Dabney on the broken Covenant of Works

Status
Not open for further replies.

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Dabney discusses in his Systematics in what sense the CoW has been abrogated since Adam's Fall:

The obvious statement is this: the transgression has indeed terminated the sinner's right to the sanction of reward: but it has not terminated his obligation to obey, nor to the penal sanction.

This last remark shows us, in what sense the covenant of works was abriogated when Adam fell - and this is obviously the sense of Paul. The proposal of life by the law is at an end for the fallen; they have forever disabled themselves for acquiring, under the law, the sanction of reward by their own works. Hence, God in His mercy, withdraws that covenant so far as it is a dispensation for that result; and He substitutes for all who are in Christ, the covenant of grace. Compare Gal. v:3; iii:10 ; Matt. v: 18; Rom vi:14,15. (page 637)

Dabney clarifies, in my mind at least, the senses in which sinners are still subject to the CoW and therefore also indicates in what senses the CoW could have been, or was, "Republished" at Sinai.

(a)The moral law was republished - summarised in the Ten Commandments.

(b) The curse of the law or penal sanction was republished, in various typological arrangements, including aspects of the criminal and penal code, and the threat of the Israelites being cast out of the Land.

(c) But the CoW as a means of staying in and prospering in the Land was not republished but remained hypothetical. The only means of staying in and prospering in the Land was by faith through grace. Staying in and prospering in the land was typological of the gracious rewards which the Lord promises to His people for imperfect but real good works.

For Christ the CoW was not hypothetical.

I'll point out what Dabney explicitly says about Republicationism on another thread.
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
The requirement of the Covenant of Works is personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience to the Moral Law of God, and other positive laws. So, Richard, I agree that Israel through obedience could never have merited staying in the land. The concern I have with some republicationist theories is the penchant for requiring obedience of a relative kind, when the Covenant of Works requires perfection.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Eric
Very helpful, thanks

Well you can thank Dr Dabney, a truly great American.

Todd
The concern I have with some republicationist theories is the penchant for requiring obedience of a relative kind, when the Covenant of Works requires perfection.

The Republicationists are positing a post-Fall, real not hypothetical, republication of the CoW, which leads to confusion and also logical anomalies. It's in the CoG not the CoW that the Lord graciously accepts and rewards sincere but imperfect good works for Christ's sake.

Post-Fall the CoW is completely hypothetical as a way of salvation for sinners, but not for Christ in representing His people.

Ben
Could we have the link to the other thread?
Dabney deals with Republicationism specifically on pp 452-463 of his Systematic Theology which is online somewhere.

He's against Republicationism, although maybe someone could help explain what he means here:-

The French divines, Camero and Amgraut [sic, should be Cameron and Amyraut], proposed an ingenious modification of the legal theory of Moses' covenant: That in it a certain kind of life was proposed (as in the Covenant of Works) as a reward for exact obedience: But that the life was temporal, in a prosperous Canaan, and the obedience was ritual. This is true, so far as a visible church-standing turned on a ritual obedience. But to the Hebrew, that temporal life in happy Canaan was a type of heaven; which was not promised to an exact moral obedience, but to faith. Were this theory modified, so as to represent this dependence of the Hebrew's church standing on his ritual obedience, as a mere type and emblem of the law's spiritual work as a "schoolmaster to lead us to Christ," it might stand.(p 453)
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
From Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 268,

the chapter heading,

The Covenant of Redemption

"2. The Character This Covenant Assumed For Christ. Though the covenant of redemption is the eternal basis of the covenant of grace, and, as far as sinners are concerned, also its eternal prototype, it was for Christ a covenant of works rather than a covenant of grace. For Him the law of the original covenant applied, namely, that eternal life could only be obtained by meeting the demands of the law. As the last Adam Christ obtains eternal life for sinners in reward for faithful obedienece, and not at all as an unmerited gift of grace. And what He has done as the Representative and Surety of all His people, they are no more in duty bound to do. The work has been done, the reward is merited, and believers are made partakers of the fruits of Christ's accomplished work through grace.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Christ had to kept the law as a CoW for us, but the Israelites were never encouraged to keep the law as a CoW, even to remain and prosper in the Land. The Lord wanted them to produce good works through faith in the promised Saviour, not of their own accord.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.(Rom 10:10)

Salvation not only includes being made right with God, but also the production of good works (sanctification). This was true under the Mosaic economy, just as much as under the Christian economy.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
The requirement of the Covenant of Works is personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience to the Moral Law of God, and other positive laws. So, Richard, I agree that Israel through obedience could never have merited staying in the land. The concern I have with some republicationist theories is the penchant for requiring obedience of a relative kind, when the Covenant of Works requires perfection.

