Cursed by Abraham’s Covenant of Grace? Scott Clark Keeps on Begging the Question – The Covenant Not only the Elect but Some of the Non-Elect?

Reformed folks need to flatten all post-fall covenants down to one covenant. Even though they are reluctant to water teenagers and adults who they suspect do not believe the gospel, they want to keep holding onto their own baby baptisms by continuing to water infants and little children related to some adult joining their “church”, which “church” they flatten into one group (excluding those groups who won’t water babies) they call “the church”

Scott Clark — Four times the Lord expressed his covenant promise or the covenant of grace (they are synonyms)

mm—since “the covenant of grace” is something made up by Reformed sacramentalists, “one covenant of grace” turns out to be the same thing as the idea that God only made one promise to Abraham.
Scott Clark will concede some distintion between the Mosaic covenant and the Abraham covenant, but this is only in order to equate “the one covenant of grace” with “the covenant of Abraham”. And even when it comes to the Mosaic covenant, Scott Clark wants to keep his Confessional langauge about the Levitical sacrifices being one “administration” of “the covenant of grace”. It’s not clear if Scott Clark thinks this means Christ’s sacramental presence was available (on conditions) to those who used the animal sacrifices preacticed by Moses and Abraham.

Scott Clark — The NT appeals to Genesis chapters 12, 15, 17, and 22 as examples to explain to NT Christians the nature of the covenant of grace. Such use of Abraham only makes sense on the ASSUMPTION that Abraham and we are members of the same covenant

mm—-Assumption is the correct word. Scott Clark begins to beg the question by saying that no other view (than his, which is not the same even as other Reformed folks who talk about the Mosaic covenant in equal terms as administrations of “the covenant of grace”)

Scott Clark — Abraham was united by grace alone through faith alone, to Christ by the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit.

mm–Not one Bible text teaches that the Holy Spirit puts us or anybody in Christ. Not one Bible text teaches that the Holy Spirit puts Christ in us. But the Reformed Confession teach this. But the Bible teachss that election in Christ puts the elect in Christ. God’s imputation of Christ’s death to the elect puts them into Christ’s righteousness and thus into justification. Christ’s gift of the Holy Spirit to the elect means that Christ is indwelling the elec . But reformed folks prefer not to talk about election, and would rather talk about “the covenant”. “Election” practically to them means that “my physical children begin life in the covenant” and theefore we never have to talk about non-election. We can simply assume that everybody present is a child of Abraham and a child of the covenant. “You are here. You are us”

God promised Abraham lots of land
God did not promise you or us lots of land

God promised Abraham that one of his children would be Jesus

God did not promise you or us that one of your children will be Jesus

There is not going to be another Jesus

The God of Abraham is living
but like David, Abraham himself is not now living, not anywhere, not even in hades or paradise

Abraham is dead
Abrahm needs to be resurrected
Abraham needs Jesus to come back to earth so that the “firstfruits” will be raised also from the dead
Abraham believed in resurrection

Scott Clark continues to carciature those who disagree with him. Scott Clark continues to beg the question, by equating one gospel with one “the covenant” and one “the church”. Instead of seeing the animal sacrifices and types in the Abrahamic covenant as only pointing to Christ, Scott Clark keeps assuming those types are pointing to the nature of “church” and of “the covenant”. Since there is only one gospel, he argues, we can’t have a new covenant, therefore we can only have one “the covenant of grace”

I am not so sure that we should say that Adam or Melchizedek are Abraham’s children. Galatians does not only point to the covenant with Abraham. Galatians speaks of “before faith came” and “after faith came”.

Galatians 3:14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that WE receive the promised
Spirit through faith.

Not only the one child is Abraham’s child. Galatians 3: 22 the promise by faith in Jesus Christ is given to THOSE WHO BELIEVE. 23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. 24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we would be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 but children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then YOU ALSO are Abraham’s children

Saying that there is only “the one church” is like saying that there is only the one Israel—-what does it mean to say that?

Is the one Israel Christ himself, and has nothing to do with any distinction between those who know and believe the gospel and those who do not know and believe the gospel?

Is the one Israel a collective (not one person but one group)—all who believe the gospel are one?

Is the one Israel all the physical children of the specific genealogical line between Jacob and Christ, and therefore “one group” that includes both some of those who believe the gospel and some who don’t believe the gospel?

Ephesians 4: 4 There is one body and one Holy Spirit—just as you were
called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one
baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all
and in all. 7 Now grace was given to EACH one of US according to the
measure of Christ’s gift . 8 Because Psalm 68 says:
When He ascended on high,
He took prisoners into captivity;
He gave gifts to people.[

Scott Clark— Why Abraham and not Noah? after all, the covenant of grace was first announced to and through Noah (Genesis 6:18).

