Paedo-Baptism Answers I read through the Baptism book I was recommended yesterday, and have a few points of clarification.

Status
Not open for further replies.

Braden

Puritan Board Freshman
I have 2 categories of question; the first is points of clarification, the second is points which I see as necessarily supporting the credo position. However, I'm only going to post the points of clarification in this post, so that I can understand better and perhaps answer some of my own questions through that.

The Book is "Baptism:Answers to Common Questions" by Guy M. Richard.

1: On page 28, he says: "... the fact that water is the requisite element that is to be used in baptism suggests that cleansing or washing should be considered the primary meaning of the right [of baptism]." However, on page 31 he brings up 1 Peter 3:21, "... which states, 'baptism ... now saves you'". Wouldn't that mean that the primary meaning of baptism is not a washing, but union with the Holy Spirit? Which sort of, but not strongly, supports the credo position.

2: On page 45, he says, "The Abrahamic Covenant was never intended to be a purely national covenant ... it was always intended to be a Spiritual Covenant with Abraham and his Spiritual offspring. The Baptists here claim that this is the 2-level promise: the first level is national, the second is Spiritual. Circumcision is only a sign of the national. Please explain?

3: On Page 49 he says that Ishmael and Esau are good examples of being circumcised but excluded from the covenant. The thing is, were they excluded from just salvation, or also from the nation?

4: Page 72 he brings up that Abraham's children are "heirs according to promise", but isn't the New Covenant enacted on "Better promises"? He later says that the New Covenant is different in form, but not in substance (page 85) so then where do these "better promises" come from? He then says that believers are the true sons of Abraham, which again seems to support the baptist position.

5: If the Old Covenant was still part of the Covenant of Grace, then why does Guy Richard say that the "remember your sins no more" portion of Jeremiah 31 means that Christ's sacrifice is sufficient once for all. However, if this sacrifice was applied to Old Covenant believers, why is it seemingly limited to only the New Covenant?

6: If the New Covenant is "expanded to include those from every tribe and language and people and nation" (page 93) then doesn't that support the idea that the Old Covenant was specifically national?

7: Finally, Guy quotes 1 Corinthians 7:14 on page 106, which has been alternatively interpreted as being an argument from lesser to greater as demonstrated here: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/sanctifying-unbelieving-spouses

I really, really want to understand. I've flopped around on Baptism for a long time, and my wife is getting exhausted. We're about to have a baby, and also join a Baptist Church. I need to settle this once and for all. Please, help me.

Thank you for your time. May grace and peace be magnified to you all.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
5: If the Old Covenant was still part of the Covenant of Grace, then why does Guy Richard say that the "remember your sins no more" portion of Jeremiah 31 means that Christ's sacrifice is sufficient once for all. However, if this sacrifice was applied to Old Covenant believers, why is it seemingly limited to only the New Covenant?
Some good questions in your whole post. Don't have much time right now but I want a little clarification on this statement in your Q. 5.

What do you mean by "why is it seemingly limited to only the New Covenant?" Why do you think it is limited to the NC?

There is and always has been only one way of salvation or to be "written in the book of life" and that is by the Covenant of Grace through faith in "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8)

How else could Abraham be called "the father of all them that believe" (Romans 4:11) if the CoG is "limited to only the New Covenant," then why would Abraham be considered the father of those who have received salvation under the New Covenant dispensation? Abraham is more than an OC type of the saint; he is the prototype on the New Covenant saint as well as the Old.

Romans 4:9-13
9 Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.”
10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;
11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them,
12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.
13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
I have 2 categories of question; the first is points of clarification, the second is points which I see as necessarily supporting the credo position. However, I'm only going to post the points of clarification in this post, so that I can understand better and perhaps answer some of my own questions through that.

The Book is "Baptism:Answers to Common Questions" by Guy M. Richard.

1: On page 28, he says: "... the fact that water is the requisite element that is to be used in baptism suggests that cleansing or washing should be considered the primary meaning of the right [of baptism]." However, on page 31 he brings up 1 Peter 3:21, "... which states, 'baptism ... now saves you'". Wouldn't that mean that the primary meaning of baptism is not a washing, but union with the Holy Spirit? Which sort of, but not strongly, supports the credo position.

