That the Triune God is the covenant God in Himself, apart from any relation to His creature, is also evident from the fact that we repeatedly read in Scripture that He establishes His covenant with men. Note that He says: “And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee, etc.” .
If God condescends to establish covenant relation with us, we are drawn into the family life of the Trinity. To use figurative language, if God takes us up into His covenant, He draws the roof of His own dwelling over our heads, so that we may live in His house forever. Such is the meaning of the term MY COVENANT!
That this is so, becomes still clearer when we listen to . There we read: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord who hath mercy on thee.”
Attend that the former expression MY COVENANT is here further circumscribed as the covenant of MY PEACE! That is the glory of the everlasting Gospel: we shall be partakers of the peace of God such as it is lived and experienced by God in the divine family of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Of course, we realize that we shall taste this peace of God’s own life as creatures and in a creaturely manner. But we must see that God’s own life is the covenant life, and all we receive is the reflection of that eternally perfect divine covenant life.
Furthermore, that the covenant which is established with us is God’s own covenant life is evident from all those texts that speak of the covenant as an everlasting covenant. Inasmuch as we receive the same fellowship and communion of love and friendship as it is lived by God in His own covenant life in everlasting perfection, so does the Holy Ghost describe this boon as an everlasting blessing.
Moreover, this fundamental thought found its symbolic manifestation in the tabernacle and the temple. It is an undeniable fact that the tabernacle and the temple taught that God dwelled there between the cherubim. It was the house of God. God is a dwelling God. That is exactly the point which I have tried to make clear. That is also the very covenant idea. The idea of the house, the home, is sociability, loving communion and intimate fellowship: here are embodied the very elements of the covenant. God is everlastingly at HOME with Himself, since He is one and also Three. God is His own friend and He is very love in Himself. And that is portrayed to us in the revelation of tabernacle and temple. It is the place where God dwells. That is the first and principal idea. And the Gospel is this that He calls from out of that HOME OF GOD until all His children come in through the veil and may dwell with Him everlastingly as His friends and His lovers. Only when we view the covenant from this point of view can we in a measure see the great beauty of a text as we find in “that God may be all and in all”.
This view of the covenant is also found in where we read: “I in them and Thou in Me that they may be made perfect in one. . . .” God dwelling in Jesus Christ and this Christ with the living God in Himself, living in the hearts and minds of His disciples, so that God and man may be united in covenant love and friendship for ever and ever.
God is the covenant God!
If that fundamental thought of Holy Writ illumines our minds and hearts in the study of all the other phases of the covenant, it will keep us from making all kinds of errors and mistakes, such as are also made by our Liberated brethren in the Netherlands.
But that which in my humble opinion clinches the matter, I find recorded in in, and receive you unto Myself . There we read: “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come aga; that where I am, there you may be also.”
We note the following here:
First, that we have the same idea here as the speech of tabernacle and temple. Jesus speaks of His Father’s House. It is the place where God dwells and where He lives His eternal life of wondrous harmony, peace and ever blessed covenant communion.
Second, “Father” here is indeed the Triune God, the “Father of our Lord Jesus ‘Christ”, as we have it in other places. Jesus is here talking about His God and Father, in other words, He is speaking here as the Mediator and Redeemer, as is plain from the whole chapter, testifying of the Gospel truth that He is the Way to the Father’s heart.
Third, that Jesus IS in that home of God. Note that He speaks the comforting words to His Church: “That where I am, there you may be also.” In passing, we would note here that Jesus, the Mediator, the Redeemer of His Church, has an abiding place in God’s covenant communion. And that not from the point of view of His Godhead, but as is plain from the whole of John 14, as the human Christ. We will have occasion to refer to this again in another connection in this series.
Fourth, that a place is being prepared for the Church in order to dwell in God’s home!
Fifth, that this Scripture finds its fulfilment in the final vision of John, the divine, as recorded in the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” At this juncture I am not pointing to the blessedness of dwelling with God in wondrous covenant communion. We will discuss that later. I quote this text to direct your hallowed attention to the central idea of the covenant: the tabernacle of God. God is a dwelling God. He lives in a House which is His home , where we read: “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, !
God is the covenant God.
It is my conviction, based on God’s Word, that this doctrine is so fundamental that in its hallowed contemplation we will spend eternity. The Triune God who is most blessed in Himself! For you to gaze at, to adore, to praise and glorify for evermore.
I say it with all reverence, but I believe that the very purpose of all things, the present universe, the creation, the fall, the redemption and unifying of all things in Christ Jesus, all of this and more is to place the adorable Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Ghost on exhibition!
Allow me to explain:
It certainly is not original with me when I hold that all, and I use this term now in its most exhaustive and comprehensive sense, that all things are so that God might reveal, manifest, show Himself in all the beauty of the Godhead. The only reason for the creation and recreation of the universe is theological. You all admit this. I will quote just one scripture: : “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” I might also call your attention to the same truth as we find it in re-creation of the u ; where we find this truth also, but now applied to the niverse, the center of which work is the redemption of His people: “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? and I will not give My glory unto another.”
Now then, I have tried to show that all the scriptures which speak of the establishing of His covenant with Christ, or with men, be they the elect, as some have it, or the children of believers, as others will, emphasize that this blessed Gospel work of God is a manifestation of the family-life of God Triune Himself.
Yes, and even the appearance of Jesus Christ our Lord, in His person, suffering, death, resurrection and glorification, as the Head of redeemed mankind, must serve to show how wonderful is the God of His own covenant!
The two elements of the covenant are love and friendship. Note then how the love of God is continuously emphasized where the Lord Jesus appears. Paul calls our hallowed attention to the glorious truth that nothing, and then he enumerates an exhaustive list of things, that nothing “shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And as for the manifestation of the great friend, we find also that in the Mediator, for He has told His Church through John, the divine, that “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” The friendship of God’s own covenant life consists in this that the heart is revealed to the covenant companion, or companions. To open the heart to another is tine friendship. And that is exactly what Jesus does to the church of God. He reveals the Father’s heart.
Our fathers gave expression to this fundamental thought when they made us sing the versification of Psalm 23:
“O Merciful Father!
Affluent fountain of blessings!
Eternally open Thy friendly heart unto us!”
And that is exactly what Jesus has done for us. In it He found the very purpose for His coming and suffering and death. His death is the breaking of the veil that hid the Father from us. But at His death the veil was rent, and henceforth we will see God, we will see that He is the ever faithful covenant Jehovah in Himself.
Did not Jesus say that utter blessedness consisted in this that we would see God?
Dr. Bavinck was right.
In the Godhead, in the relationship between the three persons, the covenant has its full reality.
But the confessing and the living of this fundamental thought of Holy Scripture will set certain definite limits to our further study, even as the same Scriptures show. And therefore it will not make the confessor of it very popular. For it militates against the natural tendencies of the heart of man, a tendency which John characterizes as “the pride of life”.
You see, this view of the covenant which strikes at the heart and the root of a true, scriptural covenant conception, excludes many anthropological or Christological covenant conceptions; it correctly keeps particular what others would make common; it humbles man to his proper stature; but it also exalts God and glorifies Him to the highest heavens.