Our Journey Online with Dr. James MacDonald Devotionals

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By Covenant, Not Contract

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:6-8, ESV).

Prophets like Isaiah were all about being God’s spokesmen. They often began statements with, “Thus says the LORD.” And in the Bible, “LORD” is the title for God as a covenant God.

We have a covenant relationship with God—one that is not contingent upon our conduct—because that’s what He decided. He is the covenant-making-and-keeping God. He is not a contract God, and the difference has eternal significance. 

Imagine you have an appointment with a dentist and decide not to keep it. When the dentist finds out, he won’t give you another thought and will just go on to the next patient. Or if you make a deal to sell your house, but suddenly your buyer walks away—the relationship is over. That’s how contracts work. 

A covenant is not a contract. When the Bible reveals God as a covenant God, it means He has entered into a relationship that cannot be changed by your behavior.

If God was a contract God, when you act incorrectly or live sinfully the contract would be broken. But a covenant is a relationship that's not dependent on the performance of one of the parties. Instead, all the responsibility lies with the one participant who can keep the covenant—in this case, God Himself.

If you’re saved by faith in His Son Jesus, God says, I’m making a covenant commitment to you. I’m entering into a relationship with you that you can’t mess up in any way.

The prophet Isaiah understood this—he described God's covenant relationship with us as being like a mother’s love for her newborn child (Isaiah 49:15). If you’re a parent and your child fails to obey or do something you ask of them, does it end the relationship? Absolutely not. While failures may hurt fellowship, they don’t destroy covenant relationship.

God has declared His unchanging partnership with His children through a covenant. You are in relationship with One who is like no other, anywhere, anytime! Because of His covenant love, God will forgive you in His mercy and satisfy you with His kindness. His life in you can bring an absolute delight that you will never find apart from Him.

Even though you may stumble many times and in many ways (James 3:2), “Fear not.” Our God is the ultimate covenant keeper.


When was the last time you let your performance dictate the closeness of your relationship with the Lord?      

Do you believe God loves you no more on your good days and no less on your bad days? How can you strengthen your faith in His covenant-keeping character? 


Covenant-keeping Lord, how glad I am to be in Your presence, boldly coming to the throne of grace to receive what You have for me today. There are needs to mention and gratitude to express, but I know You have drawn me close to simply experience covenant with You. Your grace is so amazing! Though I am unworthy, You welcome me as Your child and assure me of Your love. I am eternally grateful You are the covenant-keeping God! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.

About Our Journey Online with Dr. James MacDonald

Learn all about Christianity at Christianity.com with rich, theological articles, video, and audio focused on the life of Jesus Christ, Bible Study, the Christian church, and Christian living for families. Grow in your faith and walk with Christ as you read about the history of Christianity, salvation, evangelism and discipleship. Use free daily devotionals from your favorite pastors, authors, and speakers as a way to spend daily quiet time with God. Discover how devotions can help you make postive changes in your life toward living out the promises of God. Christianity.com also offers free online Bible study tools with over 30 translations and a library of commentaries, concordances, lexicons, and more for you to highlight, take notes in, and bookmark for studying the Word!

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