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Re: The New Covenant #14102
Wed May 05, 2004 10:36 AM
Wed May 05, 2004 10:36 AM

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As an orthodox christian, I agree that catechism is a great idea. Unfortunately, I can't find a Biblical example of it in relation to baptism.

William,
I don't really understand the point you are trying to make about the catechism. I think that he means that the church leaders have to try to discern mere head knowledge from actual faith. God gives the church leaders and gifts them for His work. That doesn't mean they never err, but it does mean that churches are to draw a line between believers and unbelievers and warn those who are outside of Christ to repent and to believe. When the church blurs that line, it only gives false hope to those who are perishing.

Re: The New Covenant [Re: Wes] #14103
Thu May 06, 2004 2:00 PM
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We might ask then, “who’s in the Covenant of Grace?” Who are the elect of God? Can we know? We know that God revealed this promise to Abraham and his seed. In one sense it included all his’ offspring. All the male descendants were marked with the sign of the covenant which was circumcision. In another sense it only included those who were true believers. Paul tells us that only those with a circumcised heart are real believers. However we don’t know which one of our offspring will be true believers if any. So we must make a distinction between the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Redemption in the sense that one cannot be broken and the other can. It seems clear from history that there have been those who were included in the Covenant of Grace who turned out to be unbelievers. The same is true today. There are those who outwardly appear to belong to the church either by infant baptism or believer’s baptism but remain unbelievers and will not inherit the kingdom of God.


I think it is problematic to equate the Covenant of Grace with the outward visible church. It would be less confusing to say that the children of believers are members of "the visible church" and leave it at that. As they demonstrate a saving faith, we could then say then that they are in the Covenant of Grace (as far as we are able to discern). Since only the elect are in the Covenant of Grace, we know it cannot be broken any more than the Covenant of Redemption can.

Quote
From the Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 7. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. As the covenant of works was made with the first Adam, and all his posterity, so the covenant of grace was made with Christ, the second Adam, and in him with all the elect, as his seed, which are the Israel of God. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made," (that is, not the promises of making all nations blessed.) "He saith not, Unto seeds; as of many but as of one, To thy seed, which is Christ."— Gal. 3:16. "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel."— Heb. 8:10.

Re: Covenant of Grace vs Covenant of Redemtion ? #14104
Thu May 06, 2004 2:23 PM
Thu May 06, 2004 2:23 PM

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Hi Susan:

You wrote:

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I think it is problematic to equate the Covenant of Grace with the outward visible church. It would be less confusing to say that the children of believers are members of "the visible church" and leave it at that.


You make an excellant point and it would seem the the WSC would agree with you and more importantly, the scripture, which the WSC references. This is the same scripture, if I recall correctly, that Steve has referenced several times with respect to this issue.

In Him,

Gerry

Last edited by acts2027; Thu May 06, 2004 2:26 PM.
Re: The New Covenant #14105
Thu May 06, 2004 2:43 PM
Thu May 06, 2004 2:43 PM
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Susan suggests:
I think it is problematic to equate the Covenant of Grace with the outward visible church. It would be less confusing to say that the children of believers are members of "the visible church" and leave it at that.

At the risk of bringing down wrath from my paedobaptist brethren, I would go even further and state that to say that children of believers are members of the visible church is equally confusing and most often leads to false assurance on the part of both parents and the children themselves. A "member" of the church, in my view, is one who has met the requirements of entrance into the visible church, i.e., repentance and faith (profession thereof). This is why I have personally chosen to refer to the children of believers as being members of the "covenant community" and then spelling out the nature of that relationship; e.g., the benefits of the means of grace given to them.

In His Grace,


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Re: The New Covenant #14106
Thu May 06, 2004 7:57 PM
Thu May 06, 2004 7:57 PM
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Quote
I think it is problematic to equate the Covenant of Grace with the outward visible church. It would be less confusing to say that the children of believers are members of "the visible church" and leave it at that. As they demonstrate a saving faith, we could then say then that they are in the Covenant of Grace (as far as we are able to discern). Since only the elect are in the Covenant of Grace, we know it cannot be broken any more than the Covenant of Redemption can.


