Sanctions: Provisions That Make A Law Binding
But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. - (James 1:25)
Covenants are attached to an oath, or a pledge, that a person makes with regard to the agreement. Whenever God establishes a conditional covenant, the people who are entering it with Him must promise to obey and keep the covenant’s stipulations. This pledge involves promises for obedience and penalties for disobedience. That’s why the Bible says again and again that those who keep God’s Word are the ones who are blessed (see James 1:25).
The oaths that accompany God’s covenants are often called sanctions, those provisions that make a law binding. The clearest example of this process of oath-taking is in Deuteronomy 27–30, when Moses had the people of Israel stand between two mountains.
One was the mountain of blessing, and the other was the mountain of cursing. Moses read the blessings for keeping God’s law and the curses for breaking it to the people, and the people said amen to signify that they accepted and understood these terms.Then Moses said: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
When a believer comes to the water to be baptized, he or she is making a pledge, a statement of commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Baptism is an outward symbol of an inner reality. God’s oaths often have symbols tied to them that are designed to reflect the intention of the oath.
Through the oath of the covenant with God, you are saying to Him, “May good come upon me as I follow You, and may evil come upon me if I reject You.”
Reflection: Who took the curse of the covenant between God and man? Covenants have both curses and blessings. What are some the blessings to those who are in covenant with Christ?
Father, may good come upon me as I follow You, and may evil come upon me if I reject You. Keep me ever close to You and show me the pathway to the abundant life.