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Covenants.


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#1 Praetorian_Brow

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 04:17 PM

Covenant
(ברית / διαθηκη)

The Greek word διαθηκη (diatheke), usually translated “covenant” in English versions of the Bible, is a legal term denoting a formal and legally binding declaration of benefits to be given by one party to another, with or without conditions attached. In secular contexts it was most often used of a “last will and testament.” In the Greek version of the Old Testament διαθηκη was used as the ordinary rendering for the Hebrew word ברית.
ברית (berith) is also translated “covenant” in English versions, but, like διαθηκη, it also refers to legal dispositions or pledges which may or may not have the character of an “agreement.” Sometimes a ברית is more in the nature of a one-sided promise or grant.
When English readers see the word “covenant” in the Bible, it is important to bear this in mind, because the true sense is often missed if readers suppose that the word must refer to a reciprocal “agreement” or “contract.” The issue is important because misunderstandings along this line can have some serious consequences for theology.
This problem of interpretation has received considerable attention from biblical scholars and theologians. We recommended to students the full discussion of the matter by Geerhardus Vos in his article Hebrews, the Epistle of the Diatheke, reproduced on a separate page of this site. Below we also provide some brief comments from the works of Herman Ridderbos and Louis Berkhof.
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I didn't really understand how to forgive someone until I read this book by Dr. David Stoop. Forgiving our Parents Forgiving Ourselves
I also now understand what the intended definition of covenants are, so it constantly surprises me when people see it differently, as in a contract. Ironically, a one way guarantee, requires more compassion and empathy than most are willing to give. Aka, the atonement.

It may seem obvious, but I grew up in the church, never learning how to actually forgive, despite it being beaten into our minds with a licorice stick. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

#2 Just_A_Guy

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 04:57 PM

It definitely wouldn't hurt to talk about the one-sided aspects of grace a little more.

On the other hand: LDS doctrine is, I think, very clear that the Lord does indeed frequently engage in bilateral covenants--see, e.g., D&C 82:10.. Every covenant that we make by ritual--baptism/confirmation, sacrament, priesthood ordination, endowment, and spousal sealing--is bilateral in nature; and the blessings that we associate with those particular covenants/rituals are almost uniformly conditional.

About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are darned fools and should stop.
 

--Senator Elihu Root


#3 Praetorian_Brow

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 05:09 PM

I live in the camp where what we coin blessings, miss the proper intention of why we do what we do. My motivation for doing something, should not be for the sake of a reward, but because I have empathy for that person. Then again, I debate these topics in my mind, because my upbringing lacked certain fundamentals that other people took for granted. Semantics, but for me, it helps me think about whether or not my intentions are just.

#4 Just_A_Guy

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 05:39 PM

Oh, I agree, and would submit that an even higher motivation is our love for God Himself.

On the other hand, people are more than capable of deceiving themselves as to what their intentions really are. Someone who has true love for God and empathy for his fellowman, should have no problem performing their ends of the bilateral covenants God has invited us to enter.

For all my protestations about "I'm a good person!!!": if I'm not bearing my fellow Church members' burdens and developing charity; if I'm not trying to perfectly obey the Lord's revealed will for me regardless of what sacrifices doing so may entail; if I'm not living the Law of the Gospel; if I'm flouting the Law of Chastity or (perhaps even worse) trying to create an intellectual foundation for others to disregard it; if I'm routinely speaking ill of the Lord's anointed or trying to suggest that the Church of Jesus Christ is not the Lord's kingdom on earth and therefore unworthy of the consecrated time, talent, and property of myself and my associates--

If I'm doing any of that, then it doesn't matter what I say, or even what I believe, regarding my intentions. The bottom line is that I either don't know God, or don't love Him, as much as I want others to think that I do.

Edited by Just_A_Guy, 29 June 2013 - 05:42 PM.

About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are darned fools and should stop.
 

--Senator Elihu Root





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