The Abrahamic Covenant was not the Covenant of Grace?

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PuritanCovenanter

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The NC is the consummation of the CoG. It is the finality of the CoG until the consummatio saeculi.
Andrew there are still promises to be fulfilled even in the New Covenant. The Covenant of Grace does have some finality that is fulfilled in the various Administrations as Abraham has some finality found in Moses. The phrase, "until the consummatio saeculi," I believe proves my point. There is a final consummation of the Covenant of Grace to happen. I may be mistaken but that is how I am understanding the situation.
WCF
7.4. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
It seems to me that perhaps we are being foolish to get steamed up about the definition of a term (Covenant of Grace) that is not spelled out in the Bible. How can we precisely define from the Scripture something that does not appear therein by that name? All the covenants are leading to Christ, pointing to Christ, promising Christ--He alone is the savior of the elect in all ages, and salvation is all of grace.
To say "people could break the CoG in OT times but no longer can," or "The CoG can still be broken by failing to paedobaptize," you have to closely define what you mean by Covenant of Grace, and methinks we are working with various definitions of it here. With which I return to the difficulty to making everyone agree with exactly WHAT the CoG is.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
Why would it not though be seen as actually being the CoG itself though?

There are a few factors, but I'll name two:

1) if the NC is the CoG, then that negates the other covenant administrations by necessity.

2) if the NC is the CoG, then it fundamentally denies Christ as mediator in the previous covenants.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
Andrew there are still promises to be fulfilled even in the New Covenant. The Covenant of Grace does have some finality that is fulfilled in the various Administrations as Abraham has some finality found in Moses. The phrase, "until the consummatio saeculi," I believe proves my point. There is a final consummation of the Covenant of Grace to happen. I may be mistaken but that is how I am understanding the situation.
WCF
7.4. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.

I don't necessarily disagree with this. Although, I'd be hesitant to say "Abraham has some finality found in Moses". Paul argues against this point to some degree:

"the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul" (Gal. 3:17).
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
There are a few factors, but I'll name two:

1) if the NC is the CoG, then that negates the other covenant administrations by necessity.

2) if the NC is the CoG, then it fundamentally denies Christ as mediator in the previous covenants.

Turretin:

“The New Covenant is taken either broadly or strictly.

V The New covenant is also taken in a twofold manner either broadly, inasmuch as it stands for the covenant of grace in general made with sinners , which existed under the Old Testament as well before Christ appeared as under the New after he had been manifested; or strictly, for the covenant of grace promulgated after the manifestation of Christ in the flesh, which should continue to the end of the World”

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology Vol 2, pg 234

In essence, the C of G and NC are interchangeable

More here: http://www.semperreformanda.com/201...-of-grace-and-new-covenant-interchangeably-2/
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Rich,

I may be wrong on my understanding of 1689 Federalism on this point, but I believe its proponents will say they are not far off from this definition. They believe the CoG was promised in Genesis 3:15, and further revealed in successive covenants (types and shadows?) until consummated/inaugurated at Christ's resurrection. Denault writes, "The Abrahamic Covenant, the Sinaitic Covenant and the Davidic Covenant were not the Covenant of Grace, nor administrations of it; however, the Covenant of Grace was revealed under these various covenants"*. Denault uses Hebrews 9:15 as support for this view.

*The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology, page 71.
Whether or not that's the case, my main point in this thread is responding to the claim that "For the paedobaptist, the Abrahamic Covenant is the Covenant of Grace."

One needs to look at the distinctions made. Considered absolutely there is only one CoG. Considered historically you have to consider the ways in which certain dispensations more or less had elements that couldn't properly be said to be the realization of the CoG. This is why Owen continually says that the Mosaic is not a mere administration of the CoG. It's not that it is, in no way, an administration of the COG but there are a number or worship and other elements that are mutable and the historical inauguration of the fullness of the CoG has not happened so you can't just look at the Mosaic (or even the Abrahamic) and say "one for one": that's the CoG. The NC, on the other hand, aligns perfectly with the nature of the CoG because it has historically realized what was promised.

