"Faith was not the condition of the Mosaic Covenant"?

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Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I can see your point. But, what about commands like Deut 13:4, "Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him." Are you saying this was never an OT Command at all? It was always a NC 'implication'?
It was a command that was disobeyed. It was a command given to the nation, and they failed miserably at keeping it. The interesting part of this command is that if it was taken seriously by the nation, then outward obedience to the Law would have been superseded by an inward desire to obey the Law as a result of faith. We see glimpses of that in the Bible, but ultimately we see failure.
 

BG

Puritan Board Junior
BG, please read my words in a more charitable light. I have said more than once that faith is implied in the Mosaic Law, but it is not a condition of it. I will come back to this in a moment.

I do not believe there is anything about the people of the nation of Israel that obligated God to lavish them with his love, mercy, and grace. How often did they turn their back on God (c.f. Jer. 2:13)? How often did God overlook their sin and restore them after they repented? When God did forgive and restore them, it was not based on the repentance of any one individual; instead it was a forgiveness and restoration based on the corporate repentance of the nation (2 Chr. 7:14). I will gladly confess that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Unfortunately the Mosaic Law, and the Old Covenant in general, made many of its blessings contingent on corporate obedience by the nation of Israel. That obedience was lacking. Why was it lacking? I think you and I will agree that it was because of lack of circumcised hearts. Eventually this lead to the dissolution of both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms.

If I am reading your words correctly, you give the impression that most Jews of the time were true believers. In light of the many failings of the people (followed by God's chastening), where was this wholesale faith that allowed them to keep the Law? The truth is that the people failed miserably in keeping the Law, and suffered miserably because of it. Of course, no one could keep the Law perfectly, even if they having saving faith. The Law was holy, but it was unable to be kept perfectly. God knew this when He gave it Moses, and Moses certainly knew it when he delivered it to the people. Things became a lot clearer under the New Covenant when God's blessings on His covenant people became contingent on faith. Faith is no longer implied, it is required.

It seems to me that you are making a distinction without a difference. Everything you have said about the old testament church can be said about the New Testament church.

Faith was a requirement for the MC just as it is in the NC, there are just as many false converts in the NC as the MC. The two administrations are substantially the same.
God lavishes his mercy and grace upon us and yet we turn our backs on him , God over looks our sin and then restores us when we repent, God also sometimes blesses nations when his people that live in the nation repent. I would imagine that as a pastor you have quoted second chronicles 7:14 to your congregation and said the very same thing
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
It seems to me that you are making a distinction without a difference. Everything you have said about the old testament church can be said about the New Testament church.

Faith was a requirement for the MC just as it is in the NC, there are just as many false converts in the NC as the MC. The two administrations are substantially the same.
God lavishes his mercy and grace upon us and yet we turn our backs on him , God over looks our sin and then restores us when we repent, God also sometimes blesses nations when his people that live in the nation repent. I would imagine that as a pastor you have quoted second chronicles 7:14 to your congregation and said the very same thing

BG,

We fundamentally disagree. I don't how else to say what I've already said.

Blessings!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
My whole point is that the Mosaic Law was not conditioned by faith on the part of the one observing it. All Jews were obligated to keep the Law, regardless of whether they were true believers or not.

The Mosaic Law? Is this the ceremonial? Judicial? Or Moral? "The moral law doth forever bind all" (WCF 19.5). All men are obligated to obey the law. Also, all people in the NT church are to obey, regardless of whether they are believers or not. What one ought to do doesn't differentiate between believer or non-believer.

Question: is church discipline done by instrisic knowledge of a man? Or by outward actions?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
The Mosaic Law? Is this the ceremonial? Judicial? Or Moral? "The moral law doth forever bind all" (WCF 19.5). All men are obligated to obey the law. Also, all people in the NT church are to obey, regardless of whether they are believers or not. What one ought to do doesn't differentiate between believer or non-believer.

Question: is church discipline done by instrisic knowledge of a man? Or by outward actions?
The moral law of God is binding on all people, everywhere, since the moral law of God existed before the Mosaic Law (c.f. Gen. 1:27). The moral law of God (based on God's holy nature) should have been the motivation for an Old Testament Jew to keep all aspects of the Law; but even if the moral condition of an individual was fallen, they were still obligated to keep the aspects of the Law that could be witnessed (i.e. sacrifices and the Sabbath et. al). If these things were done out of obligation, and not faith, there would be no blessing on the part of the person doing them (other than the blessing of living under God's protection in the covenant community).

