Genesis, session 1, Jan 12, 2020

Title:Genesis, session 1, Jan 12, 2020

Genesis-Session I

“Genesis is the book of beginnings. It describes the beginning of human life, the initiation of covenantal relationships between God and humanity, the origins of the family that would become a nation holding a special place in God’s heart and the inauguration of a story that leads to liberation and purification. Genesis is the beginning of the Torah, the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Bible. It is an invitation to keep reading.” Wilda C. M. Gafney, “The Book of Genesis” in The Pastor’s Bible Study, Vol 3. A New Interpreter’s Bible Study.

The theme of covenant

The terminology of covenant comes from ancient Near Eastern vassal treaties in which a valla was bound by an oath to serve one sovereign lord among the many potential lords who reigned among the surrounding nations. This legal rubric was then transferred from the human realm to the divine in early Israelite thought, an act that has no parallel in the ancient world … in the biblical period, this practical feature of obeying only one lord and refusing to adorn the deity with images led to the idea that this lord was the only God and that other deities in surrounding lands were little more thin sticks and stones ….the concern for monotheism is always rooted in the notion of allegiance and service.

Recital of saving history-the function of this history of what God has done is to instill within its hearers the proper attitude of reverence, obedience and love. The reverence and obedience demanded by the covenant cannot be formalized by mere verbal assent; it must be consecrated through the keeping of the commandments.

Because God has redeemed Israel, Israel must keep God’s commandments. The commands are not the means by which entry into the covenant is secured, but rather are the fitting vehicle by which Israel showed gratitude for the existence of this covenantal relationship. f

From Anderson, Gary A. “Introduction to Israelite Religion” in The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol I. Baptism as covenant

In the BCP, on pgs 302-303

Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior? Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?

Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord?

Baptismal covenant on 304, where we make promises about what we will do as followers of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer on pg 309, 311.

A covenant is a chosen relationship or partnership in which two parties make binding promises to one another and then work together to reach a common goal.

Five explicit covenants in the Bible. Noah, Abraham, Israel, David and Jesus.

The covenant with Noah. God will never again destroy the world until salvation is accomplished. Sign: Rainbow. Stipulation: None.

The covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12, 15, 17) Promises, Offspring, land, universal blessing. Sign: Circumcision. Stipulation: Abraham has to leave his land and follow God wherever he will lead, training his family to do what is right and just, and keeping circumcision in every generation.

The new covenant is the culmination of God’s saving work in his people. He promises to make an everlasting covenant with his people in which he will write his law on their hearts, bring complete forgiveness of sin, put his Spirit in them to empower them to love and obey his commands, raise up a faithful Davidic king to rule over them, bring them back into the land to reunify them into one people of God, and cause them to be a light to the nations.

Do you see now how the covenants progressively build upon one another forming a backbone of sorts to the redemptive story line God preserved the world through Noah, initiated redemption through Abraham, formed a special people through Israel, promised a shepherd-king through David, and then fulfilled all of his covenantal promises through Jesus. With each covenant, God’s promises and plans to save the world through the seed of the woman become clearer and clearer until we finally see that redemption can only come through King Jesus.

The New Testament presents Jesus as the offspring of Abraham who trusted his Father, even to the point of death, and so became a blessing to all nations. He is the obedient Israelite who perfectly kept, fulfilled, and thus transcended the law of God. He is the royal son of David who inaugurated God’s kingdom in his life, death, and resurrection, and now sits at God’s right hand reigning as shepherd-king over the earth and will continue to reign forever over the new creation.

Think about it-Jesus perfectly succeeded at every point humans failed. This makes him the guarantor and mediator of the new and better covenant Now people from every nation, tribe, and tongue who are joined to Jesus in faith are part of God’s covenant family and experience the rich blessings of the new covenant.

In this new covenant we get total forgiveness of sins and cleansing from shame We get new hearts of flesh and the indwelling Spirit, causing us to love God’s laws and to walk in his ways. We can actually do justice and righteousness, and so be a light to all the nations. In light of the biblical story line, that’s amazing! We can walk in freedom and light, rather than sin and darkness. We have bold access to God and stand in the realm of grace. We trust that a renewed world is coming where peace and righteousness will reign forever under the rule of King Jesus. And it’s all possible bee perfect covenant-keeper.