So was Noah a child of Abraham?

Scott Clark—The New Testament focuses on Abraham, however. in the history of redemption after Abraham, the Holy Spirit uses the promises given through and to him as the pattern (the paradigm) to explain God’s grace during the period of the temporary national covenant with Israel. Also, Paul appeals to Abraham because of the particular challenge he faced, namely helping Jewish and Gentile Christians to understand that they were both heirs of and participants in the same covenant of grace. Were Abraham merely a father of NT Christians or were the Abrahamic merely a covenant of grace and not the covenant of grace, then Paul’s entire case is changed considerably.

mm–In begging the question, Scott Clark uses the word “merely” quite a bit (at least he doesn’t use the trendy word “robust”) Scott Clark gives us false alternatives–“the covenant of grace” or “merely the father of believers”? Answer one, the only covenant of grace which is mediated by Christ’s death and which gives justification is the new covenant—Christ’s death was for those of all time elected to justification. Answer two, no Abraham was not merely the father of believerss, and nobody says that about Abraham. Not either or, but also. Abraham was also the father of Christ. Abraham was also the father of all physical Jews. Abraham was the father of the specific Jews who were in the bloodline leading to Christ (Isaac, not Ishmael). This does not mean that only the Jews in that genealogy were justified before God. This does not meaan that all the Jews in the genealogy were justified. Ishmael may have been justified. Isacc may not have been jusified.

Paul applies the typology of Isaac’s birth in Romans 9 to teach that justification before God is rooted in God’s sovereign election apart from works –“not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” Romans 9 does this by showing that Isaac’s physical birth was according to God’s sovereign election and that Jacob’s selection as the one through whom the Abrahamic Covenant would continue.

Romans 9:6 “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” Here Paul is not distinguishing between two groups within Israel, the justified and the conemned. od’s covenant promises to these two groups are not the same. Some of ethnic Israel gets to serve in the genealogy of Jesus Chrsit. This those whos sered this way are not necessarily ” saved”. And ethnic Jews not in the gegnealoy of not necessarily “not saved” There are different promises to differnt groups within the group. Not only is there a diffrence between being in the genealogy and not being in, but also ultimtely a DIFFERENT DIFFERENCE between being elect to justification or not being.

God did not make one lump and then leave the rest, God made two lumps

Romans 11:1 I ask, then, has God rejected His people? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

Philippians 3 If anyone else thinks they has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised as a child of Abraham the eighth day; of the nation of Israel.

Contrary to what many Jews commonly thought, ethnic Israel as a whole was not chosen for justification before God but for service. Not only the Mosaaic covenant but also the Abrahaamic covenant has promises to physical Israel These promises had to do only with the role of the nation in God’s historical plan of redemption. Their election to be children of Abraham was utilitarian, like creation or redemption from Egypt, not like redemption from the guilt of sin before God . Something in one of the promises to Abraham can be a “type or picture” of some other promise to Abraham. Those who believe the gospel are pormise lasting life. Those who get to escape Egypt are not all promised lasting life. The children of those who have lasting life are not promised lasting life. Many Jews themselves thought that any kind of election involved the promise of justification for individuals, but they were mistaken. Scott Clark is wrong to confuse the covenants, and wrong to confuse the promises. Scott Clark’s confusion is elierate because Scott Clark denies that those who won’t water babies are part of “the true church”.

Scott Clark– Rejection of the status of Christian children continues to perpetuatea principle of radical discontinuity between Abraham and the Christian, i.e. a radical principle of discontinuity in the history of redemption . This denial of the fundamental unity of THE COVENANT OF GRAACE as symbolized in the administration of the sign and seal of the covenant of grace to covenant childre, is serious enough to warrant saying that any congregation that will not practice infant initiation (baptism) into the administration of THE COVENANT OF GRACE is not a church. Sacerdotalism is where the thing signified (salvation) is completely identified with the sign (e.g., baptism or the Supper). The minister becomes a priest dispensing salvation. This approach almost always turns THE COVENANT OF GRACE into a covenant of works. The recipient is said to receive salvation provisionally from the use of the sacrament but that salvation must be retained by cooperation with grace (conditions).

Scott Clark is Goldilocks, perfectly balanced and patronizing to all on both sides, both theonomists and credobpaptists.