As to your last question, the former may give insight into the latter, but we take a lot upon ourselves if we start implementing church discipline based solely on our knowledge of a man's character or past actions. I am not sure what you are driving at. Will you please clarify as to what your point is? Thank you.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
It seems to me that you are making a distinction without a difference. Everything you have said about the old testament church can be said about the New Testament church.

Faith was a requirement for the MC just as it is in the NC, there are just as many false converts in the NC as the MC. The two administrations are substantially the same.
God lavishes his mercy and grace upon us and yet we turn our backs on him , God over looks our sin and then restores us when we repent, God also sometimes blesses nations when his people that live in the nation repent. I would imagine that as a pastor you have quoted second chronicles 7:14 to your congregation and said the very same thing
Saving faith was not a requirement though to be under the OC, as being a part of the Covenant nation with God, as in the NC church, saving faith must be made to be part of it. Those with saving faith under the OC were to be seen as being included in the NC church now then, is my understanding of this issue.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
The Mosaic Law? Is this the ceremonial? Judicial? Or Moral? "The moral law doth forever bind all" (WCF 19.5). All men are obligated to obey the law. Also, all people in the NT church are to obey, regardless of whether they are believers or not. What one ought to do doesn't differentiate between believer or non-believer.

Question: is church discipline done by instrisic knowledge of a man? Or by outward actions?
Church discipline should be based upon the observable outward acts of sin and disobedience.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
It was a command that was disobeyed. It was a command given to the nation, and they failed miserably at keeping it.

they were still obligated to keep the aspects of the Law that could be witnessed

Are you saying that this command (as well as all other 'inward' commands of the heart) flows from the CoG even though it was revealed to (and perhaps 'overlayed upon') Israel under the Mosaic? But, it is not a part of the substance of the Mosaic?
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
but one could be a member of the Old Covenant community (and follow its commands) without having faith. The Levitical priests had no way of knowing for certain if an individual was of faith

My point is trying to understand some *seemingly* conflicting statements. You say here that one could be a member of the Old Covenant community without faith. As compared to what? The NC? You further this thought by saying the priests had no insight into the man. As compared to some change in the NC? Ministers and elders have no insight into the man just the the priests didn't. So I'm still confused by your point here.


The moral law of God (based on God's holy nature) should have been the motivation for an Old Testament Jew to keep all aspects of the Law

Except for all the passages that talk about removing the foreskin of their hearts or how God wants the hearts of Israel more than obedience (psalm 51 is a great example among many).

Jeremiah 4:4 and Deut. 10:16 are just two examples that come to mind. Would you say that those passages are just to those who believe? Or the entire Israelite community?

If these things were done out of obligation, and not faith, there would be no blessing on the part of the person doing them (other than the blessing of living under God's protection in the covenant community).

Same goes for the NC. There are outward blessings of those who are false professors in the church. Those who are not truly of the faith yet they are in the church have many blessings while living in this covenant community.

I think overall, you seem to be making a distinction where the OT community was merely external. The comment with the priests, for example, demonstrate this point. However, you really haven't made a distinct point regarding the NC and how it's changed. Are ministers and elders more insightful in the NC community because of some change?
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
Church discipline should be based upon the observable outward acts of sin and disobedience.

So what has changed then? It seems to me that some have made a point to try and make a distinction between the OC and NC here. How does one know if a man is truly regenerate? If they profess faith outwardly and are obedient, then what distinguishes them from other professing members? Are they not apart of the visible church? The covenant community?

I think of a few passages that speak of those who have recieved the blessings of the kingdom of Christ; those who have recieved the blessings of being apart of the covenant community, yet they fell away; they apostasized. Hebrews 6 says they were enlightened and revived all these things, but fell away. Hebrews 10 says they were set apart (sanctified) but they trampled under foot the blood of Christ. Or the parable of the kingdoms: one where there were many seeds sown in different soils yet only the ones in the good soil were of true faith. Or the net that was cast into the sea and grabbed both good and bad fish (which were thrown back out).
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Are you saying that this command (as well as all other 'inward' commands of the heart) flows from the CoG even though it was revealed to (and perhaps 'overlayed upon') Israel under the Mosaic? But, it is not a part of the substance of the Mosaic?
Ken,

Let me go back to the passage you referenced earlier, Deut. 13:4. The context of that verse is God testing the people to see if they will shun idolatry. Indeed, in verse 3 we read, "...for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." In other words, the Lord is testing the people to see if they have faith in Him. There is no guarantee that a person who shunned idolatry did so because they had faith. They could be motivated by other reasons, such as personally avoiding the prescribed penalty for idolatry (Deut. 13:5). But the text says that Lord was testing them to see if they actually did love Him. Did the command against idolatry in Deut. 13:1-5 flow from the Covenant of Grace? Perhaps obliquely? Fleeing idolatry is part of sanctification, and progressive sanctification is the process in which we become more like Christ. Since the Holy Spirit is at work in us to make us more like Christ, we can say it is part of the Covenant of Grace.

