Jesus Christ both taught and lived by covenant love.
John 15:9,10 – As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
John 10:17,18 – Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
John 15:12-14 – This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Why covenant love? Covenant love is the only love that embodies true and complete commitment to our redemption and restoration back into full fellowship with God. It is everlasting love, a purposeful love, a promised love, a love that cannot be stolen or taken away by others. It is a love which is able to be given to those in need of salvation in both a just and merciful manner because it does not seek to rob God’s justice or to violate any of His laws, His commandments, or His covenants while expressing God’s compassion and care.
Hebrews 10:5-10 – Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me; In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By which will we are sanctified through the offering once of the body of Jesus Christ.
By faith, covenant love seeks to bring about true reconciliation and recompense in a manner that repairs, heals, and overcomes the breached and broken relationship that exists between God and man. It is thus the only love that is able to mediate between God and mankind because it is the only love which is able to heal and restore that which has been lost, and to provide an enduring commitment of union between God and man on the part of both parties.
I Timothy 2:3-6 – For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who is willing to have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth which is in Christ Jesus, who is the Only Begotten Son of God, and ordained to be a Mediator between God and man; who is one God, and hath power over all men. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Furthermore, covenant love is honorable love. It respects and creates and edifies (builds up) relationships by creating true and lasting fellowship with God. Because it is an abiding love, this everlasting love will not abandon or forsake the ones God loves. It is a compassionate yet corrective love, one which is able to commit itself to provide for the care and comfort of others on an on-going and continuing basis – an everlasting basis – to God’s honor and glory.
Hebrews 7:23,24 – But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Covenant love is a determined love, one that loves forever at its own expense, even in the face of adversity and opposition, even when it is not popularly received or accepted. Although all else will fail, yet covenant love abides forever because it remains sure and true forever. Thus, covenant love is the only thing that endures all things, for covenant love is God Himself.
I John 4:7-8 – Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.
I Corinthians 13:1-13 – Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Come, then, unto the God of covenants and receive of His covenant love. Come and receive that which may be found in Jesus Christ alone by entering into the New Testament which our Lord mediates, specifically the covenant Jesus established through the atonement He offered up unto His heavenly Father on our behalf through the shedding of His own blood.
Luke 22:19,20 – And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you.
Romans 5:6-11 – For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Galatians 3:20 – … there is one mediator of the new covenant, who is Christ, as it is written in the law concerning the promises made to Abraham and his seed. Now Christ is the mediator of life; for this is the promise which God made unto Abraham.
Turn from the cold, empty love offered you in this dark world and receive the enlivening and uplifting joy of God’s true and abiding love. Enter into God’s pure and perfect love by abiding in Jesus Christ through becoming a member of His body. You may, if you are willing to come unto Jesus and learn of His covenant ways. Here’s how – here’s the way:
- Have faith in the name of Jesus Christ: Exercise faith on His name. Why? As His name signifies, Jesus came to save you from your sins (not in your sins) by turning every one of us from our iniquities. Remember, Jesus came to put away our sins by taking them upon Himself in and through the atonement He offered to God on our behalf for a remission of our sins. Remember further that Jesus did so that we might become a righteous people. Thus, to believe on His name you must believe that He is willing and able to remove from you all of your sins, including the stain of your sins, as far as the east is from the west. In practical terms this means that you must be willing to give up sinning and to allow yourself to be transformed into a person who lives righteously. Plainly stated, Jesus did not die on the cross so He could simply pronounce you sinless in name only. No! He intends to make you sinless through faith on His name and according to the power of His atonement and resurrection. It is only in this way that we can actually become sinless and spotless in His sight.
- Repent of your sins: Through the gift of repentance you are given the opportunity to give up your sins to Jesus Christ so He can, in turn, take them from you by taking them upon Himself. In the very action of repentance you give away your sins to Jesus and allow Him to nail them to the cross of His sufferings. In this way, He frees you to live unto righteousness, even according to His righteousness. Also through repentance you open the door for Him to come into your life and fill your life with all that which is good. Therefore, He calls you to repent according to His good pleasure and His workings within you whereby you may be emptied of that which defiles you so that you, in turn, may be filled with that which is righteous, meaning His own Spirit of truth.
