Abrahamic covenant????

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S. Spence

Puritan Board Freshman
I’ve been re-working my way through covenant theology again and I would like to ask what seems on the face of it a very simple question.

Was there a mediator of the Abrahamic covenant?

Gal 3 v17-20 seems to indicate that this covenant was without a mediator whilst Moses was the mediator of the covenant at Sinai.

The reason I ask is because I think credo-baptists might be able to make the argument that one could be in the Abrahamic Covenant and receive the sign of the covenant and yet remain unregenerate, however as the New Covenant (NC) has Christ as its mediator only those who come under His mediation should be included in the covenant and so receive the sign of the covenant. Can we say that Christ was the mediator of the Abrahamic covenant as well?

From my own point of view I really see the NC as a fuller expression of the Abrahamic covenant; it’s newness comes from that fact that Christ has come and so I believe the seed of believers are included in this covenant as well. Having said that I really would appreciate it if someone could help with the above question.

Thanks.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The Abrahamic Cov. is the Covenant of Grace. Jesus is the Mediator of that Covenant. Because God (in Christ) appears to deal directly with Abraham (speaking directly to him, passing through the pieces of animals) there is a sense that one might get that Abraham needed no mediator at all. But these facts need to be reconciled with the reality that God's self-disclosure is always through Christ. We ourselves commune through the unique God-man, directly AND through a Mediator all at once. And so too is Abraham's communion.

Moses stands as mediator of the Siniatic Covenant, in its legal and administrative aspect, principally as a type of Christ, inasmuch as the substance even of that covenant was the Covenant of Grace. As the law itself reflects the Covenant of Works, Moses then stands typically in contrast to Christ.
 

S. Spence

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks Rev. Buchanan,

I was thinking along similar lines - there is but one Covenant of Grace under different administrations but somehow I had managed to get myself confused.

Thanks again.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I would like to have some input and add some questions here based upon a look at Genesis 17 and Romans 4. But I have been sick the last few days. I will say that I do not believe the Abrahamic is strickly the Covenant of Grace. But I don't have the mental powers or fortitude to partake yet. Give me a few days to recover. I have been running a fever the last few days. While you asking who is the mediator of the Abrahamic go on to ask who is the mediator of the others. Starting with the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Works. Then move on down to the Noahic, Mosaic, Davidic, and so on.

I do believe the Abrahamic does administer the CofG but it also has elements of the CofW. As does the Mosaic.
 

S. Spence

Puritan Board Freshman
I would like to have some input and add some questions here based upon a look at Genesis 17 and Romans 4. But I have been sick the last few days. I will say that I do not believe the Abrahamic is strickly the Covenant of Grace. But I don't have the mental powers or fortitude to partake yet. Give me a few days to recover. I have been running a fever the last few days. While you asking who is the mediator of the Abrahamic go on to ask who is the mediator of the others. Starting with the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Works. Then move on down to the Noahic, Mosaic, Davidic, and so on.

I do believe the Abrahamic does administer the CofG but it also has elements of the CofW. As does the Mosaic.

This is something I have been thinking about recently.

There are some who would see the Abrahamic covenant as purely gracious or a gospel covenant and the Mosaic as a re-publication of the CoW or a law covenant. As I have been reading through these covenants again I would say I do see them both mixing the elements of law and gospel.

In the Abrahamic Covenant there is no doubt grace is present and yet God reminds Abraham to walk before him and be blameless. In the Mosaic Covenant we see that it is based on the covenant with Abraham but to a large degree it is a, ‘this do and live’ covenant. However would it be correct to say there is more grace than law in the Abrahamic covenant and perhaps a greater emphasis on law than grace in the Mosaic Covenant?
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
As I have been reading through these covenants again I would say I do see them both mixing the elements of law and gospel.

May I suggest you read the links here by David Dickson.

Here is Bavinck:

It is self-evident, therefore, that the covenant of grace will temporarily – in its earthly administration and dispensation – also include those who remain inwardly unbelieving and do not share in the covenant’s benefits. With a view to this reality, Reformed scholars made a distinction between an internal and an external covenant, or between “covenant” and “covenant administration”…” (Reformed Dogmatics, volume 3)

