How Can God Put Conditions On An Unconditional Covenant?

This Sunday while teaching Acts 2:14-41, in a message titled, “The First Savior Exalting Sermon of the Church” I spent some time explaining the covenants mentioned in the Old Testament and their relevance to Peter’s (primarily Jewish) audience.

Early on, I highlighted the seemingly contradictory make up of the nature of the first two covenants.  Even a quick glance at the relevant Scriptures should cause a reader potential confusion when they observe the Lord put conditions on a previously unconditional promise.  While the Abrahamic covenant (see Gen 12:1-3 & 15:12-21) contained a promise without conditions from God, the second covenant, commonly called the Palestinian Land Covenant (or Mosaic Covenant, see Dt 28-30) clearly has specific demands in it that the Lord expects Israel to meet if He they are going to live peacefully in the land.

Peter is quick to announce to the audience  how  “the Jesus whom they (the nation of Israel) have crucified”, is the provision of God and the source of blessing to the Jewish people (to anyone who would believe in Him) and the means through which the blessings of the new covenant could be experienced.  You can view this portion of the message by clicking play on the video below (or the entire message by clicking HERE)

Below are the slides I shared during the message to illustrate the perfect, beautiful provision of God provided in Christ as the means through which the conditions of a holy God were met.  Christ is the perfect provision for any who see their inability to live up to the standard of righteousness that the Lord expects for His people. (2 Cor 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18)

Read the Scripture written on each slide and note the absence of conditions around the initial covenant Abraham (who is  asleep when the covenant is cut in Gen 15) enters into with God.

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This slide shows that the conditions given in the Palestinian land/Mosaic covenant placed on

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Later the Lord unconditionally promises David that one of his descendants will reign forever.

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Finally, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Joel all speak of a day when the Lord would greatly bless His people and their relationship with God would be forever secure.  No detail is given how that would happen but the unconditional promise is made.  Isaiah 53 gives some clue how this might one day happen but not until the New Testament is the mystery fully revealed that explains how the Lord would could fully accomplish all that he promised without ignoring the condition of righteousness he established.

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It is the heart of Peter’s message, and the good news to Jew and Greek alike, that Jesus is the Messiah, the One Whom the Lord was pleased to crush (Isaiah 53:10) so that all who believe in Him could be made righteous in God’s eyes.

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Jesus fulfills the requirements of God so that he can be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Him.” (Romans 3:26)  In the old and the new testament alike there is salvation in no one else but Jesus.