- Be baptized in water in the likeness of Jesus Christ’s burial and resurrection: Through water baptism, enter into the death of Jesus Christ that you might come forth in the likeness of His resurrection. Go down into the waters of baptism and receive a remission of your sins. Follow the example of the man unto whom Philip ministered the gospel of Jesus Christ when they went down into the water to be baptized according to the guidance of God’s Spirit. Be cautious but confident, however. Be sure that you are truly following Jesus and not performing some dead work or tradition. Rather, be sure to follow Jesus into the waters of baptism, which our Lord said He did for a specific reason – so that He and John might fulfilled all righteousness. Can we hope to fulfill all righteousness if we fail to be baptized as Jesus was baptized and thus enter into His death to sin? No. There is no way other than Jesus whereby we may be saved. Therefore, follow Jesus as your Lord, bearing witness before Him and His church that you have entered into a covenant with Him to live according to His words, His teachings, and His commandments.
- Receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost: In the baptism of Jesus Christ, you receive the Holy Ghost, whom Jesus called the Spirit of truth, even the Comforter. By giving us His Spirit, our Lord seals each of us unto eternal life in one body. In receiving this baptism of which Jesus testified and in a manner ordained by Him, you become joined with and to all those who are in Christ, meaning upon all those the Spirit of God has been given. Through this precious gift you receive the mind of Christ, and thereby become a member of His body, the church, of which He is the head. In and through His Spirit of truth, our Lord teaches you the peaceable things of His kingdom. Summed up, then, through the gift of His Spirit, meaning the Holy Ghost, you receive the love of God which is given unto you by faith in Jesus Christ so that you may have everlasting life by being saved into His everlasting kingdom.
- Confess Jesus Christ before others: Take His name, the name of Jesus Christ, upon you by becoming known as a Christian. Let Jesus Christ shine through you as the light of the world. Let His Spirit radiate from within you unto all those who are around you, to those you come into contact with each day, including those you may meet only once in your lifetime as well as those you meet with each and every day.
- Keep the commandments of Jesus Christ: Remember, Jesus Christ is your Lord. Briefly comprehended, as Jesus has said, this is His commandment that we love each other as and with the same love He has loved us. Turn from darkness and bitterness, which defiles the peoples of this world. And turn unto the Lord and become a child of God by the power of His grace. Come into the glorious light of the liberty of Jesus Christ. Live by Him and for Him by doing whatsoever He teaches you through His words. Let Him lead you, for He is the Good Shepherd. The God who created your ears can also make you so that you can hear and recognize His still, small voice, for it is the same voice by which His Spirit breathed the scriptures. Let His Spirit of truth then guide you into all truth, for there you will find Him in His dwelling place. And remember, as Jesus has said, His words are spirit and they are life. Therefore, feast upon His words, for His words will show you all things what you should say and do. This is His gift and His promise. This is His kingdom.
- Endure in the love of Jesus Christ unto the end of your life: Abide in Jesus. Be willing to lay down your life for His sake. For if we endure, we will be kept according to His promises. Continue, then, steadfast in His love, especially in the face of adversity, so that you do not become weary in your mind, but rather, that you love even as He loves you. Endure hardness through receiving His love, for the Lord promises that He will sustain you. Confess Jesus Christ even in the face of danger or under the threat of death. Love Him unto the end and He will keep you in His peace in this life and on into eternity. This is His promise. This is His covenant love. For, as He has said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” and “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Perhaps all of this may seem a bit much, and you may be wondering just how important is it to follow Jesus by taking all of these steps? Or perhaps you may be asking, is it really necessary that we follow Him and do what He says? Aren’t we loved no matter what we do? Do we really have to do any or even all of these things to know and receive God’s love in our lives?
To help keep the matter of salvation in perspective we must recognize that there is an enemy who seeks to keep us captive in sin and death. Thus this enemy seeks to destroy the Lord’s new covenant mediated by Jesus Christ, including His covenant love. This enemy seeks to destroy us and our relationship with God by inviting and enticing us to sin and to do that which is evil continually, all the while promising us there is nothing to be concerned with because God loves us no matter what may we do. Accordingly, this enemy has invented an antithesis to covenant love, even an antagonist to God and His love. Who is this enemy and what is his choicest of weapons? The devil, also called Satan, is the enemy and the tool he uses to keep people from entering into God’s covenant love is a love that gives no honor or place for Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He has made on our behalf. It is a cold, uncompassionate love. It is unconditional love.