Scott Clark–The opposite error is to divorce salvation from the signs, so that the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments lose theirimport. When the Word and sacraments become marginal, what matters is the quality of one’s religious experience more than what the Reformed call “the due use of ordinary means.”

Scott Clark explains how God the Holy Spirit makes Christians by means of Arminianism but that it takes time to become “Reformed—“You said to yourself, “Okay. I am Reformed.” You are not alone. You have joined a tradition with roots as old as Scripture and as deep as the great Christian tradition This does not mean that we do not appreciate other traditions or learn from them. Because we have, as it were, a place to stand, we have the freedom to engage openly and honestly with other traditions.

mark–In anything I have ever read in print, Scott Clark has NEVER engaged honestly or even good-naturedly with Lutherans or anabaptists (who Scott Clark defines the people who killed magistrates in Munster)

Scott clark: When people leave modern evangelical Christianity for Reformed theology, piety, and practice they sometimes imagine that can simply add their new understanding of salvation to their earlier theology, piety, and practice

mark–Having never repented of baby baptism or of the false gospel of Arminianism, Scott Clark assumes that he and others were already Christians when they were Arminians. Scott Clark just wants you to move on gradually , notw from the Arminian false gospel

There are some who, when they find out that the bus is going the wrong direction, walk toward the other end of the bus. Scott Clark welcomes to the true church those who come from churches that were never true churches. Neither water nor repentance required.

Scott Clark– I cannot see how those congregations that deny baptism to the children of believers can be regarded as true churches, since they lack one of the marks. I am happy, however, to come out out of church into the common or out of the rooms and into the hallway to talk with folk from other traditions, e.g., Baptists, Pentecostals, and Dispensationaists There is one standard for the Western church prior to the Reformation and another standard after. Once the Word had been recovered, the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, there is no excuse to corrupt the administration of baptism by denying
it to the children of believers.

Scott Clark not only assumes that baptists are stupid, but assumes that if they ever get less stupid, then they will all agree with him.

Scott Clark–Baptists have a very difficult time even UNDERSTANDING the Reformed understanding of the distinction between the divine decree and the external administration of THE COVENANT OF GRACE

Despite being identified as “new covenant”, John Piper followss the “one covenant of grace” view of his mentor Daniel Fuller when it comes to exegeis in his book on Romans 9, The justification of God. Piper attempts to read justification before God content into all the different blessings described in Romans 9:4–5. Piper concludes that “each of the benefits listed in 9:4, 5 has saving, eschatological implications for Israel,” and then proceeds to try to explain why such benefits were not enjoyed by all Jews. In a smilar way, Piper has informed us that he believes all that Arminians believe, plus some more extra, without any thought of antithesis or contradiction. Piper teaches a general atonement for “you and us” but also wants to add that Christ’s death otains other blessings for the elect. No wonder Piper welcomes those with only baby water into his “membership”

His friend at Southern Baptist Seminary, Tom Schreiner agrees with Piper saying that “the word of God has not failed”—refers to God’s promises to justify his people Israel.

What act of election is intended in Rom9:11—13—an election which determines the destiny of individuals to obtain the lasting life of the age to come , or an election which MERELY assigns to individuals and nations the roles they are to play in history

Those who equate the covenant with Abraaham as THE COVENANT OF GRACE view all of the post-fall covenants (Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and New) as various “administrations” of the same covenant. Then they argue that all these covenants which they make one covenant) are all made with NOT ONLY THE ELECT BUT ALSO WITH SOME OF THE NON-ELECT

But even the Westminster Longer Catehcism 31 Answers: The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

The elect to be ethnic Jews? The elect to be in the genealogy of Christ? The elect to be justified before God?

Scott Clark would argue that he is nothing like the “mono-covenantalists” like Doug Wilson and other theonomists. In some situations, Scott Clark boasts in making a distinction between the Abrahamic and the Mosaic covenant, even though Scott Clark agrees whtat national and land promises were made to Abrahaa, Scott Clark also boasts in not only having THE COVENANT OF GRACCE, but also ‘the covenant of works” (once in force, or stll in force, it means he’s not “mono-covenantal) But Scott Clark is not as much diferent from Doug Wilson as he claims. Scott Clark confuses his ecclesiology (they are not a true church) with the gospel itself, which means that his false gospel is about grace helping people keep the conditions of assurance “staying in the covenant”, because Scott Clark has already agreed that THE COVENANT OF GRACE INCLUDES NOT ONLY THE ELECT BUT ALSO WITH SOME OF THE NON-ELECT

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.”

