Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Covenant of Grace’

A Covenant in the Garden?

By Thomas Parr

This is the second post in a series related to my new book on the theology of William Strong (ca. 1611–1654). In the first post we asked “What is a covenant of works?” Now we’ll look at whether God made such a covenant with Adam in the Garden.

Consider two points drawn from Strong’s treatment of the matter. First, Strong points out that though the word covenant does not appear in Genesis 2, the necessary elements of a covenant are clearly there. These necessary elements are the ideas of stipulation and reward. He points out that “man stands bound to God by a double bond of Creation and stipulation” (Discourse, 1). In other words, man was obliged to obey simply because God had created and commanded him. But instead of leaving it at this, God added recompense—“God was pleased to engage himself to a recompense” (Discourse, 2). God did not have to do so, but he condescended to recompense Adam’s choice either to obey or disobey God’s stipulation. God promised…..

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

Duty of Gratitude for Divine Grace: Covenant of Grace- Book Seventh- Chapter 2

Book Seventh

CHAPTER II.

COVENANT OF GRACE.

THE THREE DIVINE PERSONS CO-OPERATE IN MAN’S SALVATION ACCORDING TO AN ETERNAL COVENANT.[1]

On a former occasion, it was shown that the Scriptures use the term covenant with great latitude of meaning. The propriety of its use in the present case, cannot well be questioned. We have three divine persons, who are parties in this covenant; and the doctrine of God’s unity cannot exclude the notion of a covenant, without, at the same time, excluding the distinction of persons in the Godhead. We are not to imagine, as included in this covenant transaction, a proposal of terms by one party, and a deliberation, followed with an acceptance or rejection of them, by the other parties. These things occur, in the making of human covenants, because of the imperfection of the parties. In condescension to our weakness, the Scriptures use language taken from the affairs of men. They speak as if a formal proposal had been made, at the creation of man, addressed by one of the parties to the others: “Let us make man:” but this is in accommodation to our modes of conception. An agreement and co-operation of the divine persons, in the creation of man, is what is taught in this passage. This agreement and co-operation extend to all the works of God: “Who worketh all things after the counsel of his will.”[2] The idea of counsel in all these works, accords with that of consultation which is presented in the account of man’s creation. In every work of God, the divine persons must either agree or disagree. As they alike possess infinite wisdom, disagreement among them is impossible. The salvation of men is a work of God, in which the divine persons concur. It is performed according to an eternal purpose; and in this purpose, as well as in the work, the divine persons concur; and this concurrence is their eternal covenant. The purpose of the one God, is the covenant of the Trinity.

In the work of salvation, the divine persons co-operate in different offices; and these are so clearly revealed, as to render the personal distinction in the Godhead more manifest, than it is in any other of God’s works. Beyond doubt, these official relations are severally held, by the perfect agreement of all; and, speaking after the manner of men, the adjustment of these relations, and the assignment of the several parts in the work, are the grand stipulations of the eternal covenant.

That the covenant is eternal, may be argued from the eternity, unchangeableness, and omniscience of the parties, and from the declarations of Scripture which directly or indirectly relate to it: “Through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”[3] “His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.”[4] “In hope of eternal life promised before the world began.”[5] “Grace given in Christ Jesus before the world began.”[6]

Although God’s purpose is one, we are obliged, according to our modes of conception, to view it, and speak of it, as consisting of various parts. So, the eternal covenant is one; but it is revealed to us in a manner adapted to our conceptions and to our spiritual benefit. The work of redemption by Christ is presented in the Gospel as the great object of our faith; and the stipulation for the accomplishment of this work, is the prominent point exhibited in the revelation which is made to us respecting the covenant of grace. The agreement between the Father and the Son is conspicuously brought to view, in various parts of the sacred volume: “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.”[7] “Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”[8] “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire. Then said I, Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God:”[9] and in Isaiah, chapter xlix., the stipulations between the Father and the Son are presented, almost as if they had been copied from an original record of the transaction.