Michael Horton argues in his book, God of Promise, that "...the purpose of the Jewish theocracy (i.e. the old covenant) was to point forward through types to the coming Messiah. But how could God maintain a typological kingdom that kept the focus of future anticipation of Christ if that kingdom's existence depended at every moment on obedience?"

As Kline put it, the nation's part was an "appropriate measure of national fidelity" ....enough covenantal obedience was necessary to keep the typology legible serving its purpose of directing attention to the true and lasting kingdom of God that it prefigured.

In this way, the covenant remains a truely graceful covenant while functioning in part as a conditional, bilateral suzerainty treaty, a covenant of works.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Christ had to kept the law as a CoW for us, but the Israelites were never encouraged to keep the law as a CoW, even to remain and prosper in the Land. The Lord wanted them to produce good works through faith in the promised Saviour, not of their own accord....Salvation not only includes being made right with God, but also the production of good works (sanctification). This was true under the Mosaic economy, just as much as under the Christian economy.

I largely agree. But we have to be careful in terms. The republicationist is arguing that the Mosaic Covenant was functioning on more than one level. There was an individual and household level, but also a temporary national and political level.

Would the eternal aspect of the covenant of grace really pertain to saving Israel's national attributes? to saving Israel's temporary religio/politicalness? For what? It's typological. Or would there be a twofold aspect to the covenant corresponding to Israel's eternal destiny and her earthly destiny?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Was Israel just a typological Kingdom? I am not so sure that is true. They were as much a part of the true Church as we are. Individual obedience and obedience community wise also is the same. Remember we are grafted into her. She wasn't removed and a totally new thing done. If a person or the community were overtly sinful there were consequences. The same is true of the New Covenant. And it is by grace that this is true. I am growing ever more convinced that Kline and Horton are more dispensational in their outlook then some want to admit. The Mosaic and New Covenant are the same in substance. The Church is also considered to be a Nation and God deals with area Churches the same way he dealt with Israel or the threatenings in Revelation 2 wouldn't have been proclaimed.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Was Israel just a typological Kingdom? I am not so sure that is true. They were as much a part of the true Church as we are.

Yes, absolutely. But Israel is the church under a pedagogue. "We" were being trained in righteousness. "We" were alloted a little piece of real estate in Canaan, as sons of Abraham. But Abraham shall inherit the earth. The church is growing in stages. The law had to do its job.

Individual obedience and obedience community-wise also is the same.
OK. But was it exactly the same? I don't think so.


Remember we are grafted into her. She wasn't removed and a totally new thing done. If a person or the community were overtly sinful there were consequences. The same is true of the New Covenant. And it is by grace that this is true.
Absolutely true.


I am growing ever more convinced that Kline and Horton are more dispensational in their outlook then some want to admit. The Mosaic and New Covenant are the same in substance.

They have the same substance but different forms. They say one is bilateral and one is grant. Do you see that difference?


The Church is also considered to be a Nation and God deals with area Churches the same way he dealt with Israel or the threatenings in Revelation 2 wouldn't have been proclaimed.

We are a nation like no other. Our nationness defies any earthly explanation. Israel was defined by earthly things: land, statutes, armies etc. (By the way, Kline saw connection between the pillar of fire in Exodus and Christ standing among the lampstands.) Christ has come in Spirit and Truth. That is, no more in types and shadows.

We take the Supper now, but when He comes we will cease. The Supper is not meant to be saved eternally. It has a particular purpose in the earth. So it is I think with Israel's nationhood. The people are redeemed, not the national apparatus. The civic apparatus and obedience thereby was purposed to serve as a probation with rewards and punishments. This narrowly defined is not grace. This is works. This is toward national status, not individual status.

Frankly, we see the same apostasy today in the church as we saw in Israel. I'm looking at Revelation in a whole new way. The outward visible church is the whore of Babylon and she is in big trouble. People outside the apostate church are just crumbs getting scooped up in the main action of God vindicating His holy name on those who vainly use it. So yes, the new covenant contains curses as well as blessings. But it is a covenant of grant.
 

