About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Church - A Covenant Community

A covenant is an agreement whereby two or more people consent to facilitate the stipulated obligations of the agreement.  It was in the late 1970's when I first understood that church is a covenant community.  It was in 1982 and again in 1996 when I encountered abuses of the covenantal nature of church.  In both situations I was asked to make a covenant, as defined above, with certain Christians, but I protested.  Even though church is a covenant community, it's not a community where its participants engage in covenant making with each other.


Like the Abrahamic Covenant of old, the New Covenant of Christ is an agreement between God and Himself whereby He promised to bless the recipients of the covenant with certain stated blessings.  Also like the Abrahamic Covenant, a Christian does not make a covenant with God or others, and, he does not participate in its ratification.  He simply trusts God to keep His covenantal promises as he enters a covenantal relationship with Jesus as the characteristics of the covenant are experienced among fellow believers. 


The concept of a covenant community is seen at the Last Supper, which in itself was a covenant meal.  Luke 22:20 reads:


"In the same way he [Jesus] also took the cup after supper and said, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'"


We often think the sharing of the cup and loaf by Jesus among the Twelve was a symbolic prediction of the New Covenant's ratification upon the death of Jesus.  It was that, but it was more.  When Jesus shared the cup and loaf, elements signifying Himself, I believe He was inviting those men to share in His very life, which was eventually realized when the Spirit of Jesus entered their being, as seen in Acts 2.  

It was then, that the Twelve's, and those with them, entrance into a covenantal relationship with Jesus was fully realized, resulting in them becoming recipients of the New Covenant. 


By virtue of the fact that these people had all been immersed into the same Holy Spirit, they automatically entered into a covenantal relationship with each other, as I believe is implied in 1 Corinthians 12:13.              


"For we were all baptized [immersed] by one Spirit so as to form one body — whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."


According to 1 Corinthians 12:13, when Jesus shared His life with me through the reception of His Spirit into my life, I was also immersed into the lives of other beneficiaries of the New Covenant.  It is there where the love, loyalty, and all characteristics of the New Covenant have been experienced in my life.      


The New Covenant is an agreement between God and Jesus whereby they consented to facilitate the stated blessings of the agreement to those who would enter a covenantal relationship with them.  Like Abraham in the Old Testament and the Twelve at the Last Supper, I did not make a covenant with Jesus or with any fellow believer, except that is, with my believing wife.  I simply trusted Jesus to fulfill His covenantal promises as I, along with others, joined the covenantal circle of Father, Son, Spirit, in the Covenantal Community of Christ. 

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