Learn of the doctrine of “Christ the Covenant” that has served to bring together New Covenant Theology advocates whose roots were located in various and diverse theological backgrounds such as Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism.
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Is the essence of your take-on-Scripture that it is about your resolution: the act of determining to do better? Or, is the essence of your take-on-Scripture that it is about God’s resolution: His sharpening our eyes to His both determining and fulfilling all things in Christ?
It could easily be the former and that would be quite natural, in keeping with the Flesh. As for the latter, this would be in keeping with the Spirit, in accord with the Gospel, the New Covenant.
The Spirit gives and interprets His word, so that we might understand how God has resolved to deal with our sin and open our eyes to see, increasingly with higher resolution, His righteousness in the face of Christ in all of Scripture. Christ as both the Promise and Fulfillment of all Scripture!
The Spirit’s single means to opening our eyes, giving us the high-def resolution, is all of Scripture being read through the lens of the New Covenant (the Gospel). If we miss this means, that, the Spirit gives in-sight by/thru the New Covenant, which is Jesus himself (Isa.42.6; 49.8; Mt.26.28; Lk.22.20; 1Cor.11.25; Heb.13.20; ), we miss the Big Picture made up of the many pixels. We end up missing the Picture for the pixels. We end up with the low-def resolution, seeing things as if they were essentially about our “being resolved” (a pixel).
Where the Gospel “seems” to lose traction – failing to “improve” our lives – we are apt to apply the chains of the Law in some form.
However, the believer’s traction, in whatever degree God causes it, is never apart from the Gospel itself. In our beholding the person and work of Christ, the treads of the Gospel grip upon our lives, causing our minds and hearts to genuinely love God and neighbor.
The treads of the Spirit leave the marks of the Gospel. So, let’s hang those Law-chains where they belong…upon the Cross.
In this broadcast (White Horse Inn: The New Covenant), it was mentioned at least twice, that, the New Covenant isn’t “NEW” but “NEWER”. Such a distinction makes Jesus to have inaugurated a new covenant that’s merely a refreshed understanding of the old covenant, rather than a new one that supplants an old one (Heb.8.13).
Mr. Riddlebarger made reference to both of the Greek terms for “NEW”, emphasizing one (kainos) and not the other (neos). This seems to miss that both apply to the New Covenant (see Heb.8.8; 12:24), making this covenant both new in quantity (recent) and quality (fresh), not merely NEWER as stated.
* 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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
Another helpful article by John Dunn: Puritan Experientialism
John provides some insight into the legal focus of Subjectivism practiced by Puritanism and its heirs.
Our attention is drawn to the realities of the Gospel…and not the Law…as the sufficient and effective revelation of God’s righteousness. Fact is, that Christ himself is the incarnate revelation of God’s righteousness. Righteousness is a Person. Righteousness is not a precept, though the former precept bore witness to the Person of Righteousness. This Person not only fulfilled all righteousness, but is the Fullness of Righteousness. He is the Standard, not merely as code-keeper and code-enforcer, but in and of Himself. This King is personally the Rule(r).
Seeking a ‘standard’ (code) of righteousness to keep us in line with God or a misinformed conscience, is not the way of Christ for us. Rather, Christ himself indwells us by the Holy Spirit, as our Ruler, not merely informing us in precept, but calling us to faith that He is Righteousness in us.
These things are the Apostle Paul’s refrain:Rom 3:21-22
(21) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–
(22) the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. Rom 1:16-17 (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (17) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Rom 10:3-4 (3) For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
(4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
This is the Rule of Faith in which we must persevere, hold fast to…Christ is righteousness ‘for us’ and ‘in us’!!!
Here’s a very interesting article on the radical newness of the New Covenant: John Dunn – Radically New
Mono-covenantalism doesn’t square well with Scripture’s two-covenant (Old/New) orientation.