Law and covenant
LAW: The orderly means by which a society enforces its
will. A law not enforced is simply not a law. Based on accumulated experience of
COVENANT: A binding promise in a relationship between
individuals and groups. It has far-reaching effects on behavior and attitudes.
Based on loyalty and love in future.
In both cases, where there is no relationship, there is no
obligation -- and no security.
(A) PURPOSE: Law/to regulate existing relationships by orderly
means; Covenant/to create new relationships (ie marriage).
(B) PENALTY: Law/punishment defined by and administered by
society's means (police/military); Covenant/punishment and reward meted out by
(C) NORMS: Law/formal rules defined by society;
Covenant/precepts and principles developed by God.
(D) BINDING: Law/by enactment of legitimate social power,
regardless of individual's attitude; Covenant/by voluntary commitment of
individual (ie baptism).
(E) VALIDITY: Law/territorially bound, not valid beyond
territory; Covenant/unlimited, bound to the individual wherever he might
(F) TIME REFERENCE: Law/past; does not operate until a
violation has taken place; may deter bad behavior; Covenant/ future; a solemn
promise concerning future behavior.
"The primary function of any political system is to secure and
maintain its own power... All that any legal system in normal human society can
expect to do is to secure its own continuity by maintaining a delicate balance
between conflicting interests."
"It is clear that in Biblical usage love is first of all a
label for the fact that persons have established and continue to maintain
personal relationships with others, in which the concern for the wellbeing of
the other is recognized as an obligation that takes precedence over other
concerns such as the exercise of power or profiting at the other's
(Adapted from NZ)