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The Glad Tidings

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    The Covenants of Promise

    That the covenant and promise of God are one and the same thing, is clearly seen from Galatians 3:17, where it appears that to disannul the covenant would be to make void the promise. In Genesis 17 we read that God made a covenant with Abraham to give him the land of Canaan—and with it the whole world—for an everlasting possession; but Galatians 3:18 says that God gave it to him by promise. God’s covenants with men can be nothing else than promises to them: “Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things.” Romans 11:35, 36. It is so rare for men to do anything without expecting an equivalent, that theologians have taken it for granted that it is the same with God. So they begin their dissertations on God’s covenant with the statement that a covenant is “a mutual agreement between two or more persons, to do or refrain from doing certain things.” But God does not make bargains with men, because He knows that they could not fulfil their part. After the flood God made a covenant with every beast of the earth, and with every fowl; but the beasts and the birds did not promise anything in return. Genesis 9:9-16. They simply received the favor at the hand of God. That is all we can do. God promises us everything that we need, and more than we can ask or think, as a gift. We give Him ourselves, that is, nothing, and He gives us Himself, that is, everything. That which makes all the trouble is that even when men are willing to recognize the Lord at all, they want to make bargains with Him. They want it to be a “mutual” affair—a transaction in which they will be considered as on a par with God. But whoever deals with God must deal with Him on His own terms, that is, on a basis of fact—that we have nothing and are nothing, and He has everything and is everything, and gives everything.GTI 132.1

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