Covenant

Profession of Faith and Church Membership

Church membership is not intended to be a peripheral part of our lives. It is not intended to take up a few hours of our lives each week. That is very clear from the biblical teaching and that is what is reflected in the vowed for profession of faith and the explanation of them in our Form of Government. One verse that sums this all up is all up is 2 Corinthians 5:15 which says that Jesus “died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” The rest of the New Testament spells this out in considerable detail when it describes the life that is to flow from the saving grace of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Thanksgiving

Read: Psalm 65

Thanksgiving in the Bible is part of the response of God’s covenant people to God’s salvation and it is part of praise and part of a relationship of prayer and forgiveness and dwelling in God’s courts and being satisfied with the goodness of God’s house and the holiness of his temple. And it is in the context of that relationship that we are to think of the bounty of the harvest and celebrate the fruitfulness that is rooted in God and his favor.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Hebrews 8

Read: Hebrews 8

That is what is promised to us in the new covenant and sealed to us in our baptism. Our baptism reminds us and confirms to us that through faith our sins are actually dealt with once and for all time. The forgiveness that is signified and sealed to us in our baptism is based on the reality of Jesus fully and finally paying the penalty for our sins. Because God’s justice has been served by Jesus’s death, that same justice requires that our sins can never be counted against us. And that registers in our own consciences so that the peace that we experience is much deeper and more profound than what was possible under the old covenant relationship between God and his people.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Genesis 17

Remembering and forgetting are spiritually significant in Scripture – at least when it comes to remembering or forgetting that we are in a relationship with God – that God is our God and that we are his people. We are to live consciously in the light of God’s promises and of his requirements for us. We are not to forget that we belong to God with all that that means for our lives. One of the purposes for the sign of the covenant is to keep our covenant relationship with God top-of-mind.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Genesis 15

And one of the promises that is most difficult to believe is that how God could ever forgive us for our sins and accept us as his people. Once the grace of God shows us even a little bit of how incredibly evil our sins really are, the thing that will seem to be most impossible of all is how God could ever do anything else but banish us from his presence forever. That God is willing to forgive us and embrace us as his beloved people is perhaps the most impossible thing of all once we understand even a little bit of what our sin must look like to God.
And then the covenant oath becomes very precious. And then our baptism becomes very precious because our baptism is the sign and seal of the covenant for those who have fled to Jesus for refuge.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image…” (4) God’s Jealousy

And so, we should think of our own idolatries in this light. We have seen that idolatry is loving anyone or anything more than God. The things in our lives that are more important to us than God are our idols. So, think about your life. What do you seek first in your life? What are you most concerned about? What do you mostly think about? Wherever God is not the answer to those questions, you have your idols. Those are your other gods. Those are your other lovers. Those are all adulterous relationships. These are the things that provoke God’s jealousy.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Sure Foundation of the Lord

Read: Psalm 127

The success of our building, our watching and our sleeping is conditional on what the Lord has already accomplished. We must base our activities, the Bible is saying, on what God has already accomplished. The Lord must first build, he must first watch, and he must first grant rest, or our efforts are always futile. That’s the point of a condition clause like this, it’s always futile unless it is in the Lord. It is always futile, our efforts, all of them. It is a universal statement. Think about that. Everything that we do, every activity that we put our hand to, if it is not done in the Lord, will always, always, always be ultimately futile.
— Rev. Robert Widdowson