In his book, Triumphing Over Sinful Fear, John Flavel writes,
“The first rule for relieving slavish fear is to consider seriously and study thoroughly the covenant of grace in which all believers stand. A clear understanding of the covenant’s nature, extent, and stability, along with our interest in it, will go a long way to cure our sinful and slavish fear.” (p.63)
That quote is found in the chapter entitled “Remedies for Sinful Fear.” In that chapter Flavel discusses no less than 12 different remedies for sinful fear, including things like confirming your interest in Christ (seeking assurance), keeping your conscience pure, recording your experience’s of God’s past faithfulness (journaling!), and considering the providential rule of Christ over all things.
But what is the very first remedy that Flavel suggests? Serious consideration and thorough study of the covenant of grace! He goes on to remind us about what a covenant is:
“A covenant is more than a naked promise. In the covenant, God has graciously considered our fears, doubts, and weaknesses; therefore, He proceeds with us in the highest way of solemnity, confirming His promises by way of oath (Heb. 6:13, 17) and seals (Romans 6:11). He places Himself under the most solemn ties and engagements to His people so that we might take strong comfort from so firm a ratification of the covenant (Hebrews 6:18).” (p.63-64)
A covenant is more than just a promise. The promise of God is sure. But by His grace He gives us even more than that – He gives us a guarantee of His promise to us in Christ by way of an oath!