He goes onto say

The covenant of grace is one, and the external and internal sides of it, though on earth they never fully coincide, may not be split apart and placed side by side. Certainly, there are bad branches on the vine, and there is chaff among the wheat; and in a large house, there are vessels of gold as well as vessels of earthenware (Matt. 3:12; 13:29; John 15:2; 2 Tim. 2:20). But we do not have the right and the power to separate the two: in the day of harvest, God himself will do this. As long as – in the judgment of love – they walk in the way of the covenant, they are to be regarded and treated as allies. Though not of the covenant, they are in the covenant and will someday be judged accordingly. Here on earth, they are connected with the elect in all sorts of ways; and the elect themselves, since they are members of the Adamic race, can as an organism only be gathered into on under Christ as their head in the way of the covenant. (Reformed Dogmatics, volume 3)
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I would like to have some input and add some questions here based upon a look at Genesis 17 and Romans 4. But I have been sick the last few days. I will say that I do not believe the Abrahamic is strickly the Covenant of Grace. But I don't have the mental powers or fortitude to partake yet. Give me a few days to recover. I have been running a fever the last few days. While you asking who is the mediator of the Abrahamic go on to ask who is the mediator of the others. Starting with the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Works. Then move on down to the Noahic, Mosaic, Davidic, and so on.

I do believe the Abrahamic does administer the CofG but it also has elements of the CofW. As does the Mosaic.

This is something I have been thinking about recently.

There are some who would see the Abrahamic covenant as purely gracious or a gospel covenant and the Mosaic as a re-publication of the CoW or a law covenant. As I have been reading through these covenants again I would say I do see them both mixing the elements of law and gospel.

In the Abrahamic Covenant there is no doubt grace is present and yet God reminds Abraham to walk before him and be blameless. In the Mosaic Covenant we see that it is based on the covenant with Abraham but to a large degree it is a, ‘this do and live’ covenant. However would it be correct to say there is more grace than law in the Abrahamic covenant and perhaps a greater emphasis on law than grace in the Mosaic Covenant?

John Flavel deals with this issue in his 'Response to Mr. Cary's "Solemn Call"' in volume 6 of his works where he refutes the idea that the covenant of works was re-established.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
John Flavel deals with this issue in his 'Response to Mr. Cary's "Solemn Call"' in volume 6 of his works where he refutes the idea that the covenant of works was re-established.

The CofW was republished at Horeb but not to Abraham!


"God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which He bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it: and endued him with power and ability to keep it. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness, and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables: the four first commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six our duty to man."(WCF, xix. 1&2)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I would like to have some input and add some questions here based upon a look at Genesis 17 and Romans 4. But I have been sick the last few days. I will say that I do not believe the Abrahamic is strickly the Covenant of Grace. But I don't have the mental powers or fortitude to partake yet. Give me a few days to recover. I have been running a fever the last few days. While you asking who is the mediator of the Abrahamic go on to ask who is the mediator of the others. Starting with the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Works. Then move on down to the Noahic, Mosaic, Davidic, and so on.

I do believe the Abrahamic does administer the CofG but it also has elements of the CofW. As does the Mosaic.

And this is, naturally, a big difference between strict Covenant Theology, and CT which (though clearly standing in the stream) has been adjusted as necessary to allow the aqua to water the bed of the baptist garden.

The NT says explicitly that we are heirs of Abraham's covenant, and that in marked contrast to Moses'. One must needs import law into Abraham's covenant in order to make the other case. And that would make hash of Paul's argumentation. Better by far to maintain the distinction of law and grace.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
S. Spence;

Was there a mediator of the Abrahamic covenant?

Didn't Abraham's belief really begin when he believed God would provide an heir, and that all the Nations would be blessed because of that heir?

That heir being Christ to come that He believed in?

Based on that I would think that yes, Christ was the mediator between God and man even then...
 

G.Wetmore

Puritan Board Freshman
I would like to have some input and add some questions here based upon a look at Genesis 17 and Romans 4. But I have been sick the last few days. I will say that I do not believe the Abrahamic is strickly the Covenant of Grace. But I don't have the mental powers or fortitude to partake yet. Give me a few days to recover. I have been running a fever the last few days. While you asking who is the mediator of the Abrahamic go on to ask who is the mediator of the others. Starting with the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Works. Then move on down to the Noahic, Mosaic, Davidic, and so on.

I do believe the Abrahamic does administer the CofG but it also has elements of the CofW. As does the Mosaic.

This is something I have been thinking about recently.

There are some who would see the Abrahamic covenant as purely gracious or a gospel covenant and the Mosaic as a re-publication of the CoW or a law covenant. As I have been reading through these covenants again I would say I do see them both mixing the elements of law and gospel.

In the Abrahamic Covenant there is no doubt grace is present and yet God reminds Abraham to walk before him and be blameless. In the Mosaic Covenant we see that it is based on the covenant with Abraham but to a large degree it is a, ‘this do and live’ covenant. However would it be correct to say there is more grace than law in the Abrahamic covenant and perhaps a greater emphasis on law than grace in the Mosaic Covenant?

