The New Covenant is Not Identical with the Abrahamic Covenant

The Abrahamic covenant came before the old covenant, and therefore the Abrahamic covenant is NOT the new covenant. Abraham had two sons.

If circumcision was for Abraham a seal of the promise to Abraham thatAbraham would have children and own a lot of land, then we cannot saythat circumcision is ONLY a seal of righteousness that he had by faith. The circumcision is a sign of more than one thing. But

paedobaptists tend to read the Old Testament as if the Arahamic
covenant and the new covenant were the same, and thus reduce the
Abrahamic covenant to being only about the righteousness earned by

In addition, the Romans 4:11 text says that circumcision was a sign to Abraham that he Abraham had the righteousness. The circumcision is a sign that Christ will bring in the righteousness, but not a sign to
anybody else that they have or are promised the righteousness.

Israel is a type fulfilled by Christ, not by a mixed body of justified and non-justified folks we call “the church”. Circumcision is a type of the forensic “cutting off” from legal identity in Adam by means of Christ’s death. Christ’s death is our death, and that death is not water, not regeneration, not “covenant membership” in a conditional (full gospel) probation.

It’s not water that fulfills the type of circumcision, because it’s Christ’s death to the law imputed to the elect which is the ultimate thing signified by circumcision. Christ did not become cleansed or regenerated, but His blood was shed to satisfy justice, and that’s the central truth to which circumcision speaks.

But this does not mean that paedobaptists should ignore the other preliminary things signified by circumcision. We don’t have to agree with Hodge that there were two different Abrahamic covenants to agree that circumcision had more than one significance.

So when Deyoung writes “And if this spiritual sign—a seal of the
righteousness that comes by faith—was administered to Abraham and his
infant sons, then we cannot say that the thing signified must always
be present before the sign is administered.”, we have to say 1. in the case of Abraham, the righteousness signified had already been imputed to Abraham before circumcision. and 2. there is more than one thing signified but Deyoung has ignored that and now only focuses on the righteousness. 3. and even in regard to the righteousness which is signified, there is an ambiguity in which paedobaptists have their
cake and eat it also.

On the one hand, they tell us we can’t know who is justified, and so the sign is not about an infallible knowledge that this infant will be justified. But agreeing with that, why not then give the sign to everybody? But then, on the other hand, the confessions teach that there is a promise to the children of those who are Christians. And here there is more ambiguity, since first we can’t infallibly know which parents are justified, and second, there is no promise to Christians that they will even have children, and third, What exactly is this promise to the children of those who are Christians?

There is no promise that specific children will be justified. So at
most, what you have is some idea that they are “in the covenant” and
thus subject perhaps to “covenant curses”. But again, how are these
infants different from any other infants, since all infants are born
guilty in Adam and all need that righteousness, and none of them is
promised that righteousness, and they can only know they have it if
God gives them faith in the gospel?

To summarize, dispensationalists can’t really see the newness of the
new covenant, because they can’t let go of the idea that the Abrahamic covenant promised land unconditionally to ethnic Israel. And paedobaptists can’t really see the newness of the new covenant,
because they can’t let go of the genealogical principle of Abraham
having a seed which would be fulfilled in Christ.

Despite that fulfillment, paedobaptists still think there is a genealogical principle at work in the new covenant. They think the Abrahamic covenant is no different from the new covenant, and that the new covenant is no different from the Abrahamic covenant. This is why they can’t really read what Colossians 2:11-13 say, so they assume that water baptism is the fulfillment of the sign of circumcision.

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61 Comments on “The New Covenant is Not Identical with the Abrahamic Covenant”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Conservative paedobaptists do “believe in” church discipline. Even
    though the “covenant sign is objective”, they don’t want to place that sign on any and every pagan. They “abhor a nominal church.”
    Conservative paedobaptists only baptize infants of the first
    generation. They still attempt to determine if parents are believers
    before they will baptize their children. In this way, they attempt to
    avoid a national church (even if those parents were infant watered by Roman Catholics).

    John Murray: “no organization of men is able infallibly to determine
    who are regenerate.” Of course. But then again, no presbytery can
    determine infallibly which parents are regenerate. And no preacher can infallibly preach God’s Word. And no magistrate can infallibly kill enemies. And no writer can infallibly free themselves of prejudice. We all know these things. But knowing this does not decide for us if a church includes the children of believers, or only those who profess to be justified believers.

    Although some paedobaptists practice infant communion, most
    paedobaptists have “criteria for adult membership”. The difference
    with baptists is finally not a different kind of “certainty”; the
    difference is that paedobaptists have TWO kinds of church membership.

    So the question becomes— does the new covenant have two kinds of membership? If the Lord’s Supper is a “sacrament both received and performed”, does this mean that only some (non-infant) members take and eat the Lord’s Supper?

    Assurance–for credobaptists or for paedobaptists– should not be
    based on our continuing to meet “covenant conditions”. I Peter 3:21: “an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Christ.” Gospel assurance does not come from a promise of ours to get busy and to keep working enough! “Dead works” come from that.

    “Feeling one must match the experiences of others” is not an error
    isolated to credobaptists. Believer baptism is no solution to a puritan produced (the practical syllogism) crisis of assurance: only the imputed righteousness of Christ can give us peace with God.

    If we follow the advise of Charles Hodge and Horace Bushnell, our
    children should always presume themselves to be Christians. Of course I know many paedobaptists who do not agree with Hodge and Bushnell on this specific topic. But perhaps those who dissent on this matter are not consistent.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Some paedobaptists (Calvin) accuse credobaptists of missing the
    spiritual dimensions of the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. But they themselves miss the physical dimensions of the old covenants.

    In Acts there is no second generation “born of Christian
    parents”. From this silence, some even infer that the second
    generation must have been baptized in their infancy. I am not against inferring but I would like to be rational in doing so. In Acts there is a second generation “born of circumcised and in the covenant” parents!

    I get from the silence in Acts (about second generation water baptism) that Acts knows nothing about two kinds of water baptism. We could infer just as well that very few were baptized in Acts since most had already been circumcised. We could infer that none who had been circumcised were baptized in Acts. But such an inference” would be wrong.

    Acts is not silent about one important matter—we read the record
    there of many Jews, who having already received the circumcision
    symbol of the old covenant, do not rest content with that infant
    symbol, but are water baptized after they believe. I infer, not from
    silence but from this clear pattern, that water baptism and
    circumcision are not only different, but also that water baptism is
    not a substitute for circumcision. Physical circumcision as
    theologically signficant has ended, but not because water baptism has replaced it.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Of course Doug Wilson is not the only paedobaptist to say “the covenant” as if that’s saying the same thing as “the gospel”. Nor is he the only paedobaptist to make a distinction between the new covenant and election. But since mono-covenantalism is his central doctrine, Wilson is more consistent than most paeodbaptists in how this works out in his doctrine of assurance.

    In this case, being consistent is not a good thing, because Wilson has confused his ecclesiology with the gospel itself, which means that his false gospel is about grace helping people keep the conditions of “staying in the covenant”

    Doug Wilson: “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenant election. But we do not drag the decrees down into our understanding of history — we let God unfold His unchangeable decrees throughout the process of all history. The content of the ultimate decrees is none of our current business, although we cheerfully acknowledge that the decrees are really there and that they have an unchanging content.”

    Wilson certainly begs the question ecclesiologically. I suppose it’s big of him to let God reveal in the Bible that there is a decretal election. When Wilson “understands” that we can’t understand decretal election, he fails to make a distinction between knowing that there is such an election, and knowing who is elect. While the Bible does not tell who is elect, God does reveal that all the elect and only the elect will believe the gospel.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Jeffrey ohnson (The Fatal Flaw) is very good in showing that the Abrahamic covenant had both its unconditional and conditional aspects. At one point (p215), he even refers to Bunyan’s idea that Christ kept the conditional aspect of the Abrahamic covenant, that had NOT been kept by anybody else. When Gal 3:16 explains that the promise was made to Abraham and his seed, and then explains that Christ is that one seed, why not see Christ alone as obeying the Abrahamic requirement for blood?

    Why does Johnson think he needs to see the Mosaic covenant (instead of the Abrahamic legal aspect) as the covenant of works Christ kept? Isn’t circumcision a requirement of not only the Mosaic but also of the Abrahamic covenant? Does not physical circumcision point to the need for the blood not of animals but of Christ?

    Make no mistake. I believe and rejoice in the federal headship of Christ. My objection is to the idea that the Mosaic covenant is the condition of the agreement of God the Father, Son and Spirit to redeem the elect. Why must the “covenant with Christ” be conflated with either the covenant with Adam or the covenant with Moses?

    II do not at all question the federal imputation of Adam’s sins to the human race, including to the elect. And I also agree that the Mosaic covenant is conditional. I am only questioning why Johnson must locate the legal conditions of Christ the covenantal surety in the terms of the Mosaic covenant. His answer is that Christ was not under Adam. But why not say that Christ was under the Abrahamic conditions?

  5. markmcculley Says:

    As James Haldane suggests in his commentary on Hebrews (p245, Newport Commentary Series, Particular Baptist Press), the solution to the problem of the first covenant is not to find a better mediator for that first covenant. If a former covenant is infringed by one of the parties, satisfaction is given by making a second covenant.

    If we are going to make distinctions within the Mosaic law-economy, why not be consistent in thinking about these distinctions when we think of Christ legally satisfying the Mosaic law? Was Christ keeping the ceremonial laws of Moses when He shed His blood? Were we Gentiles under the curse of the Mosaic law for our failure to keep the ceremonial law?

    I am not denying that Christ was cursed by God’s law for the sins of the elect. I am only questioning the idea of pointing to the Mosaic covenant as that law or as that “covenant of works” for Christ. Why not refer to a “covenant of redemption” which is neither the Mosaic nor the Abrahamic (especially in its conditional aspects, like the duty of the physical children of Abraham to be physically circumcised)?

    Hebrews 13:20—“the God of peace brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant.”

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Collateral Covenants Fulfilled and Terminated

    By R.B.C. Howell

    In Genesis 12, we have the original promise made to Abraham: “In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” In this simple narrative, we have the pledge that the Messiah shall come of his family. Abraham was seventy-five and received the promise with faith, and promptly complied with the command which the promise was associated. “Into the land of Canaan they came. And Abraham passed through the land to the plain of Moreh” and built an altar unto the Lord, who there again appeared to him, and said, “To you will I give this land.” Paul explains in Galatians 3:8-9; “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to your seed, which is Christ.”

