Covenant of Grace

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by Grant Jones, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. All POST-Fall Covenants

    28 vote(s)
  2. Only the New Covenant established in the New Testament

    2 vote(s)
  3. All POST-Fall Covenants except the Mosaic (Mosaic republication of COW)

    3 vote(s)
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  1. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Curious on feedback for the below article. I am relatively new to the Reformed Faith and to Covenant Theology (CT).

    The below article advocates the 1689 Federalism View of CT. Their argument seems to be decent, but it defines the COG as only including the New Covenant.

    1. For my Westminster brothers...what are your thoughts? What is a simple yet solid argument that the COG consist of all of the Post Fall covenants? I must admit when I fist began to study CT as outlined in the Westminster biggest hurtle (as a former Baptist) was the language of Old Covenant and New Covenant in the book of Hebrews. I know that in the context of the book of Hebrews "Old Covenant" referred to the Mosaic and not the whole OT. So the word "New" has been tougher to wrestle with. I do hold to CT as outlined in the Westminster Standards, but I am still trying to further solidify my mind on the matter. Any help my Presbyterian brothers can provide on this matter would be much appreciated.

    2. CT Baptist this (the linked article) an accurate representation of your view of CT?

    3. Hit up the Poll

    P.S. I do NOT hold the view that the Mosaic Covenant was a republication of the COW, so if you hold that view, please make that clear if your post.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2018
  2. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    This article has been helpful to me in clearing up the distinction between how Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists view this issue.
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Read the same passages in the book of Hebrews with the mindset that the Mosaic is a gracious covenant and tell me how you land. :p
  4. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    I would quibble that the various historical covenants are not components of the covenant of grace, as if the CoG is the sum total of the Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, etc., but rather that the historical covenants are administrations of the covenant of grace as the confessions states.
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  5. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    On the language of Old versus New covenants and the meaning of Jeremiah 31, see: (click on "Full lecture notes" and see especially "Effect" on page 11; but the whole section of pp6-13 should be beneficial, as they deal with the different "differences in administration" between the old and new covenants). Hope this helps.
  6. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

  7. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Uh.... landed in the same spot... haha to the vault of my own intellect I am sure.
  8. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks .. this looks like a great resource.... hopefully I will get some down time today to begin to read. Do you happen to also have a link to Part 1?
  9. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

  10. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    The landing should place you in the mindset that the author is speaking directly about those in the external side of the C of G; that being, those who remain in the C of W's. The C of W's brings only 'death'. Since the Mosaic is an admin of the C of G, how can he be speaking of those in that?

    The Mosaic is NOT a republication as the C of W's is much more than just the decalogue.
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

  12. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    the Covenant Jeremiah was prophesy on was the new Covenant, which had a new relationship between God and lost sinners come to pass.
  13. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    The new Covenant is the full administration of the CoG.
  14. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    The Mosaic Covenant was a temporal relationship, that was works related, as the people would be under either its blessings or cursing based upon how well they observed the law of God.
  15. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    You are welcome. what did you think on what was stated there?
  16. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think Hebrews 11 presents a very strong case against your statement
    Hebrews 11 is a solid case that the "relationship" as you say was indeed NOT different....since the fall we have always needed perfect obedience and faith in the promised one......
    now Christ has satisfied the perfect obedience and our faith (god given) brings about the imputation of that righteousness to us.

    OT Saint and NT saint were both saved BY FAITH. I do highly recommend the article already posted

    I have 10 pages left and it has been very helpful.

    There is not 1 OT saint who obeyed the law perfectly. Yet there are some who are said to have still pleased God, who desires perfect obedience. So how can a God requiring perfect obedience be pleased.....? According to Hebrews 11, this was accomplished by their Faith. That sounds a lot like what we still need today...Faith.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2018
  17. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    The relationship was not temporal in one since because Moses still pointed people to Christ and satisfaction of perfect obedience was still required. Today in the NC we still need perfect obedience to satisfy God, but we can only obtain this in Christ because we are unable in ourselves just like the people in the OT.

    Look at 2 verses:
    Deuteronomy 30:11-14 English Standard Version (ESV)
    The Choice of Life and Death
    11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

    John 5:46 English Standard Version (ESV)
    46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.
  18. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    I enjoyed the briefness of it considering how much reading I have been doing today..haha..

    I appreciated the article because I want to continue to make sure I understand the position of my CT Baptist brothers. I see the argument, but I still see too much continuity between all the post-fall covenants to accept the 1689 Baptist CT view. Law and faith are woven in all of them...the Law points us to Christ in every post-fall covenant. Christ is our only hope in every post-fall covenant.
  19. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    WRONG. The Mosaic covenant is a gracious covenant. No covenant is abrogated.

    WRONG. As mentioned all men, outside of the C of G are 'cursed'. There are no real blessings being apart from Christ. The only people, blessed in the Mosaic time were believers; that being from the same Gospel that was preached to you or I.
  20. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    I just finished the article. I again would like to say thanks! This really helped me to clear a lot of questions up and the summary charts were very helpful.

