When God makes a promise, we have to put our faith in that promise for it to come to pass.
Heb 6:12: “but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (NKJV)
However, when God makes a covenant it WILL come to pass, whether we believe it or not. God can not lie, and when He takes an oath, He always does what He says.
God appears to Abraham, and makes a covenant to be Abraham’s God and to multiply and bless him:
Gen 17:3-7: 3Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.”
There were no strings attached. Abraham didn’t do anything to deserve this; he didn’t keep any laws or live unusually holy. As a matter of fact, some theological scholars believe Abraham was once an Iraqi who worshipped pagan Gods! Abraham lied about his wife and said she was his sister, and even though Abraham was clearly wrong here, God rebuked Pharaoh, not Abraham. This was because God had a covenant with Abraham, and God always keeps His part of the bargain.
So Abraham lied, but because of God’s blessing on his life he came out of Egypt laden with slaves and cattle and wealth. Now this is not endorsing sinful living, it just serves to illustrate that God blessed Abraham regardless of Abraham’s level of obedience. The Law of Moses was only introduced 430 years later (so there weren’t any laws to keep in any case), which brings us to the second covenant.
God gives the law to Moses. Israel had continued to persist in unbelief and had kept on murmuring and complaining since God had led them out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders. They also didn’t want to have a personal relationship with God, but instead always asked Moses to speak to God on their behalf.
Ex 24:7-8: 7Then he (Moses) took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they (Israel) said, “All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.” 8And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.” (NKJV, annotations added)
Israel should never have agreed to living under the law!! God would have accepted and loved them regardless of how holy (or unholy) they lived, because they were Abraham’s descendants, and we have just read about God’s amazing covenant with Abraham (God also declared Abraham to be righteous simply because he believed God, see Gen 15:6).
But instead, Israel in their pride said “We will obey ALL the laws that God has given us”, something they would never be able to do! God called them a “stiff-necked people” (Ex 32:9, Ex 33:3). God never originally meant for us to try to relate to Him in this way!
Just after God’s commands were written on stone and He set the choice of curse (for disobedience) or blessing (for obedience) before Israel, He said to Moses:
Deut 31:16: And the LORD said to Moses: “Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.”
Does this look like God’s best plan for mankind?
The most amazing new covenant under which we now live! This covenant was cut within the Trinity, with no human influence or intervention, but purely out of the heart of love of God towards us. God took away the law of Moses, cancelling the written code that stood opposed to us (Col 2:14). He made Jew, Greek and Gentile equal. God’s church has now become “spiritual Israel”:
Rom 2:28-29: 28For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29but he is a Jew who is one inwardly.
Let’s see what the Bible says about the New Covenant:
Heb 8:7-13: 7For if that first covenant had been faultless (referring to the law of Moses, the 2nd covenant in this teaching), then no place would have been sought for a second. 8Because 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 (this means us! God’s children, His bride), 9not 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. 10For 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 (this means God will give us the desire to please Him and have fellowship with Him, to seek His heart for us); and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11None of them shall teach his neighbour, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD’, for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (This means gone are the days where we need a priest or someone else to constantly tell us about God, we can now know Him personally and intimately) 12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Do you really need anymore proof that God won’t ever punish you again??) 13In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. (Annotations added)
Now, because we have all become “spiritual Israel”, we have all become children of Abraham, and have now also come under the covenant that God made with Abraham, to be our God and bless us:
Acts 3:25: You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, “And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Gal 3:13-14: 13Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
God will never again stop from doing good to us (even when He rebukes us (Heb 12), it is a loving tender rebuke from His heart of love).
Jer 32:40: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.
Ez 16:62-63: 62“And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the LORD 63when I provide you an atonement for all you have done,” says the Lord GOD.
Jesus’ blood was the atonement:
Matt 26:28: For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.