    Promises of the land of Canaan were indeed (so important was the separate national existence of Israel regarded) included in the Genesis 15 covenant and also, as we shall see, in the subsequent “covenant of circumcision”. The family of Abraham was separated from all others, and made a distinct nation. A specified territory was prescribed, where they were to remain under the divine government and protection. In that land they were to reside, a peculiar people and an isolated people, until Christ would come and establish His claims, and by one offering perfect forever all them that are sanctified.

    The second collateral covenant was also made with Abraham, and is known as “the covenant of circumcision”. The first covenant separated Israel as a nation from every other people. This second covenant distinguished them as individuals. The covenant of circumcision was made with Abraham when he was ninety-nine years old; eighteen years after the covenant of the land, and twenty four years after the “the covenant of promise in Christ.”

    Genesis 17. “This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you, and your seed after you; every man child shall be circumcised.” “And my covenant shall be in your flesh, for an everlasting covenant”. “And the uncircumcised man shall be cut off from his people.”

    This covenant excludes from that family everyone who shall be found uncircumcised. I This rite was observed by his descendents until the object which is proposed, had been effectually secured. Christ came; its design was accomplished; the covenant, as all the others of like temporary character, ceased to exist. The gospel now reigns, under which “he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God.”

    The third and last of the collateral covenants is known as the covenant of Sinai. This covenant gave to the people of Israel their peculiar national government. It was not made with Abraham, but “with the fathers, when God took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt.”

  7. mark mcculley Says:

    Even though I was credobaptist for many years before I was converted by the power of the gospel some 12 years ago, I must say that I was never and still not in any credobaptist group that did “baby dedications”. This is not to say that my fundy experience is the norm, but it is to question a paedobaptist assumption that all credobaptists think like he was taught to think.

    The disagreement about water will not go away simply by reading all the books. Maybe the problem is that all credobaptist readers without exception cannot understand what they read. That must be it. Either that, or stubborn refusal to submit to the obvious??? As John Cotton said to Roger Williams—you have a bad conscience, therefore it would be no sin for you to act against it. So shut up or get out.

  8. mark mcculley Says:

    But then, on the other hand (the eating cake as well), the confessions teach that there is a promise to the children of those who are Christians. And here there is more ambiguity, since first we can’t infallibly know which parents are justified, and second, there is no promise to Christians that they will even have children, and third, What exactly is this promise to the children of those who are Christians? At most what you have is some idea that they are “in the covenant” and thus subject perhaps to “covenant curses”. But again, how are these infants different from any other infants, since all infants are born guilty in Adam and all need that righteousness, and none of them is promised that righteousness, and they can only know they have it if God gives them faith in the gospel?

    Religion likes ambiguity. Soundbites are ambiguous. One more soundbite—”covenant child”.

    I oppose “child evangelism” as much as the next guy. If I reach into the box to see if the cat is alive, what am I doing? But if I tell my child she’s in the covenant, and that the children whose parents are not Christian are not in the covenant, have I not also reached into the box before the time?

  9. mark mcculley Says:

    Kline argues from the covenant breaking of Israelites in Romans 11:17-21. If gentiles in the new covenant are grafted into the Abrahamic covenant, then we must not say that the new covenant is
    unconditional because the Abrahamic covenant was not unconditional. Verse 21: “he may not spare you either”.

    Of course we have the promise of Romans 8:32 that all those for whom God did not spare His Son will be spared. The condition of this blessing is Christ’s obedience for the elect alone . So why is it not possible to warn folks ( He may not spare you either) without telling them that they
    have been initiated into the new covenant? I think Kline would agree that not all are in the new covenant. He doesn’t want to infant baptize everybody.

    But are there some in the new covenant who will not be spared? What good would it do to warn people in the new covenant about this if it were not possible for them to be broken off? Then again, what good would it do to warn people about any disobedience if they are such desperate sinners that they put all their hope in Christ as the only condition of all blessings?

    Since I reject the theology of paradox, I seek reconciliation of all the biblical data. This is not easy to think about, and the other side from me on the question is not stupid. I don’t want a reduction which leave out the warnings and only talks about the blessings. But I would argue that the issue in Romans 9 to 11 is not about “new covenant keeping” but about continued faith in the righteousness of Christ.

    When Romans 9:32 complains that some of the children of Abraham did not seek righteousness by faith, this does not mean that they did not work in the right way. Many jews who rejected Jesus Christs were perfectly willing to give God credit for their works. They were just not ready to be
    told by Jesus that their works were not only unprofitable but also ungodly! . The reason the works of the Israelites who stumbled were evil was not simply a lack of sincerity or moral effort. Their works
    were evil because they were done without faith in the gospel Abraham believed.

    That gospel says that God justifies the ungodly who do not work (Romans 4:5). It was not a situation of being in a covenant but failing to meet certain conditions. The problem was people not
    believing the promise of the gospel.

    Romans 10:3 “for they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. “

    This is not a “premature” anticipation of the age to come. ALREADY in Romans 9-11, Paul makes two points: 1. One could be in the Abrahamic covenant but not justified by God as an individual. With this even the Jew who stumbled could agree. Yes, they would say, we know we are elect because God has made us able to keep the covenant. Thus we teach grace but also conditional

    So then comes Paul’s second point, with which so many do not agree. We cannot build our own righteousness, not even if we give God the credit for our having done so by keeping covenant..

    There was a law-aspect to the Abrahamic covenant so that we can speak of some of Israel being broken off. Not all Israel is Israel. But those for whom Christ died will be spared. To tell a person that “you may not be spared either” is to warn her that she may not yet be in the new covenant.

  10. markmcculley Says:

    Romans 2:28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.

    So Ishmael was never an outward Jew, or was cut off from being an outward Jew? When? Were Esau and Ishmael in the outward “new covenant”? Were Jacob and Isaac in the new covenant?

    Romans 9: 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

    Since Abraham is the father of those who believe the gospel, does that mean that Abraham is not the father in any sense of Esau and Ishmael? Since Christ is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham that His seed would bring salvation and the “new covenant”, does this prove that Esau and Ishmael were in the new covenant? I suppose the problem here is that Paul is not using the administration/substance distinction and therefore Paul’s “not all” makes it sound like some kind of antithesis.

    Romans 9:8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.”

    But it would be too simple to flat out say that Ishmael was “not a child of God” and not a “child of promise”. Better to ignore that there are various promises to Abraham, and assume that a promise to Abraham is also a promise to Ishmael, even if that promise turns out to be conditional.

    Romans 9: 30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it….

    But this is not normal or ordinary. Usually you have to be in the covenant, and then it’s conditional on if you pursue it the right way, like we do.

    Galatians 4: 21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.

    But focus on verse 24, and see that the law is about Sinai and Moses, so this is not about Abraham, not about the two sons of Abraham, even though verse 22 talks about Ishmael also, and verse 23 sounds like there is no promise for Ishmael, but we know this is not true, because we know that the Abrahamic covenant has a promise for Ishmael also, even if it’s conditional. So the son of the slave born according to the flesh really has nothing to do with Abraham but only with Moses.

    So it comes down to what the “new” in new covenant means. Does it mean “utterly” new or a “gradually a little” new or “someday in the end” new or “different in kind” new or “conditioned only on Christ” new? Is the new covenant in ANY WAY different from the Abrahamic covenant? Not when you talking to baptists, because then you need to keep it simple so they can get it .

    Since Scott Clark has used the rhetoric of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend News already , let me do so as well. REALLY?

    We tend to come out with the same presuppositions with which we entered. This is a long debate. It will not be resolved here soon. And it’s not because one side is stupid or rebels against God’s Word. Even when we make a distinction between outer and inner, that does not mean that we need to say that the never-justified yet are in the new covenant. Waiting to see who God calls is not only about waiting for Gentiles to come in. Unless we have an over-realized eschatology, we know that some of our children have not yet been called. The promise of the gospel was never for those who never believe it.

  11. markmcculley Says:

    Covenant theologians are not content to talk about one gospel for all time, because they want to talk about one covenant for all time. Even though they must say that the Mosaic covenant is part of their “one covenant of grace, some of them also want to insist that the Mosaic covenant was typological (with many aspects now fulfilled and ended) in a way that the Abrahamic covenant was not.

    Of course, even between the Abrahamic and the new covenant, they know there have been changes, since there was some typology. Though every son was circumcised during the Abrahamic covenant, those who speak of “the one covenant of grace” will now only “baptize” infant sons with one parent judged to be a believer. But this difference is regarded as “administrative” and not of the essence of “the one covenant of grace”.

    So the Mosaic covenant and the new covenant are of one “substance” but not so much as the Abrahamic covenant and the new covenant.
    And the goal is to get to where you don’t talk about “covenants” at all, but simply reduce all the promises in all the covenants down to one gospel promise. But somehow, the “covenant promise” to “covenant children” is different from the “gospel promise” to those outside the covenant, to those without one Christian parent.

    We need to say clearly that the Abrahamic covenant is NOT the new covenant, despite the continuity between one of the promises to Abraham and the gospel promise to those effectually called into the new covenant. Of course these theologians do not actually say that the Abrahamic covenant is the new covenant. By talking about “the one covenant of grace, they implicitly agree that the Abrahamic covenant is not the new covenant.

    One of the promises to Abraham is fulfilled in the birth and circumcision of Christ on the eighth day (Luke 2). The sign of circumcision was not only about pointing to the bloody sacrifice of Christ, which cuts the justified elect off from legal solidarity with Adam. Circumcision was an initiation rite for every male in Abraham’s family (even if one parent did not go testify before the session). And what belonging to Abraham’s family means now and what it meant then is not the same thing.

    We need to stop “cherry-picking” (to suit our theology) out from the covenants what’s typological and what’s of the “substance”.

    To rightly understand the advance of redemptive history is to see the new covenant as one of the fulfillments of promises to Abraham. There is only one way now to be children of Abraham, and those who are non-elect and who do not believe the gospel cannot and will never be in the new covenant.

    Now that Christ has been born and circumcised, it’s not possible for infants to be born as types of the birth of Christ to come. The solution is not to divide the Abrahamic laws and promises into parts, some cherry-picked as “ceremonial” with other parts “moral”, some as “administrative” and others as “the one covenant of grace”

    The children of Abraham used to put non-Abrahamic people out of the territory to make room for the biological-political heirs of Abraham. Everybody but theonomists now agrees that this is no longer part of “the one covenant of grace”. Now, the people without a Christian parent are simply told that they are outside the new covenant, but if they believe, then their infants will be born inside the new covenant.

    Of course, as I suggested before, they don’t say “the new covenant”. The new covenant, though contrasted with the Mosaic, is never really new. If anything, the story is told that the new covenant is older than the Mosaic covenant. They don’t say “new covenant” because instead they say “the one covenant of grace”. Instead of saying that the promise of the gospel to Abraham is older than the giving of the Mosaic covenant, they say “the covenant”.

