descendants the land of promise. Abraham had a part to play in that Covenant, Abraham was to circumcise himself at the age of 99, and every male member of his household which includes the slaves and servants, no matter where they came from, as long as they were in his house or under him they were to be circumcised.. which he did without delay. God kept His part of the deal, Abraham also did his.
We know God had already promised the seed from Genesis and this seed was to manifest through Abraham and we know that Jesus Christ is the promised seed who was to come, who has now come, and gone back to heaven and will be returning again soon but, that is not the focus/reason for this message. We just want to state and understand the difference between a covenant and a promise.
As we have seen what a covenant is, let’s look at what a promise is: God made a promise to Abraham that He was going to give him a son and make him the father of many nations, later when the promise seems like it was delayed, Abraham tries to help himself with the aid of his wife Sarah and Ishmael was the product of such disobedience still he wasn’t the Promise child because the Promises of God are Yes and Amen and they are solely dependent on God himself bringing it to pass and not on Abraham bring it to pass. When Walking With God we must be totally obedient to His commands and instructions.
we can now see the difference between a covenant and a promise
A second example I am going to give for the purpose of this lecture is our Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.read more.Jeremiah 31:31-34
They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
The New Covenant that we as Christians enjoy or rather we entered into through Christ with God was done by God the Father and Jesus the Son. The Father’s part was to forgive sins, wipe man’s inequities and transgressions, put away his wrath, wipe clean all our evil records, and ordinances that were against us and give us a clean bill of spiritual health.
Jesus at the last supper instituted the new covenant with this blood and His body that was given for the remission of sins and for us to be forgiven by God. Therefore, Jesus before He gave up the ghost proclaimed to the Father and mankind that “it is finished!”
Having sealed the covenant with His blood, Jesus made a promise to us in John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Jesus told us He was going to Heaven to prepare a place for His children and coheirs, Christ made so many promises to us, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John6:35
“I am the way the truth and the life John 14:6…. I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
these are all the wonderful promises of Christ made to us.
Jesus had a covenant with the Father and made many promises about granting us eternal life to us and it is solely on him to keep it but as true followers of Christ, we are to honor our Father and walk in His ways. the promise of eternal life is only found in Christ and we must receive it by faith in Him alone Eph2:8
Today, Jesus says come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden give you rest Matthew 11:28. So there’s a promise of rest in Him, just come. He has done all the work, he has fulfilled all the obligations and requirements God demanded from man and He is waiting for the day He will fulfill the promises He made to mankind by giving us our inheritance in Him.
In a nutshell we have seen what a covenant and a promise is, using biblical examples.