I heard the terms “covenant community” and “covenant relationship” long before I really understood what they meant. Even now I don’t understand in full, but what I have begun to understand has totally changed my view on how God wants me to live. Especially how He desires that I treat His children.
You see what I am beginning to understand is that when I became a follower of Christ I entered into a Covenant with God. In the Old Testament every time there was a covenant made between two parties it required the sacrifice of animals. The animals would be cut in half, laid opposite of one another, and the two making the covenant would pass through the flesh. Both parties knew that if either of them broke their part of the covenant God would do to them what was done to the animals. God takes the making of a covenant very serious, it’s not something to be entered into lightly.
When Christ came to earth He was sacrificed for our sins and we symbolically “pass through” the sacrificed body of Christ into a covenant relationship with God. Christ was the blood that was poured out for our sins. When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins we “pass through” His flesh to God and enter into an covenant with God.
When you begin to understand the responsibilities of a covenant partner it is both amazing and sobering. As a covenant partner with Christ it means that my enemies are His enemies and His enemies are mine. Covenant partners protect one another – they have each other’s back. In covenant with Christ He exchanges our robe of filth with His robe of righteousness. We become one in the spirit.
Remember in Acts 9:4 where Jesus confronts Saul and says to him. “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” Saul was persecuting Jesus because He was persecuting believers who He was in covenant with. In a covenant relationship what my enemy does to me he does to God also.
So let us take this one step further. In a Christian community believers are in covenant with Christ and one another. So if I mistreat, gossip, or criticize another believer then I am doing those very things to God. When my actions are decisive in the church and my words or actions are causing strife I am sinning against God. If I speak lies and spread rumors against my brothers and sisters, I lie against Christ.
It’s a sobering thought, a painful, heart wrenching thought. I now realize all those things I have thought, done or how I might have treated another believer I have done to Christ!
Oh may God forgive me! May He forgive the CHURCH. Why do we continue to hurt one another? It grieves my heart! Do we not know, do we not understand we hurt Christ when we behave in such a way!
He calls us to love one another deeply…from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22) Love does not lie, gossip, divide, criticize or mistreat one another. This is not the vision Christ gives of how His bride, His church should behave.
How are you treating your fellow believers? Allow God to search your heart. Ask Him to show you those areas where you have sinned against the body, the church. Confess them, then if applicable go to those you may need to ask forgiveness of.
Nothing is more important to God than His church, His children and nothing should be more important to us than making sure our actions and attitudes are becoming of a Child of God. (Phil 1:27, Col 1:10)
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, Eph 4:1