The Sign of the Covenant
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed
after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God
unto thee and thy seed after thee… This is my covenant, which ye shall
keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child
among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your
foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
Read Genesis 17:1-14
Genesis 17 is a very important chapter. The information given in these verses
is of such significance that we could spend an entire week studying it;
it answers questions surrounding the covenant, circumcision and baptism.
There is so much confusion and misunderstanding about these issues, that
we need good, biblical instruction about them.
The covenant spoken of in this chapter is the same one that was introduced
in Genesis 15. The Lord ratified this covenant with Abraham, the father of
many nations, so the expansion of this truth in Acts 2:39, where we read,
“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off,
even as many as the LORD our God shall call,” is not totally novel. Neither is
this covenant that God made with Abram replaced in the New Testament by
In Jeremiah 31 we read that the Lord will make a new covenant with the
House of Israel. Hebrews 8:10 reaffirms this,“I will put my laws into their
mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they
shall be to me a people.” At its institution, this covenant received the sign
and seal of circumcision, which finds its fulfillment in holy baptism. Both
signs declare that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. You
and I need to be born again; we must be cleansed of our guilt. And the God
of the covenant, El Shaddai, promises that He can and will do it.
If you take this seriously, you will not even consider the thought of rejecting
baptism. Perhaps you might think that this would be convenient because
the sign of baptism is so humbling. By it we declare the need to be cleansed.
But when we receive some self- knowledge, we learn that this is the only
way back to God. It is a miracle that almighty God, the faithful One, condescends
and declares to you, “I am the Lord your God.” Do not despise His
Thought: Do not take the sign and seal of God’s covenant for granted!
Psalter 425:5 (based on Psalm 105)
Jehovah’s truth shall stand forever, His covenant bonds He will not sever,
The word of grace which He commands To thousand generations stands;
The covenant made in days of old With Abraham He doth uphold.