Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reflections on "Heirs of the Covenant" by Susan Hunt

Series: You Are What You Read
Heirs of the Covenant by Susan Hunt

As a north-easterner and one not brought up in the church or in the Christian faith, I have to admit that when I hear phrases like "Heirs of the Covenant" or even just the words "Heirs" and "Covenant" in church, my initial reaction is to run. For one thing, the idea of thinking of people as "Heirs" either sounds to me like an archaic backdrop to one of Shakespeare's tragedies or it conjures up notions of southern aristocracy, complete with the plantations, estates, and deeply competitive sibling rivalries.

And whenever I hear the term "Covenant" used, I hearken back to some of my earlier Presbyterian days when "Covenant" was an adjective used for everything that I didn't have: covenant children, covenant marriages, covenant families, covenant schools, and so forth).
Rick Phillips wrote an article about this phenomenon some time ago for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals called Covenant Confusion in which he quips about having been given a bag of covenant coffee beans, which he received as an effectual means of grace. Today when I hear the term "Covenant" used, I still have flashbacks of Duggar-like images.

ByFaith Magazine, our PCA denominational magazine, just recently published an article by Susan Hunt titled, "Heirs of the Covenant" that I had delayed reading as long as I could, until the other day, when I was looking for some inspiration for a women's ministry assignment. I knew Susan could always be counted on for providing godly insight into issues of women's ministry in the church. So, I finally prayed for the willingness to read, and opened up the page with a resolve to push through what I expected to be at a minimum somewhat irrelevant and possibly even somewhat painful to glean some useful content.

Much to my surprise, I am so grateful to have read every word on that page so carefully crafted by Susan! So much wisdom! So much grace! And so much love for the body of Christ!!

And most surprisingly, her article is just so relevant, too.

What rich teaching is here! Theological depth and scriptural balm for life in as the body of Christ and as women in the church!

Below I've copied five of the excerpts from the article that I was able to share with our Women's Bible Study last night. The article generated some great discussion, as well as some ideas for our group to be more intentional in getting to know each other and to cultivate covenant community as women doing life together in the church:

  • "The Gospel of grace is the Good News that the Sovereign, Triune King of the universe enters into a relationship with His people. How could such a thing happen? It took a covenant.
    Covenant is a compelling idea. Covenant is the storyline of the grandest of stories, a story that began before the beginning of time when God chose us in Christ to be His own (Ephesians 1:4), that exploded into time and space when God created us in His image (Genesis 1), was scandalously lost when our first parents rebelled (Genesis 3:1-7), was graciously restored when God promised a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15), was gloriously fulfilled when the Word became flesh (John 1:14), and will reach its spectacular consummation when we hear “a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.’” (Revelation 21:3)."
  • "The covenant is Trinitarian. In the pre-creation covenant of redemption the Father chose a people, the Son redeemed them by His blood, and the Holy Spirit applies what the Father purposed and the Son accomplished and seals our inheritance (Ephesians 1). There was diversity of function but unity of purpose — “to praise His glorious grace” (vv. 6, 12, 14). The inspiring implication: “Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 1)."
  • “Covenant is a promise that stretches from Genesis to Revelation: I will be your God, you will be my people, I will live among you.  (Genesis 17:7; Exodus 6:7; Deuteronomy 29:12-13; Jeremiah 24:7; Zechariah 8:8; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Revelation 21:1-5)
  • “Scripture clearly teaches that the content of God’s covenant is to be contextualized in the covenant community. If the covenant is taught in a purely academic way, it will be anemic. God never intended the passing on of the covenant to be just a mental exercise. The covenant is corporate. Our relationship with God is personal and individual, but when that relationship is established, we are immediately in community with others who are in relationship with Him."
  • “The church should be zealous to cultivate community among believers. But unless the members of the community understand that the covenant community was established by an act of God’s free grace and that their existence and purpose is about His glory and not their personal happiness, they will lack the substance to sustain the structures they put in place.”

Read the article at ByFaith Magazine>>>

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