2: On page 45, he says, "The Abrahamic Covenant was never intended to be a purely national covenant ... it was always intended to be a Spiritual Covenant with Abraham and his Spiritual offspring. The Baptists here claim that this is the 2-level promise: the first level is national, the second is Spiritual. Circumcision is only a sign of the national. Please explain?

3: On Page 49 he says that Ishmael and Esau are good examples of being circumcised but excluded from the covenant. The thing is, were they excluded from just salvation, or also from the nation?

4: Page 72 he brings up that Abraham's children are "heirs according to promise", but isn't the New Covenant enacted on "Better promises"? He later says that the New Covenant is different in form, but not in substance (page 85) so then where do these "better promises" come from? He then says that believers are the true sons of Abraham, which again seems to support the baptist position.

5: If the Old Covenant was still part of the Covenant of Grace, then why does Guy Richard say that the "remember your sins no more" portion of Jeremiah 31 means that Christ's sacrifice is sufficient once for all. However, if this sacrifice was applied to Old Covenant believers, why is it seemingly limited to only the New Covenant?

6: If the New Covenant is "expanded to include those from every tribe and language and people and nation" (page 93) then doesn't that support the idea that the Old Covenant was specifically national?

7: Finally, Guy quotes 1 Corinthians 7:14 on page 106, which has been alternatively interpreted as being an argument from lesser to greater as demonstrated here: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/sanctifying-unbelieving-spouses

I really, really want to understand. I've flopped around on Baptism for a long time, and my wife is getting exhausted. We're about to have a baby, and also join a Baptist Church. I need to settle this once and for all. Please, help me.

Thank you for your time. May grace and peace be magnified to you all.
Good questions :) So you know, I was a Covenantal Baptist until early 2018.

@Ed Walsh already quotes Romans 4:11. I hear it argued many times that the Baptist argues from the NT while the paedo argues from the OT. However, Romans 4:11 tells us ever so plainly what the nature of the Abrahamic Covenant (AC) is--spiritual. Not a secondary layer of meaning, but it was given to Abraham to assure Him that the promise of salvation would be delivered, and that by faith he had the righteousness of Christ. As Jesus says in John 8, "Abraham saw my day and rejoiced."

I also think it's quite unnatural to take a phrase like "to be God to you" in Genesis 17 and think that God only intends to be a national God. Contextually in Genesis that makes no sense in light of the history detailed just before. He was Abraham's God in heart and mind, thus such a phrase indicates that he expects to be the exact same in faith and obedience to all his children. Other phrases to consider, Genesis 15, "I am thy shield, thy exceeding great reward." God is Abraham's reward. Same chapter, Abraham believes and is justified. The sacrified bull, through which only Christ (I believe) passes through, and not Abraham, showing who alone must fulfill conditions in this covenant. Truly spiritual elements, which Paul says that circumcision has sealed.

The spiritual nature of circumcision then considered, the spiritual nature of baptism is no argument that it should only be given to those who are regenerate. After all, circumcision sealed the righteousness of Christ to those who have faith, preached of that righteousness to all who received it, whatever their true state. If there was no issue giving such a spiritual seal to Ishmael or Esau then, there is no issue now.

Ishmael and Esau, why were they excluded? Neither one of them comes to be excluded until by their own sin they show themselves unworthy. It wasn't until Ishmael became persecutor that he is sent away. Esau showed that he didn't care anything about God or spiritual things by selling them at an insanely foolish price, and showing his contempt by desiring to kill Jacob, by marrying Ishmaelite women, and showing no sign of repentance in any part of his life. Exodus 12, any foreign could become part of the Israelite community whether they had a previous interest or not. Ishmael and Esau only needed to be joined with Isaac and Jacob in the church and in the worship of God, and would not have been prohibited. They excluded themselves.

As for the new and better promises of thed New Covenant, consider that Hebrews 8 only refers to the Mosiac passing away, but not the Abrahamic. Galatians 4, NT interpretation, the Mosaic did nothing to amend or alter the covenant made 400 years prior. If you read through the NT you will find the Mosaic spoken of as passing away, but such language is never used about the Abrahamic. In fact, Hebrews 6, Romans 4, Galatians 3, the Abrahamic Covenant is foundational to Christian hope, and is spoke of as still continuing.