    Side note: I learned from the article also that I needed some theological correction regarding the three forms of the Moral Law....I had never been taught that view before (growing up a baptist). This new (reformed) understanding will be very helpful as I teach through some of Paul's letters to my family and teaching opportunities at my church.

    A picture quote from the "ruinandredepmtion" article that was very edifying..hopefully it will be for all your brothers as well:
    Pic 1.png Pic 2.png
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  21. Jonathan R

    Jonathan R Puritan Board Freshman

    With regard to the original question about the blog article, Brandon Burks, the author, is a solid source for RB Covenant Theology. He often emphasizes the differences of the Old and New Covenants stronger than others. If I recall, he does not often emphasize the effect of the Covenant of Grace in the Old Testament (as it existed in a promissory form first being given in Gen3:15 and then progressively revealed in each historical covenant). But that is most likely merely because he often deals with other covenantal positions where the differences must be emphasized.

    With regard to the link from RBAP and Pascal Denault, it should be noted that the quote from Benjamin Keach was a minority position among the Particular Baptists and that then and now we predominantly hold the understanding the the Covenant of Redemption is distinct from the Covenant of Grace, each having their proper means and ends. The CoR being the mediator's covenant of works for the accomplishment of redemption and the CoG being the outworking of that.
  22. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    The opening quotation in the article (Denault) correctly identifies a theological divide—which I might call a hermeneutical divide—as the locus of separation between those of a Presbyterian persuasion and those of the Baptist, even if both have staked out much common ground on subjects of salvific importance, and confess much in concert. The practice of baptism is an expression of one's covenant theology, formed according to particular hermeneutical a prioris. One should not change his practice of baptism as he changes his shirt: because it goes better with his new outfit.

    Regardless of the side, baptism has deep roots, in spite of any notions to the contrary such as: baptism is a "surface" matter, an external presentation, a habit. Don't pull yourself up by your baptism, or you may end up a ship unmoored and adrift.

    The article offers one Baptist-covenant perspective within the range. It may be the one best suited to the 2LBC, I am no judge of that; but it represents the views of convinced Baptists who, wishing to remain Baptist and keep other Baptists from straying toward Presbyterian pasture, aim at justifying their position theologically. Convinced also of a unifying covenant-motif in Scripture, it becomes critical for the Baptist to possess a way of tracing that concept not tending toward an embrace of classic covenant-theology.

    A full identification of Moses (Sinai) with the Covenant of Works will tend to support this form of Baptist-covenantalism. The article presents the whole OT as the Old Covenant, including back to Abraham and later expression in David, and so sees it all as Covenant of Works in essence. I do not say this view alleges any were saved thereby; but always salvation was by virtue of an essentially gracious covenant that was promised, but never present before the days of the New Covenant.

    The position of the WCF and of the 3FU and classic covenant theology generally is: substantive presence of the covenant of grace in the OT, including the days of the Old Covenant (which properly is Sinai, and not prior), along with its administration; which as to its human agents is external and fallible, but as to spiritually agency is internal and ideal.

    This distinction is fairly represented in the article's first two "differences" between the WCF and LBC. If the first difference shows the belief that WCF paints the OC with too much NC, the second difference shows the belief that the WCF paints the NC with too much OC. These differences thus mirror one another, the article seeming to recognize that classic covenant theology stresses the idea that there is one religion for the saints from Gen. to Rev., having merely different expressions. The third difference is a case of a divergent theological and practical consequence resulting from the effects of a chosen hermeneutic.

    The article's last point, treating baptismal mode, does not relate (in my opinion) to the purpose of the article (unless offered to bolster the assertion that "of course" baptism is only for those who can rationally comprehend their duty to hold their breath under water).

    The simple argument is that there's no other way for fallen sinners to be in fellowship with God than by grace. Covenant is God's chosen instrument by which he teaches and mediates grace to men. Gracious-covenant and promise are synonymous, promise set in contrast to any form of bilateral contract or quid pro quo. Therefore, if a man be in communion with God since the fall, it is unquestionably purely on the basis of divine grace, and no other.

    The NT has answered the question (if there was one) if God's covenant with Abraham was grace or works: it was the former, and the later covenant at Sinai which included an element of human consent and commitment is treated by Paul (Gal.3:17) as an effective contrast. Classic CT wrestles with the difficulties of Sinai; and in a variety of ways has concluded--in a mixed but stable consensus since the days of the Reformation--that grace is "in, with, and under" Sinai.

    It is before it, inasmuch as "I am the Lord thy God who brought you out of the land of Egypt." It is in the heart of it, for merciful forgiveness is the very essence of the sacrificial system. It is after it, inasmuch as Israel breaks the covenant still in the shadow of the shaking, noisome mountain; but the Lord accepts Moses' mediation instead of wiping them out no sooner than they had begun. And the Lord continues to forgive them (not holding their sin against them) for century after century of straying. Grace is the core reality, under the glory-overlay that expressed the Old Covenant. For without grace, there can be no true religion.

