Unbelievers in New Covenant using Hebrews 10 and other verses

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ClayPot

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am studying paedobaptism right now (and currently coming from a credobaptist perspective) and watched a video discussing paedobaptism by Richard Pratt. He mentioned unbelievers being in the new covenant and used Hebrews 10 (v 28-31 I believe) to support this view. I know that the paedobaptist view believes that unbelievers are part of the new covenant so I'm not trying to contest that.

However, I read the verse and it wasn't clear to me why this showed that unbelievers were part of the new covenant. The video seemed to indicate that it was because they were part of the visible church, but I'm not sure why this would automatically mean they were part of the new covenant community. Can someone help me out why you think this verse supports the view that unbelievers are part of the new covenant?

What other verses do you believe support the belief that unbelievers are part of the new covenant?

I am not trying to debate, just wanting to learn more about this topic. Thanks for your help.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Joshua,

If we stick with those verses in particular, we encounter an interesting statement in Heb. 10:29; the verse speaks of the man who falls away as having "counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an holy thing." The picture calls to mind, for instance, the scene in Exodus 24, where the covenant is confirmed with Israel and they were thus sprinkled with the sacrificial blood of the covenant. We know that God's covenant was not, in a true and internal sense, with all of these; but outwardly, they were in God's covenant: they were administered the conditional promises, they were a part of the congregation and its advantages, they partook of the signs, seals and sacraments of the covenant (though only outwardly; not internally), etc. So likewise are many today externally in covenant with God, being sprinkled outwardly with the blood of Christ, which they but scorn and so bring greater condemnation upon themselves (though, for a time, they partake of certain of its benefits). It is helpful to remember that in our Reformed Covenant Theology (sorry, Baptists -- I don't mean for that to be an inflammatory statement!), the the external covenant (which an author such as Thomas Blake considers the only proper way to speak of God's covenant) is not equivalent to salvation: rather, it is the administration of salvation, holding forth conditional promises, signs and seals, duties required, etc. The covenant internally considered, is in a sense salvation, as it approaches in meaning a sort of testamentary grant, unconditional in nature, to all the elect. None can fall away from this; and non but the elect are its recipients.
 

Oecolampadius

Puritan Board Sophomore
Stuart Robinson, The Church of God as an Essential Element of the Gospel,

So in like manner the ideal eklektoi [elect] of the covenant of redemption become the actual kletoi (called ones) of the manifested purpose in time. Inasmuch as they are called by an external klesis [call] of the word, they are gathered in successive generations to constitute the external ekklesia on earth. In as far as they are called also by the internal klesis [call] of the Spirit, they are gathered to constitute the invisible ekklesia, the full and complete actual of the eternal ideal. For whist, indeed the effectual call of the Spirit can alone fulfill the promise of the eternal covenant to Messiah, yet, as that call is externally through the word and the visible ordinances, the very process of calling and preparing the elect of God creates the visible Church in the very image of the invisible.

The visible church is gathered by the external call of the word and inasmuch as those that are externally called are also called internally by the Spirit, they are then representative of the invisible church which is the ideal. The visible church, however, must not be scorned for it is the very image of the invisible so long as it is through the external call of the word (gospel) that people are gathered into it.

In relation with this, one must also think of the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in order to have a proper perspective in terms of how this is worked out in the external and visible realm, which is where we belong.
 
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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Hebrews 10:26-31
26 For d if we go on sinning deliberately e after receiving the knowledge of the truth, f there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 g but a fearful expectation of judgment, and h a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 i Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy j on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one k who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned l the blood of the covenant m by which he was sanctified, and has n outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, o “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, p “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 q It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Joshua,

I'm not sure if your question is this concerning the above:

"Where does this say that unbelievers are part of the New Covenant?"

It is not explicitly stated but implied. Hebrews is filled with similar warnings throughout the Epistle. The Epistle builds and builds upon Christ's superiority to every Old Covenant figure and institution.