These qualification are important provided we don't obsess so much about discontinuity so as to call into question whether or not mankind was saved by one other than Christ. I would prefer men err on the side of understanding that Christ was the Mediator of the OT elect and maybe be a bit more precise than to have things die the death of a thousand qualifications so that the simple are left wondering whether the OT saints were saved in some other fashion.
 
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PuritanCovenanter

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I don't necessarily disagree with this. Although, I'd be hesitant to say "Abraham has some finality found in Moses". Paul argues against this point to some degree:

"the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul" (Gal. 3:17).

Just a small thing here but I could post more.

Under the Mosaic covenant, God makes huge strides toward realizing the promises He made to Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3). A large number of families are constituted as a nation during the exodus from Egypt and brought to Canaan, which begins the first major fulfillment of God’s promise to the patriarch. The Lord is present among Israel in the tabernacle as He keeps His word to bless Israel. All the nations of the earth begin to find blessing as the Law is written and later proclaimed to the nations (Jonah 3).
http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/mosaic-covenant/
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
This particular quote seems to demonstrate how they can't be interchangeable. The NC announces the CoG, but the CoG has been around longer then its adminstration.

It would depend on whether you take the broad or strict view....
Andrew,
Did u click on the hyperlink in my post as I cite westminster and the OPC on the idea as well.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Someone somewhere in these threads recommended John Colquhoun; I've been reading him at archive.org. and found this a helpful quote, (though it concerns the Mosaic covenant) from his "A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel," page 54-55 etc., https://archive.org/stream/treatiseonlawgos00colq#page/54/mode/2up:

The covenant of grace, both in itself, and in the intention of God, was the principal part of the Sinai transaction. It was therefore published first; as it appears from these words, "I am the Lord thy God." These gracious words, in which Jehovah exhibited himself to the Israelites as their God, were spoken to them, as his peculiar people, the natural seed of Abraham and as typical of all his spiritual seed. To this gracious offer or grant, which Jehovah made of himself to them, as their God and Redeemer, the ten commandments were annexed, as a rule of duty to them as his professed people, and especially, to true believers among them as his spiritual seed. In virtue of his having engaged to answer for them all the demands of the law as a covenant of works, he repeats and promulgates it to them as a rule of life in the covenant of grace. Instead of saying to them, "Keep my commandments, that I may become your God"; he, on the contrary, said to each of them, "I am the Lord thy God," therefore keep my commandments. This is not the form of the law as it is in the covenant of works, but the form of it only as the law of Christ, and as standing in the covenant of grace."

Colquhoun goes on to expound on how in the Sinai transaction the covenant of grace, with the law annexed to it as a rule of life, was repeated and delivered to the Israelites:

"The ten commandments are founded on these words of the preface, 'I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the house of bondage.' The inestimable privilege here exhibited is made the foundation of the duty required."​
Thanks. Great stuff.

By the way, did you become a Presbyterian and leave Jim Gables' church, or are you still down near Hueytown?
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks. Great stuff.

By the way, did you become a Presbyterian and leave Jim Gables' church, or are you still down near Hueytown?

I was never actually in Pastor Gables' church, just in an ongoing Bible study he teaches (that is still ongoing!) He politely ignores my confessions of now being Presbyterian. :) He is retired now from the pastorate; what wonderful people he and Carolyn are! Love them dearly. (They think highly of you, by the way!)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I was never actually in Pastor Gables' church, just in an ongoing Bible study he teaches (that is still ongoing!) He politely ignores my confessions of now being Presbyterian. :) He is retired now from the pastorate; what wonderful people he and Carolyn are! Love them dearly. (They think highly of you, by the way!)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Ok, great. I am glad you can benefit from brother. Jim. He has been very influential in my life and is closely tied to my sending church in Saint Louis. Maybe the news of your Presbyterianism is too shocking for him to hear...ha ha.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
It would depend on whether you take the broad or strict view....
Andrew,
Did u click on the hyperlink in my post as I cite westminster and the OPC on the idea as well.

Yes I did. Thank you for the link.

