Spiritual Covering and the Provisions and Conditions of Biblical Covenants in Christ Jesus
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
If we are to understand the principles and protocols for Spiritual Covering and Practical Conditions of biblical covenants in Christ Jesus then we must be in agreement that they exist.
What is a spiritual covering within the context of a biblical covenant?
Some have taught (Shepherding Movement circa; 1970's) that a spiritual covering is provided through the authority structure of the Church and strict submission to those who hold that authority. They ran into trouble when the lines got blurry between control and authority - Authority doesn't always mean control and control doesn't always mean authority. However the biblical principle of submission to authority is real and it is uniquely connected to covenant relationships. Here is how it works - we first submit to God in Christ, then it pushes out from there; wives to husbands, sheep to shepherd, leaders to Pastor, the church to Christ, and so on. Unfortunately most overlook or push back from the very specific biblical parameters attached to each submission - those too are very real. Just so we are clear, there certainly is biblical validity (New Testament) and scriptural framework for that teaching - but because of the abuses and misuses eventually push people away from covenant relationships altogether, most never return. But we live in a day and a time where keeping our word, honoring God's word, and to live under the protection of the "Kept Covenant" is critically important to ourselves, our families and our church communities.
This is a day and a time where true spiritual authority is no longer appreciated or even understood because of those misuses and abuses. The practical expression of that biblical principle is "chain of command." Within God’s chain of command there is also a spiritual covering of support and strength when leaders, husbands, parents, shepherds humbly yet decisively serve others with their authority rather than seek to control others with that authority. All of it is valid and important but our version wasn't fully what God had in mind for the biblical protocol and provision of spiritual covering. Spiritual Covering is fulfilled and completed within the New Covenant established in and through direct relationship with Jesus Christ (Hebrews chapter 9) - and is only fully realized and experienced when covenants have been honored and in good faith - kept. Kept Covenant. Let’s dig in to this.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
When God makes covenant with us through Christ Jesus it is unconditional - love is the condition. We walk and live in His grace knowing that we are His and have received the gift of eternal life in Christ alone.
When we make covenant with God through Christ Jesus it is conditional - we are the condition. But we now move from simply believing and receiving - to believing, receiving, following, and blessing! The covering, connection and covenant relationship revealed in these passages runs deep. Here it is then; when we make a covenant relationship with God through Christ Jesus we are "spiritually covered."
For You bless the righteous O' Lord; You cover him with favor as with a shield.
The first layer of that covering comes in the form of our salvation and the eternal life promise we receive within the death and resurrection of Christ. Because we have believed and confessed we are covered. Nothing separates us from that. But according to scripture there is more. As we keep our covenant in faithfulness we see, know and can feel that He covers us, He Shelters us, He stands over us, He prays for us, He hides us and shields us. We are covered in our sin and we are covered in our salvation with the gift of eternal life. This covering comes from Christ and in its redeeming and eternal values - it is a condition and reward of His unconditional promise. However, this spiritual covering comes also with expectations and provisions that require us to keep our covenant with Him if we expect or believe for temporal covering and blessing. Listen to how the Hebrew language intertwines the context of "Cut Covenant" with the context of "Spiritual Covering."
sakak; to cover shelter and shield
kasah; to cover or conceal
kaphar; cover and atone
When the biblical Hebrew writers used these root words for covered in the same context with cut covenant there is a deep revealed truth available for us to understand the significance and meaning that God places on our shared covenant with Him and the covenants we share with others. In this pairing of the two a cut covenant now means;
If you will keep and not break your covenant with Me I will shelter you, I will stand over you, I will protect and shield you, I will Cover you and Hide you beneath My wings as an Everlasting Covenant.
Interestingly, the spiritual covering is upheld by the kept or fulfilled promises and vows made to the covenant made with God and His Word (Word -Christ Jesus). The spiritual covering can be manifested and experienced through many expressions and life circumstances; as a pardon, as protection, for plans and purposes, forms of favor, as blessing and opportunity, as access, influence and safety - as authority and submission, and as accountability and expectations. All of these connected directly to covenant. But it also means that in order for that covering to have any meaning and effect the covenant must be kept and honored in good faith, just as was first intended. For example: The New Covenant begins and ends in right relationship with Jesus Christ. How would we do that if we don't do what Jesus said to do? How do we do that if we do not keep our covenant with Him?
Jesus said, "if you love Me keep my commandments." Then He said, "This is My commandment, that you love one another." When asked what commandments were most important He said, "To love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then... love your neighbor as yourself." Here is how that spiritual covering plays out in a biblical provision and condition.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
What are the Practical Conditions of a biblical covenant? The expectations given, agreements and promises made, and the conditions and timelines accepted.
Practical Conditions for Biblical Covenants
Our unilateral covenant relationships will mirror our bilateral covenant relationship with God.
In covenant relationship with God (bilateral) we must destroy the things in our life that keep us from loving and obeying Him completely. To be successful and to be meaningful, this must also be true of unilateral covenant relationships as well.
Grace covers our day to day sins, temptation, and failure. The Kept Covenant is hallmarked by the willful and intentional condition of our heart, mind and strength to follow, honor, and serve the God who saved and loved through Christ Jesus.