This is what I mean by “begging the question” . These guys think it’s “catholic” and large of them to “let God “reveal in the Bible that there is a decretal election. When Doug 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. But Doug Wilson “understands” the gospel as that which does not talk about decretal election. The “some of the non-elect are in the covenant” false gospel does not tell the good news about Christ having only died for the decretally elect, nor does that anti-gospel tell the good news about the decretally elect hearing and believing the true gospel.

The ultimate way we can tell people that the gospel is “outside of you” is to tell them that the gospel they MUST believe excludes even this believing as the condition of salvation. The only basis for justification for the elect is Christ’s death for the elect. No debated language about the objectivity of “covenant” or “sacraments” should be allowed to obscure this gospel truth. Unless you preach that Christ died only for the elect, no matter how
“confessional” you are, you will end up encouraging people to make faith into that little something that makes the difference between life and death!

When the Bible talks about God’s love, it talks about propitiation. I John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” If all we only stipulate that the appeasement of wrath will not work without our faith, then it’s not enough to add on that God sent His son to purchase our faith. The nature of the cross as a propitiation will not be proclaimed. Instead a James Boice (sermons on Psalm 22) will turn the gospel into law, and tell sinners that the atonement was for them but they “ruined” it for themselves.

Norman Shepherd — “The prophets and apostles viewed election from the perspective of the covenant of grace, whereas Reformed theologians OF A LATER DAY have tended to view the covenant of grace from the perspective of election”(p 60, call of Grace). The result of this, it is argued, is that the reformed preacher no longer says “Christ died for you” – but, when these words are construed, not from the point of view of election, but of the covenant, then “The Reformed evangelist can and must say on the basis of John 3:16, Christ died for you.”

mark: Does this mean that Shepherd was saying “for you” to the “one true church”, but not to those outside the one covenant and one church? Was Norman Shepherd making “the true church” the object of evangelism?

Mike Horton: To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? If faith is the only way into membership (693), then why all the warnings to members of the covenant community to exercise faith and persevere in faith to the end? God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they FAALL UNDER THE COVENAANT CURSE without Christ as their mediator. The word proclaimed and sealed in the sacraments is valid, regardless of our response, but we don’t enjoy the blessings apart from receiving Christ

MM—Either you are justified or you are not justified. If you are justified now, you don’t need to be justified. If you are not justified now, then you need to be justified. You either are already elect or not, but even if you are elect, if you don’t know the gospel yet, then you are not justified yet. And no peacher should be giving aassurance that you are justified. Not should any preacher be giving you assurance that you are now part of the “true church” or a member of THE COVENANT OF GRACE.

If this were a simple case of knowing (or not knowing) the antithesis between imperative and indicative, I think we could talk clearly about the difference between the gospel and the command for all sinners to believe the gospel. But when a proclaim-not explain “anti-rationalist agenda” is added to the law gospel distinction by means of the archetypal vs ectypal shibboleth, the ambiguity introduced includes the idea that God’s command to believe the gospel is also God’s desire that the non-elect (already in “the covenant”) believe the gospel. And then comes the “not yet the eschaton” and “our imperfect works” which
will supposedly figure into “more assuraance” and the “final aspect” of justification.

some final sarcasm—When the clergy rhetoric says “nothing to do with your beleiving” and that “the snow is for you”. they can always make qualifications. This is both true and not true. There are two senses of justification but only one justification. And then also—there are two kinds of righteousness, not only the death but also the law-keeping, butin a snese only one righteousness.

Some clever “ministers” will not say “it snowed for you” but they will say that “the snow is for you”. These “anti-Rationalists” oppose those who reduce the God of the Bible to “mental propositions” To really be rational about the need to “appropriate in the endd” the snow, we need to understand that our sovereign God is also free to reveal that God had nothing to do with non-election and even now wants the non-elect to become elect. At least some of the non-elect are already born into “the covenant”

This is why Horton and Shepherd explain that “the snow is promised to everyone in the covenant of grace” but also say that those who do not believe in the snow will receive the curses of the covenant of the covenant of grace. “Given the necessary chasm between God and the creature, all revelation is necessarily an accommodation.” Thus the anti-rationalists claim for themselves a “theology of the cross” and accuse others as those who glory in their own rationalism.

All I am saying is that the snow gets gray. If we were to say that “it snowed for you”, that would be too abstract and impersonal. But if we say that “the snow is for you”, that opens up space for “winsom wooing” and lets sinners know that they are responsible for their own history. Get to “the true church” and the means of grace on time.