A step further, the NC (New Cov) is the delivery of AC promises. Galatians 3. What saints had in the OT times, the church now has in a far greater measure.

Israel was always open to those of other nations. Exodus 12, foreigners could partake of the passover. According to OT law, there was to be no difference between a natural Jew and a foreigner. They were as much Israel as direct descendants of Abraham. Think Uriah, for example, one of the mighty men of David. But of course, in God's providence other nations were not brought in. Not that they were not allowed to be saved or have part with Israel, but they simply never wanted it. The promise to Abraham was, "In you shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Some were like Uriah, the Egyptians who left with Israel, Ruth. That's a partial fulfillment since "salvation is of the Jews" Romans 4. Psalm 117, the nations are commanded to worship God (how else would they do that in the OT times but to obey the then-extant worship laws?). But now the age is come where God would fulfill the promise to Abraham, and the prophecy of Psalm 117 would come to a far greater fulfillment. And I think according to Romans 11, there's more to be had in the future.

I probably write too long of posts, so if you read all this, thank you! But you did write a lot of questions too. This is a glorious topic.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
1: On page 28, he says: "... the fact that water is the requisite element that is to be used in baptism suggests that cleansing or washing should be considered the primary meaning of the right [of baptism]." However, on page 31 he brings up 1 Peter 3:21, "... which states, 'baptism ... now saves you'". Wouldn't that mean that the primary meaning of baptism is not a washing, but union with the Holy Spirit? Which sort of, but not strongly, supports the credo position.
The actual sign and what it signifies, are not one and the same thing. That being, sometimes men are saved in the administration of the sacrament. See WCF 28:6

3: On Page 49 he says that Ishmael and Esau are good examples of being circumcised but excluded from the covenant. The thing is, were they excluded from just salvation, or also from the nation?
The nation of God is a spiritual nation; Ishmael was excluded spiritually from the Israel of God (nationally) and salvifically. So, they were excluded from Both (technically). Practically, both were members of the physical nation of Israel.

4: Page 72 he brings up that Abraham's children are "heirs according to promise", but isn't the New Covenant enacted on "Better promises"?
It is. Those better promises date back to Gen 3 and the first proclamation of grace.

He later says that the New Covenant is different in form, but not in substance (page 85) so then where do these "better promises" come from?
The development of these promises happen over time, consummated in Christ and his ascension.

He then says that believers are the true sons of Abraham, which again seems to support the baptist position.
Hows that? Adam was a 'true son'. "Believers" are the true sons, but how does this endorse or advocate for credo-baptism?

5: If the Old Covenant was still part of the Covenant of Grace, then why does Guy Richard say that the "remember your sins no more" portion of Jeremiah 31 means that Christ's sacrifice is sufficient once for all. However, if this sacrifice was applied to Old Covenant believers, why is it seemingly limited to only the New Covenant?
It's not limited to the NC. There is only one gospel.

6: If the New Covenant is "expanded to include those from every tribe and language and people and nation" (page 93) then doesn't that support the idea that the Old Covenant was specifically national?
Abraham was not of Israel. There are instances in the OT where non-nationals become believers.

7: Finally, Guy quotes 1 Corinthians 7:14 on page 106, which has been alternatively interpreted as being an argument from lesser to greater as demonstrated here: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/sanctifying-unbelieving-spouses
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/sanctifying-unbelieving-spouses

I don't quite follow. Can you unpack a bit?
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
I probably write too long of posts, so if you read all this, thank you! But you did write a lot of questions too. This is a glorious topic.
Not at all. I was too lazy and busy to go into more detail. What you wrote was all good. I'm off the hook again. :)

Thanks Jake
 
Last edited:

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
3: On Page 49 he says that Ishmael and Esau are good examples of being circumcised but excluded from the covenant. The thing is, were they excluded from just salvation, or also from the nation?
They were both eventually outside the nation and were Covenant-breakers.
  1. According to Arab-Islamic-Jewish traditions, Ishmael was the father of the Arabs, to be the ancestor of the Ishmaelites.
  2. According to some views Esau is considered to be the progenitor not only of the Edomites but of the Kenizzites and the Amalekites as well.
But what was your point? The same type of thing is also true of the New Testament. The baptized Ananias and his wife Sapphira were summarily dispatched directly by God to appear in a higher court.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
@Braden

For 1 Corinthians 7:14 keep in mind that John Piper does not share the same covenantal framework that a household baptist does. His view is that they are holy in the sense that it's okay to commune with them as family. However, this just isn't how the word "holy" gets used anywhere else.