According to the covenant arrangement, the Son appeared in human nature, in the form of a servant; and, after obeying unto death, was exalted by the Father to supreme dominion. The Holy Spirit also is revealed as acting in a subordinate office; but appears as sustaining the full authority of the Godhead, sending the Son, giving him a people to be redeemed, prescribing the terms, accepting the service, rewarding and glorifying the Son, and sending the Holy Spirit. In all this the Father appears as the representative of the Godhead, in its authority and majesty. The Son also sustains a representative character. The promise of eternal life was made, before the world began, to the people of God, in him as their representative. The reconciliation between God and men is provided for by the covenant engagement between the Father and the Son; the Father acting as the representative of the Godhead, and the Son as the representative and surety of his people. The Holy Spirit concurs in this arrangement, and takes his part in the work, in harmony with the other persons of the Godhead. His peculiar office is necessary to complete the plan, and to reward the obedience of the Son by the salvation of his redeemed people. The promises of the Father to the Son include the gift of the Holy Spirit; and, therefore, the sending of the Spirit is attributed to the Son;[10] and sometimes to the Father at the petition of the Son.[11]

In this order of operation, inferiority of nature is not implied, in the subordination of office to which the Son and the Spirit voluntarily consent. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in each of the divine persons, and renders the fulfillment of the covenant infallibly sure, in all its stipulations. The Holy Spirit, in the execution of his office, dwells in believers; but he brings with him the fullness of the Godhead, so that God is in them, and they are the temple of God, and filled with the fullness of God. The Son or Word, in the execution of his office, becomes the man Jesus Christ; but the fullness of the Godhead dwells in him; so that, in his deepest humiliation he is God manifest in the flesh, God over all, blessed for ever.

The order of operation in this mysterious and wonderful economy, can be learned from divine revelation only. Here we should study it with simple faith, relying on the testimony of God. In the representation of it here exhibited, we may discover that the blessings of grace, proceeding from God, appear to originate in the Father, “of whom are all things,” to be conferred through the Son, “by whom are all things,” and by the Spirit, who is the immediate agent in bestowing them, the last in the order of operation. The approach to God, in acts of devotion, is in the reverse order. The Spirit makes intercession in the saints, moving them, as a spirit of supplication, and assisting their infirmities, when they know not what to pray for. Their prayers are offered through Christ, as the medium of approach; and the Father, as the highest representative of the Godhead, is the ultimate object of the worship. Through him [Christ] we have access by one Spirit to the Father.[12] The Spirit moves us to honor the Son and the Father: and for this purpose takes of the things of Christ and shows them to us, that we may believe in him, and through him approach the Father. In this work he acts for the whole Godhead, and therefore his drawing is ascribed to the Father: “No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.”[13] When we come to Jesus Christ, the whole Godhead meets us again in the person of the Mediator: for “God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.”[14] And when we address the Father, as the ultimate object of our worship, the whole Godhead is there, and receives our adorations. In the covenant of grace, the triune God is so presented to the view of the believer, that he may worship without distraction of thought, with full confidence of acceptance, and with clear perception that God is to him all and in all. In the retirement of the closet, the devotional man addresses God as present in the secret place, and holds communion with him, as a friend near at hand. When he comes forth into the busy world, he sees God all around him, in the heavens, and in the earth; and holds converse with him in this different manifestation of himself. When he lifts his thoughts to the high and holy place where God’s throne is, and prays, “Our Father which art in heaven,” his mind is directed to the highest and most glorious manifestation of the Deity. In all this he suffers no distraction of thought. The same omnipresent One is addressed, whether conceived to be in the closet, or in the world, or in the highest heavens. With equal freedom from distraction we may worship the Infinite One, whether we approach him as the Holy Spirit, operating on the heart; or as the Son, the Mediator between God and men; or as the Father, representing the full authority and majesty of the Godhead. We worship God, and God alone, whether our devotions are directed to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit; for the divine essence, undivided and indivisible, belongs to each of the three persons.

