Posts Tagged ‘Circumcision’

Coxe and Pink on Circumcision

by Brandon Adams

Arthur W. Pink (2010-03-19). The Divine Covenants (Kindle Locations 2167-2186). . Kindle Edition.

It is the fatal error of Romanists and other Ritualists that signs and seals actually convey grace of themselves. Not so: only as faith is operative in the use of them are they means of blessing. Romans 4:11 helps us at this point: “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also.” Unto Abraham, circumcision was both a sign and a seal: a sign that he had previously been justified, and a seal (pledge) that God would make good the promises which He had addressed to his faith. The rite, instead of conferring anything, only confirmed what Abraham already had. Unto Abraham, circumcision was the guarantee that the righteousness of faith which he had (before he was circumcised) should come upon or be imputed unto believing Gentiles. Thus as the rainbow was the confirmatory sign and seal of the covenant promises God had made to Noah, as circumcision was the sign and seal of the covenant promises God had made to Abraham, so the tree of life was the sign and seal of the covenant promises He had made to Adam. It was appointed by God as the pledge of His faithfulness, and as an earnest of the blessings which continued fidelity would secure. Let it be expressly pointed out that, in keeping with the distinctive character of this present antitypical dispensation—when the substance has replaced the shadows—though baptism and the Lord’s Supper are divinely appointed ordinances, yet they are not seals unto the Christian. The seal of “the new covenant” is the Holy Spirit Himself (see 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30)! The gift of the blessed Spirit is the earnest or guaranty of our future inheritance…

Nehemiah Coxe helps draw out the implications of this for circumcision:

Yet this restipulation [meaning counter-engagement or covenant response] (and consequently, the way and manner of obtaining covenant blessings, as well as the right by which we claim them) necessarily varies according to the different nature and terms of those covenants that God at any time makes with men. If the covenant be of works, the restipulation must be by doing the things required in it, even by fulfilling its condition in a perfect obedience to its law. Suitably, the reward is of debt according to the terms of such a covenant. (Do not understand it of debt absolutely but of debt by compact [Coxe is referring to covenantal merit here].) But if it be a covenant of free and sovereign grace, the restipulation required is a humble receiving or hearty believing of those gratuitous promises on which the covenant is established. Accordingly, the reward or covenant blessing is immediately and eminently of grace.

-Nehemiah Coxe, Covenant Theology from Adam to Christ p. 39




Read the entire article here.


Are You a True Jew?

November 25, 2014 1 comment



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The Covenant of Circumcision and the Mosaic Covenant

John Tombes’ Catechism on Baptism Pt 5

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

13. Were not Infants baptized, when whole households were baptized, Acts 16.15.33.?

No: For it appears not there were any infants in the houses, and the Texts shew they were not baptized, sith the word was spoken to all in the house, ver. 32. and all the house rejoyced believing God. ver 34. and elsewhere the whole house is said to do that which Infants could not do, Acts 18.8. Acts 10.2. 1 Cor. 16.15. compared with 1 Cor. 1.16. John 4.53.

14. Is not Christs speech and action to little Children, Matth. 19.14,15. Mark 10.14,15,16. Luke 18.16,17. a warrant to baptize infants?

No: but an Argument against it, sith Christ did neither baptize, nor appoint those little children to be baptized.

15. Why should not Infants be baptized, sith they were Circumcised?

The reason why Male Infants were to be Circumcised, was a particular Command of God to Abrahams house for special ends belonging to the time before Christ, which Baptism hath not, nor is there any Command to use Baptism according to the rule of Circumcision.

16. Did not Baptism come in the room of Circumcision, Col. 2.11,12. and so to be used as it was?

The Apostles words import not that our Baptism came in the room of the Jews Circumcision; there is no mention of any bodily Circumcision but Christ’s, which our baptism cannot be said to suceed to, as there it is made the cause of Spiritual Circumcision, without arrogating that to it which belongs to Christ alone, and Baptism is mentioned with faith, as the means whereby we are in Christ, and compleat in him.

A Short Catechism about Baptism by John Tombes, B.D.

Heb 6.2. Of the Doctrine of Baptisms. Luke 7.35. But Wisdom is justified of all her Children. London: 1659

Those Who Believe the Gospel are in the Covenant

Argument .1.