We say they are holy because God includes them in the church. In that way they are set apart from other children in the world, put under the oversight of elders, and distinguished by the oversight of pastors and elders. Christ has made the children of believers a special object of discipleship.

Further, I believe Paul has this passage in mind when he speaks of sanctification in the marriage.

Malachi 2:14–15 (KJV 1900): Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, Against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: Yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed.

Notice who is the active agent in this marriage. Also notice what is God's intention for marriage. Think too about what this means in an Old Covenant Jewish household.

The Spirit has an influence on an unbelieving spouse, even if by common grace alone, and the instrument is the marriage. He is also the instrument on the children, as the intent was that the children should become godly seed. The difference is that the state of the unbelieving spouse is unmistakeably clear, and should not be baptized as they completely reject the Covenant of Grace, and the Christ who delivers its benefits. The children are not in that place.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
@Braden

I don't think I can get away without commenting more on 1 Corinthians 7:14.

First, it's necessary to understand that saving grace is not necessary to be deemed holy in every sense that it is used in the Bible. There were holy vessels, but they aren't recipients of grace. The Sabbath day is holy in Genesis, and in Exodus 20.

Leviticus 20:26, it says the Israelites were separated unto God--which is part what holiness means--yet how many fell in the wilderness and failed to obtain the grace of God? They are called holy again in Deuteronomy 7:6, 14:2, 14:21, 26:19, 28:9, the very people who would stray from God after Joshua died. Levites by birth were holy in a way that other Israelites weren't, 2 Chronicles 35:3.

There is also a difference between how holy is used for the spouse. The spouse is sanctified as in being acted upon. I'm not sure of the exact meaning, though I tend to think that in conjunction with Malachi 2 that the godliness of the believing spouse could result in eventual conversion. Whatever way, the Holy Spirit is working in the marriage according to Malachi, and that's not null just because one of them is a pagan. Other comments appreciated.

When used for the child, it's used in the stative. "They are holy." It's not given as a status to the unbelieving spouse, but only to the children. (Edited 8/22 for accuracy)

Question to bear in mind... when Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 refers to "our fathers in the wilderness", that is, even the Gentile believers in Corinth being counted as being ecclesiastically-descended from Israel (another reason I do not believe the NT church is disjointed from the OT church), can it really be that Paul is using "holy" in an entirely different sense?
 
Last edited:

Braden

Puritan Board Freshman
They were both eventually outside the nation and were Covenant-breakers.
  1. According to Arab-Islamic-Jewish traditions, Ishmael was the father of the Arabs, to be the ancestor of the Ishmaelites.
  2. According to some views Esau is considered to be the progenitor not only of the Edomites but of the Kenizzites and the Amalekites as well.
But what was your point? The same type of thing is also true of the New Testament. The baptized Ananias and his wife Sapphira were summarily dispatched directly by God to appear in a higher court.
My point is that
1: they were covenant breakers, so:
2: they were sent away from the nation
3: God still looked out for Ishmael, thus:
4: The Spiritual Covenant of Grace is separate from the physical national Abrahamic covenant.

I'd like to know if there's a point in my logic wherein I've erred. :)
 

Braden

Puritan Board Freshman
@Braden

I don't think I can get away without commenting more on 1 Corinthians 7:14.

First, it's necessary to understand that saving grace is not necessary to be deemed holy in every sense that it is used in the Bible. There were holy vessels, but they aren't recipients of grace. The Sabbath day is holy in Genesis, and in Exodus 20.

Leviticus 20:26, it says the Israelites were separated unto God--which is part what holiness means--yet how many fell in the wilderness and failed to obtain the grace of God? They are called holy again in Deuteronomy 7:6, 14:2, 14:21, 26:19, 28:9, the very people who would stray from God after Joshua died. Levites by birth were holy in a way that other Israelites weren't, 2 Chronicles 35:3.