Loopie

Puritan Board Freshman
To PuritanCovenanter:

I would say that in one sense Israel was a typological kingdom. Of course I would also say that the true church was contained within Israel. If by 'true church' we mean God's Elect, the spiritual children of Abraham, then it would be hard to say that ALL of Israel was the 'true church'. The true church existed within national Israel, and this is the church that we as Gentiles are grafted into. We were not grafted into physical/national Israel, but spiritual Israel (those physical descendants of Abraham that were of the Elect).

When it comes to saying that the Mosaic and New Covenants are the same in substance, I cannot agree or disagree without some further clarity as to what we mean by 'substance'. It really does depend on the definition of the term (which can vary slightly from one theologian to another). What I would say though is that the New Covenant is a better covenant, with a better mediator. It is also a perfect and an inviolable covenant:

Jeremiah 31:31-34:

"'Behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,' declares the Lord.
'But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the Lord, 'I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'
'They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' declares the Lord, 'for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.'"
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
(c) But the CoW as a means of staying in and prospering in the Land was not republished but remained hypothetical. The only means of staying in and prospering in the Land was by faith through grace.

Richard,
Could you elaborate on how the CoW remainded hypothetical? Do you mean it was an abstract concept, law generally considered?

Staying in and prospering in the land was typological of the gracious rewards which the Lord promises to His people for imperfect but real good works.

Sure, why not. I love the typologies! I believe covenant obedience undertaken by Israel is a type of Christ's active and passive obedience. Christ is the true Israel.

For Christ the CoW was not hypothetical.

How so?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Was Israel just a typological Kingdom? I am not so sure that is true. They were as much a part of the true Church as we are.

Yes, absolutely. But Israel is the church under a pedagogue. "We" were being trained in righteousness. "We" were alloted a little piece of real estate in Canaan, as sons of Abraham. But Abraham shall inherit the earth. The church is growing in stages. The law had to do its job.
I don't believe that it is just a typological Kingdom. It is both as a shadow and something that consists of the true Kingdom. It is both.
Individual obedience and obedience community-wise also is the same.
OK. But was it exactly the same? I don't think so.

I do believe it is the same nature wise.

Remember we are grafted into her. She wasn't removed and a totally new thing done. If a person or the community were overtly sinful there were consequences. The same is true of the New Covenant. And it is by grace that this is true.
Absolutely true.

I am growing ever more convinced that Kline and Horton are more dispensational in their outlook then some want to admit. The Mosaic and New Covenant are the same in substance.

They have the same substance but different forms. They say one is bilateral and one is grant. Do you see that difference?
As the confession notes it is the same covenant of grace being administered differently.

WCF Chapter VII Section V.—This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation, and is called the Old Testament.

I will look at your last of your comment and respond a bit later.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
To PuritanCovenanter:

I would say that in one sense Israel was a typological kingdom. Of course I would also say that the true church was contained within Israel. If by 'true church' we mean God's Elect, the spiritual children of Abraham, then it would be hard to say that ALL of Israel was the 'true church'. The true church existed within national Israel, and this is the church that we as Gentiles are grafted into. We were not grafted into physical/national Israel, but spiritual Israel (those physical descendants of Abraham that were of the Elect).

When it comes to saying that the Mosaic and New Covenants are the same in substance, I cannot agree or disagree without some further clarity as to what we mean by 'substance'. It really does depend on the definition of the term (which can vary slightly from one theologian to another). What I would say though is that the New Covenant is a better covenant, with a better mediator. It is also a perfect and an inviolable covenant:

Jeremiah 31:31-34:

"'Behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,' declares the Lord.
'But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,' declares the Lord, 'I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'
'They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' declares the Lord, 'for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.'"

