The source of loyalty: what every relationship needs

One of my favorite words in the Bible is the Hebrew word, “hesed,” or “Chesed.” Probably one reason I like it is the fact that it is a very nuanced word that can’t be translated into English with a single word. It is translated variously in different translations and different contexts as “lovingkindness,” “steadfast love,” “mercy,” “faithfulness,” “loyalty,” “love,” “goodness,” and “covenant faithfulness” or “covenant love.”

Of all the translations, I have a special affinity for the “covenant love” or “covenant faithfulness” translations. The inclusion of covenant into the word clarifies the fact that God’s love and faithfulness are related to his covenant. It is not a vascilating emotion but a commitment to the object of his love that is founded on a covenant.

Before the beginning, before any creation had taken place, hesed was already a part of God’s makeup. Hesed, covenant love, requires multiple parties to exist. This is an interesting argument for the eternal Trinity. How could God have covenant love if there were no other participants in a covenant? If God were in fact alone, covenant love would be precluded. But, since God is a three-in-one being, it is perfectly easy for there to exist covenant among the persons of the three-in-one Godhead.

The pattern of all created things is found in the creator. All human virtues which we hold in high esteem find their origins in the Creator. Loyalty is one of those positive virtues we all appreciate even though in all honesty the most loyal of us practices loyalty imperfectly. The pattern of perfect loyalty is found in the triune God. Covenant faithfulness within the Godhead is perfect therefore his steadfast love endures forever. That is how secure our salvation is and how solid the promise of a new heaven and new earth is. We will not be forever stuck with this imperfect world.

Have you thought before about God being a community? That is, our one God in three persons has always loved? Has always been loyal. What do you think about this?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jeff Adams

    Excellent word. And that one—chesed—is my favorite. More than any other it describes God character and nature. Moreover, it describes our covenant, the current covenant, the one God made with himself that supersedes all other former and inferior covenants.

    • Thanks, Jeff. What excites me is the fact that the covenant God made among the trinity was made “before the beginning.” And it is foundational to the subsequent covenants made in time.