There is also a difference between how holy is used for the spouse. The spouse is sanctified as in being acted upon. I'm not sure of the exact meaning, though I tend to think that in conjunction with Malachi 2 that the godliness of the believing spouse could result in eventual conversion. Whatever way, the Holy Spirit is working in the marriage according to Malachi, and that's not null just because one of them is a pagan. Other comments appreciated.

When used for the child, it's used in the stative. "They are holy." It's not given as a status to the unbelieving spouse, but only to the believing children.

Question to bear in mind... when Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 refers to "our fathers in the wilderness", that is, even the Gentile believers in Corinth being counted as being ecclesiastically-descended from Israel (another reason I do not believe the NT church is disjointed from the OT church), can it really be that Paul is using "holy" in an entirely different sense?
I really appreciate how much help you're being. Thank you so much.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
I really appreciate how much help you're being. Thank you so much.
I love this subject dearly :)

One more that I had never looked at closely, but we read Romans 15 in our prayer meeting last night, and I came across this verse.

Romans 15:8–9 (KJV 1900): Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

Notice who is minister of circumcision: Christ. It was instituted by Christ Himself. Strong reason to put into doubt any idea that circumcision was only about temporary land and peoples, and somehow only typically and secondarily about spiritual realities. It was given to minister Christ Himself. "Abraham saw my day and rejoiced." Jesus Christ, by this text, is the one who ordained it, administers it, and the one whom it preaches by representation of the Gospel in the body of Christ. That is the promise to the fathers (again, he's writing to a mix of both Jews and Gentiles, yet calling the OT church "the fathers").

So the circumcision of everyone in Genesis 17, Isaac and Ishmael, later Jacob and Esau, and every Jew, proselyte, and their male heirs was by the will of Christ, as a sermon in the flesh to minister Christ to them, much like the preached Word.

What is the truth of God? The Gospel by free grace, through Christ's righteousness and death for sin, preached surely in Genesis 3:15, clarified all throughout redemptive history, culminating in the coming of Christ, to be fully delivered at the Last Day. That, and nothing less, did Christ intend to minister when He appointed circumcision, or when He passed through the two halves of the bull in Genesis 15. This is the only way in which God could become Abraham's "exceedingly great reward", or "be God to [Him]" or "[his] offspring after [him]", if Christ alone passed through the halves and fulfilled every condition of the covenant and made Abraham the mere recipient.

The Lord is the minister of circumcision on the cross. Circumcision is a cut of the flesh. It is a cutting off, as well as cutting unto/sanctifying. When God makes a covenant in Genesis, it says he "cuts a covenant." Christ was cut off for sinners, cut unto/sanctified for this purpose, cut on the cross like the bull, and cut as a covenant. In that way, the covenant passed through Christ on the tree by enacting the penalty for covenant-breaking signified by the bull; so that the covenant cut in the flesh would bear fruit in real salvation (thanks Dr. S. Ferguson!).

With truths like this, I can go my way rejoicing!
 
Last edited:

Col33

Puritan Board Freshman
There is a lot of "Covenantal Language" in the New Testament necessitating searching the OT for the meanings. If Credo was true then there would have been no covenantal language in the NT.
 

Braden

Puritan Board Freshman
I love this subject dearly :)

One more that I had never looked at closely, but we read Romans 15 in our prayer meeting last night, and I came across this verse.

Romans 15:8–9 (KJV 1900): Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

Notice who is minister of circumcision: Christ. It was instituted by Christ Himself. Strong reason to put into doubt any idea that circumcision was only about temporary land and peoples, and somehow only typically and secondarily about spiritual realities. It was given to minister Christ Himself. "Abraham saw my day and rejoiced." Jesus Christ, by this text, is the one who ordained it, administers it, and the one whom it preaches by representation of the Gospel in the body of Christ. That is the promise to the fathers (again, he's writing to a mix of both Jews and Gentiles, yet calling the OT church "the fathers").

So the circumcision of everyone in Genesis 17, Isaac and Ishmael, later Jacob and Esau, and every Jew, proselyte, and their male heirs was by the will of Christ, as a sermon in the flesh to minister Christ to them, much like the preached Word.

