Author: Ron Graham

Wonderful Words

The Two Sides of God’s Covenant
—More about “salvation”

We have discussed the two sides of God's nature and the two sides of God's plan. Now we look at the two sides of God's covenant .

Sacrifice and Submission (Hebrews 5:8-9)

"Although Christ was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered, and having been perfected [in his obedience and sacrifice] he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God as a high priest 'after the order of Melchizedek'" (Hebrews 5:8-10).

1 Salvation Not Only on God’s Side

The covenant tells us on one hand what God deems necessary himself to provide (the sacrifice), and on the other hand what God deems necessary for the person being saved to contribute (obedience). In other words there are two parts to God's covenant —God's part and our part— what God had to do and what we have to.

Some people will almost jump in a startle on hearing me say that, because they have been led to believe that salvation is entirely one-sided —all of God and none of self. In other words man has no part in his own salvation. But you only have to read the new covenant to see that it is not a unilateral message about what God has done, but in addition lays down what God requires us to do.

2 Our Side is Submission

Jesus told the story of the wise man who built his house upon a rock and likened to this man anyone "who hears these sayings of mine and does them" (Matthew 7:24-27). In his covenant there are things for us to hear and do —without which we cannot be saved.

Of course we are not talking about merit here. The merit is not on our side. The merit is wholly in Christ's obedience and sacrifice. But we are talking about requirement. God does not require us to be inactive whilst he does everything. He requires us to obey Jesus, and that's our part in God's plan.

Your part, and your choice, is to submit to God, put all your faith in him, and obey him.

God demands that you "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" in those things which God requires of you (Philippians 2:12). In this way, as we saw at the outset of this lesson, Jesus becomes "the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey him" who himself "learned obedience by the things which he suffered". (Hebrews 5:8-9)

3 God’s Side is Sacrifice and Succour

God, for his part, has lovingly provided you with what you could not provide for yourself —an acceptable sacrifice for sin. That's where the merit is. He has also provided, under the terms of his covenant, all kinds of generous help and priestly encouragement which you may draw upon freely to the full (Hebrews 4:14-16).