So are you saying that, before the NC, the CoG wasn't around?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
No, the way I am reading Turretin is that he is saying that the NC, in it's stricter sense, started in the OT (I assume Gen 3:15) and in it's broader, at Christ's passion.
 
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greenbaggins

Administrator
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Not quite sure I agree with you on that. I do hold to a discontinuity of the Abrahamic Covenant, although I am not where the 1689 Federalists are at the present time.

Bill, I'm sure you have probably addressed this somewhere else, but I would be curious as to your interpretation of Galatians 3. If the Abrahamic Covenant is discontinuous, then how do you read Paul's exposition of the Abrahamic covenant, where he says that the seed (singular) is Christ (3:16), and that therefore if we belong to Christ, we are Abraham's offspring (3:29)? Would this not seem to point in a continuous direction rather than discontinuous? How can we be heirs according to the promise if it is not the Abrahamic promises Paul is referring to there?
 

Timotheos

Puritan Board Freshman
Bill, I'm sure you have probably addressed this somewhere else, but I would be curious as to your interpretation of Galatians 3. If the Abrahamic Covenant is discontinuous, then how do you read Paul's exposition of the Abrahamic covenant, where he says that the seed (singular) is Christ (3:16), and that therefore if we belong to Christ, we are Abraham's offspring (3:29)? Would this not seem to point in a continuous direction rather than discontinuous? How can we be heirs according to the promise if it is not the Abrahamic promises Paul is referring to there?
I'm not sure how Herald will respond, but I know how I would (dichotomy of the Abrahamic Covenant as laid out in Genesis and Gal. 4; yes we disagree w/ both the concept and interpretation). Hopefully, you understand how 1689 federalism answers this very issue.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Tim, yes, I am aware of the 1689 federalist answer, which I don't find plausible at all. To my mind, it is impossible to make a connection from "Sinai" to "Abraham" in Galatians 4. Sinai would mean the giving of the law in the Mosaic economy to any Jew, or anyone versed in the OT. It would NOT mean the Abraham covenant. Sinai means either the Mosaic economy, or a twisted understanding of the Mosaic economy. This is born out by verse 10's "days, months, seasons and years" which cannot possibly refer to anything in the Abrahamic covenant, but MUST refer to the Mosaic festivals. In verse 21, Paul says "under the law." This phrase makes no sense in the Abrahamic administration. It only makes sense under the Mosaic, in which the law was officially given. Conclusive is verse 24, wherein Paul says "bearing children for slavery," referring to Mount Sinai. This cannot possibly be a reference to the Abrahamic, about which slavery was never mentioned as an element either of the covenant itself, or a twisting of the covenant, and yet makes perfect sense of the Mosaic (or a twisting thereof).

These are far clearer indications than the reference to Ishmael in verses 29-30, wherein another interpretation than the 1689 federalist position is quite possible: Paul simply brings in Ishmael as an example of how the people of the promise are always persecuted by the line of the serpent. Verse 28 says we are children of Abraham, like Isaac.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I'm not sure how Herald will respond, but I know how I would (dichotomy of the Abrahamic Covenant as laid out in Genesis and Gal. 4; yes we disagree w/ both the concept and interpretation). Hopefully, you understand how 1689 federalism answers this very issue.
The NC was not in operation in its fullest and final sense until the Coming of Jesus, and His death/resurrection/ascension, and the Church at Pentecost being founded, correct?
 

Timotheos

Puritan Board Freshman
Tim, yes, I am aware of the 1689 federalist answer, which I don't find plausible at all. To my mind, it is impossible to make a connection from "Sinai" to "Abraham" in Galatians 4. Sinai would mean the giving of the law in the Mosaic economy to any Jew, or anyone versed in the OT. It would NOT mean the Abraham covenant. Sinai means either the Mosaic economy, or a twisted understanding of the Mosaic economy. This is born out by verse 10's "days, months, seasons and years" which cannot possibly refer to anything in the Abrahamic covenant, but MUST refer to the Mosaic festivals. In verse 21, Paul says "under the law." This phrase makes no sense in the Abrahamic administration. It only makes sense under the Mosaic, in which the law was officially given. Conclusive is verse 24, wherein Paul says "bearing children for slavery," referring to Mount Sinai. This cannot possibly be a reference to the Abrahamic, about which slavery was never mentioned as an element either of the covenant itself, or a twisting of the covenant, and yet makes perfect sense of the Mosaic (or a twisting thereof).