What is the truth of God? The Gospel by free grace, through Christ's righteousness and death for sin, preached surely in Genesis 3:15, clarified all throughout redemptive history, culminating in the coming of Christ, to be fully delivered at the Last Day. That, and nothing less, did Christ intend to minister when He appointed circumcision, or when He passed through the two halves of the bull in Genesis 15. This is the only way in which God could become Abraham's "exceedingly great reward", or "be God to [Him]" or "[his] offspring after [him]", if Christ alone passed through the halves and fulfilled every condition of the covenant and made Abraham the mere recipient.

The Lord is the minister of circumcision on the cross. Circumcision is a cut of the flesh. It is a cutting off, as well as cutting unto/sanctifying. When God makes a covenant in Genesis, it says he "cuts a covenant." Christ was cut off for sinners, cut unto/sanctified for this purpose, cut on the cross like the bull, and cut as a covenant. In that way, the covenant passed through Christ on the tree by enacting the penalty for covenant-breaking signified by the bull; so that the covenant cut in the flesh would bear fruit in real salvation (thanks Dr. S. Ferguson!).

With truths like this, I can go my way rejoicing!
So how can Christ enter the covenant of Grace made with Abraham, and through this covenant

1: earn salvation, and
2: not be given grace instead of wrath on the cross?
 

Col33

Puritan Board Freshman
So how can Christ enter the covenant of Grace made with Abraham, and through this covenant

1: earn salvation, and
2: not be given grace instead of wrath on the cross?
The Covenant of Grace was initiated in Genesis 3:15 when God spoke the Proto-evangelium.

Also, Adam & Eve were saved in Genesis 3:15 when saving faith came by hearing the Gospel message spoken by God in their hearing.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
So how can Christ enter the covenant of Grace made with Abraham, and through this covenant

1: earn salvation, and
2: not be given grace instead of wrath on the cross?
I'm not sure I understand the question. Maybe a few thoughts might help further us along.

To be clear, when I talk about the Covenant of Grace, my own wording is as the Larger Catechism says:

"The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in Him with all the elect as His seed."

It's in the Covenant of Grace that Christ represents all the elect, sacrifices Himself for them, earns obedience for them, so that they can be reconciled to God apart from works and come into communion with Him again. From this covenant they receive Christ, and justification, adoption, sanctification, a clear conscience, joy, perseverance, and all other things that evidence our communion with Him. That is what Genesis 3:15 is teaching. That covenant was established--and the benefits actually delivered before Christ came--to those who believe, including Adam, Eve, Abel, etc.

The Abrahamic Covenant is the covenant through which Christ in the Old Testament delivers the benefits of the Covenant of Grace to the elect, beginning with Abraham and his house. Romans 3 tells us the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God, meaning that they were the custodians of saving knowledge and special revelation. Again Christ says, "Salvation is of the Jews." In the context of a people called out to worship God, to be made holy to Him, under the oversight of appointed officers, teaching and overseeing according to the Word, and observing the appointed ordinances and sacraments (circumcision, passover, sacrifices, offerings), the Father gave to the elect Christ and His benefits.

Sounds like a church.

You've heard it said that the Abrahamic is of the substance, and an administration of, the Covenant of Grace. That's the point: through this covenant with Abraham and his seed, God administers the benefits of salvation (ie. the substance). The Mosaic was added as a servant in the house to further these purposes through types and shadows which preached Christ, He established Christ as king over Israel through the Davidic, and delivered a mighty effusion of the Abrahamic promises--the Holy Spirit in Galatians 4--in the New Covenant to the House of Israel and the House of Judah.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
My point is that
1: they were covenant breakers, so:
2: they were sent away from the nation
3: God still looked out for Ishmael, thus:
4: The Spiritual Covenant of Grace is separate from the physical national Abrahamic covenant.

I'd like to know if there's a point in my logic wherein I've erred. :)
I believe it's true that there was some covenant-breaking going on in the lives of Ishmael and Esau. The question for a classic covenant theologian would be: in what way is it properly identified as such?

I have to guess a bit at your train of thought, because of the enthememe (premises elided) in the logical sequence you give us. In other words, "filling in the blank" is the choice you've given those who engage. So then, it's up to you to graciously correct any mistaken efforts.