The Pedobaptists Claim that the Covenant Now is the Same as in the Old Times

The first Arguments lies thus; If the Covenant now under Christ, be the same that was before Christ, with Abraham and his posterity in the flesh; then as Infants were partakers of the Covenant then, and received the seal there of Circumcision, so are infants now partakers of the Covenant, and ought to receive the seal there of Baptism. But the Covenant now under Christ, is the same that was before Christ with Abraham and his posterity in the flesh. Therefore, as Infants were then in the Covenant and received the seal thereof; even so are Infants now in the Covenant, and ought to receive the seal thereof. Three things are to be cleared in this Argument.

First, That the Covenant made with Abraham and his posterity in the flesh before Christ, and that now are under Christ, is the same.

Secondly, As Infants were in that Covenant, so are Infants now.

Thirdly, As Infants were sealed then, so they ought to be now. Now for the proving of these aforesaid, there are three other grounds laid down as follow:

First, The Gospel is the doctrine of the Covenant, but this being one, was preached to Abraham, as Gal. 3:8, 17, 18, Rom. 4:11, and so to the end, and to the Jews, in the Wilderness, Hebrews 4:1, 2; and so in David’s time, Hebrews 4:7, &c. Therefore the Covenant is the same.

Secondly, If Abraham be the father of the Jews and Gentiles, and equally as he believed the righteousness of faith, and they his children equally as so believing, and no otherwise, then the Covenant is the same. But Abraham is the father of the Jews and Gentiles, and equally as he believed, Rom. 4:11, 12, 16, 17, 23, 24. Gal. 3:3, 9, 26, 29. Therefore the Covenant is the same.

Thirdly, The standing of the Jews in the Grace of God was the same with Abraham; as is clear from God’s often expressing of himself to be the God of Abraham and His seed, and praying to God for to remember the Covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and acknowledging the accomplishing of the same to them, as Luke 1:73, 74; Luke 1:54, 55. And ours is the same with the Jews, as is clear from Matt. 21:41, 43, and 22:1.

The Answer

Thus lies the Argument, and the grounds to back it, and all to prove the Covenant God made with Abraham and his seed, to be the same now to the believing Gentiles and their seed, and Infants to be in this now, as they were in that then.

It is the effectual believing of the Gospel that proves what persons are in the Covenant.

In answer to which, I shall only touch at the three last grounds, briefly in a word, as I come to the Covenant itself.

The first is, because the Gospel is the doctrine of the Covenant, and was preached to Abraham, and to the Jews, &c. therefore the Covenant is the same. For the first, if the preaching of the Gospel, being the doctrine of the Covenant, can prove the Covenant to be the same to them as to us, then all to whom the Gospel was and is preached, are in the same Covenant. But I think it is the effectual believing of that which the Gospel holds forth in the doctrine of it, because many have the Gospel preached among them, and yet not be in the Covenant. And for the second, that Abraham is the equal father both of the Jews and Gentiles, only as he did believe, and they his children only so believing as their father Abraham did, and not else.

John Spilsbery A Treatise concerning the lawful subject of Baptism (1652)

Baptism is to Be Administered to those who have Faith and Repentance

Objection: That as of old, more was required of Abraham and men of years when they were circumcised, then of Ishmael and Isaac, or of other infants, continually circumcised afterwards; so now in the administering of Baptism, more is required of men of years, than is of infants: of Abraham God required faith in the blessed seed; but not the same of Isaac, of men of years faith is to be required, and must be, that a man may be baptized, but not the same of Infants,

The Answer

The substance of this particular lies thus; That more is required of men of years, for their receiving of Baptism, than is of infants; and all the proof is from the example of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and others in like manner after them in the order of Circumcision. I shall give a brief answer to this by an argument drawn from the same, thus; upon the same ground that Abraham, Ishmael, and all the rest of his household had right to circumcision, all have now right to baptism. But only God’s command gave Abraham, Ishmael, and all the rest of his household right to circumcision, not requiring any thing more of one than of another, as Gen. 17:10; 11, 12, 13, 14, 23, 25, 26, 27. Therefore the command of God only gives persons (now under the Gospel) right to baptism, which requires not more of one person than of another, but faith and repentance in all alike, Mat. 28:19; Mark16:15, 16; Acts16:31, 32, 33, 34; Acts2:38; Acts8:12, 13, 37; Acts10:47.

