Que quiere decir un pacto con Dios?

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Según el libro de Oración Común en la sección del catecismo dice que: Un pacto con Dios iniciada por El, a la que un pueblo responde por fe”.

PACTO.- Tratado, alianza o acuerdo entre dos partes de igual o desigual autoridad; pactos de Dios con individuos y con la nación de Israel que hallan cumplimiento final en el Nuevo Pacto de Cristo Jesús.

Un importante tema dentro de las Sagradas Escrituras es la Gracia de Dios hacia su pueblo en los pactos que El inicio. Noé recibió el primer pacto de Dios (Gn.9:9-17) un juramento divino, una promesa que no repetiría el diluvio. Este pacto no requirió ninguna respuesta humana. El arco iris permanece eternamente como señal de la promesa de Dios. Dios estableció la relación de pacto antes del diluvio (Gn.6:18). Ni las catástrofes naturales ni el pecado humano pueden evitar que para Dios la vida siga siendo prioridad.

Dios hizo su segundo pacto con Abraham (Gn.15:18, 17:2), nuevamente con promesas divinas y sin demandar obediencia humana. Dios prometió darles la tierra de Canaán a los descendientes de Abraham. Como símbolo se esta promesa hubo una antigua ceremonia (Jr.34) en la que se cortaron animales y los participantes del pacto pasaron en medio de ellos. Por lo general, ambas partes de un pacto humano juraban que se respetarían las condiciones del pacto o tendrían el mismo destino que los animales cortados. Para Abraham, el rito se convirtió en un sacrificio a Dios y en una señal de su devoción, (Gn.15:11).

Génesis 17 muestra el inicio de la circuncisión como señal del pacto. La promesa del pacto de Dios con Abraham y la introducción de la circuncisión incluyen que Dios está escogiendo a los descendientes de Abraham para ser su pueblo.

La redención de la esclavitud de Egipto halló su clímax en el pacto de Dios con Israel, donde se declaraba la salvación divina (Ex.19:4). El juramento no vino de Dios sino del pueblo. El Mandamiento era “si diereis oído a mi voz y guardareis mi pacto”. La ley del pacto fue revelada al pueblo de Dios como las responsabilidades del pueblo en ese pacto con Dios. Israel acepto esta responsabilidad en una ceremonia solemne (Ex.24:3-8). El pacto con Jehová significaba que Israel no podía hacer pactos con otros dioses (Ex.23:32) y la promesa de cumplir con los mandamientos (Ex.34:27-28).

El pacto de Dios con Abraham y con Israel llego a su apogeo en el pacto divino con David (2S.23:5). El hijo de David, el rey Salomón, marco el camino de la violación del pacto ya que adoro a otros dioses y estableció un modelo que Israel siguió través de toda su historia (1R.11:12-13).

Dios tenía un “pacto sempiterno” con la tierra (Is.24:5). Evidentes reglas morales universales conforman las expectativas de Dios para las personas, pero los seres humanos desobedecieron estas reglas básicas y consecuentemente dieron lugar a las maldiciones divinas del pacto (Am.1:1-2:8). Por amor a las naciones, Dios extendió su pacto con David. Todo Israel cumpliría el rol de David y haría que todas las naciones acudieran a Jerusalén para ver la gloria de Dios (Is.55:1-5). El perdón seria la característica de la relación entre Dios y el pueblo del nuevo pacto. La predicación de Jeremías sobre el nuevo pacto llego hasta el pacto con David (Jr.33:19-26).

Zacarías prometió que los exiliados regresarían a Jerusalén porque Dios seria fiel al pacto de sangre que había hecho con Moisés (Ex. 24). En el Antiguo testamento las referencias al pacto concluyen en Mal.3:1, con el anuncio divino de la llegada del mensajero del pacto que venía en representación de Dios. Esto demostraba que el pacto no es algo del pasado.

El Nuevo Testamento transformo el “pacto” en “Testamento”. Este era un documento con fuerza legal que realizaba una persona para asegurar que a su muerte sus bienes se repartirían de manera apropiada (Ga.3:15).

El Evangelio del nuevo testamento cumplió el pacto del Antiguo testamento (Lc.1:72, Hch.3:25). Jesús uso la ultima cena para interpretar su ministerio, y especialmente su muerte, como el cumplimiento de la profecía del nuevo pacto de Jeremías. En la última cena, los discípulos bebieron la sangre del nuevo pacto, que recordaba la muerte de Cristo como sacrificio por los pecados (Mt.26:28; Mr.14:24; Lc.22:20).

Pablo fue un ministro del nuevo pacto (2Co.3:6). El afirmo que con la venida de Cristo y el consiguiente rechazo de Israel, Dios siguió teniendo un pacto para salvar a su pueblo (Ro.11:27).

