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Splitting hairs? #42289
Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:52 PM
Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:52 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 1,754
Mississippi Gulf Coast
John_C Offline OP

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John_C  Offline OP

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I always thought that the 'Covenant of Grace" began at Genesis 3:15. Now I'm hearing that others are saying Genesis 3:6. Since it pertains to the same teaching, it may just be splitting hairs. What is the general consensus among the Reformed?

On the other front of the covenants, why do so many dislike the term, 'Covenant of Works', preferring either 'Covenant of Creation' or 'Covenant of Life'? IMO, Works seems to go so well with Grace. And finally another possible misconception of mine. I thought the Covenant of Work was everything preceding the 'Covenant of Grace', yet I heard recently it begins at Genesis 1:26. Another splitting of hairs probably.


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
Re: Splitting hairs? [Re: John_C] #42290
Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:17 PM
Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:17 PM
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Pilgrim Offline

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Pilgrim  Offline

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Originally Posted by John_C
I always thought that the 'Covenant of Grace" began at Genesis 3:15. Now I'm hearing that others are saying Genesis 3:6. Since it pertains to the same teaching, it may just be splitting hairs. What is the general consensus among the Reformed?

I would say the vast majority of Reformed Christians hold that the proto-evangelium (first Gospel) is to be found in Gen 3:15. How anyone could imagine that the Gospel is in Gen 3:6 is beyond me since that describes the transgression of Eve and then Adam. There is no mention of salvation, deliverance, rescue, promise, etc. to be found in that passage. scratch1

Originally Posted by John_C
On the other front of the covenants, why do so many dislike the term, 'Covenant of Works', preferring either 'Covenant of Creation' or 'Covenant of Life'? IMO, Works seems to go so well with Grace.

I wasn't aware that there were "so many" who disliked the term, "Covenant of Works". John Murray wasn't fond of the term, but he didn't deny the essence of its meaning. Some of what is taught concerning the Covenant of Works can be disputed, e.g., that there was a {implied} time frame within which if Adam had rendered perfect obedience then the "test" would have ceased and eternal life granted. Personally, I don't find anything like that in Scripture.

Originally Posted by John_C
And finally another possible misconception of mine. I thought the Covenant of Work was everything preceding the 'Covenant of Grace', yet I heard recently it begins at Genesis 1:26. Another splitting of hairs probably.

Where are you hearing/reading this stuff? scratchchin If I had to guess, I'd say you are getting this stuff from those promoting "NPP, FV" or something similar, no? What Adam failed to do (Covenant of Works), the second Adam, the Lord Christ accomplished (Covenant of Works). The benefits merited by Christ's perfect (active) obedience is imputed to those who believe (Covenant of Grace). These things aren't really THAT difficult to comprehend. But those who would try to distort or even deny them use the Devil's tactics and bring confusion with the hopes that their error will be "delight to the eyes" and people will eat of this forbidden fruit. wink

In His grace,


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Re: Splitting hairs? [Re: John_C] #42301
Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:17 AM
Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:17 AM
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Virginia
CovenantInBlood Offline
Persnickety Presbyterian
CovenantInBlood  Offline
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Virginia
John,

I'm curious how Gen. 3:6 could be the beginning of the Covenant of Grace?

As for the term "Covenant of Works," there are many who dislike the term because it can be thought to imply that Adam could have merited life by his works. There is a desire to maintain the idea that, strictly speaking, Adam could not have merited life - none of his obedience could possibly be commensurate to all of the good things God had already given Adam, much less to the promise of life itself. Thus some prefer to call it the Covenant of Life (which is from the Larger Catechism) or the Covenant of Creation.

This is fine so far as it goes. The problem comes when the differences between this covenant & the Covenant of Grace are downplayed or eliminated. Some folks associated with Federal Vision, for example, have said that Adam could only have received the reward of life "by faith alone." This kind of statement fails to account for the works-life principle inherent in that first covenant with man, whereby God promised to reward man with life if man obeyed God. It is true Adam had, in some sense, to have "faith," if by that we mean that he had to trust & believe God. However, Adam would not have had the same kind of faith we speak of in the Covenant of Grace, because Adam did not have to receive & rest on the righteousness of Christ for salvation. Before the Fall, Adam was sinless, & possessed a righteousness of his own.

As for the Covenant of Works beginning in Gen. 1:26, I think really vv. 28-30 is what is probably meant.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
Re: Splitting hairs? [Re: CovenantInBlood] #42302
Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:57 AM
Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:57 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,410
NH, USA
Pilgrim Offline

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Pilgrim  Offline

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Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
As for the term "Covenant of Works," there are many who dislike the term because it can be thought to imply that Adam could have merited life by his works. There is a desire to maintain the idea that, strictly speaking, Adam could not have merited life - none of his obedience could possibly be commensurate to all of the good things God had already given Adam, much less to the promise of life itself. Thus some prefer to call it the Covenant of Life (which is from the Larger Catechism) or the Covenant of Creation.

It is true that Adam could not have merited life, for it was not something we are told he had to earn. However, to maintain the life already given, Adam had to live perfectly before God by rendering obedience to all that God required of him. It is absolutely necessary that we maintain this truth for the redemption merited by Christ was due to his fulfilling what Adam failed to do.

Secondly, the Larger Catechism does refer to the covenant between God and Adam as the "covenant of works", again which the FV adherents are want to deny.

Quote
The Larger Catechism, Questions 30


Q30: Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A30: God doth not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery,[1] into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the Covenant of Works;[2] but of his mere love and mercy delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the Covenant of Grace.[3]

1. I Thess. 5:9
2. Gal. 3:10, 12
3. Titus 3:4-7; Gal. 3:21; Rom. 3:20-22

The error of fallen mankind which thinks they can ingratiate God via their "good deeds", aka: salvation by works, should not and cannot be equated to that Covenant of Works that was first established with Adam. Fallen man has NOTHING in common with Adam in regard to favor.

In His grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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Re: Splitting hairs? [Re: Pilgrim] #42305
Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:42 AM
Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:42 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,040
Virginia
CovenantInBlood Offline
Persnickety Presbyterian
CovenantInBlood  Offline
Persnickety Presbyterian

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,040
Virginia
Pilgrim,

I don't disagree.

Here's the portion of the Larger Catechism I was alluding to:

Quote
Question 20: What was the providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created?

Answer: The providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created, was the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress it, giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth; putting the creatures under his dominion, and ordaining marriage for his help; affording him communion with himself; instituting the sabbath; entering into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge; and forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
Re: Splitting hairs? [Re: CovenantInBlood] #42308
Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:49 PM
Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:49 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,410
NH, USA
Pilgrim Offline

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Pilgrim  Offline

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Posts: 13,410
NH, USA
Thanks for providing the reference in the WLC. So, it would appear that the framers referred to this preliminary covenant using both terms. Leave it to some dissenters to try and pit the WLC and the WCF against itself to serve their nefarious purposes. igiveup


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