The Old Testament explains how God offers humanity reconciliation—that is, how He offers to bring the human race back into a personal relationship with Himself. It was through a covenant, an agreement, called a “blood covenant.”
We still see the effects of the concept today. No matter where we turn, we find that virtually every nation, tribe and tongue has some sort of understanding of the value of such an agreement, especially the seriousness of putting your life on the line should you fail that agreement. Today, street gangs know the meaning well in their statement, “Blood in, blood out.” In other words, “Don’t mess with our agreement; it could cost you your life.”
Many people have understood it, although vaguely, in making a small cut in a finger and then rubbing that blood together with the blood of a friend’s finger. It was to say that they, in all seriousness, would be friends forever. It was a mark to remind them of their commitment to each other.
In the same way, God has ordained a mark as a reminder of our covenant with Him. In the Old Testament, that mark was circumcision of the flesh. It was the cutting away of the foreskin of the male anatomy. In the New Testament, it is a bit different but achieves the same purpose. It is circumcision of the heart.
God said from the beginning that the circumcision He desires is that of the inward man, the heart. While Israel’s physical obedience in circumcision often brought them great victories over their enemies, the real issue was—and still is—heart obedience. Circumcision of the heart involves laying down rebellion against God through a broken and contrite heart: “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest My fury come forth like fire, and burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings” (Jer. 4:4). And, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51:17).
Most of us may fail to understand that when we said yes to God, it involved a deep aspect of the heart, a humility that spoke of cooperating with Him for our redemption. Some can’t do this because they are not yet ready for such a commitment. Consequently, they remain in rebellion even if it is not seen or recognized outwardly. Think about it: A humble heart is agreeing to let God be God in our lives. That’s big—very big. And in reality, it is so very big because it is a blood covenant that God is asking for, one we sign when our hearts are broken before Him.
Covenanting with God ties us so tightly to Himself that it is impossible for Him to forsake us. This refers to the promises of God. He won’t break them because He said He would not, and that only because of our covenant with Him. That and that alone gives great confidence when the enemy comes calling and suggests that at some future point we will fail in such a way that God will turn His back on us. Can’t happen. Won’t happen. Never has happened. Never will happen. Why? Because our covenant with Him is in blood.
When faced with enemy accusations, the surest way to overcome is to know our relationship with God through Jesus. That means knowing the nature of a blood covenant.
As circumcision in the Old Testament was the sign of the covenant, a Christian is easily recognized by his or her heart change. Their hearts pounds with God’s love that flows over those around them.
Ray Beeson is the founder of Overcomer Ministries, a teaching ministry with a special emphasis on spiritual warfare and prayer. He is the author of numerous books, including his latest, Signed in His Blood, which releases March 4.