En el Nuevo Testamento, solo hebreos hace del pacto un tema teológico central con énfasis en Jesús, el perfecto sumo sacerdote que proporciona un pacto nuevo, mejor y superior (He.7:22). El valor del pacto está condicionado por la calidad y el poder de aquel a quien Dios establece como mediador. Por tanto, el nuevo pacto es el mejor, ya que solo existe en función de Cristo Resucitado. Desde ahora los que creen en Jesús están en paz con Dios, y participan del don del Espíritu que es el vínculo del pacto.

Las dos grandes partes de la Escritura se apoya en el acto de Gracia Divina al redimir a su pueblo y hacer un pacto con ellos, mostrándoles las condiciones que también reflejan la Gracia Divina porque son precisamente lo que necesitan los ciudadanos del Reino de Dios.

What does it mean to be in Covenant with God?

According to the catechism found in the Book of Common Prayer, a covenant with God is initiated by him, to which a people responds in faith.

COVENANT - treaty, alliance or agreement between two parties of equal or unequal authority; God's covenant with His chosen people Israel and to the Church find’s its ultimate fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ. An important theme found throughout Scripture, is God's grace towards His people by way of covenant. First covenant the LORD established was with Noah (Gen.9: 9-17), which was a divine oath, a promise not to repeat the flood. Unique of this covenant was that there was not required a human response in this covenant. The rainbow becomes a sign of God's promise and faithfulness. It brings into light the LORD’s faithfulness and priority of life and his creation even if human sin and unfaithfulness will continue.

God made a second covenant with Abraham (Gen.15: 18; 17: 2), again with divine promises and without demanding human response. God promised to give the land of the Canaanites to the descendants of Abraham. As a symbol to this promise there was an ancient ceremony (Jer. 34) in which participants made pacts among them. Usually both sides of a human covenant, conditions would be sworn between the two entering the covenant. For Abraham, the ritual became a sacrifice to God and a sign of Abraham’s devotion to God. (Gen. 15:11).

Genesis 17 shows the beginning of circumcision as a sign of the covenant. The promise of God's covenant with Abraham and the introduction of circumcision include that God is choosing the descendants of Abraham to be His people. The liberation from slavery in Egypt of the Hebrews, God’s chosen people, found its climax in God's covenant with them, where divine salvation (Ex.19: 4) was declared. In this covenant, an oath was taken from the former slaves to become God’s people by following His Law given to Moses. The law was revealed to the people of God as the responsibilities of the people in that covenant with God. Israel accepted this responsibility in a solemn ceremony (Ex.24:3-8). The covenant with the Lord meant that Israel could not make pacts with other gods (Ex.23:32) and promise to keep the commandments (Ex.34:27-28). In doing so by their obedience they were to show the goodness of God to the rest of the world. However, as we see through the history of Israel, although God always kept faithful to the covenant, the people of Israel were not able to keep faithful.

God's covenant with Abraham and Israel reached its apogee in the covenant with David (2 Sam.23:5). David's son, King Solomon, continuing the path of the violation of the covenant because of his worship of other gods, established a model that became a downward spiral that Israel followed as well. (1 Kgs.11: 12-13). We see this downward spiral and disobedience of Israel in the writings of the prophets. God's expectations for His people Israel, there disobedience of the covenant led them to suffer the consequences and curses that came for not remaining faithful (Am.1:1-2: 8) as well as leading to their losing of their land to other nations. However among the prophets there is also a sign of hope. In Isaiah we hear of "everlasting covenant" through the earth and to all nations (Isa.24:5). And that all nations would come to Jerusalem to see the glory of God (Isa. 55: 1-5). Jeremiah preached about a new covenant (Jer.33: 19-26). 

Zechariah promised that exiled Israel would return to the Promised land because of God’s faithfulness and mercy. In the Old Testament references to the a new covenant can be found in Malachi 3:1, with the divine announcement of the arrival of the messenger of the covenant that will come on behalf of God. This showed that the covenant is not something of the past but will continue into the future. Forgiveness and mercy to not just Israel but to all nations becomes characteristic in the writings of the prophets. The good news of the Gospel is that we begin to see the realization of the promises of God that the prophets of the Old Testament wrote. Jesus used the last supper to interpret his ministry, and especially his death, as fulfillment of the prophecy of the new covenant of Jeremiah. At the last supper, the disciples drank the blood of the new covenant, remembering Christ's death as a sacrifice for the sins (Mt.26:28; Mk.14:24; Lk.22:20). 

Paul was a minister of the new covenant (2 Cor.3:6). He noted that with the coming of Christ and the new covenant had now drafted in all nations to become his people.

In the New Testament, Hebrews makes the covenant a central theological theme with an emphasis on Jesus, the perfect high priest that provides a new, better and superior covenant (Heb.7:22). And points to Jesus as the mediator between the God and his people. Therefore, the new covenant is the best, since it only exists in the Risen Christ. From now on those who believe in Jesus the mediator, become once again in communion with God, and through the gift of the Spirit we are a renewed people with a new heart, willing through love to be faithful to God, which covenant was meant to do. Two key themes within scripture is God’s act of divine grace towards redeeming his people and making covenant with His people. The covenants throughout scripture show us who God is and his faithfulness towards humanity as well as our need to respond in faithfulness as citizens of God’s Kingdom.

