“I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” Genesis 9:15
Notice the form of the promise. God does not say, “And when you remember and follow My covenant, then I will not destroy the earth.” What God actually said was “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Genesis 9:12-13) The covenant depends not on our memory, which is fickle and frail, but on God’s memory, which is infinite and unchangeable.
It is not my remembering God, it is God’s remembering me which forms the foundation of my security. It is not my laying hold of His covenant, but His covenant’s laying hold on me. Glory be to God! Our salvation is secured by divine power, and even the minor aspects, which we may imagine might have been left to us, are guarded by His almighty strength.
Even the remembrance of the covenant is not left to our memories, for we might forget! But our Lord cannot forget the saints, whose names He has written on the palms of His hands. He is with us as He was with Israel in Egypt; the blood was on the door frames, but the Lord did not say, “When you see the blood I will pass over you,” but “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” (Exodus 12:13)
Looking to Jesus brings me joy and peace, but it is God’s looking to Jesus which secures my salvation and that of all His children. It is impossible for God to look at Christ (our bleeding Savior) and then to be angry with us for sins already punished in Him. No, it is not left with us to be saved by remembering the covenant. It is not upheld by our own effort, but of the Lord alone.
We should remember the covenant, and so we resolve do it through divine grace instead of our own power. But the hinge of our safety does not hang there. It is God’s remembering us, and hence the covenant is a beautiful and everlasting covenant.
Originally written by Charles H. Spurgeon, Updated to modern English by Darren Hewer, 2011.
Photo credit: John McSporran; https://www.flickr.com/photos/127130111@N06/ Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
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