    And how could they expect the uninformed anabaptists to know these things? Most of their own people could not tell you which covenant they are talking about when they say “the covenant”.

  12. markmcculley Says:

    Some folks seem to think that “new covenant’ is only a right attitude to law and gospel. So that “old covenant” is only about a wrong motive to law and the gospel. This is how Robert Rayburn Jr. explains Hebrews. We need to see that the good news is not about our better faith or attitude, but about what God has done in history in the new covenant.

    Romans 9:32–”Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling-stone.”

    In order to perform its killing function, the Mosaic covenant was law demanding perfection with the power to condemn… Law (Mosaic or any other divine command) is not only a tutor that “reveals” sin or makes people aware of sin. Romans 5:20 says that the law entered that sin would increase, not simply that knowledge about sin would increase.

    The law does not merely “kill” by making us thinking of things to do that we would not have thought of before. The law is used by idolaters (all of us by nature) to try to justify ourselves before God (I did it, or I did enough of it…)

    The law kills, leads to death, and if no gospel, only that. But the elect l under the law are taught the gospel by God. Romans 7 verse 9: “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” We were dead by nature, and already sinners. This “I died” is something besides the death we were born with under the law.

    It’s life to see that you are dead and to see that any and all righteousness found BY US in the law (Phil 3:9) is insufficient to stand before God. Only Christ has ( for the elect alone) satisfied the requirements of law and found a righteousness, so that the law now demands that the elect be given every blessing of salvation.

    But did the Mosaic law announce clearly that it was a “killing instrument” and not the gospel? If it didn’t, who could blame any Jew for using the law wrong , so that they tried to be saved by keeping it?

    The central text discussed in this connection is Romans 9:32–”They did not seek if by faith, as if it were by works of law.” The “federal vision” says that there is no difference between law and gospel, but only a right way and a wrong way of pursuing the law, and that the gospel is the right way of pursuing the law.

    An interesting rebuttal to this is an essay by David Gordon in WTJ (Spring 1992): “Why Israel did not obtain Torah Righteousness; A note on Romans 9:32.” Gordon writes that the verse should be translated not “as if it were”, but “because the law is not of faith” in line with Gal 3:12. “The qualification works-and-not faith in Gal 3:10-13 is parallel to the qualification works and not faith in Romans 9:32.”

    “If one group attained what the other did not, the difference between them might lie in the manner in which they pursued it…This is now what Paul says however. The two groups did not pursue the same thing (the gentiles pursued nothing)…Paul’s point therefore is NOT that the Gentiles pursued righteousness in a better manner (by faith) than the Jews. Rather, God’s mercy gives what is not even pursued.”

    “When Paul asks why the Jews did not attain unto the Torah, his answer addressed the NATURE of the covenant (Torah demands perfect obedience), not the nature of the PURSUIT of the Torah.”

    Those who say “we do it the right way, with the faith and not works” do not understand the gospel. We don’t do it ANY way. God did it. God did it at the cross, for the elect.

  13. markmcculley Says:

    Paedobaptists equate “the beginning of my Christian life” with the “beginning of my life”. Never not Christians. Christians from the start. Paedobaptism is not always equal to water efficacy. Paedobaptists give water to those in the covenant because most of them teach that even the non-elect in the covenant begin life as Christians before they receive water.

  14. Jack Miller Says:

    “They think the Abrahamic covenant is no different from the new covenant, and that the new covenant is no different from the Abrahamic covenant.”

    Is the New Covenant the same as the Covenant of Grace? No. Is the New Covenant the same as the Abrahamic Covenant? No. Is the New Covenant the same as the post-fall promise (proto-evangelium)? No. Are the proto-evangelium and Abrahamic covenant the same as the Covenant of Grace? No. Are the proto-evangelium and Abrahamic covenant intrinsically part of the Covenant of Grace? If yes, in what way? Did the Covenant of Grace precede them? Is the New Covenant part of the Covenant of Grace? If yes, in what way? What necessitated a Covenant of Grace? A broken [covenant of works, or if you don’t like that, Adam’s breech of God’s command upon threat of death]? Yet, what came first – the CoG or God’s command (CoW) to Adam? Is the Mosaic covenant (Old covenant) simply the New Covenant in infancy? No. How are very different administrations of the CoG? Are the highlighted more by their dissimilarities or their similarities? If the covenant of grace runs through the old and new testaments, and if the Old covenant is the administration (law, types pointing to fulfillment) of the CoG under Moses, is the New Covenant in Christ’s blood the new and final administration (the fulfillment) of the CoG?

    • markmcculley Says:

      There is no such thing as “the covenant of grace”. I agree with David Gordon that the unbiblical category is not necessary. There is only one gospel. That’s all we need to say. We don’t say that the OT church is the same as the NT church (with differences, stressed more or less) and we certainly don’t need to put all the biblical covenants into one covenant category. Nothing is to be gained by doing so, and the only reason to do so (other than traditional confessions) is to illegitimately bring either the laws of the promises of one covenant into another covenant, and always selectively (cherry-picking). When you ask if the cog came first, you only beg the question, because we can know that God’s redemptive purpose in Christ precedes the creation and the giving of the command to Adam. The Bible does not say “administrations”. It says “covenants”. The only reason you have to say “administrations” is that you have wrongly imported “the covenant of grace” in the first place. But thanks, Jack, for your clear “no” to your first questions. And for not answering that last IF question!

      • JackMiller Says:

        Can you point me to where T. David says that the C of G is unbiblical and unnecessary? Even the London Baptist Confession holds to it (7.2-3).

      • markmcculley Says:

        David Gordon–I am less happy with is the language of the covenant of grace, because this is a genuinely unbiblical use of biblical language; biblically, covenant is always a
        historic arrangement, inaugurated in space and time. Once covenant refers to an over-arching divine decree or purpose to redeem the elect in Christ, confusion Is sure to follow.
        “Mono-Covenantalism”, in By Faith Alone, edited by Gary Johnson and Guy Waters (Crossway,2006, p121)

  15. Jack Miller Says:

    who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began [times eternal], and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Tim 1:9-10)

  16. markmcculley Says:

    John Murray’s Mono-Covenantalism, by David Gordon, in By Faith Alone, edited by Gary Johnson and Guy Waters (Crossway,2006, p121

    “I am perfectly happy with retaining the covenant of works, by any label, because it was a historic covenant; what I am less happy with is the language of the covenant of grace, because this is a genuinely unbiblical use of biblical language; biblically, covenant is always a historic arrangement, inaugurated in space and time.”

    “Once covenant refers to an over-arching divine decree or purpose to redeem the elect in Christ, confusion Is sure to follow. In my opinion, Murray kept what ought to be discarded and discarded what ought to be kept.”

    John Murray despised dispensationalism. We all disagree with it, but few of us with the passion of John Murray. Indeed, some of the historic premillenialists who left Westminster Seminary complained that Murray’s attack on dispensationalism made them feel attacked also.

    What Murray jettisoned was the notion of distinctions of kind between the covenants. He wrote that was not “any reason for construing the Mosaic covenant in terms different from those of the Abrahamic.” Murray believed that the only relation God sustains to people is that of Redeemer. I would argue, by contrast, that God was just as surely Israel’s God when He cursed the nation as when He blessed it.

    The first generation of the magisterial Reformers would have emphasized discontinuity; they believed that Rome retained too much continuity with the levitical aspects of the Sinai administration. But the Auburn theology cannot describe covenant theology without reference to dispensationalism, despite the historical reality that covenant theology was here for several centuries before dispensationalism appeared.

    “My own way of discerning whether a person really has an understanding of covenant theology is to see whether he can describe it without reference to dispensationalism.”

    “When Paul and the other NT writers use the word covenant, there is almost always an immediate contextual clue to which biblical covenant is being referred to, such as “the covenant of circumcision” (Acts 7:8) The New Testament writers were not mono-covenantal regarding the Old Testament (see Rom 9:4, Eph 2:12; Gal 4:24).”

  17. markmcculley Says:

    from the Northwest Presbytery question to the OPC—Certain views and formulations of the Mosaic covenant… distinguish the Mosaic covenant from the Abrahamic covenant. The former is referred to as a “law covenant”, a “republication of the covenant of works”, or a covenant with a “works principle”; the latter is described as a “promise covenant.” The use of this language is confusing, since it seems to imply that to some degree the nature or substance of the Mosaic covenant differs from the other administrations of the Covenant of Grace (e.g., the Abrahamic covenant).
    Galatians 3: 6 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his seed… who is Christ. 17 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.
    mark: That part after “this is what I mean” is confusing, because it seems to say that the added law is not the same as the covenant previously ratified.
    Galatians 4: 21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.
    mark: It is certainly is confusing to tell us that Abraham had two sons. Does this mean that Abraham had two kinds of children? Does this mean that the Abrahamic covenant had more than one promise?

  18. markmcculley Says:

    ever notice that “the covenant” theology argues as if the Mosaic covenant is the older and that the Abrahamic covenant the newer (second, later) ? Even though the Abrahamic covenant is older than the Mosaic covenant, it would not pay for “the covenant of grace” theology to pay attention to that fact. They want the members of the new covenant to be the same as the members of the Abrahamic covenant.
    Hebrews 8: 6 But as it is, Christ[b] has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second

  19. markmcculley Says:

    Renihan— A positive credobaptist argument asserts that the relevant covenant involved is the new covenant, and that this covenant is distinct from the biblical covenants that preceded it in history, particularly the Abrahamic covenant. Simply put, the Abrahamic covenant promised (not only Christ the seed to come but also) earthly blessings to Abraham and his offspring. This covenantal relationship was expanded and developed in the Mosaic covenant and the Davidic covenant (the Mosaic covenant added laws for life in Canaan, and the Davidic covenant provided kings over the people). These three covenants established and governed the kingdom of Israel, comprised of Abraham’s people. The … new covenant is established on better promises, different promises. The new covenant alone is the covenant of grace, distinct from the Israelite covenants.

    Throughout Israel’s history, many understood the messianic promises and looked to Jesus in faith prior to his advent (Hebrews 4:2-3; 11:13-16). The people of God, considered according to the federal headship and benefits of Christ… did not begin with the incarnation. The Israelite kingdom and its covenants were typological. Typology sustains two truths: on the one hand a type had significance in its own context while on the other hand a type pointed away from itself to a greater meaning in Christ. The author to the Hebrews states quite plainly that the blood of the Israelite sacrifices could not forgive sins. Why? Because although those sacrifices had meaning in the Israelite context, i.e., purification of the flesh, they were not Christ’s sacrifice and could not purify the conscience (Hebrews 10:1-4, 12-14).