Implied in every warning and recapitulated here is this argument in so many words: God judged the unbelieving people in the desert to the point that He swore they would not enter His rest. If you think it is bad for them who had the shadow of things to come then how much worse will it be for those that spurn the Covenant of God in the light of the full revelation of the Son. Do not shrink back!

This is obviously my summary but I think it accurately sums the argument - especially the above. Christ is the perfect Priest, He is the Son, He is greater than Aaron, Moses, and Abraham. He is God Himself. You cannot forsake Him in that full revelation and shrink back to Judaism to take the heat off from the persecution you are facing right now.

Now, I suppose you can state that this passage only presents a theoretical impossiblity. In other words, he could just be warning people that are in this Covenant about something that is impossible. I think the progression of hardening of heart to apostasy is clear in other portions and, thus, I don't think he is merely teaching an abstraction. Those who have been externally joined to the Covenant do see and hear things with a light that unbelievers will never experience and the judgment they will experience will be severe for seeing the Son in the light of NT revelation and saying: "Not my Mediator!"

Hope that helps.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
There are two aspects to the covenant - internal and external. The same is true for the covenant of marriage which is a helpful analogy used in Scripture.

When do a husband and wife enter into covenant, when their hearts knit together in love or at the visible, legal, external bond of marriage? Is it right for those who do not love each other to enter the bond of marriage? In a similar way many are betrothed/engaged to Christ in baptism and married to Him in the Lord's Supper who do not love Him.

The solution with such is not to deny that they are in any sense in covenant with God, but to suspend/excommunicate them from the covenant and church until and unless they repent. Just as the solution with a married couple who never loved each other may be not to deny that they are married in some sense, but to get them to learn to love each other or annull the marriage.

There is alot of dead wood in the New Covenant and Visible Church that needs to be "cut off" by church discipline. It brings God's wrath on the Church and hinders further true growth.

When does an adult convert enter covenant with God? When he/she is regenerated or when he/she is baptised? Abraham entered the life of the covenant by exercising faith; later he entered the bond of the covenant by circumcision, such that it is called the Covenant of Circumcision. We enter the bond of the Covenant of Baptism.

The sacrament of baptism is the sign and seal of entering the covenant of grace, while the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is the sign and seal of continuing in the covenant of grace.

People are really covenanting with God - for good or ill - in baptism and the Lord's Supper.

See also this thread
http://www.puritanboard.com/f31/all-new-covenant-saved-41772/

Re children born to believing parents,these are betrothed by God to Himself by birth, and He expects them to continue in the Covenant of Grace when they reach years of discretion. This betrothal/engagement was signified and sealed by circumcision in the Abrahamic and Old Covenant's and is signified and sealed by baptism in the New Covenant.
 

Robert Truelove

Puritan Board Sophomore
Without adding to what has already been said...

notice in Hebrews 10:30...speaking of these same people who are in the visible church but apostatize, "The Lord will judge his people." These people, who abandon the faith and are not only lost, but reckoned as God's "people".

The only satisfactory explanation that is consistent with the rest of the Scripture is that these apostates were never saved but only in the covenant in an external/legal sense. In this way they can rightly be called the people of God though they are reprobate. There is no biblical argument that can be made for anyone to be considered one of God's people outside of the covenantal framework of the scriptures.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Christians have no problem with believing that there were people in the Old Covenant who were not true believers. Why should there be a problem with the New Covenant?

A large part of the people who are baptised and take the Lord's Supper shouldn't have been/be. This is because of erroneous doctrine, and maladministration of the sacraments and church discipline/sanctions.

It's impossible to be infallible in this matter but the church would be in a healthier state if even evangelical and Reformed elders and ministers took this seriously.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Here is a very good book on this subject from a credo position. Covenant Children Today by Alan Conner It does an outstanding job discussing this topic also. Specifically the passages that have been mentioned here. It does some really good exegetical work.

Here is a radio interview with Pastor Conner on this book.