And where as it is said, that faith in the blessed seed was required in Abraham, but not in Isaac, who was to be circumcised at eight days old, it is more than I find the Scriptures reveal, that such a faith was required of Abraham at the time of his circumcision, or else he must not have been circumcised; or that the same faith in the blessed seed Jesus Christ, was so required of all his household at the time of their circumcision, Gen. 17:25, nor of the Shechenites being men of years Gen. 34. So that this Proposition falls in itself.

John Spilsbery A Treatise concerning the lawful subject of Baptism (1652)

Baptism is said to Confirm Faith and to Seal

Objection. That Baptism is not the first grace, but the second, neither does it confer grace, but is given to confirm the former; which therefore must be presupposed, or else not to be administered. And it is the seal of the New Testament, or of the Righteousness of faith, now to all that are partakers thereof; as of old Circumcision was unto them, Rom. 4:11. Only understand by baptism, the outward part administered by a lawful Minister of the Church, which may, and too often is, separated from the inward, though it ought not to be so, and yet remains true Baptism so administered; or else Simon Magus, and those false brethren, Gal. 2, being not baptized, and if they had repented, must have been baptized anew.

The Answer

I shall not say much to this particular, because our chiefest work lies yet behind, only this much let the Reader observe, that here Baptism is said to be given of God, as an Ordinance, to confirm faith in the subject baptized, and so to be presupposed, or else not to be administered. Now, if God have it to that end for to confirm faith, then He never intended the same to be administered upon any, but only such as have faith. And so much the next words affirm, which say, That it must be presupposed, or else not administered. Now I suppose it is meant, that faith in such is to be presupposed from some ground or visible effect of faith in appearance at the least. For no man can properly presuppose a thing, without some appearing ground from whence his supposition must arise, and specially in weighty matters. But what ground any man has to presuppose a child in the womb, or one that is newly born, to have faith, and so capable of a seal, as to be confirmed by baptism, I cannot conceive, but rather think it to be great weakness in such that shall so presuppose or affirm. For it is a doctrine that confirms the opinion of such as hold faith to be natural, and in a man from the womb, and as some say, they have been believers ever since they were born. And so it is here, for when an Infant is once baptized, it goes ever afterwards for a believer, as well as any that are never so clear in the faith unless he comes to commit such sin as to be excommunicated, until which time he was ever a believer before.

John Spilsbery A Treatise concerning the lawful subject of Baptism (1652)

Imputed Righteousness

February 15, 2011 11 comments

The scripture calls a man blessed whose sins have been forgiven and whose sins are covered. We find this in Romans 4 wherein Paul is demonstrating from the life of Abraham, how a man is not justified before God through his own legal obedience. Paul states in Romans 4:1


Rom 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?


Some have stated that the word ‘flesh’ refers to Abraham’s descendants because Paul used the words ‘our father’. They read this as such, “What did Abraham our father find according to the flesh?” The Jews would answer, “Why he founded a nation, wherein we are descendants and have privileges with God because we are connected to him and the promises.”

Yet in this scripture we do not see a connection between the words ‘our father’ and the word ‘flesh.’ But we conclude that Paul is asking the question of what did Abraham find according to the legal obedience of circumcising himself in the flesh. This captures the whole theme of the chapter because Paul goes on to show that Abraham was not justified by his legal obedience or works of obedience, because if he were he could glory before God. But instead Abraham is justified before God because of his faith in God. Righteousness is ‘counted’ or ‘imputed’ unto Abraham by faith.

Yet Paul does not end there, but instead asks the question of whether this blessedness, of being declared righteous with God, comes only on the circumcised or does it not come on the uncircumcised also? Paul explains that Abraham was declared just before God before he was circumcised. He does this to show that imputed righteousness could also be given to those who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise that Abraham would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Paul also demonstrates how Abraham was declared righteous before God, when he staggered not at the promises of God, when God promised to give him a son in his old age. Paul concludes that these things were not written for Abraham alone, but were also written for all those who will receive imputed righteousness, upon placing their faith in God who raised Jesus from the dead.

Paul plainly declares that Jesus was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification. In other words Jesus died for us. He was our substitute upon the cross. He took our sins and transgressions upon himself so that we would not stand before God’s tribunal guilty. Yet it didn’t just end there, but God raised Jesus from the dead in order to show that he had accepted Christ obedience, both in his life and death, on our behalf.

Therefore being declared righteous before God does not come as the Jews or the Roman Catholics declare, through our own works of righteousness, but instead comes when we place our faith in the atoning work of Christ that he did on our behalf. I will conclude with one of the greatest statements that Paul made when discussing these matters.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:


Written by Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.