    Paul treats God’s dealings with Abraham the same way by calling believers the children of Abraham and finding a greater meaning in the word “offspring” as relating to Christ rather than simply Abraham’s posterity (Galatians 3:7, 9, 16, 27-29). It is not ONE OR THE OTHER, as though promises were made only to Abraham and his natural children or to Christ and his offspring (Abraham included). It is both, each with its particular but related meaning in a typical or antitypical context. And thus the kingdom and covenants of Israel were not the kingdom and covenant of Christ though they were driving towards his birth and revealing truths about him all along the way. Old Testament saints were saved by the promise of one who was to come, and the covenant that he would establish. Consequently baptists do not use the kingdom of Israel and its covenants as the pattern for churches….

    Looking to the parent-child relationship is a misdirected attempt to understand covenantal membership. Redirecting our attention to federal headship brings clarity …. We blame Adam, not our parents, for the curse. The Israelites looked to Abraham, not their parents, for a claim to Canaan and its blessings, and to the conduct of the king, not their parents, for tenure in the land. So also, children must look to Christ, not their parents, for a claim to his covenant….We are born under Adam’s federal headship, and no one escapes the domain of darkness until God transfers them “to the kingdom of the beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).

    The election of Isaac instead of Ishmael God shows that physical descent from Abraham does not guarantee that one will be a beneficiary of the covenant made with Abraham and his seed . But the covenant blessings for which Isaac is freely chosen (before his birth) and from which Ishmael is excluded from Abraham) do not include individual lasting life in the age to come. Isaac is not promised the life to come, and Ishmael is not excluded from the promise to as many as believe the gospel (even though they are not children of Abraham or Isaac). Election to be a grandparent of mother Mary is not election to justification before God.

    Romans 9: 3 For I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my own flesh and blood. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory,the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises. 5 The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah

    Romans 11: 28 Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of the patriarchs, 29 since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.

    Genesis 3: 15 Then the Lord God said to the serpent
    I will put hostility between you and the woman,
    and between your seed and her seed.
    He will strike your head,
    and you will strike his heel.

    Psalm 8: When I observe Your heavens,
    the work of Your fingers,
    the moon and the stars,
    which You set in place,
    4 what is man that You remember him,
    the son of man that You look after him?
    5 You made him little less than God
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
    6 You made him lord over the works of Your hands;
    You put everything under his feet

    Galatians 4: 4 When the time had came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law

  20. markmcculley Says:

    what was the promise to Abraham?

    mark–there is more than one promise to Abraham. That’s what you don’t seem to ever say, even though you know it as well as I know it. Putting Galatians 3-4 in parenthesis does not get to the detail that not all the children of Abraham are children of Abraham. Abraham had two sons. One of the sons was cast out. There was no grace for the one son.

    So you need the plural . You need to say “covenants” and “promises” and “different seeds” of Abraham. You need to say (openly in detail) the ways in which the Abrahamic covenant is not the same as the new covenant. Instead of reading the two sons in Galatians as being the Adamic “covenant of works” and the Abrahamic covenant, you need to confess up to the redemptive historical reality that the difference in the text (and the two covenants in Hebrews, and in 2 Corinthians 3) is between the Mosaic and the new covenant. You need to stop assimilating the Abrahamic covenant to the new covenant, when the NT so clearly contrasts the two children of Abraham.

    Abraham was promised that he would be the father of many nations. That’s one promise, but it’s not the same as the promise of the one seed who is Christ. I don’t know who is saying that the Abrahamic (or even the Mosaic) is “type only”. There’s Calvin’s characterization of “the anabaptists” and then there is the reality of what the “come-outers” actually thought but it’s difficult to sort that out because the Reformers killed a lot of “the anabaptists”. But we have some writing left from Marpeck and Sattler and others Zwingli did not kill, and the caricature in Calvin is mostly his way of not repenting of all his Roman Catholic inheritance.

    Nobody I know says “type only”. But plenty of Reformed people formally say “of course there is type” but then go on from that to talk only about the reality of the one gospel Abraham (and some of his children) believed. Well, sure, Moses also believed the one gospel. Nobody I know is denying that. All the covenants point to gospel. But also in every covenant, there are also justified elect folks who had the reality.

    Abraham was promised a people as a genetic incubator for the coming birth of Christ, the son of Abraham. That was a promise. So when you say “the promise”, you need to say which promise you are talking about. If you confuse one promise with another then you will not only have “covenant confusion” but law and gospel confusion.

  21. markmcculley Says:

    I know that you don’t agree with either Mark Jones (who confuses law with gospel, making grace the basis of obligation) or even with Scott Clark ( who puts the “grace parts” of circumcision with Abraham and the “law parts” with Moses). I don’t even know what you yourself say about the “efficacy” of the “grace of circumcision”.

    Is circumcision law or grace? If circumcision is both law and grace, is the “covenant grace” of circumcision necessary for the demands of law? ( Were the nations outside the Abrahamic covenant not under law?) If the “covenant grace” of circumcision results in increased sanctions for Ishmael, is God’s grace ineffectual, and ultimately conditioned on the sinner? I don’t presume that we can answer all these questions now (my time is more limited now than it has been) but I do want to assure my concerns are not ultimately about the subjects of water.

    I think we probably disagree about ‘common grace’ and “the offer”. I take sides with the minority report of the OPC about the “grace” of “provisional proposals”. In short, I think we are all born condemned in Adam, and that it’s not rejection of the gospel which condemns us. According to John 3:17-21, those who do not believe the gospel remain in the condemnation in which they were born, for there is no other “offering” for sins but that one and only sacrificial death of Christ for sinners.

    Simply put, Christ did not die in order to make it just for God to condemn sinners. Many sinners never hear the gospel, and all of these sinners are under the wrath of God. We must not turn the gospel into the law. And this is one reason you need to acknowledge that the Abrahamic covenant has “law parts”. I certainly acknowledge that circumcision is not only a matter of law, but is also (even mainly) about the “cutting off of the flesh”. (the death of Christ– I think –but we can save that for another day)

    Does the gospel “bring condemnation”? or is condemnation already here, so that we need to be saved from condemnation? I suppose the related (and perhaps “Lutheran”) question is—is it the gospel which kills and makes alive? Or is the law which kills? Or is the “killing which results in making alive” something different than the killing condemnation of the law?

    I agree with Machen that the death which saves (Galatians 2) is not our experience of condemnation by the law but Christ’s satisfaction of law by death and God’s legal placing of us into that. To know and believe the gospel is to finally fear God and to know what God’s law demands.

    The man who does the law, shall live by the law.
    That is not the gospel.

  22. markmcculley Says:

    What does it mean for Petto to say that the new covenant is opposed to the Mosaic but not to the Abrahamic? It depends on what “opposed to” means. In terms of God’s purpose no covenant is opposed to any other covenant. The law serves the gospel and the gospel is about the satisfaction of the law. But to deny any distinction between all aspects of the Abrahamic covenant and the new covenant is to disregard redemptive history. It ignores the temporary nature of some of the promises and laws given to Abraham’s ethnic family. It’s a not too subtle method of saying that a physical relationship to parents is still a basis for “outward” membership in the new covenant.

  23. markmcculley Says:

    Charles Hodge—That the Church is a visible society, consisting of the professors of the true religion, as distinguished from the body of true believers, known only to God, is plain, they say, because under the old dispensation it was such a society, embracing all the descendants of Abraham who professed the true religion, and received the sign of circumcision… The Church exists as an external society now as it did then; what once belonged to the commonwealth of Israel, now belongs to the visible Church. As union with the commonwealth of Israel was necessary to salvation then, so union with the visible Church was necessary to salvation now. And as subjection to the priesthood, and especially to the high-priest, was necessary to union with Israel then, so submission to the regular ministry, and especially to the Pope, is necessary to union with the Church now. Such is the favourite argument of Romanists; and such, (striking out illogically the last clause, which requires subjection to prelates, or the Pope) we are sorry to say is the argument of some Protestants, and even of some Presbyterians.

    The fallacy of this whole argument lies in the false assumption, that the external Israel was the true Church… The attributes, promises, prerogatives of the one, were not those of the other. [If this is true] we must admit that the true Church rejected and crucified Christ; for he was rejected by the external Israel, by the Sanhedrin… Paul avoids this fatal conclusion by denying that the external Church is, as such, the true Church, or that the promises made to the latter were made to the former.

    It is to be remembered that there were two covenants made with Abraham. By the one, his natural descendants through Isaac were constituted a commonwealth, an external, visible community. By the other, his spiritual descendants were constituted a Church. The parties to the former covenant were God and the nation; to the other, God and his true people. The promises of the national covenant were national blessings; the promises of the spiritual covenant, (i.e. of the covenant of grace) were spiritual blessings, reconciliation, holiness, and eternal life. The conditions of the one covenant were circumcision and obedience to the law; the condition of the latter was, is, and ever has been, faith in the Messiah as the seed of the woman, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. There cannot be a greater mistake than to confound the national covenant with the covenant of grace, and the commonwealth founded on the one with the Church founded on the other.

    When Christ came “the commonwealth” was abolished, and there was nothing put in its place. The Church remained. There was no external covenant, nor promises of external blessings, on condition of external rites and subjection. There was a spiritual society with spiritual promises, on the condition of faith in Christ. In no part of the New Testament is any other condition of membership in the Church prescribed than that contained in the answer of Philip to the eunuch who desired baptism: “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts viii. 37)

  24. markmcculley Says:

    Lee Irons—When was the Abrahamic covenant made? At Abram’s initial call in Gen 12? At the covenant ratification ceremony in Gen 15? When God gave Abraham the sign of circumcision in Gen 17? When the promise was renewed with Abraham’s son Isaac and his grandson Jacob? Interestingly, the covenant ratification ceremony of Gen 15 (see v 18: “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram”) is explicitly distinguished from the covenant of circumcision in Gen 17 (see v 2: “I will establish my covenant between me and you;”

  25. markmcculley Says:

    is Stephen really saying that the holy temple needs to be destroyed and not protected, and that the temple is an idol?

    Acts 7: 48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in HOUSES MADE BY HANDS, as the prophet (Isaiah 66) says,
    49 “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
    What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
    or what is the place of my rest?
    50 Did not my hand make all these things?’