Susan,

Let me simply say that our differences stem from our view of the covenant and baptism. First of all the Covenant of Grace is founded upon the Covenant of Redemption but they have differences. The Covenant of Redemption is between God the Father representing the Trinity, and God the Son representing elect sinners. This covenant was agreed on between the Trinity before the foundation of the world. The Covenant of Grace was established because of this agreement and is manifest to mankind as God gathers a people for Himself. The goal of God's covenantal dealings is, as it has always been, the gathering and sanctifying of the covenant people "of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues" (Rev. 7:9), who will one day inhabit the New Jerusalem in a renewed world order (Rev. 21:1,2).

The covenant framework embraces the entire economy of God sovereign grace. A proper understanding of the Covenant of Grace will guide us through, and helps us to appreciate, all the wonders of God's redeeming love. The main promise of the covenant, which includes all others, is contained in the oft repeated words, "I will be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee," Jer. 31:33; 32:38-40; Ezek. 34:23-25, 30, 31; 36:25-28; Heb. 8:10; II Cor. 6:16-18. This promise includes all others, such as the promise of temporal blessings, of justification, of the Spirit of God, and of final glorification in a life that never ends. Job 19:25-27; Ps. 16:11; 73:24-26; Isa. 43:25; Jer. 31:33, 34; Ezek. 36:27; Dan. 12:2, 3; Gal. 4:4, 5, 6; Tit, 3:7; Heb. 11:7; Jas. 2:5.

The Covenant of Grace is a gracious covenant, because it is a fruit and manifestation of the grace of God to sinners. It is grace from start to finish. It is also an eternal and inviolable covenant, to which God will always be true, though men may break it. Even in its widest extent it includes only a part of mankind, and is therefore particular. If its New Testament dispensation is called universal, this is done only in view of the fact that it is not limited to the Jews, as the Old Testament dispensation was. This covenant is also characterized by unity. It is essentially the same in all dispensations, though the form of its administration changes. The essential promise is the same, Gen. 17:7; Heb. 8:10, the gospel is the same, Gal. 3:8, the requirement of faith is the same, Gal. 3:6, 7, and the Mediator is the same, Heb. 13:8. The covenant is both conditional and unconditional. It is conditional because it is dependent on the merits of Christ and because the enjoyment of the life it offers depends on the exercise of faith. But it is unconditional in the sense that it does not depend on any merits of man. And, finally, it is testamentary as a free and sovereign disposition on the part of God. It is called a 'testament' in Heb. 9:16, 17. This name stresses the facts,

(1) that it is a free arrangement of God;

(2) that its New Testament dispensation was ushered in by the death of Christ; and

(3) that in it God gives what He demands. The covenant of grace differs from the covenant of works in that it has a mediator. Christ is represented as the Mediator of the new covenant, I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24. He is Mediator, not only merely in the sense that He intervenes between God and man to sue for peace and to persuade to it, but in the sense that He is armed with full power to do all that is necessary for the actual establishment of peace. As our Surety, Heb. 7:22, He assumes our guilt, pays the penalty of sin, fulfills the law, and thus restores peace.

The different dispensations of the covenant.:

(1) The first revelation of the covenant is found in Gen. 3:15, which is usually called the protevangel or the maternal promise. This does not yet refer to the formal establishment of the covenant.

(2) The covenant with Noah is of a very general nature as a covenant with all flesh. It conveys only natural blessings, and is therefore often called the covenant of nature or of common grace. It is closeconnected, however, with the covenant of grace. It is also a fruit of the grace of God and guarantees those natural and temporal blessings which are absolutely necessary for the realization of the covenant of grace.

(3) The covenant with Abraham marks its formal establishment. It is the beginning of the Old Testament particularistic administration of the covenant, which is now limited to Abraham and his descendants, Faith stands out prominently as its necessary requirement, and circumcision becomes its seal.

(4) The covenant at Sinai is essentially the same as that established with Abraham, but now takes in the whole nation of Israel, and thus became a national covenant. Though it strongly stresses the keeping of the law, it should not be regarded as a renewed covenant of works. The law increased the consciousness of sin, Rom. 3:20, and became a tutor unto Christ, Gal. 3:24. Passover was added as a second sacrament.

