The New Covenant Clearly Replaced the Mosaic Covenant, Not the Abrahamic.

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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rev. Winzer (and others) do you believe Calvin believed that all members of the new covenant are elect, saved?

As noted earlier, Calvin didn't work with the internal-external distinction. His most regular way of dealing with the relationship between elect and reprobate in the visible church was to draw attention to the fact of true and false profession. For Calvin the reprobate are not truly in the covenant, and that applies in both Old and New Testaments. So, in whatever sense Calvin rejects the membership of reprobates in the new covenant is the same sense in which he rejects their membership in the old covenant. There is no substantial difference.
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
I want to be VERY careful in interacting on this topic, but I do still have questions. :) So please warn me quickly if I'm veering off into dangerous territory. If the Mosaic and New Covenants are the same in substance (covenant of grace), then would it right to say that OT saints were saved BY the Old Covenant? If so, how do we square it with Heb 10:4, "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."?
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I want to be VERY careful in interacting on this topic, but I do still have questions. :) So please warn me quickly if I'm veering off into dangerous territory. If the Mosaic and New Covenants are the same in substance (covenant of grace), then would it right to say that OT saints were saved BY the Old Covenant? If so, how do we square it with Heb 10:4, "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."?

Dennis,

Hebrews 9 & 10 make it clear that the Old Covenant could not save. The grace contained in the Mosaic Covenant was linked to the cross. The Law is our tutor, or schoolmaster. The ceremonial regulations contained in the Law were fulfilled in Christ. The whole Moasic Covenant pointed towards Christ. Thus, the Old Covenant could not save. It lacked the necessary power to atone for sin once for all. It served a necessary purpose, but it was destined for obsolesence.

sent from the wonderful world of Android.
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
If the Mosaic and New Covenants are the same in substance (covenant of grace), then would it right to say that OT saints were saved BY the Old Covenant? If so, how do we square it with Heb 10:4, "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."?

The saint living under the Old Covenant were no more saved BY the Old Covenant that we are saved BY the New Covenant - i.e we're not, we are saved by the grace of God expressed in the Covenant of Grace.

BCF 7

2. Moreover Man having brought himself 119under the curse of the Law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a Covenant of Grace wherein he freely offereth unto Sinners, 120Life and Salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them Faith in him, that they may be saved; and 121promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal Life, his holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.
3. This Covenant is revealed in the Gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of Salvation by the 122seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, untill the full 123discovery thereof was compleated in the new Testament; and it is founded in that 124Eternal Covenant transaction, that was between the Father and the Son, about the Redemption of the Elect; and it is alone by the Grace of this Covenant, that all of the posterity of fallen Adam, that ever were 125saved, did obtain life and a blessed immortality; Man being now utterly uncapable of acceptance with God upon those terms, on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks Bill and Pastor Wallace. Now is this view essentially the same as Westminster, or does our view admit of a sharper break with the Mosaic covenant as not a pure administration of the covenant of grace?
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
Dennis

I haven't followed this whole thread so am not sure what has been covered. For me I believe the Mosaic/Old Covenant is a full (pure if you want) administration of the Covenant of Grace, it may include other elements in relation to national Israel, but it certainly is not less that an administration of the Covenant of Grace.

As far as I understand it, Westminister is the same and I would have little or no difficulty in agreeing with WCF vii:v

V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the Gospel:[9] under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come;[10] which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah,[11] by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament.[12]

Ditto I'd agree with Westminster V:Vi's closing phrase

"......There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations."
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
So therefore, there are no differences between our concept of the covenant, but only the question of the worthy members of the covenant in its old and new administrations. ?
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
However, what he did not account for was that God could modify the covenant without making it of none effect.
I have to reject the idea that God Modified the Covenant.
When man failed at that covenant, God neither killed man immediately (which would have given victory to Satan), nor did he make a new covenant, but he revised the existing covenant in which he placed some new terms of the covenant; including toil, pain, strife, etc.
This is outright denial of the Covenant of Grace. Where did you get this idea? This is extending the covenant of works far beyond its scope. I really urge you to reconsider these ideas you have put forth.
 

