How is a covenant different from an agreement and a contract? Do they have anything in common? Let us look at what each of these 3 terms means:
- Agreement: When two or more parties agree upon something, it is called an agreement. It can be oral or written. It can be expressed or implied. In the olden days (and even today in certain situations/places), a “gentleman’s word” was an agreement. E.g. when your house walls gave way, your neighbour or relative would give you shelter. This happened in January 2001 in a massive earthquake in India. This implied agreement is a gentleman’s unspoken word. Despite not knowing Jesus, they kept his commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:39)
- Contract: I belong to India. In college, I was taught that according to the Indian Contract Act, 1872, “A contract is an agreement enforceable at law.” This would be pretty much the same the world over. To be valid, it must be expressed in writing. It would also have its Terms and Conditions (T & C). Violating the T & C could lead to legal action.
- Covenant: A covenant is much superior to an agreement or a contract. It is a promise. E.g. the Law of Moses with the Ten Commandments. Or God’s promise to save all humans who repent of their sins and turn to Him through belief in His Son Jesus Christ: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
In Part 2 of this series, we will look at the similarities and differences a covenant, a contract and an agreement. We’ll also see how a covenant is much superior to an agreement and a contract.