When I look at a passage like Deut. 6:5, I see the heart of the Covenant of Grace in the Old Testament:

Deut. 6:5 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

The only way to love God is by faith. The only way to obey Him faithfully is by faith. So, whether the inward command of God flows from the Covenant of Grace, or is layered in it, forensically the finger prints of the Covenant of Grace are everywhere. Am I making sense with that comment? I hope so.

My point from earlier is that there are many other commands from the Law that could be outwardly followed, but did not reveal the inward disposition of the heart. One could follow the ceremonial aspects of the Sabbath but still be an unbeliever. One could avoid acts of sexual perversion, but have a perverted heart. So, in that sense, faith was not commanded for outward obedience. But on an overall basis, faith is implied even when it is not specifically stated. In the case of Deut. 6:5; 13:4 it is more than implied, it is essential.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Turretin believed that "the form of the Mosaic covenant was the covenant of works, but its substance was the covenant of grace”....that's not a direct quote from him but an interpretation of what he says in his institutes. If I can find the exact quote I'll post it.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
One could follow the ceremonial aspects of the Sabbath but still be an unbeliever.

Sure, they 'could', but God rebukes them for doing so. So, when the Lord complains, "Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me..." (Isa 29:13), it is not a complaint about their Mosaic Covenant obedience, but their CoG obedience?

I have been stuck on the problem of the word 'shama', for example, which means 'hear, pay attention to, and obey'. That requires a kind of faith, but not necessarily saving faith. You are saying that Israel could have been blessed with earthly blessings by 'hearkening' to God without necessarily trusting in Him for heavenly blessings. Am I on the right track?
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
So what has changed then? It seems to me that some have made a point to try and make a distinction between the OC and NC here. How does one know if a man is truly regenerate? If they profess faith outwardly and are obedient, then what distinguishes them from other professing members? Are they not apart of the visible church? The covenant community?

I think of a few passages that speak of those who have recieved the blessings of the kingdom of Christ; those who have recieved the blessings of being apart of the covenant community, yet they fell away; they apostasized. Hebrews 6 says they were enlightened and revived all these things, but fell away. Hebrews 10 says they were set apart (sanctified) but they trampled under foot the blood of Christ. Or the parable of the kingdoms: one where there were many seeds sown in different soils yet only the ones in the good soil were of true faith. Or the net that was cast into the sea and grabbed both good and bad fish (which were thrown back out).
From the viewpoint of God Himself, all of those who make up the Body of Christ will be only saved under the NC, while per His viewpoint, there were saved abd lost among Israel under the OC.
The Church proper has just saved among it, as they have to have the rebirth to be numbered in it, not so under the OC.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
From the viewpoint of God Himself, all of those who make up the Body of Christ will be only saved under the NC, while per His viewpoint, there were saved abd lost among Israel under the OC.
The Church proper has just saved among it, as they have to have the rebirth to be numbered in it, not so under the OC.

But the minister doesn't have God's viewpoint. So again we ask the same question in response to your earlier assertion:

Church discipline should be based upon the observable outward acts of sin and disobedience.

How do you know if a man is truly regenerate?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Sure, they 'could', but God rebukes them for doing so. So, when the Lord complains, "Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me..." (Isa 29:13), it is not a complaint about their Mosaic Covenant obedience, but their CoG obedience?

Ken, that supposes one is under the Covenant of Grace. I suppose we could say all Jews benefited from a common grace made available to all members of the covenant community, just like God makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust. In fact, that is probably sound biblical theology. Redemptively speaking, Is. 29:13 reveals the spiritual condition of the majority in Israel at that time. There was no way that Israel could game the system. While a individual may be able to meet society's level of acceptance to the Law, God's standard was perfection; perfect obedience 24/7/365.

KMK said:
I have been stuck on the problem of the word 'shama', for example, which means 'hear, pay attention to, and obey'. That requires a kind of faith, but not necessarily saving faith. You are saying that Israel could have been blessed with earthly blessings by 'hearkening' to God without necessarily trusting in Him for heavenly blessings. Am I on the right track?