Here's how I understand your meaning.
  1. The Covenant of Grace (CoG) cannot be broken. If a covenant-breaker, then the covenant to which he is a member is ipso facto not the CoG.
  2. Penalty for the covenant he broke entailed physical removal from a family/nation association. The CoG is a spiritual covenant, with spiritual penalties. Thus, the physical nature of the penalty is an argument that favors the physical nature of the covenant he broke.
  3. Furthermore God, it seems, shows concern for Ishmael post-banishment. He wouldn't show concern that belied the sovereign effect of his justice. Therefore, Ishmael experienced some grace that flowed from another source or covenant.
  4. Thence concluding that there is a distinction between two covenants with Abraham, 1) a physical and national covenant; 2) a spiritual CoG.
Classic covenant theology affirms that the CoG cannot be broken. That's where the agreement ends, largely.

Classic covenant theology affirms there are two ways of associating with the CoG: 1) inwardly, and 2) outwardly. The two ways belong together; however, it is possible to belong to the CoG inwardly and lack certain outward markers such as covenant-signs and membership benefits. And, it is also possible to belong to the CoG outwardly, and lack the inner resources that belong only to the elect. Since the CoG is made with Christ the Mediator, and all his elect in him as his seed (see WCL 31), it is not possible for those who are inward-members of the CoG to break it or be lost from it, since it is kept already perfectly for them by the second Adam.

Classic covenant theology affirms that covenant-breaking is nevertheless a real thing. Apostasy is real, it is damnable and horrendous, and it has penalties temporal and eternal, physical and spiritual. To break with the CoG in an outward way is really to break covenant. This is because the outward form of the covenant is a genuine thing, a true engagement, and not simply some outward show of a thing that is irrelevant if not rooted inwardly.

Classic covenant theology affirms that the CoG is and always has been honestly and in-fact administered in outward manner, albeit imperfectly by men in the world, under divine superintendence. Classic covenant theology denies that the NT age has dispensed with all external administration, and is solely administered spiritually, inwardly, and perfectly by the Holy Spirit. Because men still minister to others in the present age, and their ministry is true, the despite of it is not less than "trampling underfoot the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insult to the Spirit of grace," Heb.10:29.

When men violate the New Covenant today, they do not touch the substance of it. Nor, when Ishmael violated the Abrahamic Covenant did he touch the substance of it. One cannot violate the substance of the CoG, and never could. However, Ishmael did violate the outward form of the CoG in operation in his day, and suffered expulsion for his despite. And gross violators of the outward form of the CoG in operation in our day also suffer expulsion for their despite.

After Abraham and under Moses, banishment was sometimes not enough, and the death-penalty was ordained, signifying a permanent, eternal removal from God's grace. If so signified in the days of type-and-shadow, "how much more" should that ancient warning post be heeded today? There is no more spiritually significant land in the world, with law for it. But there is a church, and expulsion by excommunication. Physical removal from the brethren's fellowship is an earthly, temporal covenant-penalty. Physical penalties do not undermine the spirituality of the substance of the CoG, any more than physically enjoyed blessings from the church fail to mediate spiritual good to the elect.

God's mercy to Ishmael is no different from his mercy shown to man post-fall. Man was not annihilated in Gen.3, according to the strictest and swiftest imposition of justice. If one believes of Ishmael's salvation (I do not), then the grace shown him is in virtue of the eternal CoG extraordinarily outside its visible administration, and was accompanied necessarily by due repentance in the heart for which room was granted (cf. Heb.12:17). Furthermore, Ishmael had descendants from whom we have assurance of Scripture there were elect to be found; so his survival was demanded by the grace God reserved for the elect from his line. There is no sure conclusion of a blessed personal relationship that may be drawn from the fact that God spared Ishmael and Hagar.

Classic covenant theology does not need to find a second covenant with Abraham. I don't believe Paul (NT) knows anything of a second covenant with him (there is another, temporary covenant made with the Israelite nation at Sinai). It is enough that there are two ways of relating to the one CoG: inwardly and outwardly.
 

Braden

Puritan Board Freshman
I believe it's true that there was some covenant-breaking going on in the lives of Ishmael and Esau. The question for a classic covenant theologian would be: in what way is it properly identified as such?