Scholten

Puritan Board Freshman
Rev. Winzer (and others) do you believe Calvin believed that all members of the new covenant are elect, saved?

As noted earlier, Calvin didn't work with the internal-external distinction. His most regular way of dealing with the relationship between elect and reprobate in the visible church was to draw attention to the fact of true and false profession. For Calvin the reprobate are not truly in the covenant, and that applies in both Old and New Testaments. So, in whatever sense Calvin rejects the membership of reprobates in the new covenant is the same sense in which he rejects their membership in the old covenant. There is no substantial difference.

OK – now that really helps to clarify the earlier posts. Thanks. I will sincerely request your patience at this time; I am an engineer by profession and as with computers deal with all 1’s and 0’s all day long. Things are either black or white.
It would seem like Scripture perhaps forces our hand to have to deal with the internal and external distinctions? The Rom. 2:27-28 passage refers explicitly to the outward and inward Jew. Plus it would seem to make sense that everyone who was circumcised was an outward or physical member of the Abrahamic covenant, and hence the nation of Israel but only those who have the faith of Abraham are truly his children.
It also seems possible that the reasoning presented in post 40 above could force us to conclude that all the members of the new covenant are saved and this would then be in distinction to the Abrahamic covenant. As also mentioned there, these covenants could be unique in this regard without damaging the teaching that the form of the covenant of grace changed but not the substance.
With each of these steps I look forward more and more to further discussion.
Also, the additional posts here (#62-69) are good points of discussion.
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
For me I believe the Mosaic/Old Covenant is a full (pure if you want) administration of the Covenant of Grace, it may include other elements in relation to national Israel, but it certainly is not less that an administration of the Covenant of Grace.
I was always under the impression that RBs and Presbyterians had essentially different views of the covenants in their essence, but you have shown me that this is not the case. Therefore, only the administration has changed, and the membership thereof. But, if the essence of the covenant always remains, then where do we find warrant that administration of the New Covenant is not to include children of believers?
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
I was always under the impression that RBs and Presbyterians had essentially different views of the covenants in their essence, but you have shown me that this is not the case.

That may in fact be what many RB's do believe, but I don't and I don't thing the Confession teaches that. The different administration is warranted by specific readings of Jer 31/Heb 8 (See a host of material on PB and elsewhere).
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
But, if the essence of the covenant always remains, then where do we find warrant that administration of the New Covenant is not to include children of believers?

Dennis, the 1689 LBCF describes the Covenant of Grace this way:

7.3 This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament; and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect; and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.

Was the Mosaic Covenant/Old Covenant (I use the terms interchangeably) all of grace? Obviously there was a works component to the Mosaic Covenant. The judicial aspect of the Law makes that clear. One could be a member of the Jewish covenant community and not be a spiritual child of Abraham, since the temporal administration of the Old Covenant did not require saving faith on the part of its members. However, at heart of the Old Covenant was grace. The Old Covenant pointed forwards to Christ. The New Covenant is different. The New Covenant is made with God's elect and only God's elect. There was no need to point forward since Christ was now a present reality. Membership in the New Covenant requires saving faith, not a national identity.

NOTE: If you want to discuss this more I suggest starting a new thread as this will invariably alter the course of this current thread.
 

Scholten

Puritan Board Freshman
But, if the essence of the covenant always remains, then where do we find warrant that administration of the New Covenant is not to include children of believers?

As one who holds to the Reformed faith I would like to comment that the inclusion of children of believers is based on the continuation of the Abrahamic covenant into and through New Testament times. It is not based on the new covenant as such. The Abrahamic covenant existed right alongside the Mosaic covenant in Old Testament times, in a similar fashion I believe it is separate from the new covenant during New Testament times.

As far as starting new threads is concerned, I for one do not mind the discussion continuing here. These discussions can bounce back and forth!
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
I read the LBC as depicting the covenant as a growing plant that comes to full bloom in the New Covenant. If we are in agreement that there is only one covenant of grace then not only is the NC made with the elect, but the grace inherent the OC is likewise made with the elect. What is new then is that the NC sloughs off the national, material, and temporal aspects of the old covenant. Would this be an accurate assessment, from a baptist perspective?
 