(5) The new covenant, as revealed in the New Testament, Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8, 13, is essentially the same as that of the Old Testament, Rom. 4; Gal. 3. It now breaks through the barriers of particularism and becomes universal in the sense that its blessings are extended to people of all nations. Its blessings become fuller and more spiritual, and baptism and the Lord's Supper are substituted for the Old Testament sacraments.

Scripture texts which focus on the parties of the covenant:

Gen. 3:15. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

Gen. 17:7 "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your decendents after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendents after you."

Ex. 19:5, 6a. "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then shall ye be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation."

Jer. 31:31-33, "Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Acts 2:39. "For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him."


Wes

Last edited by Wes; Thu May 06, 2004 8:07 PM.

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
Re: The New Covenant [Re: Wes] #14107
Thu May 06, 2004 8:16 PM
Thu May 06, 2004 8:16 PM

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Hi Wes:

When I read these posts I see statements like the following which appear to me to be contradictory on their face:

Quote
So we must make a distinction between the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Redemption in the sense that one cannot be broken and the other can.


Quote
The Covenant of Grace is a gracious covenant, because it is a fruit and manifestation of the grace of God to sinners. It is grace from start to finish. It is also an eternal and inviolable covenant, to which God will always be true, though men may break it. Even in its widest extent it includes only a part of mankind, and is therefore particular.


Can you tell me how a covenant can be both "inviolable", and yet "can be broken"?

I just don't see the consistency here.

In Him,

Gerry

Re: The New Covenant #14108
Thu May 06, 2004 9:10 PM
Thu May 06, 2004 9:10 PM
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Dear Gerry,

Are you having difficulty understanding the difference between the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace? I know we come from different backgrounds and are using different hermaneutics but if we really try to understand each other I think we will benefit from the effort.

I'd like to quote Louis Berkhof's Summary of Christian Doctrine Chapter 13 which talks about Man in the Covenant of Grace

For the sake of clearness we distinguish between the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace. The two are so closely related that they can be and sometimes are, considered as one. The former is the eternal foundation of the latter.

1. The Covenant of Redemption. This is also called "the counsel of peace," a name derived from Zech. 6:13. It is a covenant between the Father, representing the Trinity, and the Son as the representative of the elect.

  • a. The scriptural basis for it. It is clear that the plan of redemption was included in God's eternal decree, Eph. 1:4 ff.; 3:11; II Tim. 1:9. Christ speaks of promises made to Him before He came into the world, and repeatedly refers to a commission which He received from the Father, John 5:30, 43; 6:38-40; 17:4-12. He is evidently a covenant head, Rom. 5:12-21; I Cor. 15: -- 22. In Ps. 2:7-9 the parties of the covenant are mentioned and a promise is indicated, and in Ps. 40:7, 8 the Messiah expresses His readiness to do the Father's will in becoming a sacrifice for sin.

    b. The Son in the covenant of redemption. Christ is not only the Head but also the Surety of the covenant of redemption, Heb. 7:22, A surety is one who takes upon himself the legal obligations of another. Christ took the place of the sinner, to bear the penalty of sin and to meet the demands of the law for His people. By so doing He became the last Adam, a life-giving spirit, I Cor. 15:45. For Christ this covenant was a covenant of works, in which He met the requirements of the original covenant, but for us it is the eternal foundation of the covenant of grace. Its benefits are limited to the elect. They only obtain the redemption and inherit the glory which Christ merited for sinners.

    c. Requirements and promises in the covenant of redemption.


