CoWs at Sinai/Two Kingdoms/Law-Gospel Dualism & the Westminster Standards

Do the Westminster Standards teach the three doctrines discussed in this thread?

  • Yes, these are confessional (Westminster Standards) doctrines

    Votes: 5 38.5%
  • No, but these doctrines are compatible with the Westminster Standards

    Votes: 2 15.4%
  • No, and these doctrine contradict (are not compatible with) the Westminster Standards

    Votes: 6 46.2%

  • Total voters
    13
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mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
Covenant in the scriptures is always one sided. And there is some different interpretations in one verse in the scripture that supposedly states that the pre fall garden was a covenant of works. So i do not believe that the bible uses this term in to make it a covenant. So i take the position that it was just a test, and a very short one. I think this was John Murray's position. I dont believe that it makes any difference in mans pre fall moral ability. But i believe it adds more liberty in law- grace distinction, since the biblical definition of covenant continues to be purely one sided.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Covenant in the scriptures is always one sided. And there is some different interpretations in one verse in the scripture that supposedly states that the pre fall garden was a covenant of works. So i do not believe that the bible uses this term in to make it a covenant. So i take the position that it was just a test, and a very short one. I think this was John Murray's position. I dont believe that it makes any difference in mans pre fall moral ability. But i believe it adds more liberty in law- grace distinction, since the biblical definition of covenant continues to be purely one sided.

Where in the bible is covenant defined? And what do you mean by one-sided? Aren't there conditions to the covenants?

**EDIT**

Nevermind. Hermonta helped me out.
 

JDKetterman

Puritan Board Freshman
7.2. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works,[2] wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity,[3] upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.[4]

2. Gen. 2:16-17; Hosea 6:7; Gal. 3:12
3. Gen. 3:22: Rom. 5:12-20; 10:5
4. Gen 2:17; Gal. 3:10

My question is if the republication view is not in fact confessional, why would the Divines use Gal 3:10-12 to support a covenant of works?

Gal 3:10 "For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

Which book of the Law is this scripture referring to? It's quoting the covenant made on Sinai. Why would the Divines use the language of the Sinai covenant to support the doctrine of a covenant of works? It would seem like they got it all wrong if they were using Sinai to support a covenant of works if it was in fact a covenant of Grace.

Gal 3:12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

The Scriptural support for the confession again brings up a passage that is about Sinai. The Law, Paul says, is not of faith. This is what Paul is saying about Sinai and this is where 7.2 uses to support a covenant of works. If you don't believe Sinai was a republication of the covenant of works, that is fine, but why would the framers of the Confession use Sinai to establish the covenants of works?

I don't believe the "Law" is a pure covenant of works in the sense that Israel could earn their justification before God by their keeping the Torah. But at the same time, I believe the works principle was republished on Mt. Sinai in relation to the land. The Biblical support that the Confession uses to establish the covenant of works uses Sinai to establish it.

Paul likewise contrasts the covenants made with Abraham and Moses in Gal 4:21-28:

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; [5] she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,

“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than those of the one who has a husband.”

28 Now you, [6] brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

This Law/Gospel dualism is used by Paul when He contrasts both covenants. These are the Scriptures that the WCF uses to establish a covenant of works.
 
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mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
The Gal. verse was used to show that pre fall man had the moral ability to keep the entire law. I dont think the Gen. account prior to the fall explained it this way. This is why we know the extent of mans moral ability. They were the only ones who lived by the law and died by the law.
But in contrast we do not have that moral ability to keep the law in ourselves.
 

JDKetterman

Puritan Board Freshman
The Gal. verse was used to show that pre fall man had the moral ability to keep the entire law. I dont think the Gen. account prior to the fall explained it this way. This is why we know the extent of mans moral ability. They were the only ones who lived by the law and died by the law.
But in contrast we do not have that moral ability to keep the law in ourselves.

If the framers of the Confession are using Sinai to establish a covenant of works (which many of you claim that Sinai is not a covenant of works), why is this verse being used as Scriptural support if Sinai didn't have a works principle?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
My question is if the republication view is not in fact confessional, why would the Divines use Gal 3:10-12 to support a covenant of works?

Verse 12 establishes the antithesis between the works principle and faith. Verse 10 describes the curse that comes on all who fail to live by the works principle. It is undoubted that if a man does not have faith he is still bound by the covenant of works and under the curse thereof. It is also the case that divine revelation is explicit in teaching the curse of the covenant of works in every economy, the gospel included, Mark 16:16. The mere existence of the works principle and the pronouncement of the curse under the Mosaic economy does not therefore constitute the whole economy a covenant of works.
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
The Scripture proofs associated with this section of the Confession (e.g., Ex. 19:5-6; Deut. 5:33; Lev. 18:5; Lev. 26:1-3; Ps. 19:11; Ps. 37:11) demonstrate that 19.6 describes the position of both OT and NT believers who are in the covenant of grace, not the covenant of works. Believers are promised rain, bread to the full, fruit on their trees, and safety in the land as blessings for their obedience “although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works.” In this sense, according to the Confession, even OT believers were under grace and not law. These proof texts speaking of temporal blessings and afflictions are, according to the Confession, not to be interpreted to mean that OT or NT believers are under the law as a covenant of works.

Casey,

This is excellently stated. Often the Confession's general equity is bandied about in discussions about the applicability of OT law, but it is enlightening to see how the blessings and curses of the civil law are clearly approved of as gracious on God's part, and not indicating that we are under the law "as a covenant of works". Very nice!

