So, the question to begin with is, why is covenant so important. What’s the big deal that God feels the need to constantly remind us and keep us accountable within a covenant relationship? I think first about the relationship between Adam and Eve, that is marriage. What is the need that man and woman be united in marriage? What is the need that they are committed to one another? Many animals live in a less restrictive environment where there is still procreation and there is still order where they can thrive without covenantal commitment. There are those who hold that amongst humans it’s not necessary, these needs for covenantal commitment, as in marriage. We’re seeing more and more in society, a challenge against covenantal marriage. By challenge, I’m referring to the sacredness of keeping a marriage. We have become accustomed to concepts like “Starter Marriage”, whereby a couple’s first marriage is considered to be a trial for future marriages. We no longer stress the importance of retaining a committed relationship between people but have various reasons why it is proper for that covenant relationship to dissolve. This is not to claim that there are never extenuating circumstances in which divorce is necessary but more to address the fact that divorce has become a convenience. And this is a perfect reflection of our self-desire to avoid accountability. Let no one control me. Yet in the Christian perspective the only path to freedom is true submission (1 Peter 2:13-3:7). Submission to God and submission to fellow mankind. This submission is required for covenantal relationship and is also the main reason we have such difficulty in keeping covenant. We desire to avoid covenant because we perceive freedom as having no commitment.
However, it’s clear throughout the Bible that God is very concerned about covenant. Even to the point that Jesus reminds us that the law itself can be summed up in two main points; first that we are to love the Lord our God with all her heart mind and strength, and second that we are to love our fellow man, our neighbor, as ourselves (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37). This is submission, and it is directly related to faithfulness. Meaning, if there is a covenant there is a measure of your ability or inability to be true to that covenant. This would be what we refer to as faithfulness. Without that covenant, there is no measure of your faithfulness. Without that covenant, you’re free to do as you please, when you please, and how you please, without any accountability for those actions. But a covenant defines what those parameters are. So, in looking at the importance of the covenant we really are looking at the importance of faithfulness and what ultimately is the purpose of faithfulness. It is so that we can know that what a person commits to is true. Meaning that they will keep their word. Meaning that if God promises us a life beyond this life, an afterlife, eternity, then he will keep his word in that eternity. Without covenant, God is free to change the rules at any moment. Without covenant, there is no agreed-upon basis by which God could be trusted, and this is the ultimate expression we know as faith, which is trust. And this is good. Not just a good act but faithfulness is what is the essence of good, it is right doing.
We often confuse the compulsion to do what is right with our desire to do good, however I think the truth of the matter is different. I think our compulsion to do what is right is born out of our being created in the image of God. This is not to say that we desire to do what is right only because there are rules set upon us, but rather we desire what is right because it is within our nature to seek so. We were created by goodness and recognize that it exists. Similarly, this is not to say that whatever God does is therefore right but rather that because truth, and included in truth is righteousness, is the essence of God, that God cannot do anything that is not morally or logically true. This meaning of truth is less of exacting facts and more of reality. Meaning that we can say something is true as in the statement is backed by factual evidence, however, one can argue the basis of that evidence or what is an actual fact. Which is the common meaning and susceptible to relativism. If the basis of evidence can be interpreted according to each individual, the therefore truth can be relative. And this is exactly why today so many people claim ‘facts’ on both sides of the argument yet both cannot be true.
The biblical meaning of truth is not so focused on what we say to be a true statement as more of what we understand as true guidance. As an example, consider a compass and the concept of true. A compass will point to magnetic north which is relative based on the earth’s axis. This means that the compass, while pointing perceived north, is not pointing true North. This perception of what is north is not the reality of what is True. This is the Truth that sets us free (John 8:32), not a perception based on the variables around us. This is the truth that is true despite our belief in it or our ability to defend it. It is true because it is, not because we agree with it. This Truth is the character of God that we describe when we claim that, God is Truth. He is Truth because he is faithful, and he is faithful because he is Truth. How do we know he is faithful, because he keeps his covenant.