(1) The Father required of the Son that He should assume human nature with its present infirmities, though without sin, Gal. 4:4, 5; Heb. 2:10, 11, 14, 15; 4:15; that He should place Himself under the law to pay the penalty and to merit eternal life for the elect, Ps. 40:8; John 10:11; Gal. 1:4; 4:4, 5; and that He should apply His merits to His people by the renewing operation of the Holy Spirit, thus securing the consecration of their lives to God, John 10:28; 17:19-22; Heb. 5:7-9. (2) And the Father promised the Son that He would prepare for Him a body, Heb. 10:5, would anoint Him with the Holy Spirit, Isa. 42:1; 61:1; John 3:34, would support Him in His work, Isa. 42:6, 7; Luke 22:43 would deliver Him from the power of death and place Him at His own right hand, Ps. 16:8-11; Phil. 2:9-11, would enable Him to send the Spirit for the formation of the Church, John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13, 14, would draw and preserve the elect, John 6:37, 39, 40, 44, 45, and would grant Him a numerous seed, Ps. 22:27; 72:17



2. The Covenant of Grace. On the basis of the covenant of redemption God established the covenant of grace. Several particulars call for consideration here.

  • a. The contracting parties. God is the first party in the covenant. He establishes the covenant and determines the relation in which the second party will stand to Him. It is not so easy to determine who the second party is. The prevailing opinion in Reformed circles is that it is the elect sinner in Christ. We should bear in mind, however, that the covenant may be viewed in two different ways:


(1) As an end in itself, a covenant of mutual friendship or communion of life, which is realized in the course of history through the operation of the Holy Spirit. It represents a condition in which privileges are improved for spiritual ends, the promises of God are embraced by a living faith, and the promised blessings are fully realized. So conceived, it may be defined as that gracious agreement between God and the elect sinner in Christ, in which God gives Himself with all the blessings of salvation to the elect sinner, and the latter embraces God and all His gracious gifts by faith. Deut. 7:9; II Cron. 6:14; Ps. 25:10, 14; 103:17, 18.

(2) As a means to an end, a purely legal arrangement for the realization of a spiritual end. It is evident that the Bible sometimes speaks of the covenant as including some in whom the promises are never realized, such as Ishmael, Esau, the wicked sons of Eli, and the rebellious Israelites who died in their sins. The covenant may be regarded as a purely legal agreement, in which God guarantees the blessings of salvation to all who believe. If we think of the covenant in this broader sense, we can say that God established it with believers and their children, Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39; Rom. 9:1-4.


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
Re: The New Covenant [Re: Wes] #14109
Fri May 07, 2004 6:17 AM
Fri May 07, 2004 6:17 AM

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Dear Wes:

You asked, circuitously:

Quote
Are you having difficulty understanding the difference between the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace?


I answer, directly, no.

I am not having trouble understanding the two covenants you mention at all. I am well aware of the Covenenant of Redemption btwn the Father, Son and Spirit, as I have mentioned in prior posts, for, because of it, like David, the covenant of grace the Lord has established with me is "all my salvation and all my desire".

What I am having trouble understanding is exactly what I stated in my question to you about the contradictory nature of the two statements you made.

Quoting Berkhoff back to you with respect to the SUBJECT OF the Covenant of Grace:

Quote
The prevailing opinion in Reformed circles is that it is the elect sinner in Christ.


Berkoff then tells us that because we don't know who is in the Covenant of Grace, that is, who are the elect, that therefore it is both an unequivocal covenant of grace with the elect and one that "includes some in whom the promises are never realized".

Therein lies the rub. This reasoning is faulty. It is either a covenant of grace to the elect or it is a covenant of works or wrath. It is not both. Because I don't know with absolute certainty who are other subjects of this covenant, it doesn't follow that therefore there are both elect and non elect in the Covenant of Grace. (I say other subjects because I believe the bible, and a multitude of Christian experience clearly teaches that we can know with absolute certainty with respect to ourselves, See Steven Nichols, "An Absolute Sort of Certainty", wherein he discusses Edwards and others on this subject.). As others have pointed out to you this is clarified in the NT which interprets the Old in the following statement, for example;

Quote
From the Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 7. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. As the covenant of works was made with the first Adam, and all his posterity, so the covenant of grace was made with Christ, the second Adam, and in him with all the elect, as his seed, which are the Israel of God. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made," (that is, not the promises of making all nations blessed.) "He saith not, Unto seeds; as of many but as of one, To thy seed, which is Christ."— Gal. 3:16. "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel."— Heb. 8:10.


Words, as you know, have meaning. If they do not, then we are of all men most to be pitied. It is either a covenenant of works or a covenant of grace, it is not both.