To guard against mistake, it should be observed, that the covenant which we have been considering is not identical with the new covenant of which Paul speaks in the epistle to the Hebrews. The latter made, according to the prophecy which he quotes, “with the house of Israel and the house of Judah;”[15] whereas the covenant of which we have treated, is not made with man. There is, however, a close connection between them. In the eternal covenant, promises are made to the Son, as the representative of his people: in the new covenant, these promises are made to them personally, and, in part, fulfilled to them. The promises are made to them: “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”[16] and they are, in part, fulfilled. “I will put my law in their minds, and write it in their hearts.”

[1] Ps. ii. 8; xl. 6–8; lxxxix. 3; Isaiah xlix. 3–12; John xvii. 6; Heb. xiii. 20; Titus i. 2.

[2] Eph. i. 11.

[3] Heb. xiii. 20.

[4] Eph. iii. 11.

[5] Tit. i. 2.

[6] 2 Tim. i. 9.

[7] John xvii. 6.

[8] Ps. ii. 8.

[9] Ps. xl. 6–18.

[10] John xvi. 7.

[11] John xiv. 16.

[12] Eph. ii. 18.

[13] John vi. 44.

[14] 2 Cor. v. 19.

[15] Heb. viii. 8.

[16] Heb. viii. 10.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

A Critical Evaluation of Paedobaptism

August 23, 2016 2 comments

I may have shared this article once before, but here it is again


Revision 1.3

By Greg Welty (M.Div, Westminster Theological Seminary; B.A., UCLA)

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him–Proverbs 18:17 A printed version is available from:

Reformed Baptist Publications

2001 W. Oak Avenue

Fullerton, CA 92833-3624

(714) 447-3412 (Office & FAX)

Introduction

As a Baptist student at a Reformed seminary, I encountered many theological pressures — from students and teachers alike — to convert to a paedobaptistic view. After much study, I came out convinced that “Reformed Baptist” was not a contradiction of terms (as my paedobaptist peers admonished me), but a qualification of terms, a subjecting of the traditionally Reformed version of covenant theology to a more careful biblical scrutiny. And so while abundantly grateful for my training in Reformed theology at seminary, for both the piety and the scholarship of my professors, I have concluded that the doctrine of infant baptism is neither a good nor necessary consequence deduced from Scripture (to use the language of the Westminster Confession of Faith, I.vi).

In my readings on the subject of baptism, Paul K. Jewett’s Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace(2) was a revolutionary treatment of the subject. It was the first full-length book I had seen which actually critiqued the doctrine of infant baptism from the perspective of covenant theology itself. Some may debate as to how faithful Jewett actually is to the details of covenant theology, as those details are spelled out in the Reformed confessions. But his basic identification of the problem as one of biblical theology was quite insightful. Avoiding a blatantly dispensational approach, he applies the Reformed emphasis on unity and progress in redemptive history to the sacraments themselves, thus beating the paedobaptists at their own game of continuity and discontinuity. To those who are familiar with Jewett, it will be clear that I am indebted to him at several points.

This paper was originally written to fill a primary need among the seminary interns and other young men at my church. My own experience has taught me that nondispensational, Calvinistic baptists are perpetually tempted to look over the fence of their small and often divisive camp and covet the ministry opportunities available in conservative Presbyterian circles. Many have made this leap, and often do so because they simply don’t have a deep, Scripturally-based conviction that the baptist view is correct. Rather, they have absorbed their baptistic sentiments culturally and emotionally, and thus often lose them by the same means. Many have not been presented with an extended series of biblical arguments against infant baptism, a set of arguments which is at the same time consistent with their own nondispensational and Calvinistic perspective. So consider the following to be a resource for seminary and Bible students who want a quick, clear, and accessible summary of the leading reasons why Reformed Baptists (and all biblical Christians) ought not to embrace the doctrine of infant baptism.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Important Correction on Coxe

Samuel Renihan makes an important correction regarding the printed and Kindle versions of Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ. At the beginning of chapter 4 in the RBAP publication, Coxe says

The covenant of grace made with Abraham was not the same for substance

But the original said

not but that the covenant of grace as made with Abraham was the same for substance

The implication is that

Coxe is saying that Genesis 12 contains the same covenant of grace for substance (there is only one) as found before and after this passage of Scripture, but it was made known to Abraham in a special way unlike any other example in the Bible.

