Covenant or Context

white sailboat on body of water

Admission, if not compulsory, opens me toward confession. I admit and confess my faith experiences doubt on occasion. Sometimes I shrug at its appearing. At other times, my doubts weigh on me heavily like a boat dropping anchor in deep water. And then some revelation comes along and I weigh anchor and sail on, lightened by perspective. I’m told Mother Teresa had doubts.

Doubt reaches me through observation of human affairs and a bit of impatience with God. But if my faith is to be strengthened, to be faith at all, shouldn’t it be tested? God, in His persistence for my attention, did not intend for me to rest in easy truth. He stretches me in times of doubt to discover a higher truth, His truth.

Observation and impatience can have a virtuous effect when applied to understanding. Scripture reminds us throughout its pages God’s covenant is unchanging. His promise, assurance, and love for His children is sure. This covenant is His, offered to us through Christ on the Cross. There is no bargaining here. We possess no leverage in the matter. I remain aware the drama in this story lies between our free will and His redemptive grace. My doubts ease when I contemplate the whole contrast of God’s covenant and history’s context. God allows us our time to enter into this covenant and to know our time is allotted. If I am to believe, I accept His covenant is unchanging. Because if it is not, He is not God at all.

There are those who believe the unchanging no longer fits into the changing, that what is, is not. Somehow we have evolved far enough along in knowledge that what God meant then is different now. The prism of the modern mind has no room for absolutes. All is context. And this makes Christianity false. Knowledge may make meaning more complex or revealed but meaning remains unchanged. Context is a bit like attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole. If we just keep trying….

But isn’t it better to seek God than explain Him?

If God is God (and He is), He lives outside of history and context and creation, but in His mystery, lives also through them allowing us poor creatures to see Him by the means He provided, each a window through which to know Him. The poor man who thinks God is to be conformed to context, to be understood by it and not through it, only wishes God to serve his end, imprisoned by his own mind. If God is not in the middle of our activity, if He is not the purpose of our activity, what one writer calls holy intent, we have not been faithful.

The higher truth demands I live in God’s covenant and not swayed by context—no doubt about it.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, NKJV).

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