These are far clearer indications than the reference to Ishmael in verses 29-30, wherein another interpretation than the 1689 federalist position is quite possible: Paul simply brings in Ishmael as an example of how the people of the promise are always persecuted by the line of the serpent. Verse 28 says we are children of Abraham, like Isaac.
My point was that you made a valid contention about continuity of the spiritual seed of Abraham. This is why the distinction made in 1689 federalism seems to be (in my mind) the only viable position for baptists (I'll qualify that in a moment). The solution as seen in 1689 federalism as that there is a dual nature to the Abrahamic covenant. The Mosaic covenant is connected to the AC through its physical and typological promises (Promised Land, numerous people, etc.), i.e. the physical seed. But the continuity that we find in Gal. 3 and Abraham is the spiritual seed and thus the spiritual and antitypical promises of the AC leading to the NC.

So your questions are wonderful and valid: "If the Abrahamic Covenant is discontinuous, then how do you read Paul's exposition of the Abrahamic covenant, where he says that the seed (singular) is Christ (3:16), and that therefore if we belong to Christ, we are Abraham's offspring (3:29)? Would this not seem to point in a continuous direction rather than discontinuous? How can we be heirs according to the promise if it is not the Abrahamic promises Paul is referring to there?"

And we answer that in the dichotomous nature of the AC, the spirutual/anti-typical part of the AC is the continuous direction wherein we can be heirs according to the promise of the AC.

Now for my qualification. The advantage of the 1689 federalism in baptist covenant theology is that if baptists take a 2 administrations view of the CoG, then I don't see how one can remain a baptist. That is not to say that I allow my credo-baptism stance force my view of the CoG. I'm simply saying that if reformed baptists not in the 1689 federalism camp took their covenant theology to its logical conclusion, then I am not entirely sure what keeps them in the credo-baptist camp at all. The other thread on the newness of the NC is making that apparent. However, I don't want to delegitmize those RB who hold to a 2 administration view or posit that 1689 federalism is the only view and all other views be anathema. That is to say that 1689 federalism is the best and most consistent view with baptist covenant theology and credo-baptistism.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Tim, what I hear you saying (and this is consistent with what I've seen in the past) is that the connection between Abrahamic and Mosaic is physical/typological promises, whereas the connection between Abraham and New is spiritual seed.

However, I don't see why the connection between Abrahamic and Mosaic is not spiritual seed as well. Just because, in Moses' time, Israel was Abraham's physical seed does not mean that the spiritual seed idea is absent. For instance, a mixed multitude went with Israel out of Egypt. Almost universally, that is interpreted of Egyptians who went with Israel and joined with them. They became part of spiritual Israel, and yet were not of the physical seed. The same can be said of Ruth, and any other foreigners who joined Israel. Nor do I accept that the physical/typological can be so easily divorced from the spiritual seed idea. The spiritual seed of Abraham starts with Jesus Christ, who is BOTH the physical AND spiritual seed of Abraham.

Conversely, it makes no sense to exclude the physical/typological in the connection between the Abrahamic and the New Covenant. Christ is the physical seed of Abraham, and yet also the foundation of the New Covenant. The physical/typological/spiritual all join together in Christ. The new covenant promised in Jeremiah was originally said to be with a physical seed. This understanding was broadened in Hebrews to include the spiritual seed. Furthermore, the incident with Isaac in Genesis 22 is surely typological of the New Covenant.

In short, your distinction between these two aspects, while helpful in one sense (Presbyterians would agree that distinctions among physical, spiritual, typological aspects of covenant theology can be helpful in themselves), in your application of them does not make sense.
 

Timotheos

Puritan Board Freshman
Tim, what I hear you saying (and this is consistent with what I've seen in the past) is that the connection between Abrahamic and Mosaic is physical/typological promises, whereas the connection between Abraham and New is spiritual seed.