I have to guess a bit at your train of thought, because of the enthememe (premises elided) in the logical sequence you give us. In other words, "filling in the blank" is the choice you've given those who engage. So then, it's up to you to graciously correct any mistaken efforts.

Here's how I understand your meaning.
  1. The Covenant of Grace (CoG) cannot be broken. If a covenant-breaker, then the covenant to which he is a member is ipso facto not the CoG.
  2. Penalty for the covenant he broke entailed physical removal from a family/nation association. The CoG is a spiritual covenant, with spiritual penalties. Thus, the physical nature of the penalty is an argument that favors the physical nature of the covenant he broke.
  3. Furthermore God, it seems, shows concern for Ishmael post-banishment. He wouldn't show concern that belied the sovereign effect of his justice. Therefore, Ishmael experienced some grace that flowed from another source or covenant.
  4. Thence concluding that there is a distinction between two covenants with Abraham, 1) a physical and national covenant; 2) a spiritual CoG.
Classic covenant theology affirms that the CoG cannot be broken. That's where the agreement ends, largely.

Classic covenant theology affirms there are two ways of associating with the CoG: 1) inwardly, and 2) outwardly. The two ways belong together; however, it is possible to belong to the CoG inwardly and lack certain outward markers such as covenant-signs and membership benefits. And, it is also possible to belong to the CoG outwardly, and lack the inner resources that belong only to the elect. Since the CoG is made with Christ the Mediator, and all his elect in him as his seed (see WCL 31), it is not possible for those who are inward-members of the CoG to break it or be lost from it, since it is kept already perfectly for them by the second Adam.

Classic covenant theology affirms that covenant-breaking is nevertheless a real thing. Apostasy is real, it is damnable and horrendous, and it has penalties temporal and eternal, physical and spiritual. To break with the CoG in an outward way is really to break covenant. This is because the outward form of the covenant is a genuine thing, a true engagement, and not simply some outward show of a thing that is irrelevant if not rooted inwardly.

Classic covenant theology affirms that the CoG is and always has been honestly and in-fact administered in outward manner, albeit imperfectly by men in the world, under divine superintendence. Classic covenant theology denies that the NT age has dispensed with all external administration, and is solely administered spiritually, inwardly, and perfectly by the Holy Spirit. Because men still minister to others in the present age, and their ministry is true, the despite of it is not less than "trampling underfoot the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insult to the Spirit of grace," Heb.10:29.

When men violate the New Covenant today, they do not touch the substance of it. Nor, when Ishmael violated the Abrahamic Covenant did he touch the substance of it. One cannot violate the substance of the CoG, and never could. However, Ishmael did violate the outward form of the CoG in operation in his day, and suffered expulsion for his despite. And gross violators of the outward form of the CoG in operation in our day also suffer expulsion for their despite.

After Abraham and under Moses, banishment was sometimes not enough, and the death-penalty was ordained, signifying a permanent, eternal removal from God's grace. If so signified in the days of type-and-shadow, "how much more" should that ancient warning post be heeded today? There is no more spiritually significant land in the world, with law for it. But there is a church, and expulsion by excommunication. Physical removal from the brethren's fellowship is an earthly, temporal covenant-penalty. Physical penalties do not undermine the spirituality of the substance of the CoG, any more than physically enjoyed blessings from the church fail to mediate spiritual good to the elect.

God's mercy to Ishmael is no different from his mercy shown to man post-fall. Man was not annihilated in Gen.3, according to the strictest and swiftest imposition of justice. If one believes of Ishmael's salvation (I do not), then the grace shown him is in virtue of the eternal CoG extraordinarily outside its visible administration, and was accompanied necessarily by due repentance in the heart for which room was granted (cf. Heb.12:17). Furthermore, Ishmael had descendants from whom we have assurance of Scripture there were elect to be found; so his survival was demanded by the grace God reserved for the elect from his line. There is no sure conclusion of a blessed personal relationship that may be drawn from the fact that God spared Ishmael and Hagar.

Classic covenant theology does not need to find a second covenant with Abraham. I don't believe Paul (NT) knows anything of a second covenant with him (there is another, temporary covenant made with the Israelite nation at Sinai). It is enough that there are two ways of relating to the one CoG: inwardly and outwardly.
You filled in the gaps accurately, and I appreciate your help.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top