Q&A: Benefits of Being Covenant with God

Benefits of Being Covenant with God

Do unsaved people in the church benefit from being in covenant with God?

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Answer

Unsaved people do benefit from being in covenant with God. Just as in the Old Testament the nation of Israel was in covenant with God, and not all of Israel was what we would call saved; that is, not every Israelite was a devoted follower of God and one who obeyed his law and so on. But nevertheless they were in covenant with God and they enjoyed awesome benefits from being in covenant with him. So, we would carry that over into this New Testament age and say that indeed, unsaved people who are members of Bible-believing churches are in covenant with God in the same sense. That is to say that they are members of the visible church, to be technical. And the visible church is where God does very much display his character through the preaching of the Word, through the presence of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper. These people are benefiting by simply being observers of these things, of hearing the word taught to them. They have the accountability provided by the leaders of the church. At my church, for example, we have some 500 members or so. I'm sure that some of those people are not regenerate. I mean, you just don't know for sure that every single one is, but nevertheless, everyone is accountable to our elder board and our elders shepherd every one of those people who has taken their membership vows. So, all of those benefits are tremendous. Not only that, I would add that in the visible church, God, in maybe some mysterious ways, protects his people. He guards them from things they might otherwise be exposed to. There's no telling. I mean, this is sort of behind the veil a little bit. We don't know what God is doing exactly for all of these people, not even for all Christians. But the covenant relationship is where God says, "I will be your God and you will be my people." And that doesn't imply necessarily salvation, but these are people who are in covenant with God, they're actually therefore more accountable to him than they would have been otherwise, they will have more to answer to one day. But in the meantime they have all these amazing privileges. And God, I think, is pursuing them, reaching out to them in all sorts of ways, giving them teaching, giving them the gospel, opportunities to believe and follow after him, and I would definitely say that even though they're unsaved, being in covenant with God is a tremendous blessing.

Answer by Rev. Mike Osborne

Rev. Mike Osborne is Associate Pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Orlando, FL