I agree with most of what you are saying here Eric. I would also encourage you to look at a few other things. Jeremiah 31 has been discussed a lot here and one of my problems with how people view it is that they don't read it in the full context of Jeremiah. For example a lot of guys just jump on this passage about teaching. If you want to understand the passage one also needs to read it with its exposition in Jeremiah 32 and in light of what aspect teaching has to do with the different administrations of the Covenants. I think Reverend Winzer does a bang up job discussing it and I made a blog entry about it. If you want to know what is being said I recommend you check this blog entry out.
http://www.puritanboard.com/blogs/puritancovenanter/what-new-new-covenant-719/
Let's look at what is said to be new. Is forgiveness of sin a new concept? No. But the text says "I will remember their sins no more." What is meant? Hebrews 8-10 tells us that it refers to sacrifice for sin. God will not require a yearly remembrance of sin by means of an annual sacrifice. So clearly the substance of the covenant has not changed. Forgiveness of sin was as much a reality of the old covenant as it is for the new. But the administration of the covenant has changed. Now we do not require a yearly sacrifice.

Let's look at another aspect of the description -- teaching. What is the point of reference? Is it all teaching? That cannot be the case, because the NT specifically speaks of teachers as one of the ascension gifts Christ has poured out upon His church. So when the text says that a man will no longer teach his neighbour, the point of reference cannot be to teaching per se, but must refer to a specific aspect of teaching, namely, the mediatorial function of the priesthood. Men could not come directly into the presence of God under the old covenant, but were dependent upon the ministry of priests to offer sacrifices and prayers on their behalf, and to teach them the significance of the sacrifices. As Hebrews 10 explains, all may now come boldly into the Holiest of all by means of the one sacrifice of our great High Priest, without the use of priestly intermediaries. All believers are priests unto God. So we note that coming into the presence of God was as much a reality for old covenant believers as for new covenant believers. The substance has not changed. What has changed is the administration of the covenant.
How can one separate the objective redemptive-historical priesthood from the people to whom the Priest is ministering?

You were making the separation by rejecting the objectivity of Hebrews 8-10 with reference to the change of priesthood. I was showing the objective context. If you view the people within this context you will see that the application of the "new covenant" can't possibly be in the direction of an inward work ensuring a regenerate covenant membership. The parallel is between the two priesthoods and their effect on the people, not between the two kinds of people. In the former you have priests who could not once and for all sacrifice for the remission of sins. In the latter Christ has once and for all sacrificed for the remission of sins. The people, in both instances, are sinners. It is because they are sinners that they need a priest to sacrifice for them. If one makes the contrast to consist in the subjective state of the people one is effectively saying that the people of the new covenant don't need ANY priest because they perfectly keep the law of God written in their hearts. This would deny the gospel altogether. The very fact that the writer exhorts them to hold fast their confession of Jesus as their great high priest indicates that they are still sinners who depend upon His atoning sacrifice. The law of God is not so written in their hearts that they no longer have sin which requires atonement.

The group that is receiving the ministry of Christ is by no means a non-issue when considering these matters. What indication is there in this epistle that those who receive the ministry of this High Priest can become finally rejected and lost? Are the warning passages really for that purpose of describing what it will be like to fall out of the New Covenant?

They are Hebrews being tempted to return to the ordinances of the Old Testament. The warnings are fitted to show them the fact that there is no divine refuge in Old Testament ordinances now that Jesus has come. The warning which ensues the teaching of the new covenant frames the threatening in such a way as to include the covenantal nature of God's curse. 10:29, "who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing." Again, it only makes sense if the objective nature of the covenant is understood. If you insist on making Hebrews 8-10 something subjective which only applies to the elect you would be bound to maintain that the elect could profane the blood of the covenant, which denies one of the fundamental points of Calvinism. Taking it objectively, as a point of administration, no such problem is encountered.

I don't think that the change in objective priesthood needs to dominate the discussion. Look at what the writer of Hebrews says RIGHT before he cites Jeremiah. He says, "For he finds fault with THEM when he says:" ... and he goes on to quote the New Covenant.

Please look at what the writer has said from the beginning of chapter 8 leading up to the verse you have quoted. The section is entirely taken up with the priesthood. Go through the various contrasts in chapter 9. What is the point of concern? The ordinances as they relate to the priesthood. The objective work of Christ in His once offering up of Himself as a sacrifice is made the contrast. Look, again, at what is said before and after the quotation in chapter 10: "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." The issue pertains to the priesthood which makes atonement for sin. According to Hebrews, "I will remember their sin no more" means there is no continual sacrifices made for sins. Then look at the warning which closes this section of the Epistle: "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." The point is, There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins under the old covenant administration. From beginning to end the only use that is made of the passage from Jeremiah is the objective, redemptive-historical significance that it has with respect to the change of priesthood.

