Breaking God's Covenant

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blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Rom 11:19-21 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

I've heard it said that this passage is talking about God's people (Jews) being cut off from God's covenant, and others (Gentiles) being grafted into God's covenant.

1. Is that what it represents?

2. When a NT Jew read this passage, would they have understood that it was talking about people being cut off from God's covenant?

3. Does God make it clear in the OT what it takes to break his covenant, to be considered by God as outside of the covenant?
 

Hippo

Puritan Board Junior
1) I think that this is a fairly safe interpretation.
2) No and I think that this is the whole point, they were blind to the truth, they could not understand.
3) As the covenant was a covenant of Grace I am not sure that it took anything to break the covenant, it was God's sovereign choice.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
3) As the covenant was a covenant of Grace I am not sure that it took anything to break the covenant, it was God's sovereign choice.
In the Romans 11 passage, they were cut off because of unbelief. Is this same criteria for being cut off from the covenant expressed elsewhere in the OT so that they should have been aware that unbelief would cut them off from the covenant?
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Deu 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

I've often wondered if this speaks about being cut off from the covenant. What does it mean when it says, "I will require it of him"?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
1) Actually, I don't think it's as simple as saying that Jews were cut off to allow Gentiles in to the Covenant. It's not as if God had a seating problem and the only way He could fix it was to kick some people out. The idea is that God ordained rejection for a season that the Gospel might go out to the Gentiles. We were actually blessed by the fact that they did not believe and, you will recall, it was the persecution of the Church that sort of caused the dispersion and the Gospel to be established. But then, Paul reveals, the Jew's rejection is not final but our being brought in is to cause them to be envious of our position and desire to return. I know this is terribly simplistic and I could support it better with Scripture but I don't have much time. The bottom line is that God's purpose is served in saving "all Israel" by grafting us in as a result of some being cut out for a season that they might be provoked to jealousy and be grafted back in. For some, the rejection is not final and Paul is guarding against both that conclusion and a certain twisted pride that some Gentiles might have (like this is all about "us" now and who cares about *them*).

2) Depends on the NT Jew. Paul certainly understood what he was talking about. :) A rebel? Of course not, they didn't believe the report.

3) Yes, I think Hebrews really unpacks this in an excellent way in Hebrews 3-6. Read it and remind yourself that the Jews receiving the letter are receiving an argument on the basis of the OT Scriptures.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Rich,
Thanks for your response.
1) Actually, I don't think it's as simple as saying that Jews were cut off to allow Gentiles in to the Covenant. It's not as if God had a seating problem and the only way He could fix it was to kick some people out.
True, and that's not what I intended to say. What I was getting at with the 1st question was whether or not the passage was talking about people who were part of God's covenant being cut off, and others who were not part being grafted in and becoming part of the covenant.

My focus in all three questions is pretty narrow, that being the criteria (in the OT and NT) for a person in God's covenant no longer being considered part of it. If its accepted that the Romans passage is talking about being part of God's covenant, then the criteria in the NT for not being part of the olive tree (ie., God's covenant) is unbelief. Is that same criteria of unbelief also expressed in the OT?

In the OT, they were told that through disobedience they could break God's covenant and suffer the consequences.
Lev 26:15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:

Lev 26:16-18 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.​

But God is faithful, and later when Israel enters the promised land, God promised not to break the covenant with them (which they had broken) and to "be their God". God is faithful to honor the covenant despite the unfaithfulness (ie., disobeying the commandments) of Israel.

Lev 26:44,45 And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.​

Is it true that, even though the covenant was broken through disobedience, God still considered all of Israel to be part of the covenant? Those who were slain by their enemies (Lev 27:17) as punishment, did they die still part of the covenant?
 

Iconoclast

Puritan Board Junior
Rom 11:19-21 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

I've heard it said that this passage is talking about God's people (Jews) being cut off from God's covenant, and others (Gentiles) being grafted into God's covenant.

1. Is that what it represents?

2. When a NT Jew read this passage, would they have understood that it was talking about people being cut off from God's covenant?

3. Does God make it clear in the OT what it takes to break his covenant, to be considered by God as outside of the covenant?

Yes ,the Ot.is clear,read this whole psalm to see what surrounds this verse from psalm 78:
37For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
Also read Deut.28-32 as a complete unit.:book2:
 

mark

Puritan Board Freshman
Even Abraham had to be circumsized or he would be cut off from God's covenant.

"You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. ...Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." (Gen 17:11,14).

The early reformers spoke of conditions in the covenant, but, as Bavinck, notes, they backed away from that language as they fought with Lutherans, Catholics and Remonstrants (Arminians).

That is why Bavinck describes the covenant of grace as unilateral, but it comes to us in bilateral terms so we can respond to it.

I posted about that on my blog vanallsblog: The Covenant of Grace: Both Unilateral and Bilateral?
 
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PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I have always associated the Romans passage you mention with this.

(Rev 2:5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
 

mark

Puritan Board Freshman
does this mean christians are called to "keep covenant" w/ God, then; a description of perseverance of the saints?

to anyone: how would you understand this?
 
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