  26. markmcculley Says:

    P1 God promises to save the elect children born of Christian parents.
    P2 God promises to save the elect children not born of Christian parents
    (John 1:13; Gal 3:7-9; Rom 9:7-8, 11, 24-26; 10:11-13; 11:17; Eph 1:4-10,)
    C1 Physical heritage is irrelevant to God’s promise to save the elect.
    P3 Physical heritage is irrelevant to God’s promise to save the elect.
    P4 God’s covenantal faithfulness is determined by His promise to save the elect.
    C2 Physical heritage is irrelevant to God’s covenantal faithfulness. Brandon Adams, they are equivocating on what the promise is, precisely. Is it to the elect, or is it to all our children generally?
    P4 God’s covenantal faithfulness is determined by His promise to save those who he has promised to save.
    P5 God has promised to (among others) save the children of believers.
    C God shows His faithfulness (among other ways) when He saves (among others) the children of believers.
    In which case, there is nothing unique about the salvation of the children of believers since God’s faithfulness is also demonstrated (“among other ways”) when he saves the children of non-believers

  27. markmcculley Says:

    John Owen, comments on Hebrews 8:6-13)—This Sinai covenant thus made, with these ends and promises, did never save nor condemn any man eternally. All that lived under the administration of it did attain eternal life, OR perished for ever, BUT MOT BY VIRTUE OF THIS SINAI COVENANT. IT…. was “the ministry of condemnation,” 2 Cor. iii. 9; for “by the deeds of the law can no flesh be justified.” And on the other hand, it directed also unto the new covenant promise, which was the instrument of life and salvation unto all that did believe. But as unto what it had of its own, it was confined unto things temporal. Believers were saved under it, but not by virtue of it. Sinners perished eternally under it, but by the curse of the original law to Adam. …No man was ever saved but by virtue of the new covenant, and the mediation of Christ in that respect.

    Calvin—The Old Testament fathers had Christ as mediator of their covenant… The Old Covenant that the Lord had made with the Israelites had not been limited to earthly things, but contained a promise of spiritual and eternal life. (2.10.23)

    The covenant made with all the patriarchs is so much like ours in substance and reality that the two are actually one and the same. Yet they differ in the mode of dispensation. (2.10.2)
    Calvin on Hebrews 8:6-13

    Here we are to observe how the covenant of the law compares with the covenant of the gospel, the ministry of Christ with that of Moses. For if the comparison had reference to the substance of the promises, then there would be great disagreement between the Testaments. …But the covenant that he once established as eternal and never-perishing. While such confirmation was awaited, the Lord appointed, through Moses, ceremonies that were, so to speak, solemn symbols of that confirmation.

    The ceremonies were only the accidental properties of the covenant, or additions and appendages, and in common parlance, accessories of it [as opposed to the substance of it]. …The Old Testament of the Lord was the eternal covenant wrapped up in the shadowy and ineffectual observance of ceremonies and delivered to the Jews. It became new and eternal only after it was consecrated and established by the blood of Christ. Hence Christ in the Supper calls the cup that he gives to his disciples “the cup of the New Testament in my blood” [Luke 22:20]

    Brandon Adams: Owen said the Old Covenant elect were saved by the promise, and that the promise was separate from the Old Covenant.

    Calvin also said they were saved by the promise, but he said the promise was the very substance of the Old Covenant, not separate from it.

    Owen said Christ’s mediation was limited to the New Covenant, while Calvin said Christ was mediator of the Old Covenant

  28. markmcculley Says:

    John 8:37 I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill

    56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced.”

    57 The Jews replied, “You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?”

    58 Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.”

    59 At that, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex

  29. markmcculley Says:

    In Gen 15, God is not promising to Abraham the blessings of the New Covenant: forgiveness of sins, regeneration, etc. He is swearing to fulfill what was promised to Abraham: that he will have numerous descendants, that they will inhabit the land of Canaan, and that in him all nations of the earth would be blessed. This last promise can be seen as a promise that Christ will come and establish the New Covenant to grant forgiveness of sins, etc. Thus we can say that the Abrahamic Covenant promises the future establishment of the New Covenant. It is not itself the New Covenant.

    Abraham was justified when he believed this promise, as it was a promise of Christ. But Abraham was not justified by the Abrahamic Covenant. As Owen notes “When God renewed the promise of the New Covenant unto Abraham, he is said to make a covenant with him; and he did so, but it was with respect unto other things, especially the proceeding of the promised Seed from his loins.”

    God does not say this promise will be received through faith alone apart from works.

    In fact, God specifically says that work was required to bring about the fulfillment (Gen 17:2, 9-14; 22:16-18; cf Gal 5:3; Acts 15:10). As John Murray states “The obedience of Abraham is represented as the condition upon which the fulfilment of the promise given to him was contingent and the obedience of Abraham’s seed is represented as the means through which the promise given to Abraham would be accomplished. There is undoubtedly the fulfilment of certain conditions… At the outset we must remember that the idea of conditional fulfilment is not something peculiar to the Mosaic covenant. We have been faced quite poignantly with this very question in connection with the Abrahamic covenant. And since this feature is there patent, it does not of itself provide us with any reason for construing the Mosaic covenant in terms different from those of the Abrahamic.” And the Mosaic is of works (Lev 18:5; Gal 3:12; Rom 10:5).

    Meredith Kline notes “How Abraham’s obedience related to the securing of the kingdom blessings in their old covenant form is a special question within the broad topic of the role of human works under redemptive covenant… His faithful performance of his covenantal duty is here clearly declared to sustain a causal relationship to the blessing of Isaac and Israel. It had a meritorious character that procured a reward enjoyed by others… Because of Abraham’s obedience redemptive history would take the shape of an Abrahamite kingdom of God from which salvation’s blessings would rise up and flow out to the nations. God was pleased to constitute Abraham’s exemplary works as the meritorious ground for granting to Israel after the flesh the distinctive role of being formed as the typological kingdom, the matrix from which Christ should come… The obedient Abraham, the faithful covenant servant, was a type of the Servant of the Lord in his obedience.”

    Nehemiah Coxe — “It is noteworthy that in this transaction of God with Abraham we first meet with an express injunction of obedience to a command (and that of positive right) as the condition of covenant interest. It is all ushered in with this prologue (Genesis 17:1), “I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be perfect.” A strict and entire obedience to his precepts is required in order to inherit the good things that were to be given by this covenant. In this mode of transacting it, the Lord was pleased to draw the first lines of that form of covenant relationship in which the natural seed of Abraham was fully stated by the law of Moses, which was a covenant of works with its terms, “Do this and live.”” p. 91

    Gen 15 is properly part of the Old Covenant, which includes the promise that Christ will come from Abraham (Rom. 9:5).

  30. markmcculley Says:

    Dispensationalists might object by saying that God promised this land to Israel unconditionally and as an everlasting possession. First, note the answer to the previous question with regards to works and the Abrahamic Covenant. Furthermore, if God gave them the land unconditionally, how could God have set conditions upon Israel in the Mosaic Covenant? How could he have exiled them? How could he have kept them out of the land for 2,000 years if it was promised unconditionally? The answer is that it was not promised unconditionally. Furthermore, as Paul explains in Romans 9, even this conditional promise to Abraham’s offspring regarding the land was never made to all of Abraham’s physical offspring. It was made to Isaac, not Ishamel; to Jacob, not Esau; and on down through history God sovereignly chose who this promise extended to, until it extended only to Christ who fulfilled it typologically, and thus it was made only to Him (Gal 3:16).

    Regarding the language of “everlasting” Coxe notes “Now it is evident that they have for many ages been disinherited of it. But the solution to this doubt will be easy to him who consults the use of these terms in other texts, and the necessary restriction of their sense when applied to the state or interests of Abraham’s seed in the land of Canaan. For the priesthood of Levi is called an everlasting priesthood (Numbers 25:13) [even though it was abrogated Heb 7] and the gates of the temple, everlasting doors (Psalm 24:5). This is the same sense that Canaan is said to be an everlasting inheritance. No more is intended than the continuance of these for a long time, that is, throughout the Old Testament economy until the days of the Messiah

  31. Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology, Volume 3, Chapter 20, Section 12:

    “Membership in the visible Church is not only a great honour, it is a great advantage. To the Church are committed the oracles of God. It is the depository of that truth which is able to make men wise unto salvation. It is the divinely appointed instrumentality for preserving and communicating that truth. Every one admits that it is a blessing to be born in a Christian, instead of in a heathen land. It is no less obviously true that it is a blessing to be within the pale of the Church and not cast out into the world. It is good to have the vows of God upon us. It is good to be under the watch and care of the people of God. It is good to have a special claim upon their prayers and upon their efforts to bring us into, or keep us in the paths of salvation. And above all, it is good to be of the number of those to whom God has made a special promise of grace and salvation. For the promise is unto us and to our children. It is a great evil to be “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise.” They, therefore, sin against God and their own souls who neglect the command to be baptized in the name of the Lord and those parents sin grievously against the souls of their children who neglect to consecrate them to God in the ordinance of baptism. Do let the little ones have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life, even if they afterwards choose to erase them. Being thus enrolled may be the means of their salvation.”

  32. Only the New Covenant grants anyone faith. Not even the Abrahamic Covenant does. The Abrahamic Covenant did not grant forgiveness of sins. It promised that Christ would come and grant forgiveness of sins through the New Covenant. But the assumption is that saved members of the Old Covenant were saved by the Old Covenant—- if they looked upon the typological sacrifices and thereby learned of Christ and had faith in Christ, they were therefore saved by the Old Covenant. The assumption is that Abraham believed God’s promise and was justified, so therefore Abraham justified by the Abrahamic Covenant. But this does not follow at all. Only Christ saves and Christ is only mediator and surety of the New Covenant. John Owen—“No man was ever saved but by virtue of the new covenant and the mediation of Christ therein.”
    -Commentary on Hebrews 8:6

  33. markmcculley Says:

    Brandon Adams — historic Presbyterianism was very different than modern Presbyterianism. Modern Presbyterianism will consider a non-communicant member who has reached the “age of discretion” and does not profess saving faith in Christ to be a covenant breaker and thus excommunicated. That was not the historic position. Instead, non-communicant members could remain members of the church without making any credible profession of saving faith. That was only required for communicant membership (access to the Lord’s table). Thus everyone in a nation was required by law to profess the true religion (known as “historic faith”) but they were not required by law to profess saving faith. Therefore the covenanters did not see themselves as judging “the world” with these laws. They were judging the church.

    With which presumption will we start?

    –will we exclude from the new covenant those who were in the Abrahamic covenant, or only “include more” ( now females and unmarried males)

    –will we include the spouse and the slaves and the teenage children of a father, or even the grandchildren of those with parents who were cut off from the covenant?

