The Sign of the Covenant
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and thy seed after thee… This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. Genesis 17:7-11
Read Genesis 17:1-14
Genesis 17 is a very important chapter. The information given in these verses is of such significance that we could spend an entire week studying it; it answers questions surrounding the covenant, circumcision and baptism. There is so much confusion and misunderstanding about these issues, that we need good, biblical instruction about them.
The covenant spoken of in this chapter is the same one that was introduced in Genesis 15. The Lord ratified this covenant with Abraham, the father of many nations, so the expansion of this truth in Acts 2:39, where we read, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call,” is not totally novel. Neither is this covenant that God made with Abram replaced in the New Testament by something new.
In Jeremiah 31 we read that the Lord will make a new covenant with the House of Israel. Hebrews 8:10 reaffirms this,“I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” At its institution, this covenant received the sign and seal of circumcision, which finds its fulfillment in holy baptism. Both signs declare that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. You and I need to be born again; we must be cleansed of our guilt. And the God of the covenant, El Shaddai, promises that He can and will do it.
If you take this seriously, you will not even consider the thought of rejecting baptism. Perhaps you might think that this would be convenient because the sign of baptism is so humbling. By it we declare the need to be cleansed. But when we receive some self- knowledge, we learn that this is the only way back to God. It is a miracle that almighty God, the faithful One, condescends and declares to you, “I am the Lord your God.” Do not despise His unmerited goodness.
Thought: Do not take the sign and seal of God’s covenant for granted!
Psalter 425:5 (based on Psalm 105) Jehovah’s truth shall stand forever, His covenant bonds He will not sever, The word of grace which He commands To thousand generations stands; The covenant made in days of old With Abraham He doth uphold.