Could you please answer the question from my prior post to you about the contradictory nature of the two statements. Simply quoting Berkhoff's contradictory statements doesn't make them any less contradictory. Nor does assuming "I am having difficulty understanding the issue".

What I am saying is this. I disagree with Berkhoffs interpretation. Yes, it appears from the OT statements that there is a covenant of grace established btwn Abraham and all who are circumcised outwardly. But we are told in the NT that the outward sign is not what is ultimately important, but rather the circumcision of the heart, the inward. This is a work of God, ultimately.

All men have the duty to obey the Lord's commandments, be they elect or not, thus the duty to outward circumcision applies to all, both in the visible church, Israel, Jewish by blood, and those not in by blood, just as in the OT all the members of the household were told to be circumcised as were converts not members of households. The Lord, then, (not "then" in time, but in eternity past, before the foundation of the world) decides who will benefit eternally from that outward circumcision, or that "profession" of which it is a sign.

As to our hermeneutic being different, mine is one that is based on the analogy of the faith, that is, it attempts to reconcile all the applicable scripture that applies to the subject, which is exactly what Berkhoff is attempting to do, albeit in a faulty way in my opinion. Thus I see no difference in our hermeneutic, but rather in our conclusions drawn from the same hermeneutic. There is a big difference.

In Him,

Gerry

Last edited by acts2027; Fri May 07, 2004 6:28 AM.
Re: The New Covenant [Re: Wes] #14110
Fri May 07, 2004 6:50 AM
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Wes said:
Let me simply say that our differences stem from our view of the covenant and baptism.

I can assure you that this teaching that God's Covenant can be broken is what is at issue here, not our paedo/credo differences.You said that the Covenant of Grace can be broken and that unbelievers can actually be in this Covenant. Ishmael is a clear example that this is not so.

Was Abraham's son Ishmael in the Abrahamic Covenant? No, but he was given an outward sign along with every other male in his household, yet these verses clearly show he was not "in the covenant"! If a person was not circumcised in their heart, even if they were circumcised outwardly, they were not considered "in God's covenant" even though they lived among God's people, because they did not have faith.

The Jews were told to circumcise all their children though. All who are baptized are not Christians, but only those who have regenerated hearts. The unbelievers can have no part in or a relationship to Christ because they are spiritually dead. Ishmael was only given temporal blessings, not eternal ones.

Quote
Genesis 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" 19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." 22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham...23 So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; 27 and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.



Quote
Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar-- 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children-- 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written: "Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband." 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman." 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.


Also this quote from Hoeksema shows about the two kinds of children believers have.

Quote

By reason of the fact that the Lord establishes His covenant in the line of successive generations, believers will confess in gratitude before the Lord that He counts them worthy to bring forth the true seed of the covenant. This seed of the covenant, however, does not consist of all children who are born of them, but only of the children of the promise. Certain it is that believers also bring forth another seed. Now, on this side of death and the grave fleshly ties may draw us, so that we say that we wish to see all our children saved, and do not wish that our own flesh and blood goes lost. But, in the final analysis, also in this respect the righteous must live out of their faith, not from their flesh.
(Herman Hoeksema: Believers and Their Seed, Reformed Free Publishing Association, Grand Rapids, 1971, pp. 157-158.)

Re: The New Covenant #14111
Fri May 07, 2004 7:56 AM
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Wes,
First of all, thank you for laying out the Paedo-baptist covental system so comprehensively and clearly. I'm sure that will be of great help to many of us on the 'other side' of the debate.

Secondly, may I apologize to you in advance that I'm not able to reply at equal length. My eyes are still playing me up again, and I need not to over-tax them until I get a new pair of specs. Apologies also to Joe and to AF for the same reason. To them, in the words of Arnie, 'I'll be back!'<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/takethat.gif" alt="" />

Thirdly, I think that Gerry's points are very well made and I'll be interested to see how you reply to them.

