“…let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant…” (Jeremiah 50:5).
The Bible records a procession of covenants. Although some covenants are of divine origin, meaning God made them with mankind, others are those which men made with each other for various reasons. Those covenants which God made with men are also for specific reasons. These were made with a divine intent and purpose in the mind of God. Every word of those covenants, which God made, is His. Man has only to accept the words of God in these covenants, or reject them and forfeit the sacred blessings that belong to each covenant. Therefore, it is seen throughout the entire biblical text that “covenant relationship” is a predominant theme which has been established by God.
There are no less than seven major covenants listed in the Old Testament that are recognized by the majority of Bible scholars. These covenants are as follows: the Edenic Covenant (Genesis 1:26-31), the Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3), the Noahic Covenant (Genesis chapters 6-9), the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3), the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19:1-8, Exodus 24:1-7), the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7-10-17, 1 Chronicles 17:1-15), and the Covenant of our Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:8, Matthew 26:26-29, Luke 22:19, 20). One must also remember that the words “covenant” and “testimony” are interchangeable.
While the above seven covenants are recognized by biblical scholars, there is yet another covenant that has been sorely overlooked by the majority of these supposed scholars or theologians; this being the covenant that one takes to become a member of the Body of Christ — The Church of God. Although the Word of God does not plainly state, in so many words, that there is a special covenant which one takes to become a member of the Body of Christ, all its properties lie securely within the pages of the Sacred Text. This covenant is the only one that a person can take or affirm their word to in order to become a member of the Body of Christ.
Although the exact framing of the words of this covenant cannot be found in the inspired Word of God, the words of this covenant do rest securely upon all the divinely inspired principles of the Holy Scriptures in both the Old and New testaments. The New Testament does not give the specific wording of a Church covenant. It does not even say, in so many words, that the early Church Apostles and Elders used a formal word covenant to join members to themselves as the Body of Christ. However, there are several points of vital interest that must be considered. Some of these are the facts that the New Testament does give a definite doctrine of covenant, there are certain Bible standards for Church membership, the Bible gives the Church the authority to govern itself under the theocracy of God, and Jesus, Himself, gave the Church the authority to discipline unruly members and even withdraw fellowship from them when necessary. Therefore, a covenant is presupposed.
In keeping with this doctrine, and with the scriptural authority, The Church of God has established, through long usage, a simple but straight-forward obligation known as the word covenant for applicants seeking membership in The Church of God. Only by the illumination of the Holy Ghost can an individual receive spiritual light and revelation knowledge concerning the Biblical vision of the Body of Christ and the need to become a member.
“Will you sincerely promise in the presence of God and these witnesses that you will accept this Bible as the Word of God – believe and practice its teachings rightly divided – the New Testament as your rule of faith and practice, government and discipline, and walk in the light to the best of your knowledge and ability?”Church Membership Covenant
The criteria for Church membership are simply this: 1) the individual must be saved; 2) and he or she must be willing to walk in the light of the Word of God as God shines His light on their pathway. God will only give a person light according to his knowledge and ability to receive and respond to it.
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