    All or nothing–if we want to include instead of exclude, why not let’s water everybody (not only infants from some families) , including all the adults who come our way–then we can begin to teach them the commands of the covenant (how could we teach anybody God’s law until after they were in the covenant?) and thus we can teach these included disciples that God has promised all of them them saving faith….less narrow, more generous and capacious

    And all we need for that is a common enemy scapegoat—those who refuse to be magistrates, we can accuse them all of wanting to take over as magistrates—and thus find unity between ourselves by excluding fanatics loyal only to one kingdom.

    every inclusion is also an exclusion

  34. markmcculley Says:

    notice this promise of the Abrahamic covenant Genesis 15: 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be foreigners in a land that does not belong to them; they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years. 14 However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions

  35. markmcculley Says:

    Luke 1: Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because He has visited
    and provided redemption for His people.
    69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of His servant David,
    70 just as He spoke by the mouth
    of His holy prophets in ancient times;
    71 salvation from our enemies
    and from the clutches of those who hate us.
    72 He has dealt mercifully with our fathers
    and remembered His holy covenant—
    73 the oath that He swore to our father Abraham.
    He has given us the privilege,
    74 since we have been rescued
    from our enemies’ clutches,
    to serve Him without fear
    75 in holiness and righteousness
    in His presence all our days.
    76 And child, you will be called
    a prophet of the Most High,
    for you will go before the Lord
    to prepare His ways,
    77 to give His people knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins.
    78 Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
    the Dawn from on high will visit us
    79 to shine on those who live in darkness
    and the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace

  36. Bryan Estelle (the law is not of faith)— By the time of the New Testament Israel’s disobedience has triggered the curse sanctions. Therefore, the new covenant context has essentially changed matters … What was prototypical during the Abrahamic covenant has been eclipsed by what is antitypical [eternal life].

  37. Despite appealing to Augustine to demonstrate that all the saints from the beginning of the world belonged to the New Covenant, notice that Calvin acknowledges a difference between Augustine’s view and his own. He says his view makes the distinction between the Old and New Covenants a matter of obscurity and clarity, while Augustine makes it a matter of Law and Gospel. That is no small difference!

    The reality is, Augustine did not agree with Calvin’s main point: that the Old and the New are the same covenant. He rejected it in very strong terms. Calvin found recourse in Augustine when he had to reconcile Scripture’s teaching regarding regeneration as a grace of the New Covenant, but that is because Augustine was much more biblical in his understanding of the differences between the Old and the New.

    At all events, in those ancient Scriptures it is most distinctly written: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will consummate a new testament with the house of Israel and with the house of Jacob; not according to the testament that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to lead them out of the land of Egypt.” (Jer 31:31, 32) This was done on Mount Sinai. But then there had not yet risen the prophet Daniel to say: “The saints shall receive the kingdom of the Most High.” (Dan 7:18) For by these words he foretold the merit not of the Old, but of the New Testament. In the same manner did the same prophets foretell that Christ Himself would come, in whose blood the New Testament was consecrated. Of this Testament also the apostles became the ministers, as the most blessed Paul declares: “He hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not in its letter, but in spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Cor 3:6) In that testament [covenant], however, which is properly called the Old, and was given on Mount Sinai, only earthly happiness is expressly promised. Accordingly that land, into which the nation, after being led through the wilderness, was conducted, is called the land of promise, wherein peace and royal power, and the gaining of victories over enemies, and an abundance of children and of fruits of the ground, and gifts of a similar kind are the promises of the Old Testament. And these, indeed, are figures of the spiritual blessings which appertain to the New Testament; but yet the man who lives under God’s law with those earthly blessings for his sanction, is precisely the heir of the Old Testament, for just such rewards are promised and given to him, according to the terms of the Old Testament, as are the objects of his desire according to the condition of the old man. But whatever blessings are there figuratively set forth as appertaining to the New Testament require the new man to give them effect. And no doubt the great apostle understood perfectly well what he was saying, when he described the two testaments as capable of the allegorical distinction of the bond-woman and the free,—attributing the children of the flesh to the Old, and to the New the children of the promise: “They,” says he, “which are the children of the flesh, are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Rom 9:8) The children of the flesh, then, belong to the earthly Jerusalem, which is in bondage with her children; whereas the children of the promise belong to the Jerusalem above, the free, the mother of us all, eternal in the heavens. (Gal 4:25, 26) Whence we can easily see who they are that appertain to the earthly, and who to the heavenly kingdom. But then the happy persons, who even in that early age were by the grace of God taught to understand the distinction now set forth, were thereby made the children of promise, and were accounted in the secret purpose of God as heirs of the New Testament; although they continued with perfect fitness to administer the Old Testament to the ancient people of God, because it was divinely appropriated to that people in God’s distribution of the times and seasons.

  38. No covenant preceding the New Covenant was the Covenant of Grace. Before the arrival of the New Covenant, the Covenant of Grace was at the stage of promise…

    If we are talking about a promise, this implies that it was not yet accomplished and was not yet in the form of a testament or a covenant. The Baptists believed that the New Covenant was the accomplishment of the promise. The New Covenant and it alone was the Covenant of Grace.

    If the New Covenant did not exist before Jesus Christ, while the Covenant of Grace existed before the coming of the Messiah, does this not mean that both covenants are distinct? The New Covenant did not exist as a covenant before Jesus Christ; however it did exist as a promise (cf. Jr 31.31). The Covenant of Grace revealed to Adam, then to Abraham, was the New Covenant promised. Therefore, before Jesus Christ, the New Covenant did not exist, but the Covenant of Grace, did not exist as a formal covenant either.

    John Spilsbury–It is called the promise, and not the Covenant; and we know that every promise is not a covenant: there being a large difference between a promise and a covenant. Spilsbury speaks of the Covenant of Grace that God revealed to Abraham and he declares that at this stage, it was not yet a formal covenant, but a promise.

    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, Pascal (2014-12-13). The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology: A Comparison Between Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptist and Paedobaptist Federalism

  39. markmcculley Says:

    “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

    “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15).

    Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7: 6)

    II Corinthians 7: 14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? … what does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

    “I will live in them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
    17 Therefore come out from them,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
    and touch nothing unclean;
    then I will welcome you,
    18 and I will be your father,
    and you shall be my sons and daughters,
    says the Lord Almighty.”

    Revelation 18: 4 Come out of her, my people,
    so that you do not take part in her sins,
    and so that you do not share in her plagues;
    5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
    and God has remembered her iniquities.

    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world”(1 John 4:1).

    If anyone preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let them be accursed” (Galatians 1:9).

  40. markmcculley Says:

    Owen: “It is not, therefore, the peculiar command for the institution of the legal priesthood that is intended, but the whole system of Mosaic institutions…..Nor is it the whole ceremonial law ONLY that is intended by “the command” in this place, but the moral law also, so far as it was compacted with the other into one body of precepts for the same end; for with respect unto the efficacy of the whole law of Moses, as unto our drawing nigh unto God, it is here considered… By all these ways was the church of the Hebrews forewarned that the time would come when the whole Mosaic law, as to its legal or covenant efficacy, should be dis-annulled. ” Exposition of Hebrews 7:12, 18-19 ↩

    John Owen, comments on Hebrews 8:6-13)—This Sinai covenant thus made, with these ends and promises, did never save nor condemn any man eternally. All that lived under the administration of it did attain eternal life, OR perished for ever, BUT MOT BY VIRTUE OF THIS SINAI COVENANT. IT…. was “the ministry of condemnation,” 2 Cor. iii. 9; for “by the deeds of the law can no flesh be justified.” And on the other hand, it directed also unto the new covenant promise, which was the instrument of life and salvation unto all that did believe. But as unto what it had of its own, it was confined unto things temporal. Believers were saved under it, but not by virtue of it. Sinners perished eternally under it, but by the curse of the original law to Adam. …No man was ever saved but by virtue of the new covenant, and the mediation of Christ in that respect.

  41. markmcculley Says:

    .Brandon Adams on Hebrews 10— The repetitive sacrifices of the old covenant have been done away with by the establishment of Christ’s once for all sacrifice

    v11-17 This one sacrifice has perfected for all time those who received the blessings of the new covenant.

    v18 There remains no more sacrifices in the new covenant.

    v19-25 Therefore draw near to God with full assurance, holding fast our confession of faith.

    v26 For if we neglect this confession of faith and go on sinning willingly, there are no more repetitive sacrifices to repeatedly forgive your sin, like in the old covenant.

    v27 Only judgement remains for ADVERSARIES.

    v28 Reminding these Jews who felt secure in the Old Covenant of the punishments under the Old Covenant. Despite old covenant sacrifices, there were still some deliberate, high-handed sins that were punished without mercy (thus don’t test God’s mercy).

    v29 How much worse will your punishment be if you hear but do not believe the gospel.

    “The Lord will judge his people” should be interpreted to mean the new covenant contains curses like the old covenant. It simply established the fact, from the Old Covenant the Jews were clinging to, that God is a fierce judge.

    John Owen: “In Deuteronomy it is applied unto such a judgment of them as tends unto their deliverance. But the general truth of the words is, that God is the supreme judge… This the apostle makes use of, concluding that the righteousness of God, as the supreme judge of all obligates God unto this severe destruction of apostates: for “shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” This is precisely how Paul applies the same verse (to those outside of covenant) in Romans 12:19.

    v31 Fear the living God (who is judge over all).

    Brandon Adams—Nothing in this passage requires us to believe that apostates were once members of the New Covenant but have been cut off or that this judgment and punishment is a New Covenant curse. Quite the contrary, it is clearly referring to the final judgment. The apostates discussed here are specifically referred to as “adversaries” (v27) not as God’s covenant people.

    Brandon Adams– Reformed paedobaptists have been challenged in their interpretation by the Federal Vision (a false gospel), which claims to be reformed, yet denies perseverance of the saints and says that one may lose their covenantal union with Christ (arguing from Hebrews 10:29 and other texts). R. Fowler White participated in the Knox Colloquium on Auburn Avenue Theology. White wrote that Leithart “does ascribe to apostates blessings that literally belong uniquely to the elect, and he does so on the basis of their confessed faith.” White stated his commitment to the paedobaptist two-sided (inner/outer), dual-sanction New Covenant, but White also argued that this not the best way to explain Hebrews 10:29. “My contention is that we should take our cue from the rhetoric of rebuke and reproach elsewhere in the Bible and interpret the biblical writer’s attribution of sanctification in Heb 10:29 as an example of reproachful irony (sarcasm).”

  42. markmcculley Says:

    Romans 11—And if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, 18 do not brag that you are better than those branches. But if you do brag—you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 True enough; they were broken off by unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. 22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, because God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from your native wild olive and against nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these—the natural branches—be grafted into their own olive tree?

    Is Abraham the root, or is Christ the root?