You are right in saying that a key text in this question is the Lord's words, 'I will be a God to thee and to thy seed (Seed?) after thee.' Let us be quite clear; if you or I believe that God's promises to Abraham are also made to us, we deceive ourselves. God has not promised to make me a great nation, nor to give me the land of Canaan, nor that all nations will be blessed in me. The only promise that I may take to myself is the one in this text, and that only if I am Abraham's seed

To the best of my knowledge, I have no Jewish blood in me. Did one of my ancestors change his name from Cohen to Owen? Not that I'm aware. How then can I become the seed of Abraham, or be in some way united with that Seed?
'Not of blood'. Not by my physical birth.
'Nor of the will of the flesh.' My own fallen nature can't help me
'Nor of the will of [a] man.' No one can make me the seed of Abraham by praying over me, 'slaying' me in the spirit or pouring water over me.'
'But of God.' ''For by grace you have been saved through faith.'

'Therefore know that [only] those who are of faith are sons of Abraham' (Gal 3:7). 'And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.'

Therefore the seed of Abraham are those who are of faith and no one else. Therefore it is fitting that only such should be baptized. That mistakes are often made is freely admitted, but thast is no reason to seek to bring into the Covenant, those who by their very nature are unable to profess faith.

You go on to say:-
'The covenant with Abraham marks its formal establishment.'

Perhaps, but it's important to note that Abel (Gen 4:4; Heb 11:4) and Noah (Gen 8:20) were experimentally acquainted with the Covenant of Redemption; without circumcision or baptism, they both looked forward by faith to the coming of the Lamb of God, knowing that 'without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.'

Finally (my eyes are stinging again), I do not believe that physical circumcision is the 'seal of the covenant.' Nowhere does the Bible say that. Circumcision of the heart, like baptism of the Spirit (ie. New Birth) is the seal of the covenant. Rom 4:10. 'And [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised.'

Oh yes, you really cannot say that the Old Covenant is essentially the same as the New Covenant. Surely to say so is to call Jeremaiah and the writer to the Hebrews false witnesses?

Every blessing,
Steve


Itinerant Preacher & Bible Teacher in Merrie England.
1689er.
Blogging at
http://marprelate.wordpress.com
Re: The New Covenant [Re: grace2U] #14112
Fri May 07, 2004 11:31 AM
Fri May 07, 2004 11:31 AM

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Quote
Therefore the seed of Abraham are those who are of faith and no one else. Therefore it is fitting that only such should be baptized.


That this is impossible is admitted by yourself

Quote
That mistakes are often made is freely admitted, but that is no reason to seek to bring into the Covenant, those who by their very nature are unable to profess faith.


And, again, since baptism of the true-covenant alone is indefensible, baptism of all those within the visible covenant is the way it has been administered. And scripture is totally clear that this includes the believer and his OIKOS. If the administration for the sign is different, I'd need to be shown by definition

OIKOS

or historical argument

Who Departed

Yes, all those within the new covenant are true believers. It is impossible and indefensible to limit baptism to this alone. So how has God worked throughout the entire Bible?


God bless,

william

Re: The New Covenant #14113
Fri May 07, 2004 12:19 PM
Fri May 07, 2004 12:19 PM
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Quote
Susan Speculates

Was Abraham's son Ishmael in the Abrahamic Covenant? No, but he was given an outward sign along with every other male in his household, yet these verses clearly show he was not "in the covenant"! If a person was not circumcised in their heart, even if they were circumcised outwardly, they were not considered "in God's covenant" even though they lived among God's people, because they did not have faith.

The outward sign of what? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratch1.gif" alt="" /> Perhaps the Abrahamic Covenant!!! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/shrug.gif" alt="" /> Abraham’s covenant did not just include circumcised saved ones, did it??? It had circumcised lost ones, which were not heirs of the promise (Gal 4:30).

The Scripture states,

Gen 17:10f This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee (Ishmael is Abraham’s seed): every male among you (Ishmael is a male) shall be circumcised (Ishmael was circumcised). And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt me and you (Abrahamic Covenant). The fact that Ishmael was circumcised revealed that he was a member of the Abrahamic Covenant. Though NOT all Abraham’s seed were saved (Ishmael and others, for Abraham was the father of “many nations,” Gen 17:4) they still had the sign of the Covenant. The Scripture, not mere speculation, affirms that both lost and saved were circumcised. The Scripture, not mere speculation, affirms that both lost and saved babies were circumcised. The Scripture, not mere speculation, affirms that both lost and saved are baptized. The problem for many is that they continue to equate belonging to the Abrahamic Covenant with “only” being born again. But, though everyone who is saved is a member of the Abrahaimc Covenant (Gal 3:29), not everyone who was a member of the Abrahmic Covenant was/is saved (Gal 5:2-4)!