Scott Clark brings different terms to the debate—archetypal and ectypal theology—but is simply resorting to the old distinction between God’s hidden and revealed will to dispel the charge that the well-meant offer posits two contradictory wills in God. But this distinction between God’s hidden and revealed wills does not help to explain or mitigate the sheer contradiction involved in teaching that God desires to save the non-elect.

This effort to relieve the tension of the contradiction in which the offer involves gets us nowhere. The will of God to save only some, not all, is not hidden but revealed. It is found in every page of the Scriptures. It is Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 22:14. God has chosen only some (“few”) to be justified in distinction from the others (“many”). The distinction leaves us right where we were before the distinction was invented: they are teaching that God has two, diametrically opposite, conflicting wills.

Those who believe the gospel know God as a God who only ever loves the elect and hates the non-elect not because they have peered behind revelation and seen God’s archetypal or ectypal knowledge directly, but because God has revealed this truth to us through the gospel found in the Bible It was not about “having a preacher” who told us —you are justified, now believe you are justified.

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9 Comments on “Cursed by Abraham’s Covenant of Grace? Scott Clark Keeps on Begging the Question – The Covenant Not only the Elect but Some of the Non-Elect?”

  1. Mark Mcculley Says:

    I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over
    and a rock to trip over,
    yet the one who believes on Him
    will not be put to shame.

    Romans 9:33 Is 8:14; 28:16

    I Corinthians 10: Our fathers were all under the cloud,all passed
    through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and
    in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank
    the same spiritual drink. For they drank from a spiritual rock that
    followed them, and that rock was Christ. 5 But God was not pleased
    with most of them, for they were struck down in the wilderness. 6 Now these things became examples for us, so that we will not desire evil things as they did

    To be consistent, those who teach “the covenant of grace” would agree

    1. if there is one covenant, then the sacraments can’t change

    2. this means thatt baptism and circumcision are merely different
    forms of the same thing Plato–the one chari, the many chairs

    3. this means that Passover and Lord’s Supper are the same in “essence” — animal sacrices and Lord’s Suppe except in form the same thing

    4. if sacramental presence in the new “administration”, then
    “sacramental presence” in eating from animal sacrifices

    But I don’t think most “the covenant” people would agree to back in the animal sacrifices ,there and then was “presence of Christ”

    5. most of them don’t let babies into communion (except for
    consistent federal vision types , Doug Wislon)

    6. and most of them won’t water wives and teenagers based on the faith of the father

    water in John 3

    bread in John 6

  2. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Luke3: 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance,
    and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” [Luke 3:8]

    Luke 19:39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!”….

    43 For the days will come on you when your enemies will build an
    embankment against you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 They will crush YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN
    to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in you,
    because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

    Calvin–we by water baptism testify that our children belong to the covenant.

    ames 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 Savour, 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.”

    Meredith Kline–Two distinct levels of fulfillment, one provisional and
    prototypal, are clearly distinguishable in the promise given to
    Abraham. Development of the twelve sons of Jacob into the twelve-tribe nation of Israel constituted a fulfillment of the promise of the
    kingdom people at one level…
    When Paul in Romans 9-11 defends God’s covenantal faithfulness in the face of Israel’s fall, he bases his case on the identification of the
    promised seed as the individual election, a remnant-fullness of Jews
    and Gentiles, spiritual children of Abraham, all like him justified by
    faith (Rom 9:7,8; cf. Rom 4:16; Gal 3:7)
    That the territory eventually occupied by Israel fully corresponded
    with the geographical bounds defined in the promise is explicitly
    recorded in Joshua 21:43-45 and 1 Kings 4:20,21 (cf. Num 34:2ff.; 1
    Chr 18:3; Ezek 47:13-20)… . With surprising abruptness the New
    Testament disregards the first level meaning and simply takes for
    granted that the second level, cosmic fulfillment is the true
    intention of the promise…
    The issue between covenantal and dispensational hermeneutics is not one of spiritualizing versus nonspiritualizing interpretations of the
    second level kingdom. For, contrary to a common allegation, the
    covenantal system as well as the dispensational allows for the
    geophysical dimension of that kingdom. The basic question at issue is rather how to construe the relation of the two levels of the promised kingdom of the Abrahamic Covenant to one another.

    Peter 1: 18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from THE FATHERS, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of
    a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 Christ was chosen before the
    creation of the world but was revealed at the end of the ages

    Fathers Abraham and David are NOT in heaven because they are still dead right now.

