Is the Sinai Covenant Conditional?

Whenever I am studying a topic, I always like to look at it from all angles. That’s why I enjoy discussions with others who strongly oppose what I believe. It gives me the opportunity to check my own understanding for flaws. I am ever changing, ever conforming to His image in the light of His Word.

“Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:3-6

When I formulate a response to those who believe differently, it is never good enough to look up someone else’s pat answer and then regurgitate that to anyone who argues with me.  I’m not looking for an excuse to continue believing what I already believe. If I’m wrong, I want to open myself to instruction so that the Lord can teach me from His Word. The whole reason I began following Torah is because I discovered some things I had been wrong about. I believe Torah is still true today. Truth itself doesn’t change. Psalm 119:142: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.”

A couple weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine brought up some very interesting and well-prepared arguments that are certainly worth consideration. Today, I’d like to address the first of those arguments.

 

Argument #1: “God made a conditional covenant.”

Do we have scripture that supports this? I am not trying to be arrogant, and I may very well be missing something, but I could not find any real basis for this argument. What we do find are some “If…then” statements, explaining what the consequences would be if the children of Israel were either obedient or disobedient. It is the blessings and the curses that are conditional. Those conditions are part of the covenant, not outside of it. Read all of Leviticus 26 for instance. God never says that He won’t keep His covenant. God made a pact with us to bless us when we obey and turn against us when we disobey. When God brings evil upon us, it is in order to turn us back to Him. (God’s redemption in spite of man’s sin is the theme of the entire Word, but we can easily read Isaiah and Jeremiah to see a glimpse of the big picture.) This time of correction is not done in abandonment of the covenant, but in keeping with it. After that time of correction, the covenant still stands: “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:44&45

If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” Psalm 89:30-34

His covenant with us stands forever, and because we cannot meet the conditions on our own, God Himself provides the way: Jesus Christ – the perfect, obedient Son of God.

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