An Odd Question about WCF 7.4

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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Or can it be viewed as a covenant (looking at it from the need of response from us) and as a testament (looking at it as God working such requirements in us)?

Yes. That is a far better way of stating the matter. Technically, using traditional terms, a covenant includes conditions and promises. The covenant of works, Do this, and live; the covenant of grace, Live, and do this. With the addition of the "testament" concept the benefits of Christ as "legacies" is clearly brought out.

Great way to explain the covenant of works (pre-fall), grace (post-fall)...
Do this and live,
Live, and do this.

:graduate:
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
If there are two covenants (works & grace) and two testaments of the covenant of grace (old & new), what exactly are the various covenants between God and the Patriarchs/leaders of Israel:
Noah
Abraham
Moses
David
Jesus

Are these simply renewals of the same covenant of grace and administered differently? It would seem by post #16 that administration is equivalent to testament (please correct me if I'm wrong). So are there more than two testaments under the covenant of grace?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Chuck, did you understand the distinctive points that were referred to between Covenant and Testament by Reverend Winzer in his earlier posts? Reverend Winzer's referral to Richard Sibbes was an excellent reference for understanding the characteristics between a testament and a covenant.

The following is from Richard Sibbes, The Faithful Covenanter, in Works, vol. 6, p. 4.

The third period of renewing the covenant of grace was from Moses to Christ; and then it was more clear, whenas to the covenant made with Abraham, who was sealed with the sacrament of circumcision, the sacrament of the paschal lamb was added, and all the sacrifices Levitical; and then it was called a testament. That differeth a little from a covenant; for a testament is established by blood, it is established by death. So was that; but it was only with the blood and death of cattle sacrificed as a type.

But now, to [from] Christ’s time to the end of the world, the covenant of grace is most clear of all; and it is now usually called the New Testament, being established by the death of Christ himself; and it differs from a covenant in these respects:

First, A testament indeed is a covenant, and something more. It is a covenant sealed by death. The testator must die before it can be of force. So all the good that is conveyed to us by the testament it is by the death of the testator, Christ. God’s covenant with us now, is such a covenant as is a testament, sealed with the death of the testator, Christ; for “without blood there is no redemption,” Heb. 9:22; without the death of Christ there could be no satisfaction, and without satisfaction there could be no peace with God.

Secondly, A testament bequeatheth good things merely of love. It giveth gifts freely. A covenant requireth something to be done. In a testament, there is nothing but receiving the legacies given. In covenants, ofttimes it is for the mutual good one of another, but a testament is merely for their good for whom the testament is made, to whom the legacies are bequeathed; for when they are dead, what can they receive from them? God’s covenant now is such a testament, sealed with the death of Christ, made out of love merely for our good; for what can God receive of us? All is legacies from him; and though he requireth conditions, requireth faith and obedience, yet he himself fulfilleth what he asketh, giveth what he requireth, giveth it as a legacy, as we shall see afterward.

I went back and found the book online and posted more of the quote on my blog.

Addition after I ran some errands......

Okay, now I have more time to spend on this.... so I will add...

There are four periods of time of renewing this covenant: first, from Adam to Abraham; and in those first times of the world, those that were under the covenant were called the ‘sons and daughters of God, ‘the children of the promise,’ and the covenant of grace was called a promise of the blessed seed.

Secondly, From Abraham to Moses; and then it was called a covenant, and they the children of the covenant. ‘I will establish my covenant. ‘A covenant is more than a promise, and a more solemn thing, because there be ceremonies.

The third period of renewing the covenant of grace was from Moses to Christ; and then it was more clear, whenas to the covenant made with Abraham, who was sealed with the sacrament of circumcision, the sacrament of the paschal lamb was added, and all the sacrifices Levitical; and then it was called a testament. That differeth a little from a covenant; for a testament is established by blood, it is established by death. So was that; but it was only with the blood and death of cattle sacrificed as a type.

I asked you the first question in relationship to how you view the distinctions between covenant and testament. That seems to be important to your question. It also may be noted that in each proceeding covenant there is a progressive nature of revelation. The promises are more pronounced and become more specific each time God makes a promise or covenant between man and himself. Even between the testaments there is a progressive manner of revelation. For instance when Sibbes notes the third period of renewing the Covenant of Grace it has an added element of the paschal lamb added to it. The Davidic Covenant and time has even more specific revelation concerning Christ. So there just seems to be a progressive manner of revelation that is important to understand. Am I making any sense here. Sorry I jumped in and didn't finish my thought and had to come back.
 
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chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think I understand the difference between covenant and testament, the former being an agreement/contract between two people, the latter being a will with gifts executed upon death. My primary question, however, is what should we call those 4 "periods" if not testaments?

V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the Gospel:[9] under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come;[10] which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah,[11] by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament.[12]

In one place, it is administered differently and another it signifies one/the (old) administration.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
also, it seems, at least in the case of Moses, that the covenant of works was renewed, not grace. "Ye shall keep My statutes and My judgments; which, if a man do, he shall live in them." as does Christ "Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And now Christ says to him: This do, and thou shalt live."

Following comment added a year later since I didn't follow up and the thread was closed. I didn't see the follow up question.

Sorry Chuck. I noticed this a year later and will refer you to this. http://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/the-mosaic-covenant-same-in-substance-as-the-new/

I don't want to add another post and reopen a closed thread. (PuritanCovenanter) So I am adding my response in your post.
 
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