    God made more than one promise to Abraham.
    God promised Abraham that Abraham would have many children.
    God promised land to Abraham and his children

  3. Mark Mcculley Says:

    the Spring conference hosted by Covenant OPC (10750 Westpoint Blvd Fort Worth, TX 76108). The conference is: The Abraham Paradigm. You may register online before the conference for $20.00 or $25.00 at the door beginning Friday the 24th at 6:45PM. The first session (Abraham: The Father of All Believers) begins at 7:00PM Friday night.

    9:00-9:50 Session II: The Sign Of Entrance to The Covenant Community
    10:00-10:50 Session III: The Sign of Renewal of The Covenant of Grace
    11:00-11:50 Session IV: Q & A

    Abraham throwing himself on God’s promise to pay Abraham with great reward

    Genesis 12 Go out from your land, and your relatives,
    and your father’s house
    to the land that I will show you.
    2 I will make you into a great nation,
    I will bless you,
    I will MAKE YOUR NAME GREAT make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
    3 I will bless those who bless you,
    I will curse those who curee you
    and all the peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.

    Genesis 26: to Isaac, I I will confirm the oath that I swore to your
    father Abraham. 4 I will make your children as numerous as the stars
    of the sky, I will give your offspring all these lands, and all the
    nations of the earth will be blessed[a] by your offspring, 5 BECAUSE
    ABRAHAM OBEYED My voice and kept Torah My commands, My statutes

    Genesis 15: 1
    Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield and defender
    your wages will be very great

    Psalm 106 30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
    and the plague was stopped.
    31 His righteousness was imputed to him as righteousness

  4. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Genesis 26: to Isaac, I I will confirm the oath that I swore to your
    father Abraham. 4 I will make your children as numerous as the stars of the sky, I will give your offspring all these lands, and all the
    nations of the earth will be blessed[a] by your offspring, 5 BECAUE
    ABRAHAM OBEYED My voice and kept Torah My commands, My statutes

    Abraham not only obeyed circumcision, but other Mosaic law?

    Adam sinned not only against one command, but sinned against Torah?

    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 imputation: “Because you have done this thing and have not withheld your only son,[ 17 I will indeed bless youand make your
    children as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sand on the
    seashore. Your children will possess the gates of their enemies.

    James 2: 21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when Abraham offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active together with his works,

    Genesis 18: 18 Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through Abraham 19 For I have chosen Abraham in order that Abraham will command his children and his house after him to keep the way of the Lord BY DOING WHAT IS right AND just. This is how the Lord will fulfill to Abraham what He promised him.

    Joshua 24 Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem and
    summoned Israel’s elders, leaders, judges, and officers, and they
    presented themselves before God.2 Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your fathers ncluding Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. 3 But I took your father Abraham from that region

  5. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Was Abraham in the same covenant of grace as we or did he represent simply one covenant of grace among many? This raises questions about the nature of redemptive history and how to read Scripture. Are there multiple covenants of grace in Scripture or just one with multiple administrations? One way to try to answer these questions is to ask whether Abraham is just a father to us or whether he is ourfather. I The covenant of grace, the gospel covenant, was revealed gradually through types and shadows. Was there more than mere revelation happening under the types and shadows? In the second part we considered what Paul says in Romans 4 about the object and nature of Abraham’s faith. What we see is that Abraham was not merely the recipient of revelation about a future covenant of grace (i.e., the New Covenant) but that he was an actual participant in the covenant of grace, that the same covenant that was revealed under types and shadows in the Old was actually present in,, with, and under the types and shadows.

    “in, with, and under.” These prepositions, used this way, of
    course, remind us of the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. They argue that Christ’s body is literally in, with, and under the elements of bread and wine. My point in using those prepositions is not to teach a Lutheran view of the sacraments but simply to indicate that the covenant of grace was really, truly present in the types and
    shadows, with the types and shadows, and under the types and shadows. To say that Christ was bodily present, of course, would be to deny the biblical doctrine of the incarnation. Christ became incarnate in a particular time in history. It would also be to deny Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 10. Paul’s point there is to teach the substantial continuity between the sacraments God instituted among Israel and those of the New Covenant. Christ was not incarnate under the types and shadows so the continuity cannot depend upon Christ’s bodilypresence in, with, and under the elements in the Old (Mosaic) Covenant or in the New Covenant

  6. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Scott Clark starts with his conclusion and then begs the question from there on—” Who is Paul’s pre-eminent example of the covenant of grace? Abraham. At the beginning of the chapter, where he indicts the Galatians for being bewitched by the Judaizers, he reminds them that he did not preach salvation through works (not even in some ostensible “second stage” of justification or salvation) but by faith in Jesus Christ who
    was “publicly portrayed as crucified” (Gal 3:1; ESV). The Holy Spirit
    was not poured out because Christians have met the terms of a covenant of works but by out of the free favor of God purchased for us by
    Christ and given freely to us and received through faith (v. 2–5).
    Whom did Paul choose to illustrate Christian faith, by which the Holy
    Spirit is received? Abraham. This tells us a great deal about how Paul understands redemptive history.