This is helpful because many think Coxe argued that there were two Abrahamic Covenants, but that was not his meaning.

Please read Sam’s helpful post, as well as his analysis of the original and RBAP in a PDF.

 

 

Source [1689federalism.com]

Can R. Scott Clark be Truly Reformed?

February 8, 2016 2 comments

By Brandon Adams

In a recent episode of the Calvinist Batman podcast, R. Scott Clark talks about Covenant Theology and Reformed Identity. My last post was a critique of his covenant theology. Here I just want to make a comment about his attitude towards reformed identity. Generally speaking, I can agree with much of what he says and I appreciate his emphasis on adhering to a confession of faith. However…

Speaking of theonomy, he says

The essence of theonomy is that the law of God, without distinguishing between civil, ceremonial, and moral, is still in force. Greg Bahnsen spoke about the abiding validity of the law of God in exhaustive detail. The great problem with that way of speaking is it’s flatly contrary to the way we speak in the reformed confessions, particularly, for example, in Westminster Confession 19.4, where we say “To them” that is, national Israel, “also as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws” now watch this, comma, ready? “which” the sundry judicial laws – did what? – “expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other now further than the general equity thereof may require.”

So I always say to my theonomic friends, “What don’t you understand about expired?”

[…]

It’s sort of a demonstration as to how unmoored we’ve become to the confession, that we have this debate about theonomy. I mean, in a way, we could have ended, and should have ended the whole debate with theonomy by saying, “Well, ok, we get that you don’t believe Westminster 19.4. Fine. Go away. You’re not reformed.” But tragically, because theonomists make a lot of noise, they’re visible. When you leave evangelicalism, it’s sort of one of the toll booths you have to go through to become reformed, is you have to pass through theonomy.

 

 

 
Read the entire article here.

Free Ebook- The Covenants of Works and Grace by Walter Chantry

November 25, 2015 1 comment

cwgby Walter Chantry
in ePub, .mobi & .pdf formats

HT Chapel Library

The Covenants of Works and of Grace is a brief but clear presentation of the basic principles in Covenant Theology: that all of God’s dealings with man can be best understood in terms of these two eternal covenants. In the spirit of the Bereans, the author deals with the whole of Scripture to support and defend his premise. In many quarters, these principles have been overrun in our day by Dispensationalism, and its outworkings in Antinomianism and Arminianism. This booklet is a call to return to the historic faith of the Reformation.

It is difficult to know who was the first to call the doctrine of the covenants “the marrow of divinity” (or theology), but it is a most appropriate observation. Without bones the human body would be an unshaped glob of flesh. Without theology the ideas of Scripture would lie in an unshaped mass. Marrow is at the center of the bones which shape our body, and marrow gives health to the body. So the doctrine of the covenants is at the core of theology, and the health of any theological system depends on its understanding of this truth. It would be nearly impossible to overstate the central importance of the Biblical teaching on covenants.

In Genesis chapter three, we observe two covenants in action. Two very different covenants are in force at the same time. The Covenant of Works is not introduced for the first time in chapter three. But all of man’s hopes under the Covenant of Works were dashed here. The curse of the Covenant of Works is declared in this place and it begins to fall on Adam, his race, and his world.