This false love promises us fellowship with God in the fullness of His love without any consequence or concern for the thoughts and intents of our hearts. We are loved no matter what we say or do, he assures us. Yet this is not consistent with the teachings of our Lord and those of His prophets and apostles. Simply put, the assurance that God loves us unconditionally is not consistent with our Lord’s covenants or His commandment to repent or we will be cast off at the last day. Specifically, it denies the conditions of repentance which brings salvation to our souls through the power of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Unconditional love is an uncommitted love, a love that cannot have compassion because it cannot be moved by the conditions of others. Unlike covenant love, unconditional love knows no commitments nor is it limited by any constraints, including the constraints of justice. Thus it has no need for mercy. It is unmoved by any and all things and is thus unable to do any work in the lives of others or for others. It is a monotone and insensitive love, a neutered love that is impotent because it simply cannot affect those which it supposedly loves, nor can it be an agent of change in anyone’s life. Consequently, it is unable to call us out of sin or to bring us out of darkness so we may have fellowship with God in His kingdom of light and true and everlasting love. Unconditional love simply fails to deal with sin and it consequences in our lives. You can read more about the enemy and his favorite weapon for fighting against God and His covenant love in “The Covenant Breaker: Unconditional Love’s Sinister Plan,” which is presented in the following volumes:
- Volume 1: To Turn Them from Darkness to Light
- Volume 2: Unconditional Love – A False God
- Volume 3: Let No Man Deceive You by Any Means
- Volume 4: The Conditions of Repentance (see also II Chronicles 7:14 & I John 1:5-10)
- Volume 5: When One Sinner Repents (see also D&C 16:3b-4g)
Knowing, therefore, that there is a formidable foe who opposes God and His love, and that there are many who choose to live by this non-covenant love (because it knows no covenant terms and conditions), we must also understand that we will face opposition when seeking to live in and by covenant love.
Opponents of covenant love will mock those who seek to be saved from their sins by the power of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, even though they separate themselves from the love of God, we, on the other hand, keep ourselves in the love of God by praying in the Holy Ghost in faith, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Jude 1:16-21 – These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Therefore, as you contemplate God’s love, the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of God in Christ Jesus, remember that even as God has provided in times past for all those who have believed on the name of His beloved Son, and who have repented and come unto Him for a remission of their sins, so shall He provide today for everyone who enters into this covenant relationship mediated by His Son, Jesus Christ, through faith on His name and repentance of their sins.
I Nephi 5:132 – Behold, he loved our fathers; and he covenanted with them, yea, even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: and he remembered the covenants which he had made…
Alma 14:38 – Yea, and He hath made these things known unto us beforehand because He loveth our souls, as well as He loveth our children; Therefore, in His mercy He doth visit us by His angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us, as well as unto future generations; O how merciful is our God!
To summarize, then, all of God’s promises pertaining to our salvation are based upon the everlasting covenant which was and is founded solidly and forever sustained in and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. May you, therefore, receive God’s word into your hearts and minds so that He may keep you in His covenant love for you as you rely solely upon the atoning merits of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 13:20,21 – Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
God does love you with a pure and perfect love, even an everlasting love, which was and is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, covenant with Him and enter into the way of everlasting life by repenting and coming unto Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life.
II Nephi 11:95-109 – For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness; He doeth not anything, save it be for the benefit of the world, for He loveth the world, even that He layeth down His own life that He may draw all men unto Him; Wherefore, He commandeth none that they shall not partake of His salvation. Behold, doth He cry unto any, saying, “Depart from Me”? Behold I say unto you, Nay! But He saith: “Come unto Me, all ye ends of the earth, Buy milk and honey without money and without price.” Behold, hath He commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold I say unto you, Nay! Hath He commanded any that they should not partake of His salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay! But He hath given it free for all men; And He hath commanded His people that they should persuade all men unto repentance. Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of His goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay! But all men are privileged, the one like unto the other, And none are forbidden. He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; For behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world, but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing! Wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love; and except they should have charity, they were nothing; Wherefore, if they should have charity, they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish; but the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion, for if they labor for money they shall perish.