Thank you for taking the time to do this valuable research.

Adam
 

mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
That whereas our nature was so corrupted and depraved as that, continuing in that state, it was not capable of a participation of the righteousness of Christ, or any benefit of it, unto the glory of God and our own good, it was in like manner necessary that it should be renewed and changed. And unless it were so, the design of God in the mediation of Christ, — which was the entire recovery of us unto himself, — could not be attained. And therefore, as faith, under the formal consideration of it, was necessary unto the first end, — namely, that of giving glory unto God, — so unto this latter end it was necessary that this faith should be accompanied with, yea, and contain in itself, the seeds of all those other graces wherein the divine nature does consist, whereof we are to be made partners. Not only, therefore, the thing itself, or the communication of the righteousness of Christ unto us, but the way, and manner, and means of it, do depend on God’s sovereign order and disposal. Wherefore, although Christ did make satisfaction to the justice of God for all the sins of the church, and that as a common person (for no man in his wits can deny but that he who is a mediator and a surety is, in some sense, a common person); and although he did pay all our debts; yet does the particular interest of this or that man in what he did and suffered depend on the way, means, and order designed of God unto that end. This, and this alone, gives the true necessity of all the duties which are required of us, with their order and their ends. Owen: The Doctrine of Justification by Faith pp 215
 

mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
The Gal. verse was used to show that pre fall man had the moral ability to keep the entire law. I dont think the Gen. account prior to the fall explained it this way. This is why we know the extent of mans moral ability. They were the only ones who lived by the law and died by the law.
But in contrast we do not have that moral ability to keep the law in ourselves.

The only reason i say that this is not a hypothetical statement is that it would throw this whole contrast into a metaphorical argument.

There is a tendency to want to make this not a contrast so that in the confusion we fall into equilibrium theology. Man after the fall was not determined to be put into a world of chance where every thing was revolving around him as if would still have an ability to cause his own righteousness. A world where there is no cause of a righteousness outside of himself.
 

JDKetterman

Puritan Board Freshman
My question is if the republication view is not in fact confessional, why would the Divines use Gal 3:10-12 to support a covenant of works?

Verse 12 establishes the antithesis between the works principle and faith. Verse 10 describes the curse that comes on all who fail to live by the works principle. It is undoubted that if a man does not have faith he is still bound by the covenant of works and under the curse thereof. It is also the case that divine revelation is explicit in teaching the curse of the covenant of works in every economy, the gospel included, Mark 16:16. The mere existence of the works principle and the pronouncement of the curse under the Mosaic economy does not therefore constitute the whole economy a covenant of works.

Do you believe Galations 3 and 4 has in mind the pre-fall covenant of works in view when Paul is talking about Moses and Sinai?
 

mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
Since they had the moral ability before the fall, then they were able to pass the test. If they lack the moral ability then there was not a free will. And there is only one other option and that is the power of the object was too much in the temptation. But if the beauty of the object was the reason, then we could conclude that it was worse for them by the beauty in the garden than the for us who face the cursed objects. So in order for them to be fully responsible in the free choice they had to be fully able to keep the law.
But after the fall man lost the ability to do spiritual good. "There is no one who does good no not one. " It became impossible for man to please God by the law. Man lost the desire to choose spiritual good. The only moral ability man had was to choose good for himself. But since mans will is in bondage to sin, his goodness never rises to the level of being spiritually good. Man still has a free will , that is to choose exactly what he wants but the good he chooses is according to his sinful nature.
The function of the law in mans natural state is condemnation. Legal conviction only. In his natural state man thinks that he is able to do good by the law. But when he is confronted by the law of God , that process works death in him. Unless he is regenerated by the Spirit , then he is only living with the desires to please himself by living as if he is able to keep the law.

What i am saying is, that the unregenerate do not have the desires to please God, therefore the law only makes the problem worse. The problem is not that they can change by willing to obey. The problem is they cannot obey because there is no cause to will to obey. They are dead in their spiritual desires.
 

mybigGod

Puritan Board Freshman
God has appointed that there shall be an immediate foundation of the imputation of the satisfaction and righteousness of Christ unto us; whereon we may be said to have done and suffered in him what he did and suffered in our stead, by that grant, donation, and imputation of it unto us; or that we may be interested in it, that it may be made ours: which is all we contend for. And this is our actual coalescency into one mystical person with him by faith. Hereon does the necessity of faith originally depend. And if we shall add hereunto the necessity of it likewise unto that especial glory of God which he designs to exalt in our justification by Christ, as also unto all the ends of our obedience unto God, and the renovation of our natures into his image, its station is sufficiently secured against all objections. Our actual interest in the satisfaction of Christ depends on our actual insertion into his mystical body by faith, according to the appointment of God. Owen Justification by Faith pp 218
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Do you believe Galations 3 and 4 has in mind the pre-fall covenant of works in view when Paul is talking about Moses and Sinai?

No; Gal. 3 deals with those who effectively make the law a covenant of works because they seek to be justified thereby. Gal. 4 specifically teaches that Israel was an heir under age, hence adopted under the covenant of grace. The latter section speaks of the two sons in an allegory, where the legalists who desired to adhere to Sinai and rejected the fulfilment of the promise in Christ demonstrated that they were in bondage under the covenant of works.
 
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