The truly amazing thing is that, just as the curse of the Covenant of Works is imposed, a new covenant is published. Promises of the Covenant of Grace are announced (Gen 3:15) even before the curses of the first covenant are applied (3:19). Also astounding is the fact that Adam’s next recorded deed was an act of faith aroused by the Covenant of Grace. “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she would become the mother of all the living” (Gen 3:20). The head of sinners was not despairing over his colossal failure under the Covenant of Works. Nor was he overwhelmed by the dreadful curse of universal death which was announced. Rather he was hopeful. He was filled with optimism upon hearing the glorious and precious Covenant of Grace with its cheerful promises.

The Covenant of Grace arises from the ashes of the Covenant of Works. As man takes his first step into the ruins of the cursed earth, he does so trusting in the Covenant of Grace. These events are interpreters of the rest of the material in the Bible. Genesis begins at the beginning—with the framework for understanding all the Scriptures. If one misunderstands Genesis chapters one to three, he cannot possibly comprehend the remainder of the Bible. Genesis 3 and its two covenants dominate the experience and history of mankind and will continue to do so until this old and worried earth is destroyed.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

1. Definitions of Covenant
2. Similarities and Differences in the Two Covenants
3. Implications from the Scriptural Presentation of Covenants
4. A Corrective to Perverted Views of Scripture

 

 

 
Source [Monergism.com]

Creation Then Covenant

In our first installment, we noticed that eschatology drives revelation, and revelation, in turn, drives the illumination of that covenantal structure by which our God has deigned to communicate His will to us in an ever-increasing manner of promise, via the historic covenants, which promises find their final form in that which we call the ratified Covenant of Grace, which is the New Covenant.

In our second installment, we noted that God relates to us, in His revelation, by covenants. We also noted that “covenant” is not a construction superimposed upon the Scripture, and so revelation, but that it is imbedded within it by our God from before the world began, so it behooves us to pay attention.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

1689 Federalism

1689 Federalism is the Particular Baptist understanding of the Covenant of Grace as stated in the Second London Confession of Faith of 1689. This particular view is distinct from the Westminster view that holds to the concept of one Covenant of Grace under two distinct administrations which are the Old and the New Covenants. From this view, the Westminster Confession allows the Old Covenant to define the Covenant of Grace (its nature, its stipulations, its blessings) and end up with a Covenant of Grace that is mixed by nature because it includes the physical posterity of all those who profess faith. This understanding was perceived by the Particular Baptists to alter the nature of the New Covenant which is « not like » the Old Covenant (Jer. 31:32) and is pure by nature (Jer. 31:34).

The 1689 Confession rejects the One Covenant/Two administrations view of the Westminster. Instead, it affirms that the Covenant of Grace was only revealed in the Old Testament time until it became a formal covenant when the New Covenant was established. Therefore, the Particular Baptist understanding considers that only the New Covenant is the Covenant of Grace and defines it. This involves that the Old Covenant was not the Covenant of Grace and was only typologically linked to it but was in itself an earthly covenant that came to an end when the heavenly reality was established. Instead of seeing two realities (earthly/heavenly, internal/external) inside of the same covenant of grace, the 1689 Federalism affirms two distinct covenants: an earthly external covenant (the Old) and an heavenly internal covenant (the New). The New Covenant was first a promise that was put under the guard of the Law (the Old Covenant). It was then accomplished, sealed in the blood of Christ and given to believers in the form of a covenant.

In the lectures below, I expose chapter 7 of the 1689 (Of God’s Covenant). These lectures were given at the Reformed Baptist Seminary module on Creeds and Confessions held in Las Vegas October 2014. I offer here the MP3 files, the videos are available at RBS website: http://rbseminary.org/home/pascal-denault-on-the-covenant-theology-of-the-1689-baptist.html

You can find a French version of this teaching here: http://www.unherautdansle.net/alliances/

1. The Covenant of Works (7.1) – Audio MP3

2. The Covenant of Grace – Paedo view (7.2) – Audio MP3

3. The Covenant of Grace – Credo view (7.3) – Audio MP3

4. Summary and conclusions – Audio MP3

5. Q&A (Dr. Bob Gonzales and Pascal Denault) – Audio MP3

 

 

Source [ unherautdansle.net]

Did Spurgeon hold to 1689 Federalism?