I am sorry that you feel no need to exhort your brethren, Dennis. That sounds hyper-Calvinist to me. God uses means to work in His people's lives. While we are in chapter 10 of Hebrews perhaps you could take some time to meditate on the chain of exhortations in verses 19-25. It is obvious that the writer did not regard the passage from Jeremiah as if it did away with the need of teaching.
 
Last edited:

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
The civic apparatus and obedience thereby was purposed to serve as a probation with rewards and punishments. This narrowly defined is not grace. This is works. This is toward national status, not individual status.

Where do you conclude that this was a probation with rewards and punishment? Is this not true for us who are in the New Covenant as per our standing as a Church under the Kingship of Christ. As it says in (Gal 6:7) "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." While it may have shadow and fulfillment the same substance is in both Covenants. I think I have noted in this in many places. There are references to Church discipline individually and nationally in both Covenants. I really do see this in the New Covenant by Paul's warnings and Christ's proclamations in Revelation chapter 2.

Frankly, we see the same apostasy today in the church as we saw in Israel. I'm looking at Revelation in a whole new way. The outward visible church is the whore of Babylon and she is in big trouble. People outside the apostate church are just crumbs getting scooped up in the main action of God vindicating His holy name on those who vainly use it. So yes, the new covenant contains curses as well as blessings. But it is a covenant of grant.
I don't understand your 'covenant of grant' comment. And I am a bit confused by your conclusion that the Church is the Whore of Babylon. The gates of Hell shall not prevail Jesus said. And it is purely filled with grace with discipline. Discipline is gracious.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Individual obedience and obedience community-wise also is the same.
OK. But was it exactly the same? I don't think so.

I do believe it is the same nature wise.


Well, obedience is obedience. But let's say that 999,998 people out of a million fulfilled the law perfectly in Israel. But two did not. Would it be constructive to completely halt everything because of two people? Achan messed things up in Ai in the book of Joshua, and it was serious, but it didn't halt the progress of redemptive history. This, I think, illustrates the idea of imperfect obedience on the part of the nation being adequate. Or at least there being provision in the covenant for imperfect obedience (sacrifice?)


As the confession notes it is the same covenant of grace being administered differently.

Agreed. Different form, same substance.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Well, obedience is obedience. But let's say that 999,998 people out of a million fulfilled the law perfectly in Israel. But two did not. Would it be constructive to completely halt everything because of two people? Achan messed things up in Ai in the book of Joshua, and it was serious, but it didn't halt the progress of redemptive history. This, I think, illustrates the idea of imperfect obedience on the part of the nation being adequate. Or at least there being provision in the covenant for imperfect obedience (sacrifice?)

I guess I am not understanding your hypothetical here and how it matters. For one thing your hypothetical is an impossibility. Even in the case with Achen it didn't stop any progress in the history of redemption. In fact from the perspective of sanctification it sure put an emphasis on it.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
Where do you conclude that this was a probation with rewards and punishment?

One example is the 5th commandment. Added to the requirement to honor parents is the caveat that one may live long in the land. The caveat is particular to the OT, and implies that ones life will be shortened in the land if the commandment is broken. No such caveat is found in the NT. Same substance (honor parents), different form (landholding is absent)


There are references to Church discipline individually and nationally in both Covenants. I really do see this in the New Covenant by Paul's warnings and Christ's proclamations in Revelation chapter 2.

Sure. But the entire church cannot be exiled in the same fashion as Israel. How do you see national discipline in the NT?


I don't understand your 'covenant of grant' comment. And I am a bit confused by your conclusion that the Church is the Whore of Babylon. The gates of Hell shall not prevail Jesus said. And it is purely filled with grace with discipline. Discipline is gracious.

'Grant' meaning 'gift'. An inheritance is a grant. Testament is a grant for no other reason that Someone died (and rose again).

A bilateral treaty is different. In it the land was not granted to Israel unconditionally. It could not be polluted with blood for example. Breaking the 'lease' caused them to be exiled.

Largely the christian church today is only nominally christian. 'They honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.' This 'church' is given over to the world, and is preaching another gospel. This is the harlot. But there is a remnant that He will preserve. The true churches are despised by the false churches. It's pretty much the same today as in the last days of Israel. Judgment begins in the house of the Lord. Those who take His name should think twice.

