God’s People formed by God’s Covenant

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Eph. 4:4-6 God redeemed, formed, and resides with his people, no matter what side of the cross they live on, no matter their age, God’s promises are for those near and far, for you and your children.

This isn’t polished at all. It’s a part of today’s (6/30/24) sermon that won’t get preached, because I feel like it would detract from the message. The doctrine of God’s covenant and who it includes is important to us, especially as we consider how God’s grace extends even before believers experience the effectual call and conversion of the Holy Spirit.

God redeemed Israel from Egypt, brought them to Mount Sinai (Horeb) and through Moses, their Covenant Mediator, gave them the law that made them a nation. It made them into his people bound to him by blood (Ex. 24:8 the blood of the covenant; Ex. 12:7 the passover blood) spilt for them.

(NT/OT=New or Old Testament;  NC/OC=New or Old Covenant)

  1. God’s people united by Covenant—not our covenanting, but God’s
    1. Abraham—Gen. 15—sleepy time…the torch and smoking fire pot
    1. Here—fulfilment and new revelation, filling out what God told Abe in Gen. 17:1  “walk before me and be blameless”
      1. Clearly implies Abe already knew what was good and evil
      1. Mt. Sinai ratifies good and evil into written laws
    1. All the people are a part of God’s covenant—24:3, 8  “Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do. . . And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
    1.  A couple questions we might ask ourselves here:  are they covenant people because of what happens in Exodus 24?  And is this still true in the NT?
    1. The first question—are the Israelites covenant people because what happens in Exodus 24?
      1. No.  They were already covenant people.
      1. God made the covenant with Abraham in Gen. 15 and before that God promised Abraham the blessings confirmed in the covenant in Gen. 12.
      1. This ceremony of sprinkling them with blood was just confirming in sacrament what was already true in reality.
    1. The second question:  is this still true in the NT?  Another way to state it, are Christians God’s covenant people in the same way Israel was in the OT?
      1. Yes we are. 
      1. The Sermon on the Mount shows us that our laws are the same.
      1. Several places in the NT epistles the church is referred to using OC names for Israel, implying that the NC people have been “ingrafted” into the OC people.  Two examples:
        1. Jas 1:1  James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
        1. 1 Peter 1:1  “to those who are elect exiles”
      1. Eph. 2:11-20 gives a nice summation
        1. Gentiles are brought into God’s people through the work of Jesus
        1. The Jews were looking forward to the Messiah and the Gentiles are saved through the Messiah, too
        1. There’s one church united through the body of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection
    1. And the other important question:  what about the children?
      1. They are covenant members through their parents’ faith, just like Isaac and Ishmael.
        1. Acts 2:39 “for the promise is for you and your children”
        1. 1 Cor. 7:14 “For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
      1. But they can’t rely on their covenant holiness forever, they have to lay hold of the promises themselves one day.
        1. Cov’t blessings:
          1. Romans 3:1  “the oracles of God”
          1. The Law and its uses
            1. Suppress evil
            1. Show their need
            1. Reveal God’s character
          1. The body of Christ
    1. The important thing is God did all of this
      1. What did Israel do?
      1.  Did they defeat Pharaoh?  No. 
      1. Did they part the Red Sea? No.
      1. They did do some things
        1. Passover blood—pointed to God’s work, Christ’s sacrifice
        1. Plundered the Egyptians—pointed to God’s faithfulness, he promised this (Gen 15:14)
      1. When Moses sprinkled them with the blood of the covenant it was symbolizing all that God had done to make them his people, bound to them by shed blood, by the loss of a life, that wasn’t theirs.