Ethics: The Law of God
WHAT IS THE LAW?
Republication vs non republication
I disagree with Meredith Kline that the Mosaic covenant is a republication of the Covenant of Works. Why would God need to republish? The C of W’s is essentially, ‘Do this and live’. The Mosaic falls under the Covenant of Grace; It as well has a ‘do this and live’ essence. However, that which we are called to ‘do’ is entirely different in that it cannot be a republication. Covenants are perpetual; you cannot be under the C of W’s and the C of G simultaneously. Think about that. Can you be under works based righteousness and a grace based righteousness? No. Impossible.
“The Reformation, however, held to the unity of the covenant of grace in its two dispensations while at the same time sharply contrasting law and gospel. According to the Reformed tradition, law and gospel describe two revelations of the divine will. The law is God’s holy, wise, good, and spiritual will, which on account of sin has now been made powerless, fails to justify, and increases sin and condemnation. The gospel, as the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise, has Christ as its content and conveys grace, reconciliation, forgiveness, righteousness, peace, freedom, and life. The law proceeds from God’s holiness, is known from nature, addresses all people, demands perfect righteousness, gives eternal life by works, and condemns. By contrast, the gospel proceeds from God’s grace, is righteousness, produces good works in faith, and acquits. Faith and repentance are always components of gospel, not law. The gospel, therefore, always presupposes the law and differs from it especially in content.” Herman Bavinck (Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 4 442).
You might say, “Scott, what about what the WCF states?”
Lets look at it:
OF THE LAW OF GOD
1. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.
2. 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 towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.
3. Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the new testament.
4. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Neither are the aforementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.
Robert Shaw writes:
The law, as thus inscribed on the heart of the first man, is often styled the law of creation, because it was the will of the sovereign Creator, revealed to the reasonable creature, by impressing it upon his mind and heart at his creation. It is also called the moral law, because it was a revelation of the will of God, as his moral governor, and was the standard and rule of man’s moral actions. Adam was originallyplaced under this law in its natural form, as merely directing and obliging him to perfect obedience. He was brought under it in a covenant form, when an express threatening of death, and a gracious promise of life, was annexed to it; and then a positive precept was added, enjoining him not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, as the test of his obedience to the whole law.–Gen. ii. 16, 17. That this covenant was made with the first man, not as a single person, but as the federal representative of all his natural posterity, has been formerly shown. The law, as invested with a covenant form, is called, by the Apostle Paul, “The law of works” (Rom. iii. 27); that is, the law as a covenant of works. In this form, the law is to be viewed as not only prescribing duty, but as promising life as the reward of obedience, and denouncing death as the punishment of transgression. ….
Section 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.
Upon the fall of man, the law, considered as a covenant of works, was annulled and set aside; but, considered as moral, it continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness. That fair copy of the law which had been inscribed on the heart of the first man in his creation, was, by the fall, greatly defaced, although not totally obliterated. Some faint impressions of it still remain on the minds of all reasonable creatures. Its general principles, such as, that God is to be worshipped, that parents ought to be honoured, that we should do to others what we would reasonably wish that they should do to us–such general principles as these are still, in some degree, engraved on the minds of all men. – Rom. ii. 14,15. But the original edition of the law being greatly obliterated, God was graciously pleased to give a new and complete copy of it. He delivered it to the Israelites from Mount Sinai, with awful solemnity. In this promulgation of the law, he summed it up in ten commandments; and, therefore, it is commonly styled the Law of the Ten Commandments.”
Shaw makes a distinction that most miss..
Are we under grace or law?
CAN YOU BE UNDER ONE AND NOT THE OTHER?
~The unregenerate Jew is under one and not the other.
~Can one be under grace and be under the law?
