The Mystery of God's Covenant Relationship

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The New Canaan Society exists to inspire a global connected network of men who are committed to friendship with Jesus and each other. At the 2008 New Canaan Society conference, Tim Keller, author of The Reason for God and Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, explains the mystery of God's covenant faithfulness and what this revelation should mean for our understanding of Scripture and the way we live in fellowship with one another.

Read Deuteronomy 29:9–21. God's covenant's are in a different category than modern contracts. The apparent paradox of the covenant is that when you give up your fulfillment in a relationship, then you are the most fulfilled.

In your own words, explain the covenant mystery of the Bible. What does Tim's explanation about God's covenant faithfulness mean for our understanding of theology?
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Do you tend toward the Law or Love? Do you normally operate on the assumption that God favors those who are good, or do you assume that God loves everyone unconditionally? Can you, as Tim suggested, consider both of these working in tandem as you read God's Word? How will that change the way you read Scripture?
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Tim discussed four things that should characterize Christians who understand the mystery of God's covenant.
  1. Paradoxical obedience
  2. Absolute trust
  3. Covenantal relationships with brothers and sisters
  4. Treat your friendships as memberships 

Paradoxical obedience means that we treat all sin seriously and strive for a godly life, but we also repent quickly and joyfully. Which is these two is harder for you? Why is that?
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We can absolutely trust God because He came here and suffered in our place. In what part of your life do you have the most trouble with anxiety and trusting the Lord? How can you grow your trust?
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A covenantal relationship with other believers means that we are committed to brothers and sisters whether the friendship is good for us or not. Do you have unconditional family relationships with others in your church? What makes these relationships different than the world's idea of friendship?
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We are each members in the Body of Christ, which means every believer has a necessary part to play in the church. What do you do to support the ministry of your local church? How do you sense your need for other members of your congregation?
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Tim said that “There’s nothing more fulfilling than a relationship in which both people have said 'my fulfillment comes second, and your health and your happiness and the relationship’s health and happiness comes first.'”
This is exactly what God has done in His relationship with us. We can never fulfill our side perfectly, but we should always try, and one way we do this for the Lord is to attempt this kind of selflessness in our church communities. 

If you would like to learn more about the work and ministry of the New Canaan Society, you may visit their website here.