…..“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” — Hebrews 8:10.

THE doctrine of the divine covenant lies at the root of all true theology. It has been said that he who well understands the distinction between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace is a master of divinity. I am persuaded that most of the mistakes which men make concerning the doctrines of Scripture are based upon fundamental errors with regard to the covenants of law and of grace. May God grant us now the power to instruct, and you the grace to receive instruction on this vital subject.

The human race in the order of history, so far as this world is concerned, first stood in subjection to God under the covenant of works. Adam was the representative man. A certain law was given him. If he kept it, he and all his posterity would be blessed as the result of obedience. If he broke it, he would incur the curse himself, and entail it on all represented by him. That covenant our first father broke. He fell; he failed to fulfil his obligations; in his fall he involved us all, for we were all in his loins, and he represented us before God. Our ruin, then, was complete before we were born; we were ruined by him who stood as our first representative. To be saved by the works of the law is impossible, far under that covenant we are already lost. If saved at all it must be all quite a different plan, not on the plan of doing and being rewarded for it, for that has been tried, and the representative man upon whom it was tried has failed for us all. We have all failed in his failure; it is hopeless, therefore, to expect to win divine favour by anything that we can do, or merit divine blessing by way of reward.

But divine mercy has interposed, and provided a plan of salvation from the fall. That plan is another covenant, a covenant made with Christ Jesus the Son of God, who is fitly called by the apostle, “the Second Adam,” because he stood again as the representative of man. Now, the second covenant, so far as Christ was concerned, was a covenant of works quite as much as the other. It was an this wise. Christ shall come into the world and perfectly obey the divine law. He shall also, inasmuch as the first Adam has broken the law, suffer the penalty of sin. If he shall do both of these, then all whom he represents shall be blessed in his blessedness, and saved because of his merit. You see, then, that until our Lord came into this world it was a covenant of works towards him. He had certain works to perform, upon condition of which certain blessings should be given to us. Our Lord has kept that covenant. His part in it has been fulfilled to the last letter. There is no commandment which he has not honoured; there is no penalty of the broken law which he has not endured. He became a servant and obedient, yea, obedient to death, even the death of the cross. He has thus done what the first Adam could not accomplish, and he has retrieved what the first Adam forfeited by his transgression. He has established the covenant, and now it ceases to be a covenant of works, for the works are all done. “Jesus did them, did them all, Long, long ago.”

And now what remaineth of the covenant? God on his part has solemnly pledged himself to give undeserved favour to as many as were represented in Christ Jesus. For as many as the Saviour died for, there is stored up a boundless mass of blessing which shall be given to them, not through their works, but as the sovereign gift of the grace of God, according to his covenant promise by which they shall be saved.

The Wondrous Covenant (Hebrews 8:10)………

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Did A.W. Pink Agree with 1689 Federalism?

A.W. Pink’s covenant theology came up recently in a Facebook discussion. It was being questioned if Pink held to 1689 Federalism or “20th Century Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology“. (Federalism is just an old word for covenant theology)

First, here is a summary of 1689 Federalism:

By rejecting the notion of a Covenant of Grace under two administrations, the Baptists were in fact rejecting only half of this concept: they accepted, as we have previously seen, the notion of one single Covenant of Grace in both testaments, but they refused the idea of two administrations. For the Baptists, there was only one Covenant of Grace which was revealed from the Fall in a progressive way until its full revelation and conclusion in the New Covenant… If the Westminster federalism can be summarized in “one covenant under two administrations,” that of the 1689 would be “one covenant revealed progressively and concluded formally under the New Covenant.

-The Distinctiveness of 17th Century Particular Baptist Covenant Theology, Pascal Denault, p. 61

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.