In recent years my understanding of Covenant Theology has increased in various ways. Indeed, it was only four years ago when I would have mocked at such a thought of conditionality from God’s part. Nevertheless, my studies have led me to see God’s covenanatal dealings with man in at least two simple ways: faithful and harmful. By faithful, I refer to God’s gracious offer of preservation to a line, which in many ways were not and continues to not be very faithful. And by harmful, I acknowledge that God’s patience, though longsuffering, is still limited. Covenant breakers and Covenant Keepers alike are cursed, and at the same time, both are blessed. In an ultimate sense, this process is totalized by God, and covenant breakers receive their eternal punishment and covenant keepers receive their eternal bliss.
So, in what sense is this background necessary? First, the priority given by God is that Covenant keepers be blessed in every respect. In fact, if God were to deny blessings to His faithful seed (line) He would be an unjust ruler. In a real sense, God as a King provides both nourishment and spiritual healing for His people. Secondly, God offers judgment to those who live under His rule, but betray His good provision. This is akin to the kind hospitality of a family towards a poor single in the youth group, only to find out later that he has robbed the family gold and has abandoned the city. In this sense, God has no other way of treating the infidel, but to pursue and punish him in the most severe fashion.
The modern concept of “God is love,” is replaced by the Scriptural language of God’s faithfulness and condemnation. God is faithful to His people to the extent of the faithfulness of the people to Him. To give an example of this concept (which can be very easily distorted), let me suggest that one is not kept in God’s covenant by earning or by achieving a human condition not attainable in this life (perfectionism), but rather he remains in the covenant by the daily sustenance of God. Here is where it is helpful to employ the language of temporary blessing and eternal blessing.
Covenant members are destined to either eternal or temporary blessings; the answer to this either/or question lies in the faithfulness of the member to accept or to reject the promise of daily spiritual provision.
In summary, covenant members are destined to all goods in their spiritual lives (Hebrews 6), but by rejecting God’s gracious provision they spit in the face of God. God, on the other hand, will not be mocked and applies the results of covenant breaking to the traitor. It is here where we realize that God’s commitment to His people as King is a faithful one. God will be mocked, but behold the mockery of God turns against the unworthy member in a destructive manner. Hence, God’s dealing with covenant breakers is harmful. God may be mocked temporarily, only so that the one who mocks may in the end see that the joke was on him.