Recently, two baseball players spent weeks negotiating with every major league baseball team until they found the best contract. The highest agreed-upon contract was for one of the players to receive $330,000,000.00 (330 Million) to play baseball for the next 13 years.
These contracts were studied and carefully worded by high-priced attorneys. The documents were critical in protecting the interests of both sides and ensuring the terms would be honored by both sides. This is the purpose of contracts, to (supposedly) legally bind people to keep their word in meeting the terms of their agreements.
However, there is a chance that this contract, like many contracts, will not be fully honored. We see this in the sports world all the time. A player decides their value has increased, so they refuse to play until they receive more money or different terms. Conversely, teams will try to find loopholes in the contract if the player under-performs their anticipated level of excellence.
Contracts may have some value, but they are woefully inadequate to ensure commitments will be kept. This occurs because contracts are based on the external restraints of contract law.
God does not enter into contracts, He enters into covenants. The difference between contracts and covenants is that covenants are based on internal restraints of people, or their character and integrity. Covenants are also binding regardless of the faithfulness of the other party.
God established covenants throughout the Old Testament, and Jesus initiated a new covenant as well. In every case, the covenant was based not on external restraints, but on the character and integrity of God. Therefore, even when we did not (and do not) keep the covenant, God has and will keep His end of the covenant. Even when we are faithless, God remains faithful.
The world lives by contracts, but God calls us into a covenant.
In order for covenants to be effective, there is need for virtue and grace, which are more powerful than external forces. We must live in covenant with God, and live out that covenant in our relationships with one another.