CHRIST: The Unity/Disunity of Old and New Covenants

* NCT on Continuity *

OC/NC continuity exists in the Person of Jesus.  He’s in the OC shadows and then comes forth in NC glory (Col.2.17; Heb.8.5; 10.1; 2Cor.3.10).  ALL of Scripture is the revelation of Jesus (Lk.24.27; Acts3.22; Jn.5.46).

* NCT on Discontinuity *

ALL prior covenantal form/function is transformed (reformed – Heb.9.10; 7.12; Jer.31.31-34) in the Person of Jesus, who is the New Covenant himself (Isa.42.6; 49.6,8; Zec.9.11; Lk.22.20; Heb.13.20).

* NCT on OC Law *

1)      Provoked sin/Promised life

2)     Represented Adam

3)     Prefigured Christ (then)

4)     Incarnate in Christ (now)

* NCT on CT *

1)      CT emphasis = continuity of covenants

2)     NCT emphasis =  FULFILLMENT in Christ!

* NCT on God’s one eternal purpose *

1)      Fulfilled in Jesus (Eph.3.11)

2)     Fully revealed thru Jesus (Eph.1.9-10)

Jesus is our covenant and our law, just as he is our union and our righteousness.

QUESTION: Eternal Law?

In response to a question from a friend at church, about the notion of an Eternal Law and Romans 5 & 7:

Personally, I don’t believe Paul’s (pre-Christian) existence was ever apart from the Mosaic Law. As was Jesus, so too Paul was “born under the law”…all Jews were. (Consider Gal.4:4; Phil.3:5) Gentiles, though not having been born under the Law, per se, were born under the condemnation of Adam’s law-transgression. So they all, Gentiles and Jews are born condemned by the transgression of another. More about this below.

As for the “eternality” of law…we know that the Mosaic Law wasn’t eternal, in that it was set in place over Israel 50 days after the Passover and not before. As for the Law of Christ…it (the Rule of the Spirit) was given 50 days after his becoming the Passover, at Pentecost. At Pentecost, the Lord held forth his Scepter, Rule, in the sense that he sent forth his Spirit to now indwell (rule-within) his people. This new law, Holy Spirit Indwelling, operates antithetically to the Old Law, Mosaic.

The Mosaic Law-Precept: which provokes the Flesh unto Sin – being merely external demand of righteousness. (note: all external laws have this same impact on believer and unbeliever)

The Messianic Law-Spirit: who promotes a faith unto righteousness – being an internal creator of righteousness.

(Consider 2Cor.3:3)

I follow the reasoning…God is eternal…therefore…his law is eternal. It seems a rational inference, but I’m not sure it is a biblical one. Rather, I think Paul would have us to see the Mosaic Law typologically…being a shadowy reflection of that righteousness which is revealed in the person Jesus Christ. (Consider Rom.3:21-22)

Now, Israel was once without the Law…pre-Exodus captivity in Egypt. Once the Law came…they sinned instantly. (Consider Ex.32:4) Note: in Ex.19:7-8 the people had already begun to receive the Law, though it was yet (Ex.20ff) to be engraved in stone. It was the actual giving of the Law in Ex.19 that provoked Israel to idolatry, golden calf. (Consider Rom.5:20; Gal.3:19)

Those who lived prior to this covenant law giving, are those who lived from Adam to Moses. They lived under the death-reign earned by Adam because of his one transgression, though their individual sins were not counted as command transgressions as was Adam’s, who was like the One to come, Christ. We believe then that Adam and Christ both function as representative heads under two particular commands. How each succeeded under his respective command determined the fate of all those whom they represented, even though those represented did not themselves transgress or uphold the particular command. (Consider Rom.5:14-19)

The Law was given then (Rom.5:20) to increase the trespass of Adam, confirming that all men are condemned in Adam, apart from Christ. Israel then typified Adam as Adam prefigured Christ. Israel was created under a command context like the one Adam was created under, and hereby God illustrates in one people (Israel) the nature and effect of Adam’s one transgression, thus setting up a command context in which the Messiah would fulfill all righteousness, thereby winning salvation and bearing our sin.

THOUGHTS ON: NC Thinking

From a discussion held elsewhere:

The COG paradigm is not going to be found in NC thinking.  Though there are of course gracious elements to the Old Covenant…that Covenant itself wouldn’t be seen as gracious, as is the New Covenant.  OC is per Code (Do this and live!).  NC is per Christ (Having done this that we might live!).

The driving force behind NC thinking is “Christ as the unity of all redemption and revelation.”  This makes the idea of “covenant” to be something other than a primary motif, though it certainly factors into the role of Christ as hermeneutical key.

Unity is thought to be in Christ himself, filling up and fulfilling all covenants leading unto the Incarnation.  Essentially, Christ is understood to be the incarnation of all that the OC Law demands and OC Prophets promise.  Hence, typologically speaking, Christ is the link between the OC covenants as they unfold throughout the OT.

All OC typological (ectypal) realities are subsumed in Christ, the archetypal reality.

Christ would be understood as the colligate of all redemption and revelation, and not a theological category of ‘covenant of grace’.

LAW: of Christ

A few thoughts on the Law of Christ:

1) Law of Christ is not essentially an external ‘code’ we abide by.
2) Law of Christ is not merely an ethic.
3) Law of Christ is Christ, indwelling by the Spirit, thereby ruler of our hearts through faith, bearing fruit unto God.

The Law of Christ/Spirit/Faith is the personal work of God within those he possess, the results of which bears out a two-fold love, of God and neighbor. The former being generated by his love *for* us; the latter being his love shed *in* us.

The Law of Christ is the Indwelling Incarnate (Spirit written on the heart) to which former shadowy types pointed. This New Law differs in *form*…being the living God in us, not merely his code outside of us. This New Law differs in *function*…causing his own people to obey, not provoking them to sin.

The New and Old Law bear the likeness to their respective covenants. The New is the fullness of all prior covenants, in Christ’s fulfilling all the old Law and Prophets, which testify to him. The New Law and Spirit of Prophecy is Christ himself. Christ is the Incarnation of all former types: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc; none of which covenants continue binding in form or function upon the people of God under the New Covenant.

NCT: Christ Over All Things

A must read:  Chad Bresson: What is New Covenant Theology

Excellent; excellent!

I trust this will prove to be something of a catalyst in aiding people to think seriously about the NEWNESS of the NC in Christ.

Appreciate the labor! May the Lord continue to bless, providing us a clearer vision of God’s face in Christ Jesus. He continues to rend the veil that we might behold, believe and be-formed.