---------- Post added at 06:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:22 PM ----------

I guess I am not understanding your hypothetical here and how it matters. For one thing your hypothetical is an impossibility. Even in the case with Achen it didn't stop any progress in the history of redemption. In fact from the perspective of sanctification it sure put an emphasis on it.

I'm guessing the requirement of perfect obedience in a CoW is the main argument against the Mosaic Covenant being one. My hypothetical was meant to point out that perfect adherence to anything by a very large group of people would be impossible. But only two out of a million is darn good. But not good enough according to republication naysayers.)

Is a probationary test meaningless if approximate obedience is accomplished? No, I think not. The point was certainly made that man cannot keep the law, and even more so when only approximate adherence was acceptable.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter
Where do you conclude that this was a probation with rewards and punishment?
One example is the 5th commandment. Added to the requirement to honor parents is the caveat that one may live long in the land. The caveat is particular to the OT, and implies that ones life will be shortened in the land if the commandment is broken. No such caveat is found in the NT. Same substance (honor parents), different form (landholding is absent)

I believe St. Paul actually gives the meaning of the text you are referencing.

(Eph 6:1) Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

(Eph 6:2) Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)


(Eph 6:3) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

It had to do with dwelling in the Covenant Community. The Land like the Church are similar. The substance is the same. I don't see anything as a probation status here.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
There are references to Church discipline individually and nationally in both Covenants. I really do see this in the New Covenant by Paul's warnings and Christ's proclamations in Revelation chapter 2.
Sure. But the entire church cannot be exiled in the same fashion as Israel. How do you see national discipline in the NT?

The Nation of Isreal as a Church had a split and God dealt with them individually. So it is with the different geographical churches in Revelation 2. This can also be experienced from congregation to congregation in my estimation.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter
I guess I am not understanding your hypothetical here and how it matters. For one thing your hypothetical is an impossibility. Even in the case with Achen it didn't stop any progress in the history of redemption. In fact from the perspective of sanctification it sure put an emphasis on it.
I'm guessing the requirement of perfect obedience in a CoW is the main argument against the Mosaic Covenant being one. My hypothetical was meant to point out that perfect adherence to anything by a very large group of people would be impossible. But only two out of a million is darn good. But not good enough according to republication naysayers.)

Is a probationary test meaningless if approximate obedience is accomplished? No, I think not. The point was certainly made that man cannot keep the law, and even more so when only approximate adherence was acceptable.
I don't think that is the only problem with the Republication issue. Sure that is one. The other has to do with how God chastised them instead of a once for all. The Covenant of Works was a covenant that was set up and demanded perfect obedience as you noted. The Mosaic had repentance and forgiveness instituted in it and after Israel's refusal to repent God chastised them and brought them back. That doesn't resemble anything like the Covenant of Works. In fact it looks exactly like something that the Covenant of Grace administers which is not even remotely close to the Covenant of Works. Sure the same Law is used. But that Law existed in God's nature before the covenant of Works and it will exist way past on into Eternity because it is reflective of God's Character.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Historical reformed theology taught the covenant of works appointed a representative head, Adam, who was placed on probation for himself and his posterity, and his fall issued in the condemnation of all who should descend from him by ordinary generation. The children of Adam are reckoned sinners by the immediate imputation of Adam's sin; they were not made sinners by their own probation and fall.

The republication scheme allows a personal probation for Israel under the covenant of works, and thereby undermines the universal representative principle which is so pronounced in traditional reformed covenant theology. Says Kline, "The old covenant was law, the opposite of grace-faith, and in the postlapsarian world that meant it would turn out to be an administration of condemnation as a consequence of sinful Israel's failure to maintain the necessary meritorious obedience." He regarded Israel as undergoing its own probation, and falling in its own person, under a republished covenant of works. It was only on the basis of this personal fall of Israel that he could insist on the conclusion that the covenant made with Israel was one of works in contrast to grace: "A satisfactory explanation of Israel's fall demands works, not grace, as the controlling administrative principle." -- Meredith G. Kline, 'Answering Objections to the Covenant of Works,' in Kingdom Prologue, pp. 107-17. Available here: The Upper Register: Papers and mp3's by Lee Irons

Here, then, is another serious departure which the modern republication theory makes from traditional reformed covenant theology. Whereas traditional reformed theology taught the universal nature of Adam's representation issuing in the condemnation of all men in him, the modern republication scheme makes Israel undergo its own probation and fall into condemnation.
 