    Brandon Adams— If we start with assumptions, we may miss the point of the text. To be more accurate, John Murray notes that “The figure of the olive tree to describe Israel is in accord with the Old Testament usage (Jeremiah 11:16, 17; Hosea 14:6).” Therefore the olive tree is Israel. To say that the root isChrist (as is common when arguing against baptists). But again, that betrays an underlying assumption not drawn from the text itself.

    Moo—Most scholars are led by the parallelism to identify the “first fruits” with the patriarchs (Chrysostom; Godet; S-H; Murray; Michel; Kasemann; Wilckens; Schlier; Bourke, Olive Tree, pp. 75-76). But some think that the “first fruits” is Adam or Christ (cf 1 Cor 15:20, 23), while a significant (and growing) number think it is Jewish Christians, the remnant.

    John Murray “The root is surely the patriarchs.” Calvin —They were then sanctified by the holy covenant, and adorned with peculiar honor, with which God had not at that time favored the Gentiles; but as the efficacy of the covenant appeared then but small, he bids us to look back to Abraham and the patriarchs, in whom the blessing of God was not indeed either empty or void. He hence concludes, that from them an heredity holiness had passed to all their posterity.

    Brandon Adams– If the olive tree is the covenant of grace, and Christ is the head of the covenant of grace, then he must be the root of the olive tree. And, a distinction must made between branches vitally united to the root (Christ) and branches formally united to the root (Christ). Hence the inward/outward covenant construct. The olive tree then becomes a description of how the visible church has functioned since Genesis 3:15, with individuals being broken off for unbelief throughout. However, this presents us with some problems.

    John Murray —“The act of judgment upon Israel spoken of in verse 15 as the “casting away” is now represented as breaking off of branches. This is the appropriate representation in terms of the figure now being used. The expression “some of the branches” does not seem to agree, however, with the fact that the mass of Israel had been cast away. It is a sufficient answer to this difference to bear in mind that the main interest of the apostle now is focused on the grafting in of the Gentiles and the cutting away of Israel and it is not necessary to reflect on the extent to which the latter takes place.”

    Brandon Adams–Paul is referring to national rejection, but also of individual breaking and grafting. Murray’s solution is to dismiss the question as irrelevant. Calvin, on the other hand, insists the passage is referring only to nations, not to individuals. “Let us remember that in this comparison man is not compared with man, but nation with nation. If then a comparison be made between them, they shall be found equal in this respect, that they are both equally the children of Adam; the only difference is that the Jews had been separated from the Gentiles, that they might be a peculiar people to the Lord…..He hence concludes, that from them an heredity holiness had passed to all their posterity. But this conclusion would not have been right had he spoken of persons, or rather had he not regarded the promise; for when the father is just, he cannot yet transmit his own uprightness to his son: but as the Lord had sanctified Abraham for himself for this end, that his seed might also be holy, and as he thus conferred holiness not only on his person but also on his whole race, the Apostle does not unsuitably draw this conclusion, that all the Jews were sanctified in their father Abraham.

    Brandon Adams—Calvin’s concern is soteriological: Paul speaks of a hereditary holiness that would be inappropriate if applied to individuals. His solution is to limit the holiness of the Jews (their inclusion as branches) to a national setting apart: John Murray rejects Calvin’s argument, noting “It would press the language and the analogy too far to think of the wild olive as grafted in its entirety into the good olive. As indicated in verse 24 the branches of the wild olive are viewed as grafted in.”

    Brandon Adams—“How do we address Murray’s concern that the nation as a whole is cast away, but this happens in terms of individual branches, while at the same time safeguarding Calvin’s soteriological concerns that require a corporate, rather than individual consideration? The solution lies in adhering closely to the text. Christ and the patriarchs cannot both be the root. It is one or the other. Abraham is the root. Likewise, we will avoid unnecessary problems if we do not import concepts of the visible church into the text and simply acknowledge that the tree is Israel, Abraham’s seed.”

  43. markmcculley Says:

    circumcised Moses is also a son of circumcised Abraham. . Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman.

    Genesis 15: 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be foreigners in a land that does not belong to them; they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years. 14 However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions

    Genesis 17: 9 God also said to Abraham, “As for you, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations are to keep My covenant. 10 This is My covenant, which you are to keep, between Me and you and your offspring after you: Every one of your males must be circumcised. 11 You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskin to serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 Throughout your generations, every male among you at eight days old is to be circumcised. This includes a slave born in your house and one purchased with money from any foreigner. The one who is not your offspring, 13 a slave born in your house, as well as one purchased with money, must be circumcised. My covenant will be marked in your flesh as a lasting covenant. 14 If any male is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that man will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.

    Genesis 22: 15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn,” this is the Lord’s declaration: “Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son,17 I will indeed bless you and make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the gates of their enemies. 18 And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring because you have obeyed My command.”

  44. markmcculley Says:

    Eternal and everlasting are words also used for for the old temporary and provisional covenants, not only for the new covenant.
    As James Haldane suggests in his commentary on Hebrews (p 245, Newport Commentary Series, Particular Baptist Press), the solution to the problem of the first covenant is not to find a better mediator for that first covenant. If a former covenant is infringed by one of the parties, satisfaction is given by making a second covenant.
    If we are going to make distinctions within the Mosaic law-economy, why not be consistent in thinking about these distinctions when we think of Christ legally satisfying the Mosaic law? Was Christ keeping the ceremonial laws of Moses when He shed His blood? Were we Gentiles under the curse of the Mosaic law for our failure to keep the ceremonial law? Were we Gentile elect imputed with Christ’s keeping of the ceremonial laws of Moses?
    Hebrews 13:20—“the God of peace brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant.”
    Leviticus 24: 8 The bread is to be set out before the Lord every Sabbath day as a perpetual covenant obligation on the part of the Israelites. 9 It belongs to Aaron and his sons, who are to eat it in a holy place, for it is the holiest portion for him from the fire offerings to the Lord; this is a permanent rule.”
    Exodus 31:16 The Israelites must observe the Sabbath, celebrating it throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.
    Exodus 40:15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an eternal priesthood throughout their generations.
    Numbers 25:13 It will be a covenant of perpetual priesthood for him and his future descendants, because he was zealous for his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”
    Exodus 12:17 “You are to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread because on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. You must observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent statute.
    Exodus 27:21 In the tent of meeting outside the veil that is in front of the testimony, Aaron and his sons are to tend the lamp from evening until morning before the Lord. This is to be a permanent statute for the Israelites throughout their generations.
    Leviticus 16: 29 “This is to be a permanent statute for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month you are to practice self-denial and do no work, both the native and the foreigner who resides among you.

  45. markmcculley Says:

    Brandon–In you shall all the nations be blessed.” What does “In you” refer to in that promise? It refers specifically to the Messiah, Abraham’s seed. “It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ. 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.” This covenant promise was that in Christ all the nations would be justified. But if the nations could be justified through the law of Sinai, then Christ died for no purpose, which would make the promise void.“For if the inheritance [righteousness] is based on the law, it is no longer based on the promise [of Christ], but God graciously gave it [righteousness] to Abraham through the promise [of Christ]” referring to how God “preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham…

    Brandon– Galatians 3:18 does not teach that inheritance by promise is synonymous with inheritance by gift/grace/faith in distinction from inheritance by due/works/law. Therefore Galatians 3:18 does not teach a distinction between a covenant of promise and a covenant of law. Therefore Galatians 3 does not establish the unity of the Abrahamic and New Covenants in distinction from the Sinai Covenant. Therefore the Abrahamic Covenant may, in fact, be a covenant of law/works for the typical kingdom of Abraham’s carnal offspring in unison with the Sinai Covenant.

  46. markmcculley Says:

    I Corinthians 7 Was anyone called while uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised.
    Galatians 3: 28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus
    Romans 4: 10 When was righteousness credited to Abraham—while Abraham was circumcised, or while Abraham was uncircumcised? Not while he was circumcised, but uncircumcised. 11 And Abraham received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that HE HAD BY FAITH while still uncircumcised.
    mark: not as a seal of the righteousness others would have by faith, and not as a seal of the righteousness others without faith would have, and not as a seal of the faith they had or did not have
    Romans 4: 11 The timing was to make Abraham the father of all who believe but are not circumcised, because righteousness is credited to them also. 12 And Abraham became the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was still uncircumcised.

    is there still a difference between Jew and gentile, in this way?

    Gentiles are not allowed to be circumcised, because if they did the circumcision would force them to be justified by law?

    Galatians 5: 2 Take note! I, Paul, tell you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all. 3 Again I testify to EVERY MAN who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to keep the entire law

    if you are already circumcised, is it too late to be justified by grace?

    John the Baptist—if you are already circumcised, it’s too late to not be circumcised but it’s not too late to be water baptized

    18 Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? HE SHOULD NOT UNDO HIS CIRCUMCISION

    is it necessary for all Jews to not become Gentiles
    is it necessary for all Jew to stay in “the covenant of grace” in which they were born?

    Abraham was justified by grace through faith WHEN Abraham was not circumcised

    did Abraham become obligated to all the law when Abraham became circumcised?


    did Abraham fall from (justification by) grace and become forced to be justified by law?


    Galatians 3: 2 Take note! I, Paul, tell you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all. 3 Again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to keep the entire law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law are ALIENATED FROM CHRIST. You have FALLEN FROM GRACE

    Galatians 3:2 I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith?[c] 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?

    f a person with a wife lives as if they did not have a wife, and does not come to dinner when the wife calls, that person may lose a wife

    If you have a wife, do not worry about it. if you do not have a wife, do not worry about it.

    because of the present situation

    I Corinthians 7: I have no command from the Lord, but I do give an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Therefore I consider this to be good because of the present distress: It is fine for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

    I Corinthians 7: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. PEOPLE WHO MARRY WILL HAVE TROUBLE IN THIS LIFE and I am trying to spare you. 29 And I say this, brothers: The time is limited, so from now on those who have wives should be AS IF they had none

    the subjunctive

    I Corinthians 7: 17 However, each one must live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches. 18 Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? HE SHOULD NOT UNDO HIS CIRCUMCISION

  47. markmcculley Says:

    James Haldane –“although an oath was made to Abraham, securing the blessing to all families of the earth through him, this does not prove that the covenant made with him was the new covenant… This was a promise that the Saviour, revealed immediately after the fall, Gen. iii. 15. should spring from him… To call this the covenant of grace, is only calculated to mislead; for surely it was peculiar to Abraham that Christ should spring from him.”,+securing+the+blessing+to+all+families+of+the+earth+through+him,+this+does+not+prove+that+the+covenant+made+with+him&source=bl&ots=XGj9UF_Wur&sig=1ikDYWUY1G8RNojYk783RRKUbbI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiso7is8KrUAhXBYyYKHXESDRkQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=although%20an%20oath%20was%20made%20to%20Abraham%2C%20securing%20the%20blessing%20to%20all%20families%20of%20the%20earth%20through%20him%2C%20this%20does%20not%20prove%20that%20the%20covenant%20made%20with%20him&f=false

  48. markmcculley Says:

    Since there was never but one gospel (one way of justification), does this mean that the Abrahamic covenant is (mostly) the same as the new covenant?