Quote
Susan states,

All who are baptized are not Christians, but only those who have regenerated hearts. The unbelievers can have no part in or a relationship to Christ because they are spiritually dead.

For the most part here I agree with you as long as you mean a saving relationship. But, if you mean any relationship at all then I would have to submit that you are in error, as the lost are partakers of common grace, some are affected “somewhat” (though not effectually) by the Gospel and its preaching, many are baptized, in reference to the Lord's Supper they eat and drink damnation to themselves, and some are changed “somewhat” (though not effectually) by their relations to other Christians, etc. All these represent some sort of relationship with Christ. Ishmael was affected by his relationship with Abraham, et. al.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
Re: The New Covenant #14114
Fri May 07, 2004 12:20 PM
Fri May 07, 2004 12:20 PM
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Hi William,
You said, since baptism of the true covenant is indefensible....'. It certainly is not indefensible; indeed, it is mandated (Matt 28:19). What it is, is unattainable. Yet that is no reason not to seek it. Consider the following:-

1John 2:1. 'My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.'

Now John himself has just said that sinlessness is impossible (1:8). Yet he still exhorts us not to sin. so since what he says is unattainable, do we give up on it and 'continue in sin so that grace may abound'? 'God forbid!' Says Paul. In just the same way, although a totally pure congregation may be beyond our reach, that is no reason at all not to seek such a thing by baptizing only those who make a credible confession of faith, and by imposing discipline upon those who give reason to think that their conversion was false.

More later.
Every blessing,
Steve


Itinerant Preacher & Bible Teacher in Merrie England.
1689er.
Blogging at
http://marprelate.wordpress.com
Re: The New Covenant [Re: J_Edwards] #14115
Fri May 07, 2004 2:11 PM
Fri May 07, 2004 2:11 PM

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Romans 4 v.11 He [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.


Clearly, Ishmael's circumcision did not carry the significance of Abraham's circumcision. What counted was the circumcision of the heart. Ishmael's heart was uncircumcised and he had no faith. All it showed was that he was physically (not spiritually) related to Abraham and a part of that community. Abraham's servants also were circumcised and we cannot assume they all had faith. The promise in the Abrahamic Covenant that God would be a God to them was true only for Abraham's children who had true faith. We cannot honestly say that God was a God to Ishmael as he was to Abraham. He is called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not the God of Abraham, Ishmael and Esau.

Quote
Joe said:
Gen 17:10f This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee (Ishmael is Abraham’s seed)every male among you (Ishmael is a male) shall be circumcised (Ishmael was circumcised). And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt me and you (Abrahamic Covenant). The fact that Ishmael was circumcised revealed that he was a member of the Abrahamic Covenant.


You have chosen to ignore those verses that clearly demonstrate that God had not established his covenant with Ishmael, even though Abraham was commanded to circumcise him.

Quote
Genesis 17:17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" 19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him [not Ishmael] for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, [not Ishmael] whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year."


Abraham had begged God that Ishmael would live before Him and was told that God would NOT establish his covenant with him. He did however establish "an everlasting Covenant" with Isaac, or more accurately Christ who was to come from that line. These Galatian verses also show that Ishmael is in a different covenant than Isaac.

Quote
Galatians 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar--


Do you believe that Ishmael was in the Covenant of Grace? God shows grace only to His elect, so how could an unbeliever even be in that Covenant? And even more importantly, when you baptize an infant, do you say he or she is "in the New Covenant" or is "in Christ"?

Re: The New Covenant [Re: grace2U] #14116
Fri May 07, 2004 2:22 PM
Fri May 07, 2004 2:22 PM

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Because I don't see scripture holding back this sign from the believers OIKOS , could you give that argument, from scripture, in relation to baptism? Basically, where did the administration change?


God bless,

william

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