Last edited:

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
I believe St. Paul actually gives the meaning of the text you are referencing.

(Eph 6:1) Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

(Eph 6:2) Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)


(Eph 6:3) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Thank you. I stand corrected.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
PuritanCovenanter;919754. said:
I don't think that is the only problem with the Republication issue. Sure that is one. The other has to do with how God chastised them instead of a once for all. The Covenant of Works was a covenant that was set up and demanded perfect obedience as you noted. The Mosaic had repentance and forgiveness instituted in it and after Israel's refusal to repent God chastised them and brought them back. That doesn't resemble anything like the Covenant of Works. In fact it looks exactly like something that the Covenant of Grace administers which is not even remotely close to the Covenant of Works. Sure the same Law is used. But that Law existed in God's nature before the covenant of Works and it will exist way past on into Eternity because it is reflective of God's Character.

I must say I am seeing more of the graciousness of the Mosaic ecomony than before. I guess I was more influenced early on by dispensationalism than I knew. That being said, I'm still not convinced that 'the law' had no intention at all similar to a covenant of works in a narrowly defined goal.

Would you concede that the law, abstractly considered, was meant for, and actually condemned sinners? Voila! If the parts and parties of a covenant are in place one has a de facto covenant. That Israel was punished cannot be denied. Grace, on the other hand, punishes Another.
Thus Sinai was a complex covenant.
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
The republication scheme allows a personal probation for Israel under the covenant of works, and thereby undermines the universal representative principle which is so pronounced in traditional reformed covenant theology.....

Rev. Winzer,
It is good to chat with you again.

I'm not seeing how the CoW principle undermines the universal representative principle. Could you elaborate? Paul said in the last verse of Romans 3, "..on the contrary we establish the law." If I understand that correctly, the law is in place as a standard of righteousness for Christ to fulfill as the last Adam. Thus is some sense there was in place a re-enactment of Eden in the new Eden, land of milk and honey.

Thus temporily, not for eternal justification, Israel My son, is the type of Christ undergoing and failing probation, whereas Christ as the last Adam does not fail.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Elder Cronkrite. I would affirm to what the Reformed faith held to concerning the law in the Covenant of Works and the Mosaic. Obedience to it is God's will for everyone's life. The Moral Law is used in the Covenant of Works. It is not necessarily bound to it as originating in it. God used the Law in that Covenant but it is above the Covenant of Works in that it is wrapped up in God's character. We are still bound to this law no matter what condition we are found in.

Chapter 16
VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.

chapter 19
II. This law, after his Fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon mount Sinai in ten commandments, and written in two tables; the first four commandments containing our duty toward God, and the other six our duty to man.

V. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it. Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen, this obligation.

VI. Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned; yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life, informing them of the will of God and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives; so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin; together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience. It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin, and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve, and what afflictions in this life they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof; although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works: so as a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law, and not under grace.

I don't think the Mosaic condemns men any more than the pronouncement of the failure of Adam's sin. Everyone stands condemned in Adam. But to republish the moral law (not reinstate the Covenant of Works) by revelation over and over is necessary for us and the unregenerate so that we might not forget who we are and what we are. We are so prone to be like the man described in James.

(Jas 1:23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

(Jas 1:24) For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.


(Jas 1:25) But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Also note that the Law is called the Law of Liberty. It is meant to set us free as it is bound up in Christ. It serves a wonderful purpose in shining forth God's character and Holiness and how we are to be loving and fulfilling it in the Spirit.

(Rom 8:3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:


(Rom 8:4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


(Rom 8:5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit...


(Rom 13:8) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.


(Rom 13:9) For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.


(Rom 13:10) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
One more thought Elder Conkrite. It seems the passage you are referring to in Romans has a context. Romans 2-4 is very explicit concerning the law and justification. Even though circumcision is spoken of in the concept of law keeping, the truth of it is revealed in what it's purpose was in Abraham. The Jews were turning it into something it wasn't as I have noted in many other places concerning how they were trying to use the law to justify themselves. The law will always pronounce condemnation since all men are condemned in Adam. But faith in the promises of God release us from that condemnation as the sign and seal testify to this fact. By grace that law chases and goads us to Christ. http://www.puritanboard.com/blogs/puritancovenanter/mosaic-covenant-same-substance-new-724/
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top