Do you know the difference between a contract and a covenant?

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah… I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. – Jeremiah 31:31-33

Have you noticed how ubiquitous contracts are in our culture? We have contracts for practically every aspect of our lives — our phones, media/entertainment, the gym, our car leases, our home loans, employment, etc. In contrast, how many covenants do you have? 

Because covenants are so rare and contracts so common, it is easy to replace the profound principles of covenant with the practical idea of contracts and lose sight of the kind of relationships that Jesus actually wants with us. 

So, to help us our, here are some fundamental difference we need to keep in mind:
  • Contracts tend to be more transactional whereas covenants tend to be more relational. 
  • Contracts tend to be focused on achieving good outcomes, whereas covenants tend to be focused on cultivating close connection. 
  • Contracts tend to be motivated by legal fairness and mediated by the courts. Covenants are motivated by loving faithfulness and mediated by our conscience. 
  • When they are broken, contracts demand restitution. When covenants are broken they desire reconciliation. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful that Jesus made a new covenant with us and not just a contract. He longs to have us in a relationship where we can cultivate close connection (abide) with Him. He wants us motivated by love for Him, not fear of negative consequences. If we are ever unfaithful, we can always repent and return, because He longs for reconciliation!  

Has your relationship with Jesus felt more transactional or relational lately?
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