Why would God go to the lengths He did to cut a Covenant with mankind through Jesus Christ? Why as some have suggested did He not just start over again?
There are many thoughts that run through my mind as I consider this question, in the Old Testament, the answers may not be very clear but Jesus made it abundantly clear why God went to the lengths that He did to restore mankind to himself.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 NKJV
In simple black and white, love is the reason why God went to the lengths that he did to restore the sons of the last Adam. Love was the reason for the covenant and love is the basis for the covenant.
God is love; this simple statement captures the heart and motivations of God.
When it pleased God to create man after his own image and likeness love was at the back of it. Man was the highest expression of the love heart of God, what God brought forth through the first Adam could not be improved upon; it was the work of love.
The scriptures declare that God looked upon the works of His hands in creation and it was very good. Love could do no more.
It was God’s heart of love that was broken at the rebellion of man. It was God’s love that was spurned. When God gave Adam the commandment not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it was love that was been tested, Adam’s love for God.
God created Adam in his image, Adam had the God kind of love, it was a love that Adam could give or withhold. It had to be so if it was to be the God kind of love. When God loved man, it was intentional,an act of His will, it was not based on what man had done right, it was God loving a world that did not deserve to be loved.
Man could not make himself right before God; Love had to make a way for man to be made right with God and for Man been made right to be able to receive all that was lost through the fall and more.
There was only one way and it was the way of the cross, God had to become man in order to redeem man,
Love did what had to be done.
In the Old Testament God commanded the Children of Israel to love Him, only love could satisfy the heart of God. This love was to be manifest in how they obeyed his commandments and treated each other and the vulnerable amongst them.
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it. The Lord delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.
Deut 10:12-16 NKJV
Israel failed this love test time and time again, their hearts were hardened , they found themselves failing to walk in the love of God and falling short of His covenant, but even then there were individuals who rose up to the light of the covenant and walked in a measure in the love of God, there was David and before him giants like Moses, Joshua, Phineas son of Aaron, and a host of others, They were proof that man could walk in the love of God.
The New Covenant was born in the love of God; it was going to reveal dimensions of this love that was hitherto unknown to the sons of men.
Jesus came to reveal the love heart of the Father, He walked in perfect love towards the Father, even a love that led him to the complete obedience, the obedience of the cross.
God requires our obedience but not an obedience based on fear but one born out of love, nothing pleases God like this. In this way Jesus pleased the Father perfectly when he loved God unto the death of the cross and in doing so revealed the love of God for man.
But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here. John 14:31 NKJV
The gospel of St John is a wonderful book, it was written by the Apostle John, the one described as the disciple whom Jesus loved, no doubt Jesus loved all his disciples, but very few were able to touch the heart of Jesus like John did, it is fitting that some of the deepest revelations from the heart of Jesus came through the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’
He that can touch the heart of the Lord will be recipient of some of the greatest secrets of the kingdom.
John spoke of love, faith, grace and the covenant like none of the other writers of the gospels, the secret to light is love.
He was the one that had the confidence to enquire of Jesus who the betrayer.
It was John who told us what the new Covenant was based on, no other writer mentioned it.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NKJV
“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. John 14:19-24 NKJV
Beloved, it is a love covenant, God requires us to obey him not out of fear but out of love, He who does not love the Lord will not be motivated to keep His Covenant.
In the New Testament or Covenant, we unlike the Jews need not depend on our ability to love God or His people, the indwelling Holy Spirit provides the inward ability to love God, this is the divine guarantee that we can love God and the people.
The Holy Spirit within us is Christ at work within us to help us love God with all our hearts and mind and strength.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Rom 5:5 NKJV
No wonder we are told
If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him
By the indwelling spirit God writes his law in our hearts, our motivation comes from within, for it is Christ (by the Spirit) who is working in us both to do and to will of His good pleasure)
Love becomes our lifestyle just as it was with Jesus Christ. This love manifests in great works of faith and sacrifice, not because we want to ‘score points’ with God but because we share the love nature of Father God.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Heb 8:7-13 NKJV
The Church is the recipient of God’s love, a love which has been freely offered to the whole world, however only those who receive the love offer of God- Jesus, can truly experience this love. We have received this love; the new covenant is the packaging and delivery of God’s love. It offers everything and keeps nothing back.
Now we are commanded to walk in the spirit of that love just like the One who brought this love to us, herein is the proof that we have known the love of God when we love each other as we have been loved.
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
John 17:18-23 NKJV