Scholten

Puritan Board Freshman
I read the LBC as depicting the covenant as a growing plant that comes to full bloom in the New Covenant. If we are in agreement that there is only one covenant of grace then not only is the NC made with the elect, but the grace inherent the OC is likewise made with the elect. What is new then is that the NC sloughs off the national, material, and temporal aspects of the old covenant. Would this be an accurate assessment, from a baptist perspective?

Good morning, Dennis. It is always good to hear from South Korea. In Reformed circles there are often references to THE covenant of grace, too. I have difficulties with that. I think we have to view the covenant of grace as an over-arching concept, an umbrella concept in theology. This is a major topic to get ironed out. I think it is at the very root of many of the disagreements between Baptists and paedo-baptists. I think this will help resolving the questions of whether just the elect are in the covenant of grace as well.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't see what's difficult about Old Covenant and New Covenant.

The New Covenant replaces the Old Covenant.

The Abrahamic Covenant isn't Old or New, but is still operative.

This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. (Gal 3:17,ESV)

The advent of Christ - 2,000 years later - doesn't annul the Abrahamic Covenant either. How could it when you look at the global promises made to Abraham? The Abrahamic Covenant comes into full bloom in the New Covenant, but apparently the children of those that are engrafted into it by profession of faith are now excluded.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I read the LBC as depicting the covenant as a growing plant that comes to full bloom in the New Covenant. If we are in agreement that there is only one covenant of grace then not only is the NC made with the elect, but the grace inherent the OC is likewise made with the elect. What is new then is that the NC sloughs off the national, material, and temporal aspects of the old covenant. Would this be an accurate assessment, from a baptist perspective?

Dennis, it is not improper to say that the grace contained in the Old Covenant applies to the elect; however the blessings of the Law (Deut. 28) applied to all covenant members regardless of whether they were elect or not. We have to be careful about making a one-to-one comparison between the Old and New Covenants. The Old Covenant pointed forward to Christ. The symbols of the Old Covenant were christologic in nature. If you want to go beyond the symbols of the Mosaic Covenant you need to look at the Abrahamic Covenant. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. There is the heart and soul of grace. That grace is fully realized in the New Covenant.
 

Scholten

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't see what's difficult about Old Covenant and New Covenant.

The New Covenant replaces the Old Covenant.

The Abrahamic Covenant isn't Old or New, but is still operative.

This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. (Gal 3:17,ESV)

The advent of Christ - 2,000 years later - doesn't annul the Abrahamic Covenant either. How could it when you look at the global promises made to Abraham? The Abrahamic Covenant comes into full bloom in the New Covenant, but apparently the children of those that are engrafted into it by profession of faith are now excluded.

Thanks for your comment, Richard. I agree with you with respect to the Abrahamic covenant is still in existence. However, when you say apparently now the children of those who profess Christ are not included – do you believe that, or is it what you are attributing to Baptists?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
It also seems possible that the reasoning presented in post 40 above could force us to conclude that all the members of the new covenant are saved and this would then be in distinction to the Abrahamic covenant. As also mentioned there, these covenants could be unique in this regard without damaging the teaching that the form of the covenant of grace changed but not the substance.

Are we still discussing Calvin's view? In Calvin's view, yes, the elect are the true members of the new covenant, but again, this is not unique to the new covenant.

If we are now going to venture beyond Calvin and allow for the internal-external membership distinction, but do so in accord with Calvin's "same in substance" emphasis, we must look at the membership of infants and discern whether it belongs to the form or the substance. If it belongs to the substance then it has not been changed. The same applies to the question of reprobate inclusion in the covenant community. If it belongs to the substance then it also has not been changed.

