Why Should We Teach Our Children Covenant Theology?
Even though many Christian parents raise their children in covenant communities, many do not fully grasp what the word “covenant” truly means. Most Bible curriculums are taught as a collection of stories neatly told in chronological order. The Bible is more than that.
The Bible is the story of how God created His people, called His people, loved His people, and is yearning to bring those people back into full relationship with Him. God made covenantal promises to His people with a love so strong that He was willing to give His Son’s life to save them. Through generations of covenant promises, God binds Himself more and more intimately with the people He chooses to love.
Knowing God should be more than a “ticket out of hell.” Having a true relationship with our Creator is to “glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.1).
From the beginning, God makes covenant promises to His chosen people committing His heart to theirs.
In the Covenant of Life, God created an eternal bond of life with Adam and Eve. He gave them life, the gift of a garden, the joy of work, and the beauty of worship in exchange for their obedience to abstain from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Adam and Eve failed to keep their end of the Covenant of Life. They ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Sin and death entered the world.
The Covenant of Redemption began the moment mankind broke their side of the Covenant of Life. God took it upon Himself to hold His promises together in the Covenant of Redemption and set into action (through the Covenant of Commencement) a new covenant to save His people. The Covenant of Redemption would slowly unfold through multiple generations of God’s people.
The Covenant of Commencement was the first step God took in restoring His people into right relationship with Himself. God promised to send a Rescuer to crush the power of Satan forever. A glimmer of hope was held out to Adam and Eve and all the generations that would follow after them.
In the Covenant of Preservation, God promised to preserve His people from catastrophic harm and destruction. Even though sin had crippled creation, God chose Noah and his family to shower grace upon.
In the Covenant of Promise, God promised to bring people from all nations into relationship with Him through Abraham. Although old and married to a barren wife, Abraham was promised he would become the father of nations. His descendant – both physical and spiritual – are promised a land of their own and a holy King to rule them.
The Covenant of Law revealed His heart through His law. God gave Moses and the people of Israel the Ten Commandments and instructions for building a tabernacle for proper worship of Him. God travelled with His people wherever they went in a tent of worship.
In the Covenant of the Kingdom, God promised to give His people a King and kingdom that would never fail or pass away. God would firmly establish His presence with His people.
In the Covenant of Consummation, God brought all these promises to bear in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the perfect Adam. Jesus preserves His people from everlasting torment and death. Jesus brings all nations to Himself. Jesus kept the law perfectly for us. Jesus reigns in Heaven as the perfect King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The Universal Church, of which you and I are a part, continues the work Jesus set in motion until the day Jesus Christ will return to set the groaning creation right when the Covenant of Consummation is fully realized. All things will be renewed, and God will dwell intimately among His people forever in perfect relationship in the flawless City of Zion.
Covenantal Theology is more than “church” knowledge or helpful facts regurgitated to win a trivia game. Covenantal Theology weaves all through history. Covenantal love is inescapably seductive. It is the powerful love that binds us forever to our Creator.
Taken from Heather Molendyk. Lead Me to Zion (Lawrenceville, GA: Committee on Discipleship Ministries, 2021), 7-8.
Lead Me To Zion curriculum can be purchased online at the PCA Bookstore
Heather Molendyk holds a degree in elementary education from the University of Miami and is the author of Building Little Pillars and Lead Me to Zion. Although she loves working with children in classroom and summer camp settings, her greatest joy is introducing young children to God’s loving promises found in Scripture. Heather currently worships and serves with her husband and four children at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, NC. You can connect with Heather @heathermolendyk on Instagram.