COVENANT OF PROMISE
The Greek word translated covenant in the New Testament is diatheke. It primarily signifies a disposition of property by will or otherwise. The New Testament is not a covenant of law but of promise. Rather than a mutual agreement between two parties, each obligating himselfto certain stipulations, a covenant of promise signifies for the most part an obligation undertaken by a single party to another absent of demand for reciprocal obligation. Jesus has entered into such covenant with those that believe in Him. And such is the covenant we should have with one another: helping without demanding help; loving without demanding love; doing unto another without demanding any reciprocal action beyond their receiving. Our covenant response to the need of another should be as our Lord’s to His children: Provided!
Not that a covenant of promise is without terms. Even the initial entry into the New Covenant with our Lord Jesus is prefaced with the stipulation of our believing. As well, each successive covenant promise is obtained by terms kept, but not demands made. It is our choice. Keep the terms and receive. Decline the terms if we desire. God still loves us and the promise is still ours- provided and waiting.....
When Abraham met Melchizedec, he paid tithes to him and was blessed of him as one who had the promises (Heb 7). That blessing of Abraham is described in this way: And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater (Heb 7:7 NIV). Melchizedec, in blessing Abraham prefigured the King-Priest ministry of Jesus Christ, and blessed with Abraham was his posterity, of which we, being believers, are a part. We, being Abraham’s seed and the lesser, are still blessed of the greater, the Lord Jesus Christ. And so it is that we, having entered covenant together in becoming one bread and one body (1 Cor 10:17), as that one body should bless the individual member: the less being blessed of the greater.
Jesus is greater than we who believe into Him. He blesses us, individually and corporately, as the greater one blessing the lesser. He covenants with us by promise, not demanding anything of us, but inviting us to meet the terms of the covenant and receive the blessing. So also is the covenant of church membership to the believing member.
The membership is greater (stronger) than the member and therefore makes promise of blessing to the lesser. The burden of keeping covenant promises is upon the membership. The terms of blessing written in the covenant are not demanding, but inviting upon the member to receive the promise. There is no law upon the individual or threat breathed for its breach, only promises made and terms communicated. The lesser is blessed of the greater, but only by promise and not by constraint or contractual laws. The lesser is free to receive or reject what is offered with impunity. His only loss in his declining is the promise while his certain gain in accepting is the promised blessing of the greater.