 

The Rev. Deacon Juana Lara

Iglesia Episcopal San Francisco de Asís

11540 Ferguson Rd.

Dallas. TX 75228

(972) 279-6501

 

 

What Does the Resurrection of the Body Mean?

As Christians, we profess a hope in the resurrection that is to come at the end of times, in the second coming of Christ, in the moment in which heaven descends to creation and all of creation is made new through the unity of heaven and earth. But what does all of that mean to us - those that are living in this “in between time” of Christ’s resurrection and the “Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory?”[1] The real trick of the question before us is to try to seek a deeper understanding of what it might mean to anchor all of our belief and identity in the witness of the New Testament while also striving to reflect the truth and the promise of the Gospel in the embodied life, in the here and now.

The struggle with anchoring our being, the entirety of the self, in the witness of the New Testament is to accept that we cannot define our identity independently of each other or of our relationship with God. The struggle is to recognize that we must first let go in order to experience resurrection in the here and now while awaiting that final resurrection in the day that Christ comes to us again in power and glory. In our letting go, we are recognizing that we are not able to possess anything but must give all that we have away in our own attempts to mirror the mercy that Christ made apparent on the Cross. The resurrection of the body, and the meaning of that promise, is found, first and foremost, in the embodied life. The meaning of the bodily resurrection is found in the moment that we let go of our attempts to construct our own identity outside of the identity gifted to us by God, and it becomes real to us in this life when we are able to find the courage to let go of the possession of self-identity and to begin claiming the identity that comes from God as pure gift.[2] It is in that moment that we begin to live into the new creation made real in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. It is in that moment that we begin to understand that the bodily resurrection has everything to do with how we strive to reflect the mercy of God in the ways that we live in the world.

In a poignant essay about resurrection and peace, Rowan Williams wrote, “The gospel of the resurrection proposes that ‘possession’ is precisely the wrong, the corrupt and corrupting, metaphor for our finding place in the world. What we possess must go; we must learn to be what we receive from God in the vulnerability of living in (not above) the world of change and chance.”[3] To even strive towards that lofty goal requires the courage of Christ as he walked toward the Cross, and it requires the courage of embodying the compassion of Christ in our own lives. To strive towards letting go of our possession is to strive towards rooting our identity in the truth that we find in the New Testament. Our striving towards that goal is to allow the Spirit of God to bear “witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:16 NRSV)” It is in our living according to the identify gifted to us by God in the world of change and chance that we suffer with Christ and will ultimately be glorified with Christ.

The resurrection of the body, then, begins with our understanding that we must live into the gift of identity gifted to us by God, and the resurrection of the body, of the entire body of Christ, is the moment in which we join the angels and archangels in singing the praise of God, Father, Son, and Spirit precisely because we attempt to live into that identity. The identity gifted to us in our creation - both as individual persons and as Eucharistic communities within the Body of Christ - is precisely what gives us hope in the time that comes before and after death. The good that is found in the persons of the triune God consumes us and welcomes us back into that same goodness out of which we are created. By living into the good, we are consummated, completed in who we are to be, and it is in the good made known by God the Father through God the Son in the sending of God the Spirit that we are to strive towards in our daily living. It is that good that we are called to orient our lives in the world of chance, and it is that good which claims us and gives us life even after death.[4]

The meaning of the bodily resurrection is found not only in the hope for the day that Christ returns but also in the realities of living in the world of chance. In the world of chance, we can strive to share the compassion of Christ with all that we meet, and we can strive towards the one good by finding our being, our identity in God.   The life that is lived in God is the life that will continue beyond the limits of death and sin, and it is the eternal life that is the Christian hope.[5]   Just as the Holy Scriptures attest to God’s faithfulness across the arch of the Biblical narrative, the life eternal is another way of affirming God’s faithfulness even beyond the reality of death - death for an individual person and death to creation. Eternal life is the promise that God will continue to give to us life in the places in which we might think that it is not possible, and eternal life is affirming the promise that when the world does come to an end, when Christ returns in power and glory, and when the circle of creation is completed, we will find our alpha in the omega.[6] The end will be the beginning, and we will be “set free from all the constraints and limits that keep men and women at a distance from God and from each other.”[7]

 

[1] Mark 13:26 NRSV

[2] Rowan Williams, “Resurrection and Peace: More on New Testament Ethics” in On Christian Theology (challenges in Contemporary Theology) (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999), p. 270.

[3] Williams, “Resurrection and Peace”, p. 273-274.

[4] Kathryn Tanner, “The End” in Jesus, Humanity and the Trinity: A Brief Systematic Theology (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, 2001), p.108.

[5] Tanner, p. 109.

[6] Tanner, p. 110.

[7] Rowan Williams, “Risen Indeed” in A Ray of Darkness: Sermons and Reflections (Cambridge, MA: Cowley Publications,U.S., 1995), p. 57.

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