Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.
We have seen this verse in some of the commentaries when looking at the love of God … what it truly means … and that it is a promise to those who love God. We find the phrase “covenant of love” used here and it is found several times in the Old Testament. If we look at the definition of covenant, we will find the following thoughts: A formal, solemn, and binding agreement; a written agreement or promise; an accord; an alliance; a compact; a treaty; and so forth. From these concepts we can better understand that the love of God is a binding agreement He has made with us … a holy oath or promise to those who love Him. Notice the next sentence states, “He is a faithful God.” So we see that the concept of faithfulness is connected with the terms: binding, oath, and promise. To be faithful means you will do what you have promised to do. So God has vowed to love those who love Him and keep His commandments. And this verse is quoted in Exodus 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:10; and Daniel 9:4.
What is the implication or application of this passage? Well, my first thought was the statement Jesus made in John 14:15: “If you love me, keep my commands.” You will find similar language used in John 14:21 and John 15:10. Our love for God is demonstrated through our obedience to His commandments. So it makes sense that our promise in this relationship … our covenant with Him … is to keep His commandments. In essence, the agreement between the two parties bound by this covenant is “to love one another”. God demonstrates His own love to us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Cf. Romans 5:8) Yes, His love is the free gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ! We demonstrate our love to Him in this: Keeping His commandments … and His commands are not burdensome. (Cf. 1 John 5:3)
From John 3:16 we know: God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son … but His “covenant of love” is with those who love Him and keep His commandments. In a similar fashion, God so loved the world … but only those who believe in Jesus will not perish. I think there is a differentiation that needs to be examined here. The love of God is unconditional … but the blessings of His love are conditional upon our responses. His love is not binding on someone who does not love Him … anymore than eternal life is given to those who do not believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. In other words, our response to Jesus determines our right to become children of God; His atonement and salvation; our eternal life; and whether God is bound by oath to grant these promises to us. Remember, a covenant (binding agreement) is between two parties. God is faithful to us. The question is whether we are faithful to Him. So I dare each of us to be faithful to God and see what happens….