    If only one gospel means only one covenant, then there is no (important) difference between the Mosaic covenant and Abrahamic covenant.

    If only one gospel means one covenant, that would mean that the law given to Adam was a “covenant of works for salvation”.

    But God gave Adam law before Adam sinned, and God did not give Adam the gospel before Adam needed the gospel.

    The gospel is NOT that Christ kept a covenant of works. The gospel is that Christ died for all the sins of the elect.

    Adam keeping the Mosaic law for us is not our righteousness
    Christ keeping the Mosaic law for us is not our righteousness.

    Covenant of works folks focus on our problem as Adam’s failure to do enough in “the covenant of works”! But we sinners need Christ’s death because we are all born condemned by Adam’s first sin.

  49. markmcculley Says:
    Founders review of Phillips–So if the new covenant has been the means of salvation since Genesis 3, and if the old covenant believers were saved by their union with Christ, in what way is the new covenant actually new? Chapter fifteen answers that question. For Griffiths, baptism in the spirit is a “validation of a previously existing position in Christ” (182). Or, to say it another way: “If we just accept the baptism of the Spirit by faith, just assume that it happens as conversion, then it appears that the only thing that actually differentiates us from OT saints is our clearer understanding of redemption. The fact that we have the New Testament and a greater intellectual understanding of our position in Christ”

  50. markmcculley Says:

    Nehemiah Coxe –The covenant with Abraham was in force for the benefit of both more remote and nearer generations.… The right of the remotest generation was as much derived from Abraham and the covenant made with him, as was that of his immediate seed, and did not depend on the faithfulness of their immediate parents.’

    the Second London Baptist Confession 7.2 : ‘It is alone by the grace of THIS covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and a blessed immortality’

    Is “this” covenant the new covenant or the covenant with Abraham?

  51. markmcculley Says:

    Jean Lassere—You could justify anything by such reasoning in these cases. Jesus did not reproach Pilate for his presence in Palestine so He sanctioned the Roman occupation, and all military occupations generally; implicitly He must then condemn all defensive wars against a foreign invasion. He did not reproach the Herodians for their servile collaboration with the Romans, so he sanctioned all collaborations, including the Vichy’s . He did not reproach the Pharisees for their hostility to the Romans; so He also sanctioned patriotic the invader. He did not reproach His disciple Simon for having offered violent resistance to the Romans, so He must have sanctioned all resistance movements. He did not ask Zacchaeus to give up his job as head of the publicans; so He approved of the Roman occupation, its system of collecting taxes, and implicitly a powerful nation’s right to colonise and exploit a weaker. He did not rebuke Pilate for having massacred the Galileans in the middle of their sacrifices (Luke 13:3)

    The writer of Hebrews praises the faith of Rahab without mentioning her being a prostitute, therefore we need to consult John Murray if we want to know why it was sin for the midwives to lie and why polygamy was sin for Abraham.

    Luke 3: 10 “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. 11 John replied to them, “The one who has two shirts MUST SHARE with someone who has none, and the one who has food MUST do the same.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 John told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” 14 Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force…”

    As long as you argue from silence, do you ever know if there is a difference the soldiers John the Baptist talked to and Cornelius? Was any of them born in a covenant household? Do you know for sure what was not said, but not what was said?

    Acts 16: 7 When the jailer woke up and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew his sword and was going to kill himself, since he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul called out in a loud voice, “Don’t harm yourself, because all of us are here!” 29 Then the jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the message of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house.

    Does this text prove to us that it’s not necessary to talk about Christ’s death when we give the message of Christ’s Lordship? Does this text prove to us that it’s not essential to share the gospel with a household if you share the gospel with the head of the household? Does this text prove to us that it’s not necessary to teach the gospel to the people of a nation if its magistrate permits the baptism of that nation?

    Tertullian—-But now the question is whether a believer can become a soldier and whether a soldier can be admitted into the faith, even if he is a member only of the rank and file who are not required to take part in sacrifices or capital punishments. There can be no compatibility between the divine and the human sacrament (military oath), the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot serve two masters-God and Caesar. Moses, to be sure, carried a rod; Aaron wore a military belt, and John (the Baptist) is girt with leather (i.e., like a soldier); and, if you really want to play around with the subject, Joshua the son of Nun led an army and the people waged war. But how will a Christian man go to war? Indeed how will he serve even in peacetime without a sword which the Lord has taken away? For even if soldiers came to John and received advice on how to act, and even if a centurion became a believer, the Lord, in subsequently disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier, No uniform is lawful among us. (Treatise on Idolatry 19; Ante-Nicene Fathers 3:73)

    Since ‘the efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered”, why not administer water to people after they believe the gospel? If the efficacy of God using water is not God giving faith in the gospel, why would water be needed before a person believes the gospel?

    Swords do not cut ears off. People do. And this proves that, even if you should not cut certain ears off, you should definitely always carry a sword. Be careful not to imitate Jesus, because Jesus had an unique mission, and was not a Christian, with a duty to kill for justice and support those who use violent force for the common good.

    Jesus cannot be our example, even though Jesus is human because Jesus is God . To act like Jesus did in that one unique case would be for us a ‘theology of glory”, because since the cross things have changed for us, and now the theology of the cross demands that we also take our turn when killing is needed.

    Now we have the duty to serve both kingdoms (which is what soldiers who were both Roman and Christian did when they killed Jesus). If being an unjust steward of another man’s taxes is an inherently immoral thing to do, there is no way that Jesus would ever use that metaphor in a parable. The important thing to remember here is that the regulative principle of Scripture does not apply to the secular kingdom. As long as something is natural and common among our neighbors… I told you not to associate with immoral people. But this does not mean to leave creation, because having a job (like an office to kill) was already good before there was ever curse or redemption from curse.

    I Peter 2 when He was reviled,
    He did not revile in return;
    when He was suffering,
    He did not threaten
    but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.
    He Himself bore our sins
    in His body on the tree,

  52. markmcculley Says:

    Paul does not identify the Abrahamic Covenant with the New Covenant
    and then distinguish them both from the Mosaic Covenant. Paul
    distinguishes between two different promises made to two different
    seed of Abraham. One promise concerned Abraham’s numerous offspring
    (who were circumcised and received the law to regulate their reception
    and retention of the promised land), the other promise concerned
    Abraham’s single offspring who would bless all nations.

  53. markmcculley Says:

    brandon Adam –The Mosaic Covenant did not, in fact, add a national element to Abraham. The national element is Abrahamic and it is fulfilled in the Mosaic. … God saving a nation from physical slavery and bringing them into the literal land of Canaan is the fulfillment of a promise God made to Abraham So did God promise Abraham a nation and the land of Canaan or not? The inflexible “Abraham is not Moses” paradigm cannot and does not give a consistent yes or no answer.

    Lee Irons goes on to interpret the use in the case of Isaac, as a “nonliteral” extension. Isaac is not “literally” an “only child”. This is not really a stumbling block– anyone can call someone an only child, even if they aren’t, and by doing so they suggest a raft of implicatures. In the case of Isaac, he is the only child that counts, the child of the promise, or in Irons’ terms, the legitimate heir.

  54. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Brandon Adams–Some Klineans have tried to argue that “Kline’s point is that though it sounds like at times Abraham is given the covenant blessings through his works, that is not the really case, for Gen. 22 occurs many years after the promise of Gen. 15.” and that a works principle “was operative in the life of Abraham, but not ‘within the Abrahamic Covenant’ itself.” But that’s simply not what Kline said

    Kline argues from Galatians 3 that the nature of the Abrahamic Covenant itself is “of grace” and not “of works.” That cannot be reconciled with what Kline says elsewhere concerning the redemptive historical blessings granted to Abraham for his works in the Abrahamic Covenant. Kline does refer to the “double role” of Abraham “serving as the great example of justification by faith, and yet, with respect to the typological phase of the kingdom, viewed as the recipient of a divine grant based on his obedience.” (KP 239) At best it could be argued from here that the Abrahamic Covenant was mixed, partially of works, partially of grace. But that would not fit with the claim that Paul says the nature of the covenant is “of grace.”

    In my opinion, Kline has simply misread Galatians 3. Paul is not at
    all arguing from the nature of the Abrahamic Covenant. He is not
    making an argument from the concept of a “promise” in general. Rather, he is making an argument from a very specific promise made to Abraham: that one of his offspring would come to bless all nations

  55. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Brandon Adams: This Abrahamic promise certainly relates very directly to the New Covenant, yet it is in fact distinct from it. The promise that Abraham would be the father of the Messiah is not a promise that Abraham will be born again and will have his sins forgiven through faith alone – though the two promises are certainly related.

    Genesis 15:6 says that Abraham was justified through faith in the
    promise.” But it does not say that justification was a blessing
    of the Abrahamic Covenant. Abraham believed God when God said aMessiah would be born from him to bless all nations. But the promise “If you believe in the Messiah, your sins will be forgiven” was a New Covenant promise. Jeremiah 31 indicating that ‘the forgiveness of sins’ is unique to the New Covenant (“remember their sins no more”–verse:34)…

    Yhe Abrahamic Covenant sustained Israel’s existence until it was
    fulfilled. Once the land promise was realized under Solomon, the
    kingdom was split and the ten tribes were destroyed by the Mosaic
    curse. Judah was spared because one remaining Abrahamic promise had not yet been fulfilled:–the birth of the Messiah. Once this promise was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ, Judah was destroyed by the Mosaic curse (AD70).

    Samuel Mather—” God covenanted with Abraham for his seed: So God doth with Christ for all his elect. God’s promise to Abraham was to give a seed to him, and an inheritance to his seed, viz. the land of
    Canaan, So God did promise to Christ, that Christ should see his seed, Isai. 53. 10, 11.. Jesus Christ is the true head of the nw covenant, h

  56. Mark Mcculley Says:

    but if you don’t want to think, just say ‘the covenant of grace” and don’t get into any difference between covenants For example. like Vos —The old dispensation of the covenant of grace bore a legal character for israel as a nation and therefore, in its external form, once more kept the covenant of works in view, although the core of what God established with Israel was of course the continuation of the Abrahamic revelation of the covenant of grace
    Reformed Dogmattics, volume 2 .p36

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