A voluntary yet legally binding agreement, between two or more responsible parties, when signed with each party agreeing to various obligations. Those involved agreed to fulfill what they have pledged. In the business world, such documents are common and often include penalties for a breach of contract. During a marriage ceremony, both groom and bride say their wedding vows – promises made to their spouse relating to their commitment for their future life together. With a contract, if one agreeing party does something in violation of the contract then it is considered broken, becoming null and void. The signers of a contract agree to hold up their ends as long as the other signatories hold up to theirs.
In contrast, a covenant is where both parties agree to honour their part of the agreement regardless of the other party keeping theirs. God is a covenant-keeping God (Deut 7:9; Neh 1:5; Dan 9:4). As believers we should always be faithful to honour our word and keep our promises, even if there is not an official contract in place (Gen 21:22-28; Num 30:2; Gal 3:15).
See also: agreement, deals, covenant, marriage, promise, vow.