Relationships & Rules

by Tom Terry

“I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you” (Genesis 17:7).


“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15).


Did you know that God does not have any relationships with people outside of a covenant? Sometimes we think of a covenant like a contract. But it was much more. Covenants are eternal. No matter what we do, God always keeps his side of the covenant. If you are not under the covenant of Jesus, then you are not saved.


There are three important things to know about God’s covenant relationships, and, in fact, these things are also true of your relationships with other people. Here they are:


  • There are no relationships without rules
  • There are no relationships without expectations
  • There are no relationships without sacrifice


Think of your relationships with other people. How are these principles not true with others? They aren’t! Every relationship has rules, expectations and sacrifice. It is by our limits, and expectations, and sacrifices that we experience and express love. Anyone who claims to love but is not bound by these things does not really understand what love is.


Memory Verse


Notice the three principles in today’s memory verse: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” ( I Corinthians 13:4-7).




Do a spiritual inventory of your relationships. Do you have any relationships not bound by these three principles? If so, it’s time to rethink or rework those relationships. Just as God binds himself to you with these three principles, so too your relationships with others must be bound similarly.

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