Jon: If you’ve been around Christians you’ve probably heard the idea
of having a personal relationship with God,
which could mean different things in the Bible like having God as a friend,
or your Father, or maybe your teacher.
Tim: But there’s one particular way that the Bible talks about this relationship
that you find all over
but strangely we don’t talk about it that much
and that’s the idea of a partnership with God.
Jon: A partnership like working alongside someone to accomplish a goal together.
对 实际上 在圣经的开篇
Tim: Right. And this is actually what you see at the beginning of the Bible.
God creates this good world full of all of this potential,
and then God appoints these unique creatures, humans,
as his partners in bringing more and more goodness out of all that potential.
Jon: But the humans don’t want to partner with God
they rebel and try to create a world on their own terms.
Tim: And so this broken partnership is the Bible’s explanation for why we’re stuck
生活在一个 贪腐无道 执法不公 充满生离死别的世界
in a world of corruption and injustice and the tragedy of death.
Jon: It’s not like they’re just one or two humans have bailed on this relationship.
In a story in the Bible everyone has abandoned the partnership with God
Tim: So what God does is select a smaller group of people out of the many,
and makes a new partnership with them called a “covenant”.
And in a covenant God makes promises
and then an exchange asks his partner to fulfill certain commitments.
And the purpose of all of this
is to somehow use this covenant relationship to renew his partnership with everybody else.
Jon: Now, they’re actually four times in the Old Testament
that we were told God initiates a covenant relationship:
诺亚 亚当 犹太族 大卫王
With Noah, Abraham, the Nation of Israel, and King David.
Tim: And its through these that God is forming a covenant family
into which all people will eventually be invited.
Jon: So let’s see how these work. The first one is with Noah.
Tim: So in this story God has just brought the flood to cleanse the world
of humanities corruption. And Noah and his family are the only ones left.
And so God makes a covenant with Noah saying, “Listen…
… I know that humans will continue to be evil
But despite that I’m not going to destroy it like this again.
Instead, the earth will be this reliable place for us to work together.”
Jon: Great so was does Noah have to do?
Tim: Nothing. And that’s what’s so interesting about this first covenant,
is that God is promising to be faithful even though he knows humans won’t be.
Jon: The next time we see God make a covenant is with a man named Abraham.
择其 降福泽 赐人丁居所 使其家门兴旺
God chooses him, promises to bless him, give him a large family, lots of land where they can flourish.
Tim: And in return got asks Abraham to trust him
and train up his family to do what is right and just.
And the whole reason for this covenant is that God says that somehow
he is going to bring his blessing to all families of the world through this one family.
Jon: So that’s Abraham.
The next time we see God make a covenant is when Abraham’s family grows
into the tribe of Israel.
Jon: And this covenant is with the whole tribe. Got asks them to obey a set of laws,
which are these guidelines for living well as a community of God’s partners.
And if they do this then God promises to bless them and that they will become
a people who then represent him to the rest of humanity.
Jon: That’s the covenant with Israel. The last covenant is with King David.
Tim: Yes. The tribe of Israel has become this large nation ruled by David.
And God asked David and his descendants to partner with him
by leading Israel in obeying the laws in doing what is right and just.
And God promises that one day one of David’s sons will come
and extend God’s kingdom of peace and blessing over all the nations.
Jon: So those are the four covenants that God makes
in order to restore his partnership with the whole world.
Tim: But here’s what happens…
Israel breaks the Covenant.
They worship other gods, they allow horrible injustice,
so they lose their land and are forced off in exile.
Jon: So it seems hopeless.
But during this time Israel’s prophets talked about a day
when God would restore these covenants in spite of Israel’s failure…
Tim: Yeah, they called it the ‘New Covenant’.
And this is actually what’s so interesting about Jesus, is that he is introduced into this story
as the one who fulfills all of these covenant relationships.
We’re told that he’s from the family have Abraham.
And so he will bring the blessings of that family to the whole world.
We’re told that he is the faithful Israelite who was able to truly obey the law.
And we’re told that he is the King from the line of David.
and so he goes about extending God’s kingdom of justice and peace to all.
Jon: And that’s really remarkable for one guy.
Tim: Yeah, and what it highlights
is perhaps the most surprising claim of all made about this man:
that Jesus is no mere human.
But rather God become human.
And God did this in order to be that faithful covenant partner
that we are all made to be, but have failed to be.
And so through Jesus
God has opened up a way for anyone to be in a renewed partnership with him.
Jon: So Jesus calls people to follow him and become part of this new covenant family.
Tim: And despite their failures, Jesus is committed to making them into partners
who are becoming more and more faithful.
Jon: The story the Bible ends with a vision of a fully renewed world
full of goodness and peace.
Tim: And there’s this renewed humanity there
partnering together with God to expand the goodness of his creation.
And so the end of the Bible’s story is really a new beginning.