On the sermon on the mount, Jesus proclaims:
“17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but rto fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least vin the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The apostle Paul proclaims in Romans 3:
“21 But now athe righteousness of God bhas been manifested apart from the law, although cthe Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God dthrough faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. eFor there is no distinction: 23 for fall have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 gand are justified hby his grace as a gift, ithrough the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God jput forward as ka propitiation lby his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in mhis divine forbearance he had passed over nformer sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 oThen what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith papart from works of the law. 29 Or qis God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since rGod is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and sthe uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.”
We uphold the law! Do you see the balance in what has been said here? Although we are under grace and the law surely does not save nor justify, the believer holds to the idea that the law is good.
THE GREAT COMMANDMENT
1 Tim 1:8
8 Now we know that rthe law is good, if one uses it lawfully,
What? Can the law be used unlawfully? How is that? Listen closely to these passages:
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. . . . They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:7, 10). “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).
Last weekend J. Paugh was teaching on Zepheniah and I came across this passage:
To the oppressing city! 2 She has not obeyed His voice, She has not received correction; She has not trusted in the Lord, She has not drawn near to her God. 3 Her princes in her midst are roaring lions; Her judges are evening wolves That leave not a bone till morning. 4 Her prophets are insolent, treacherous people; Her priests have polluted the sanctuary, They have done violence to the law.
Having read all the above, How does the believer understand this balance in light of Christ’s sacrifice and our being justified by faith alone? Weren’t the Judaizer’s in Gal 3 rebuked for returning to the law?
Gal 3 :1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? zIt was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly aportrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: bDid you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by chearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? dHaving begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by1 the flesh? 4 eDid you suffer1 so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and fworks miracles among you do so gby works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as hAbraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
and what about Romans:
4 Likewise, my brothers, gyou also have died hto the law ithrough the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, jin order that we may bear fruit for God.
John Murray writes:
“The believer is not redeemed by obedience to the law, but he is redeemed unto it. He is not free to sin but to righteousness, and righteousness is simply conformity to the law of God. The moral law is the reflection or expression of the moral perfection of God and is therefore the immutable standard of obligation, norm of righteousness and rule of life. To deny the permanent authority of the moral law is to deny the holiness of God. God has declared, ye shall be holy for I am holy.”
So, the law can be used unlawfully. How can it be used unlawfully. By abandoning the work that Christ has accomplished. On one hand, if we say that Christ saves, how can we on the other tell people that they MUST uphold the law? There is a big difference. We must realize that the law does not make one any more righteous than they are right now. However, the law does sanctify. We discussed sanctification in an earlier class.
Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. ~Jeremiah 17:5
“He drew a contrast between the law and the gospel; for those who seek justification through the law imagine that God is indebted to them if they fulfil their duty towards him. They have heard the promise that if a man keeps the law, he shall live (Lev. 18:5). They are rigorous in their law observance and even believe they have accomplished all that God requires and demands. Having such a promise before them, they await their reward, no longer believing that salvation is a free gift, but rather that they have deserved all that God has promised.”
Every Christian wrestles with the question, how does the Old Testament law relate to my life? Is the Old Testament law irrelevant to Christians or is there some sense in which we are still bound by portions of it? As the heresy of antinomianism becomes ever more pervasive in our culture, the need to answer these questions grows increasingly urgent. The Reformation was founded on grace and not upon law. Yet the law of God was not repudiated by the Reformers. John Calvin, for example, wrote what has become known as the “Threefold Use of the Law” in order to show the importance of the law for the Christian life.1
The first purpose of the law is to be a mirror. On the one hand, the law of God reflects and mirrors the perfect righteousness of God. The law tells us much about who God is. Perhaps more important, the law illumines human sinfulness. Augustine wrote, “The law orders, that we, after attempting to do what is ordered, and so feeling our weakness under the law, may learn to implore the help of grace.”2 The law highlights our weakness so that we might seek the strength found in Christ. Here the law acts as a severe schoolmaster who drives us to Christ. A second purpose for the law is the restraint of evil. The law, in and of itself, cannot change human hearts. It can, however, serve to protect the righteous from the unjust. Calvin says this purpose is “by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice.”3 The law allows for a limited measure of justice on this earth, until the last judgment is realized. The third purpose of the law is to reveal what is pleasing to God. As born-again children of God, the law enlightens us as to what is pleasing to our Father, whom we seek to serve. The Christian delights in the law as God Himself delights in it. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). This is the highest function of the law, to serve as an instrument for the people of God to give Him honor and glory. By studying or meditating on the law of God, we attend the school of righteousness. We learn what pleases God and what offends Him. The moral law that God reveals in Scripture is always binding upon us. Our redemption is from the curse of God’s law, not from our duty to obey it. We are justified, not because of our obedience to the law, but in order that we may become obedient to God’s law. To love Christ is to keep His commandments. To love God is to obey His law. Summary 1. The church today has been invaded by antinomianism, which weakens, rejects, or distorts the law of God. 2. The law of God is a mirror of God’s holiness and our unrighteousness. It serves to reveal to us our need of a savior. 3. The law of God is a restraint against sin. 4. The law of God reveals what is pleasing and what is offensive to God. 5. The Christian is to love the law of God and to obey the moral law of God.