    Were Abraham in a covenant of grace and not in the covenant of grace or were Abraham a father but not ourfather, Paul’s argument collapses.
    The underlying assumption is that Abraham, received the same Holy
    Spirit as we, that he was in the same covenant of grace as we. That is why is our father in the Christian faith. That is why Paul quotes
    Genesis 15:6 in reference to Abraham. He is the epitome of the
    Christian who received the Spirit by faith, who was justified by faith
    and not by the works of the law (

    From there Paul connects us New Covenant believers directly to
    Abraham. We who are of faith, in contrast to the Judaizers who are
    works, are “sons of Abraham” (v. 7) This is the very same argument
    that our Lord pursued against the Jews in John 8. They boasted that
    they were Abraham’s children but Jesus said that they were not
    Abraham’s children because they did not do as Abraham did: believe in Jesus the Messiah. ‘” The promise that God made to
    Abraham in Genesis 22:18 Paul calls gospel. Therefore we cannot reduce that promise to a merely earthly land promise as many have tried to do. That is directly contrary to Paul’s teaching. It is contrary to
    God’s Word. It turns the gospel into law. It turns the spiritual into
    the earthly. It turns Scripture on its head.

    According to Paul, we are participating in the same covenant of grace. We have the same faith, the same Holy Spirit as Abraham. We have same free salvation, the same Savior (v. 9). Abraham was redeemed from the curse of the law by Jesus, who became a curse for us (v. 13). Paul
    says that in v., 14: “so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham
    might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised
    Spirit through faith.” From these verses alone we know that Abraham
    was not a mere witness to a future covenant of grace (to arrive only
    in the New Covenant) but an actual participant in the administration
    of the covenant of grace in, with, and under the types and shadows.

    Indeed, when Paul wants to illustrate the difference between the
    covenants of works and grace he appeals to the Abrahamic covenant as
    the paradigmatic example of the covenant of grace over against the
    Old, Mosaic covenant, which was an administration of the covenant of
    grace to be sure but which had a legal character to it (the rabbis
    counted 613 ceremonial and civil laws). Further. Paul says, the
    Abrahamic covenant pre-dated the Mosaic by 430 years (Gal

    Even in human covenants (e.g., your mortgage) no one can add to it
    once it has been ratified. The covenant of grace was ratified in
    Genesis 15, when Yahweh (God the Son in his preincarnate state) went between the pieces and swore an oath against himself, which penalty he suffered in his incarnate state on the cross, for us. Some, who want
    to revise Reformed covenant theology, have said that the covenant of grace was only ratified at the cross. That is not what Paul says. His argument here depends on the reality of a ratification before the
    incarnation. The Mosaic was only temporary and could not change the terms of the covenant of grace because the covenant God made with Abraham was ratified and immutable. In other words, contra the
    Judaizers, Moses is the not the central figure in the history of the
    OT. Abraham is and he represents the covenant of grace. The Judaizers tried to leverage the covenant of grace with Moses but Paul will not let them. Moses came later. Moses was an addendum. Moses was temporary. Moses’ covenant, the national covenant. expired. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 3:7, 11 and the writer to the Hebrews says this explicitly. The Old, Mosaic covenant was inferior (Heb 7:7). When the priesthood changed, the law changed (Heb 7:11–14).

    This also means that Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants are distinct. They are both administrations of the one covenant of grace but they are not identical. Moses is not Abraham. The same seed promised to and through Abraham, in whom he put his trust finally came (v.16). That seed was Christ. The inheritance of free salvation in Christ comes not by our law-keeping (contra the Judaizers) but by grace alone,

    The Mosaic covenant was given to teach the Israelites the greatness of their sin and misery (3:19). It was never given as a parallel track to
    salvation. The true Mediator of the covenant of grace was never Moses. It was always the Son of God, who became incarnate for us and for our salvation. Abraham looked to him. Moses looked to him. They were Christians