However, I don't see why the connection between Abrahamic and Mosaic is not spiritual seed as well. Just because, in Moses' time, Israel was Abraham's physical seed does not mean that the spiritual seed idea is absent. For instance, a mixed multitude went with Israel out of Egypt. Almost universally, that is interpreted of Egyptians who went with Israel and joined with them. They became part of spiritual Israel, and yet were not of the physical seed. The same can be said of Ruth, and any other foreigners who joined Israel. Nor do I accept that the physical/typological can be so easily divorced from the spiritual seed idea. The spiritual seed of Abraham starts with Jesus Christ, who is BOTH the physical AND spiritual seed of Abraham.

Conversely, it makes no sense to exclude the physical/typological in the connection between the Abrahamic and the New Covenant. Christ is the physical seed of Abraham, and yet also the foundation of the New Covenant. The physical/typological/spiritual all join together in Christ. The new covenant promised in Jeremiah was originally said to be with a physical seed. This understanding was broadened in Hebrews to include the spiritual seed. Furthermore, the incident with Isaac in Genesis 22 is surely typological of the New Covenant.

In short, your distinction between these two aspects, while helpful in one sense (Presbyterians would agree that distinctions among physical, spiritual, typological aspects of covenant theology can be helpful in themselves), in your application of them does not make sense.
I have much sermon prep to do today, so I won't be able to elaborate better until next week. I do enjoy our exchanges, Lane.

So to the points you raised, answered in reverse order b/c I like chiasmus ;)

Appealing to Jer. 31 and the physical seed of the New Covenant sounds awfully dispensational. If the NT doesn't give the thicker meaning of the house of Israel and house of Judah as the spiritual seed but also include the physical seed as well, then this is a strong case for a restoration of the physical seed and the nation of Israel.

The reason for "excluding the physical/typological in the connection between the Abrahamic and the New Covenant" is based on the dichotomy of the seeds in the AC. The connection between the AC and the NC is through the physical seed, as I think Hebrews makes clear. The connection between the AC and the MC is through the physical seed. This seems best expressed in the Gal. 4 and the allegory.

And I readily believe that there was a spiritual seed among the physical seed during the OC era. Paul is clear that such a distinction is certain in Rom. 9:6b, "For not all who are descended from Israel [physical seed] belong to Israel [spiritual seed]." So if I conveyed that there was an absence of the spiritual seed among the physical seed (a remnant), then forgive my miscommunication. However, I never intended to say such.

I feel like I am not answering you very well. Perhaps Brandon can chime in here. I am over-run with other pressing things.

To be continued...
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
I have much sermon prep to do today, so I won't be able to elaborate better until next week. I do enjoy our exchanges, Lane.

So to the points you raised, answered in reverse order b/c I like chiasmus ;)

Appealing to Jer. 31 and the physical seed of the New Covenant sounds awfully dispensational. If the NT doesn't give the thicker meaning of the house of Israel and house of Judah as the spiritual seed but also include the physical seed as well, then this is a strong case for a restoration of the physical seed and the nation of Israel.

The reason for "excluding the physical/typological in the connection between the Abrahamic and the New Covenant" is based on the dichotomy of the seeds in the AC. The connection between the AC and the NC is through the physical seed, as I think Hebrews makes clear. The connection between the AC and the MC is through the physical seed. This seems best expressed in the Gal. 4 and the allegory.

And I readily believe that there was a spiritual seed among the physical seed during the OC era. Paul is clear that such a distinction is certain in Rom. 9:6b, "For not all who are descended from Israel [physical seed] belong to Israel [spiritual seed]." So if I conveyed that there was an absence of the spiritual seed among the physical seed (a remnant), then forgive my miscommunication. However, I never intended to say such.

I feel like I am not answering you very well. Perhaps Brandon can chime in here. I am over-run with other pressing things.

To be continued...
This is the real distinction to mere on this issue, as while there were both lost and saved as part of the OC, only those who are saved are under and part of the NC.
 
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