The Perpetual Covenant
‘Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.’—Jer. 1. 5.
THIS is no external joining of church or congregation. ‘He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” To this we are invited,2—to be so joined that nothing shall separate;8 to be made one with Christ in blessed and eternal union.4 The instrument, so to speak, of the joining, is our consent, in faith and obedience, to the perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.5
Herein lies the answer to all the distressing doubts about persevering in which we ‘err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.’6 For see what the terms of the new covenant are! ‘I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.” This seems all onesided. It is all what God undertakes to do. Not a word about what we undertake to do. How different from any human covenant!
1 1 Cor. vi. 17. 2 Num. xviii. 2. 3 Rom. via. 39.
* Eph. v. 30; John xvii. 23. 6 Jer. 1. 5.
6 Matt. xxii. 29. 7 Heb. viii. 10.
Ah, the Lord tried us with the other way, and we failed; and so the old covenant of works came to naught.1 It was not only the children of Israel who ‘continued not ” in God’s covenant; we have done just the same. We have proved in our own experience that we cannot keep any one condition of it, let alone the whole! * And so the Lord makes a new covenant, in which the marvellous terms are that He undertakes our part as well as His own, by promising to put His laws into our minds and write them upon our hearts, so that we may keep them and really obey them.4
And when He says He will be to us a God,5 He has promised in that one word more than mortal thought or mortal desire can reach. And when He says we shall be toHima people,6 He guarantees us all the safety and happiness, and all the privileges and blessings, in all certainty and perpetuity, which He promises to His people.7 He knows our total weakness,8 and our utter inability to persevere,9and so He stoops to undertake the whole thing for us, if we will only ‘come, and join ourselves to the Lord,’ consenting to His perpetual covenant, and accepting these wonderful provisions in simple faith.
But remember, there is no such thing as drifting into this covenant. We shall never ‘happen’ to find ourselves included in it by waiting to see what turns up, or by dint of admiringly contemplating it.
1 Ter. xxxi. 32. 2 Heb. viii. 9. ^ 3 Rom. iii. 19, 23.
* lsa. xxxviii. 14. 5 2 Cor. vi. 16; Rev. xxi.3.
6 Deut. xxxiii. 29. I 2 Cor. i. 20. 8 Ps. ciii. 14.
9 Jude 24.
We must ‘come;’ and we must join ourselves to the Lord in it by our own voluntary act and deed.1 Each must ‘subscribe with his hand unto the Lord.” This covenant requires the free individual signature of each participator, so that each shall be able to say, ‘Yet hath He made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.” Do you ask for some proof that you may thus come and share its blessedness ?—some distinct evidence that the covenant is meant for you? The Lord, who has given all the rest, has given this too. You know the freeness of the call, ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.’ * That is only the beginning of the Invitation. It goes on, without a break, still to every one,—’ Incline your ear, and come unto Me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you.”1
Oh, happy day that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Saviour and my God 1
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.
‘Tis done! the great transaction’s done.
I am my Lord’s, and He is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to obey the Voice Divine.
1 2 Cor. viii. 5. 2 Isa. xliv. 5. 82 Sam. xxiii. 5.
* Isa. Iv. I. 5 Isa. Iv. 3.