  7. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Romans 4:1 Paul turns his attention to Abraham, whom he
    characterizes as “our forefather (προπάτορα) “according to the flesh.”
    As some people (typically influenced by some form of
    Dispensationalism) think of Abraham, this is where they seem to stop
    reading. This is the only connection they seem to think that one might
    have to Abraham, a biological connection. I remember thinking this way
    about Abraham early in my Christian life. I knew little about the
    Bible or the faith but within a couple of years I had somehow absorbed
    the idea that Abraham was the father of the Jews but that we
    Christians had little to do with him (except perhaps as an example of
    faith and faithfulness). I was quite shocked when a friend remarked to
    me that he was beginning to think that we NT Christians have a
    spiritual relationship to Abraham. My friend was entirely right and I
    was, of course, was wrong. There is no way to read Romans 4 and come
    away thinking that Abraham is merely an example of faith and
    faithfulness. Remember, our Lord himself said, “Abraham saw my day and
    rejoiced” (John 8:56). According to our Lord, Abraham was a believer
    in Jesus. This truth is the lynchpin in his argument with the Jews
    about who are the true heirs of Abraham.

    As we work through Romans 4 we see, in vv. 11–12, that, according to Paul, Abraham is not just biological “forefather” of Jews. He is the
    spiritual father of both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.
    Abraham believed in Jesus before he was circumcised, which made him the first Gentile Christian. He believed in Jesus after he was
    circumcised, making him the first Jewish Christian. Against the
    Judizers, Paul was careful to observe that circumcision was a “sign”
    (σημεῖον) i.e., a pointer to a greater reality. It was not the reality
    itself. Circumcision never created the reality (new life) that it
    signified. He also calls it a “seal” (σφραγῖδα) of righteousness. It
    pointed to the righteousness that he had sola gratia, sola fide, but
    it did not create it. It sealed, i.e., it declared God’s promises to
    believers to be true and reliable, but it did not create the reality
    that it sealed. Christ’s righteousness, Paul says, was “imputed” to

    Twice, in vv. 11 and 12, Paul calls Abraham our “father.” He is the
    “father” (πατέρα) of Gentile Christians, i.e., those who believe in
    Jesus and who have not been circumcised, and he is the “father” of
    those who have been circumcised and who believe in Jesus. Paul did not
    call him a father, as though he were but one among many, but “the
    father” of believers. Even to suggesting such a marginalization of
    Abraham, as one among many, militates against Paul’s whole case here.

  8. Mark Mcculley Says:

    a “gospel issue”?

    Scott Clark’s “this will not do” –Some one posted, “You are not Abraham.” That is simply contrary to the Word of God in Romans 4. Paul’s great point is that you, New Testament Christian, are Abraham. If you are a Jewish
    Christian, you are Abraham who believed after he was circumcised. If you are a Gentile Christian, you are Abraham who believed before he was circumcised. …..The gracious promise God made to Abraham and the covenant of grace that God made with Abraham in Genesis 12, 15, 17, and 22, in, with, and under types and shadows of land, sands on the sea-shore, stars in the sky, and even circumcision, have all come true. Scripture knows nothing about Abraham being just acovenant of grace—as if the
    Abrahamic covenant was merely a witness to the New Covenant—but it is quite clear that the covenant God made with Abraham was an administration of the one covenant of grace.

  9. Mark Mcculley Says:

    If therre are no more ceremonies left from the Mosaic law, then there is no more Mosaic covenant

    The familiar moral/ceremonial distinction was often used by Roman
    Catholics when the topic was justification by imputation vs
    justification by our law-keeping. We canniot allow people to say that
    faith is some kind of work , or to say that some kind of our works
    is the “righteousness of faith” . The Mosaaic ceremonies pictured the
    way out from the curse, because they prefigure Christ and His death

    Romans 3:31 31 Do we then overthrow the law by faith? By no means! On
    the contrary, we uphold the law. Romans 3:31 is often used to support “the third use of the Mosaic law” as the standard of conduct for
    justified Christians. But in context, Romans 3:21-31 is the clearest
    foundation possible for the doctrine of a definite “limited in extent”
    atonement, because the apostle teaches that Christ’s death is a
    law-work, a satisfaction of law for the sins of the elect.

    Propitiation means that the law must be faced. Paul’s gospel does not substitute one kind of righteousness for another kind of
    righteousness. The gospel is not about an “end-run” around the law.
    The righteousness of the gospel comes by Christ taking the law
    head-on, satisfying its curse by His death

    Romans 3 has been all about showing that God’s law cannot be set aside without rejecting God and His righteousness. Justification cannot be a matter of sweeping sins under the rug of a divine forgetfulness.
    Gospel righteousness is satisfaction of God’s law by Christ’s death

    Romans 3:31 is not about the continuation of the Mosaic code. Romans 3:31 is about the “establishment” of the curse of divine law by the cross of Christ.

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