The problem in your thinking is the radical disjunction between law and gospel. The Biblical distinction is between guilt and grace, never obedience and faith. You seem to think that the Abrahamic, or Mosaic, covenant is not completely a part of the cov of grace, because demands were put upon them. But then you must be forced to think the same thing of the New Covenant, for it places demands upon us. Consider these words of Jesus, and think if you ought not rethink your radical formulation of law/gospel antithesis.

Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Matt. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?
Matt. 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matt. 7:24 Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house upon the rock:
Matt. 7:25 and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and if fell not: for it was founded upon the rock.
Matt. 7:26 And every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand:
Matt. 7:27 and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and smote upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall thereof.

Clearly here Christ teaches that those who will be saved are those that hear his words and doeth them. Does this deny justification by faith? Not at all. Rather it teaches that those who have faith obey. God has joined faith and obedience together. We can distinguish between the two, but they cannot be separated. Going back to the original question about Abraham and Moses; God called his people to have faith, and therefore obedience. Likewise in the New Covenant God calls his people to have faith, and therefore obedience. There is no difference between the New Covenants and the previous covenants, in this respect. You need to stop thinking that everything that places demands upon men is part of law and opposed to the gospel. The gospel places demands upon us. The gospel calls men to faith, and faith necessitates obedience. Instead, we ought to think of a guilt/grace paradigm. All men are guilty before God, but God in his grace saves us from our guilt and misery. But God saves and calls us unto good works.

Eph. 2:8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Eph. 2:9 not of works, that no man should glory.
Eph. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.


Rev. 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Rev. 21:8 But for the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.

Heb. 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the palsied knees;
Heb. 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, that that which is lame be not turned out of the way, but rather be healed.
Heb. 12:14 Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord:
Heb. 12:15 looking carefully lest there be any man that falleth short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby the many be defiled;
Heb. 12:16 lest there be any fornication, or profane person, as Esau, who for one mess of meat sold his own birthright.
Heb. 12:17 For ye know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place for a change of mind in his father, though he sought is diligently with tears.

James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him?
James 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food,
James 2:16 and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit?
James 2:17 Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself.
James 2:18 Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith.
James 2:19 Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder.
James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren?
James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?
James 2:22 Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect;
James 2:23 and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; and he was called the friend of God.
James 2:24 Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith.
James 2:25 And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way?
James 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.
 

S. Spence

Puritan Board Freshman
Clearly here Christ teaches that those who will be saved are those that hear his words and doeth them. Does this deny justification by faith? Not at all. Rather it teaches that those who have faith obey. God has joined faith and obedience together. We can distinguish between the two, but they cannot be separated. Going back to the original question about Abraham and Moses; God called his people to have faith, and therefore obedience. Likewise in the New Covenant God calls his people to have faith, and therefore obedience. There is no difference between the New Covenants and the previous covenants, in this respect. You need to stop thinking that everything that places demands upon men is part of law and opposed to the gospel. The gospel places demands upon us. The gospel calls men to faith, and faith necessitates obedience. Instead, we ought to think of a guilt/grace paradigm. All men are guilty before God, but God in his grace saves us from our guilt and misery. But God saves and calls us unto good works.


I am actually in agreement with what you say, those whom God regenerates He enables them to place their faith in Christ – thus in a sense fulfilling covenant obligation.
 
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PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Believe me I understand the distinction between the law and the Gospel. The Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace.

I do not believe the two mix at all. But I do see that there is an Everlasting Covenant that God establishes with Isaac that is not all-inclusive in the Abrahamic Covenant. And there is a cutting off that is possible in the Abrahamic. I know some Presbyterians who would say that the unregenerate are and were never included in the Covenant of Grace. Ishmael was never included in the Covenant of Grace. Even so God made promises to Abraham concerning him.

Like I said, we need to read Genesis 17 and Romans 4. Rich and I discussed this before in a Baptism thread. Matthew Winzer and I discussed the CofG and the CofW being administered by other Covenants in another thread.

I am still a little below the weather. I have been up since 9 yesterday morning so I am going to retire now. I have a terrible cough and I can't sleep. I just got some prescription cough medicine this morning so please pardon me from this today.

Yes, We are children of Abraham in the Eternal Covenant mentioned in Genesis 17. But not all of the Covenant had to do with this one. There were Promises made outside of the Eternal Covenant also. And one could be cut off. This would imply something other than the Covenant of Grace.
 
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