Why Did God Call Abraham and Enter into a Covenant with Israel?

After humanity fell in the Garden of Eden and entered into rebellion, God began to unfold a plan of redemption. It involved two key features.

First, God called a people to himself, entered into a covenant with them, and revealed his righteousness to them. The purpose of the covenant was to enter into a committed relationship with people and reveal his faithful love. The Fall, as noted earlier, is rooted in broken relationships. A covenant is, in contrast, a relationship which is steadfast. Even in the midst of a sinful world, all of us long for those who are committed to us to be faithful. We long for relationships to not be broken. We long for people to keep their promises. God shows us how this can be done. In fact, even when the people of God broke the covenant and sinned against God, he remained steadfast, faithful, and true.

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What Is Sin and How Did It Enter into the Human Race?

Sin is all the ways we rebel against God and resist his work in the world. However, sin is not ultimately rooted in our disobedience to a set of commandments. Sin is, at its root, the sign of a broken relationship. We were created to live in perfect harmony with God and our neighbor. Sin manifests itself in a wide array of broken relationships—with God, with our neighbor, and even with creation itself. In one way or another, sin is rooted in putting ourselves first, resulting in our inability to properly love God and our neighbor.

According to Scripture, the first man, Adam, was a representative man and had the capacity to either love and serve God as he was created to do, or to rebel against him. We might wonder why God gave such a choice to Adam. God could have created Adam without a free will. However, we all know even from our own experience with relationships that people with power and position can make us obey them, but cannot force us to love them. Love is one of the greatest capacities we have, but it is rooted in free will and choice. We have already demonstrated that God created us in his own image and desired that we have a relationship with him rooted in love. However, this cannot be possible unless we also have the freedom to go our own way, reject God, and pursue our own path. For love to be the nature of our relationship with God, it must be freely chosen.

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What Is the Purpose and Meaning of Life?

One of the most well-known catechisms in Christian history declared that the purpose of our existence is to “love God and to enjoy him forever.” It is one of the most famous and powerful statements about the purpose of life. If we only live for ourselves and our own enjoyment, we experience a nagging sense that we have somehow missed the final purpose of life. We are meant to know God in his beauty, power, love, and majesty. We are meant to find fulfillment and meaning in orienting our lives towards his greater purposes for us and for creation as a whole. There is no greater purpose in life than being bearers of the image of God in the world. Our personal lives have meaning as they are caught up in God’s grand plan and purpose for the universe. He is reconciling all things to himself—so we are ambassadors of reconciliation. He is the author of all creation—so we share in his creativity. He is the source of all life and hope—so we become bearers of that life and hope in the world. All lasting meaning and purpose is ultimately derived from him and his unfolding purpose and plan for the entire creation which, in time, will give birth to the new heavens and the new earth, where all things fully acknowledge his sovereign rule and reign.

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What Does It Mean That We Are Created “In the Image of God”?

The idea that we are “created in the image of God” generally refers to three distinct capacities which have been granted to the human race. The first is a spiritual capacity. This means that we are meant to reflect his nature in the world. The image of God is like a mirror. We are to “mirror” or “reflect” God’s character and presence in the world. We are to reflect his holiness, his righteousness, his love, his creativity, and so forth. Indeed, we are to reflect every attribute of God which can possibly be communicated to a finite person. The second feature of the image of God is relational. We have the capacity to know God and to communicate with him. We also have capacities for relationships with one another which are profound and glorious. We can truly love God and our neighbor. Finally, the image of God grants us the capacity to represent God in the world. We are his ambassadors in the world. We are to govern the world and share in his rule and reign over it. God always remains sovereign over the universe, but he has delegated the care and nurture of the earth to us. We are commanded to fill the earth, rule over it, care for it, and subdue it for his glory and our good.

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