Does the references in scripture to ‘the law’ refer to Moses or the Covenant of Work’s?
It references the Covenant of Works vs the Covenant of Grace.
When the apostle says:
1Cor. 9:20 kTo the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became mas one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
Gal. 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, n“Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
Gal. 4:21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?
Gal. 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Here, the apostle is referring to the Covenant of Works. If this distinction is not made, you get all turned around. You may think, ‘Scott, isn’t he referring to the Mosaic law?” That can’t be; the Mosaic is under the covenant of grace, right? If a man is following the Mosaic law, and he follows it to be justified, he is actually following the Covenant of Works and he is just confused, because as I have said, the Mosaic is an administration of the covenant of grace and those following it are following it out of love for God and in pursuit of holiness, not justification.
“The Modern Reformed Thought does not hold to a position that the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant are of the same Substance as the Westminster Divines defined things. They also define Republication of the Covenant of Works a bit differently than how the Divines of the Westminster Assembly used this terminology. Modern Day Reformed Thought holds to a position that the Mosaic Covenant administers both a Covenant of Grace and a Covenant of Works. They hold to what is known as a Minority Position and it is defined in the book also. It is not Westminsterian.”
R. Martin Snyder
In regards to The Covenant of Works and the law as it was presented to Moses on Sinai. The 10 commandments and the C of W’s are not one in the same. The 10 commandments is not a republication of the C of W’s, but an excerpt from within that C of W’s. it is an administration.
When I first mentioned the statement that one cannot be under more than one covenant at a time, I was referring to the C of W’s vs the C of G. The other covenants, i.e. the Noahic, Abrahamic, Davidic, are actual outworkings of the C of G. So, having said all of that, in reality, one cannot be under more than one covenant at a time. You are either under the C of W’s or the C of G. One cancels out the other.
What does the Apostle Paul say? We are not under the law, but under grace? Yes. This does not mean we are not bound by the law. We are. How? because it is a believer’s responsibility to be perfect as He was perfect. We love God’s law-yet, it does not justify and we know that. We cannot be perfect, yet we are perfected in Christ. There is a big difference in our keeping of God’s law because of our love for the Lord and our keeping of the law to earn a right to face the Lord. There is a big difference and the only reason I qualify that here is because you make mention of keeping the law above. This must be understood apart from being under the bondage of the C of W and being compelled under the C of G.
The reformed view is that there are two covenant w/ men, the C of W’s and The C of G. The C of R is between the Godhead. The other covenants that are during the C of G are outworkings, administrations of the C of G.
To be under both is a bit schizophrenic! We either trust in Christ or we trust in ourselves. You’re either under law or under grace.
The Divines say you can’t be under more than one:
Ch 7 of the WCF
2. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.
3. Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.
