God deals with people through the use of covenants. Carl Ketcherside in his book The Death of the Custodian wrote:
The fact is that God has chosen to relate to man on the basis of covenants. He is a covenant-making God. No one who ignores this fact will ever grasp God’s plan and purpose in any age (p. 15).
Consider this thought: We have a covenant relationship with God and not just a personal relationship with God. Yes, I understand we view marriage as a covenant relationship and that relationship is the most personal relationship we can have, but God’s covenant is not just for an individual person. God’s covenant is made for a people. 1 Peter 2:9 reminds us:
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God’s holy nation, his own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light (NLT).
This means we are partners in faith. We have a responsibility to and for each other. None of us should try to walk the journey of faith alone. It is important that we help each other as much as possible because our lives are linked (whether we like it or not).
I bring this up because I think our focus on a “personal” relationship with God sidetracks us from what God has really called us to be—a covenant people. Leon Morris in The Atonement wrote:
It mattered intensely to Old Testament Israel that the nation was in covenant relationship with the one and only God. All its thinking and living revolved around this fact (p. 22).
Sure Israel is not a great example of covenant faithfulness, but I still have to wonder what the church would be like if our thinking and living revolved around the reality that we are in a covenant relationship with God.
Should this reality (being in a covenant relationship with God) change our thinking and the way we “do church”?