Regarding infant membership, "the moral law doth for ever bind all." Moral law is substantial and has not been changed. Infant membership is ingrained in the moral law, as is evident from commandments 2 and 5, and the apostle's application in Ephesians 6. If infant membership is moral it has not been changed. Again, according to Ephesians 2 and 3, it requires positive new revelation to alter covenant membership. New revelation specifically marked the inclusion of the Gentiles. Specific new revelation was required to excommunicate the children of believers. No such revelation has been given. Ergo, infant membership is substantial and continual. It is acknowledged by all that not all infants are elect. Therefore, not all elect are members of the new covenant.

Regarding reprobates, the parable of the wheat and tares, the apostle's admonitory parallel in 1 Corinthians 10, the warning passages of Hebrews, the oracle of judgment against apostasy in 2 Peter 2, and the letters to the seven churches, conclusively point to the fact that more than the elect are for the present regarded as members of the covenant community. This conclusion entails a mixture in the covenant community, in continuity with the same mixture evident in the "old covenant."
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
Regarding infant membership, "the moral law doth for ever bind all." Moral law is substantial and has not been changed. Infant membership is ingrained in the moral law, as is evident from commandments 2 and 5, and the apostle's application in Ephesians 6. If infant membership is moral it has not been changed.
Rev. Winzer, is it infant inclusion, or the inclusion of children in general that you believe is moral? I've always wondered why the stress is always on the infants of believers, as though they were a special sub-category of child..
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rev. Winzer, is it infant inclusion, or the inclusion of children in general that you believe is moral? I've always wondered why the stress is always on the infants of believers, as though they were a special sub-category of child..

Infants are excluded by antipaedobaptists from the membership of the covenant. This makes it necessary for paedobaptists to vindicate their place in particular.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Herb
Thanks for your comment, Richard. I agree with you with respect to the Abrahamic covenant is still in existence. However, when you say apparently now the children of those who profess Christ are not included – do you believe that, or is it what you are attributing to Baptists?

I'm a Presbyterian.
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
Infants are excluded by antipaedobaptists from the membership of the covenant. This makes it necessary for paedobaptists to vindicate their place in particular.
but the paedobaptist confessions predate the baptist ones, to my knowledge. And yet, infants are given the spotlight in the question of those who are worthy recipients of baptism.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
but the paedobaptist confessions predate the baptist ones,

But they don't predate the anabaptists and challenges to the teaching of scripture.

interesting. So were the pro paedobaptism clauses inserted in response/reaction to the antipaedobaptists, or was there positive exegetical reasons?
I wouldn't truly know that off the top of my head Dennis. I do know that this issue was something that was being dealt with as the Baptist Confession of 1644 and 46 do predate the Westminster of 1647. So as far as I can tell your previous statement might be a bit out of kilter. The Westminster is predated by the Baptist Confessions of 1644 and its revision of 46. I personally am not as knowledgable on the Confessions before the Baptist Confessions of Faith and the Westminster. Do you know if the other Reformed Confessions define who the recipients of Baptism are to be. I am not familiar with the 3 forms of Unity. I have read them but have not studied them to the point where I can point to chapter and verse, so to speak.

So the issue was very prevalent and on the map in my understanding That is why the 1644 and revision of 46 were done. The Baptist Confessions were written to show their orthodox positions as they were being misunderstood and mischaracterized as Anabaptists. And they do predate the Westminster.

I do know that it was considered a serious sin to not apply the Covenant sign and seal in the Old Testament. So I imagine it would most likely just be an outworking of sacramental theology more so than a reaction to Baptists. The sign and seal of the Old Covenant were very significant and so its application and to whom it was to be applied would be very important in the New. I would imagine it wasn't as much of a reaction to Baptist Theology as it was in defining correct sacramental theology.

To illustrate what I am saying, I believe John Tombe presented his case to John Owen concerning who the recipients of baptism should be. From what I understand Owen didn't give it much consideration or try to make a posture against him. John Owen just studied theology and how it worked out. He was friendly with Baptists and was an admirer of John Bunyan. He wasn't reactionary to Baptists. He just set out his position as the scriptures seemed declare. But other people more knowledgeable than I can probably weigh in if I am incorrect.
 
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