Partly. Had Israel heeded God's commands they would have enjoyed certain blessings, for a time. The rub is that without faith it is impossible to please God. It is like one of my favorite actors, Daniel Day-Lewis. Day-Lewis is a brilliant actor who can play almost any roll. For a time he convinces you that he is Abraham Lincoln, but as good as his acting is, he is only playing a part. Eventually he has to revert back to who he is. The same with many of the commands in the Law; they do not require overt faith in keeping them, but without faith they cannot be kept for long, or at least not with any credibility. Israel's problem was that lip service became so prominent that there were periods when the majority of the nation was lead into hypocrisy ala Is. 29:13. That is why I say that faith is implied where it is not expressly commanded.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
But the minister doesn't have God's viewpoint. So again we ask the same question in response to your earlier assertion:



How do you know if a man is truly regenerate?
By their professing faith in Jesus to have saved then, and by observing fruit enough to warrant that to be a valid claim.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
By their professing faith in Jesus to have saved then, and by observing fruit enough to warrant that to be a valid claim.

What happens after that profession, when they go fornicate with someone other than his wife, leaves the church, renounces Christ? I've seen it happen. Was their earlier profession "really real?"
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Everyone are moving forward on presumption-whether paedo or credo....no ones assessment is bullet proof.

Discipleship is not equal to regeneration and conversion. Consider demas, Aananias and his wife Sapphira, Simon Magus, Judas.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
What happens after that profession, when they go fornicate with someone other than his wife, leaves the church, renounces Christ? I've seen it happen. Was their earlier profession "really real?"
Jacob, "what if" questions are hard to answer. I know, having tried to answer them myself. As fallible human beings we lack perfect knowledge. We do the best we can in ascertaining the truth. Church discipline exists to help us call sinning brothers and sisters back to the fold. If church discipline is practiced, and the person has to be excommunicated, then we should treat them as an unbeliever and pray for them. Even then, could they be saved and just in a season of sin? Once again, all we can do is our best and trust in God.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Well, if the kingdom of Christ depends upon me understanding the minutia of every covenantal 'grid' within the Reformed world, then I apologize to all of you in advance.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Jacob, "what if" questions are hard to answer. I know, having tried to answer them myself. As fallible human beings we lack perfect knowledge. We do the best we can in ascertaining the truth. Church discipline exists to help us call sinning brothers and sisters back to the fold. If church discipline is practiced, and the person has to be excommunicated, then we should treat them as an unbeliever and pray for them. Even then, could they be saved and just in a season of sin? Once again, all we can do is our best and trust in God.

That's starting to sound a lot like how Presbyterians view the NC.

The person in question is presumably a member of the NC, yet for all practical purposes is living as a covenant-breaker. And it's not a hypothetical what-if question. Sadly, it happens all too often.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
That's starting to sound a lot like how Presbyterians view the NC.

The person in question is presumably a member of the NC, yet for all practical purposes is living as a covenant-breaker. And it's not a hypothetical what-if question. Sadly, it happens all too often.
I guess we are similar in that regard, although if a person is put out of the fellowship we consider them an unbeliever. Do we know for sure? No. However, we would rather err on the side of calling them to repentance and faith than to just consider them a wayward brother.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Well, if the kingdom of Christ depends upon me understanding the minutia of every covenantal 'grid' within the Reformed world, then I apologize to all of you in advance.
Ken, I apologize if I am giving you that impression. Be assured that I do not believe that. I have a tendency to get into the weeds when trying to understand a given theological issue, but that does not mean I am holding hostage anyone's claim to be in kingdom of Christ.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
What happens after that profession, when they go fornicate with someone other than his wife, leaves the church, renounces Christ? I've seen it happen. Was their earlier profession "really real?"
They can be restored back tot he Lord if they repent amd show that they are earnest in their desire to be received back, for was that not the example to us of the person sinning with his stepmother, but later on repented?
We have to all assume that they have been saved if they make the profession of faith, and in the end, if really saved, they will have fruit to show that off.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
No, Bill, I was just trying to be funny.
Jacob, "what if" questions are hard to answer. I know, having tried to answer them myself. As fallible human beings we lack perfect knowledge. We do the best we can in ascertaining the truth. Church discipline exists to help us call sinning brothers and sisters back to the fold. If church discipline is practiced, and the person has to be excommunicated, then we should treat them as an unbeliever and pray for them. Even then, could they be saved and just in a season of sin? Once again, all we can do is our best and trust in God.
The scriptures teach us to take professions of faith in Jesus, of now being really saved, and to discipline if need be to correct someone into sinning.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
That's starting to sound a lot like how Presbyterians view the NC.

The person in question is presumably a member of the NC, yet for all practical purposes is living as a covenant-breaker. And it's not a hypothetical what-if question. Sadly, it happens all too often.
We all sin at times, but the question is to how we are responsive to repent/confess and forsake our known sins.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
If I had to pass a theology exam to gain eternal life, I think would still be lost, as I am sure God exam would be a dozy.
 
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