The Narrow Mind Aftermath: "Covenant Children Today" and interview wih author and pastor Alan Conner TNM #888 11.26.07

Someday I am going to sit down and copy some of for a blog entry so that I can refer others to it when this topic comes up.
 

sealdaSupralapsarian

Puritan Board Freshman
Judas Iscariot is a good example of an unbeliever in but not of the New Covenant. He was baptized, received power to cast out demons, partook in the Lord Supper, was numbered amongst the 12, and was a minister of the Kingdom of God.

However, he was the son of perdition.

So he's really a good example as to why covenant theology makes all the sense in the world and is profoundly biblical. If the son of Perdition spoken of in Psalms 22 can receive all these things of the covenant then what prohibits our children from doing the same.

Judas was a jew, received the sign or circumcision the 8th day. Then became a disciple of Jesus and received the sign of the New Covenant baptism...all while still be destined for Hell. Yet, he was alloted all the signs of the covenants regardless of his inward, invisible, or internal redemptions as Anabaptists would think is necessary before receiving any of the signs of the Covenant.

So the New Covenant that we live in contains phonies but that doesn't exclude them from receiving the signs of the covenant. I've always wondered how a Baptist could know if a person is truly regenerated by a confession. How many people have walked away from the Faith after making a confession??? I mean, how do they explain that. I'm sure many of them have baptized people who turned out to be Judas's and now are guilty of what they accuse Padeo Baptist of. Very alarming in my opinion....:think:

Just some thoughts....


Grace and Peace,
seal
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Judas was a jew, received the sign or circumcision the 8th day. Then became a disciple of Jesus and received the sign of the New Covenant baptism...all while still be destined for Hell. Yet, he was alloted all the signs of the covenants regardless of his inward, invisible, or internal redemptions as Anabaptists would think is necessary before receiving any of the signs of the Covenant.

So the New Covenant that we live in contains phonies but that doesn't exclude them from receiving the signs of the covenant. I've always wondered how a Baptist could know if a person is truly regenerated by a confession. How many people have walked away from the Faith after making a confession??? I mean, how do they explain that. I'm sure many of them have baptized people who turned out to be Judas's and now are guilty of what they accuse Padeo Baptist of. Very alarming in my opinion....:think:

First off I don't know a single Baptist who claims they know for sure if someone is elect or regenerate. A confession in Christ supposes it. We hold that disciples are the candidates for baptism based upon cognizant understanding.

Yes, Reformed Baptist do believe that only the elect are truly New Covenant members. And we do acknowledge that there are some who are reprobate who make false professions.

Here is a reply I made to this kind of comment a while back.

Reprobates are cut off from the New Covenant. They may have become professors but they were never in union with Christ making themselves known that they were never New Covenant members or children of Christ or children of Abraham. They didn't have saving faith. They were like Simon. We are warned to examine ourselves so that we are not found to be hypocrites. Church discipline and excommunication is set up if we are found out to be hypocrites. You are adding to my words.

(1Jn 2:19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Of course paedobaptists agree with the second statement of yours I highlighted above, if it refers to the *invisible* New Covenant, namely that reprobates were never in it. On the other hand, your first statement I highlighted must refer (I assume) to the *visible* New Covenant - but to be cut off from it (as you said), they had to have been part of it at one time. So are you acknowledging that reprobates can in fact be true members of the *visible* New Covenant? If so, that is something I have never heard a Baptist acknowledge.


No, I am not saying that the reprobate are in fact true members of the visible New Covenant. They may profess that they are and even join a group of Church members. They may congregate for a season with the Church but that doesn't make them New Covenant members. Reprobates are cut off from God's divine pleasure by their Covenant head Adam.

Just because a mouse is in the cookie jar doesn't necessarily make him a cookie.

And illegal aliens congregate in the United States often but they are not citizens of our Country. They can become members but congregating with us doesn't make them citizens of our Country. And if we choose we may even cut them off from the benefits of our country because they are not citizens. We can even ship them out.
 
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