    So, in one way or another CT teaches that Moses gave Israel a covenant that had characteristics of grace and works; and a lot of what we argue about in-house is the best way to speak about and represent the curious, intricate reality that Scripture presents us. But the Baptist position the article presents goes in a different direction. That Baptist position holds that it is with Abraham that two distinct covenants are made, one with a works-character and another of a promissory sort. Then, later in time these two covenants receive full and administrative expression in Moses (works) and in Christ (grace).

    I believe I'm being fair to the Baptists represented by the article, setting forth their position. So far as that is the case, I think it is possible to see accurately and compare the two perspectives in those respects demonstrated. I don't see Scripture teaching multiple covenants with Abraham; I do see the NT pointing to one character of covenant with respect to him, and showing us how to get a handle on the nature and purposes that were bound up in Moses' covenant, which was destined to expire and fade away (yet leaving behind things that never need change).

    I also think the NT teaches us that we aren't in heaven yet; which means that there is still an earthly, human, and therefore imperfect administration of the New Covenant. I believe I'm entirely fair to the Baptist's self-expression to say he does not think there is an earthly administration (strictly speaking) of the NC, but one wholly Spiritual. And this contributes to a significant contrast between a Presbyterian and a Baptist expectation of the church's makeup.

    Is there a more "simple-solid" argument than this for regarding all post-fall covenants as expressions of the Covenant of Grace? The fundamental perspective is the germ of the idea that apart from the grace of God man has no true religion; the entire Bible is marshaled for fleshing it out. The "great" argument for classic CT is the unity of the Covenant of Grace across the Testaments, a single faith of one religion presented in stages until mature fulfillment (yet still not fully realized before this world is done).
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  23. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks for taking the time to read the article and write your post.
    Can you explain your above quote a little more? At first reading it did raise concerns, but I assume I am misunderstanding you.
  24. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I agree that there has always been but one basis of salvation, the Cross of Christ, and that sinners received that salvation by Grace alone thry faith alone, but the OT saints did not as not yet experience under the old Covenant the fullness of the blessings of salvation as we now do under the New covenant relationship with God.
    God did give to them Promises for health and wealth, material blessings instead, for those remaining obedient unto Him under the Old Covenant, but we now have all spiritual blessings in Jesus under new One now.
  25. Jonathan R

    Jonathan R Puritan Board Freshman

    One note that I was reminded of after reading Rev. Buchanan's post was some often lack of specificity among some RBs regarding the relation of the Covenant of Works with Adam and the work principle in the Old Covenant. We do not maintain that the Old Covenant was as it its essence the Covenant of Works. The CoW with Adam is in effect, broken, and cursing those are still in him. Rather the Mosaic maintained a similar form to the CoW as "do this and live" to the earthly experience of its ends. Hence there is often a multiplication of words discussing "republication" and the many definitions that it owns. I do not have much heart for that debate as it tends to go nowhere. Suffice to say, the CoW and OC are two distinct and separate covenants in RB thought, but merely have a resemblance in the work principle which they both embody.
  26. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Sophomore

    But you must agree that the "work principle" is still in COG.....right?
    It is still the works of Christ that permit us entry into the COG, which still technically is sustained by the WORKS of Christ. And when we as Christians strive for obedience (works from our new life not for new life) to the Moral Law (as the law of Christ), we are still reminded of our need of Christ's Perfect works when we fall into sin. That line of thought is what holds me to Westminster understanding of the COG.
  27. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    There just seems to me to be really substantial differences between how the 2 positions understand Covenant Theology, would it be better to have reformed Baptists redefined as particular Baptists, as Calvinist baptists at one time regarded ourselves as beiong?
    Doesn't there seem to be really 2 main differing CT on this issue?
  28. Jonathan R

    Jonathan R Puritan Board Freshman

    Regarding the works of Christ, I would refer back to my first post here. RBs and Presbyterians maintain the distinction between the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Redemption. Plus the "works principle" would be better located in the Covenant of Redemption, as therein it is that Christ's labor and promised glory are enumerated. The Covenant of Grace then is the result of the Covenant of Redemption. I may need to be careful in my phrasing here, but it would be improper to consider Christ a member of the Covenant of Grace, as he is its head.

    Regarding our works, all the orthodox reject that the works of the faithful are contributory/meritorious to the entry or completion of the Covenant of Grace. Thus we must say that the works of believers do not function the same as Adam's did in the CoW, nor, as I maintain, the works of Israel in the OC. [Edit] Hence, what is termed a "works principle" would be improper or at least misleading in the CoG.
  29. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    There though does seem to be some type of function of works/obedience under the Mosaic Administration of God's plan.
  30. Jonathan R

    Jonathan R Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, which I refer to in that second paragraph there.
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