Nathan PItchford writes:
“What then was it about this new covenant that set it so drastically apart from the Covenant of Works preceding it? Only this, it reiterated the Covenant of Works with one added proviso: God himself would unilaterally provide a federal head who would certainly fulfill its terms. The Serpent had managed to tempt Adam to break the terms of the Covenant, but now God, at his own expense, would send a Seed to represent his people, and overturn the initial victory of the Serpent. This, of course, would involve the suffering of the coming federal head, the second Adam who would represent the whole people â€“ for the Serpent would bruise his heel. Nevertheless, he would win an eternal victory and destroy the Serpent forever”.
Luther shows that you can’t:
“Before Adam’s fall it was not necessary for him to have Christ, because he was righteous and without sin, just as the angels have no need of Christ. If Adam had not fallen, it would not have been necessary for Christ to become our Redeemer. …The argument is true that eternal life is in the given to him who keeps the law without Christ, because whoever keeps the law is righteous. Adam would have entered into the kingdom of heaven without Christ, if he had not fallen. …The conclusion is that Adam alone kept the commandments of God before the Fall, but after the Fall and no one has truly been found who has fulfilled the law (Disputatio de iustificatione, 1536; Luther’s Works, 26.185, 187)”
Belgic Confession (1561) Art. 14: The Creation and Fall of Man, And His Incapacity to Perform What is Truly Good. “We believe that God created man out of the dust of the earth, and made and formed him after his own image and likeness, good, righteous, and holy, capable in all things to will agreeably to the will of God. But being in honor, he understood it not, neither knew his excellency, but willfully subjected himself to sin and consequently to death and the curse, giving ear to the words of the devil. For the commandment of life, which he had received, he transgressed; and by sin separated himself from God, who was his true life; having corrupted his whole nature; whereby he made himself liable to corporal and spiritual death. And being thus become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways, he has lost all his gifts which he had received from God, and retained only small remains thereof, which, however, are sufficient to leave man without excuse; for all the light which is in us is changed unto darkness, as the Scriptures teach us, saying: The light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not apprehended it; where St. John calls men darkness.”
Zacharias Ursinus (1534-83) “What does the divine law teach? The sort of covenant which God began with man, in creation; by which man should have carried himself in serving God; and what God would require from him after beginning with him a new covenant of grace; that is, how and for what [end] man was created by God; and to what state he might be restored; and by which covenant one who has been reconciled to God ought to arrange his life (Larger Catechism  Q. 10)”
Ursinus makes mention of the severing of one to the other…..As does John Ball:
John Ball (1585-1640). “The Covenant of Works, wherein God covenanted with man to give him eternal life upon condition of perfect obedience in his own person. The Covenant of Grace, which God made with man promising eternal life upon condition of believing…This Covenant [of works] God made with man without a Mediator for there needed no no middle person to bring man into favor and friendship with God, because man did bear the image of God, and had not offended: nor to procure acceptance to man’s service because it was pure and spotless. God did love man being made after his Image and promised to accept of his obedience performed freely, willingly, entirely, according to his Commandment. (A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace. London, 1645, 8,9).”
W. Brakel writes:
“The Law of the Ten Commandments: Not a Covenant of Works
Question: Is the law of the Ten Commandments a covenant of works?
Answer: No, we shall demonstrate this to be so for the following reasons:
First, God’s righteousness cannot permit a sinner to enter into a covenant of friendship without a Surety who bears the punishment of the broken covenant on behalf of the sinner. However, the Israelites were sinners and the Covenant of works is without surety. Thus, the law cannot be a covenant of works.
Secondly, the person with whom God would establish a covenant of works, ought to be able to satisfy the demands of the covenant of works, and to obtain life in consequence thereof, for God’s holiness, righteousness, and truth will not permit the establishment of a true covenant upon the basis of a dishonest promise of man…
Thirdly, if the law were a covenant of works, then Israel, and all believers of the New Testament (for they are all under obligation of the law), would simultaneously be in two opposite covenants. They were under the covenant of grace, or else no one could have been saved. “Therefore by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight.” (Rom 3:20). And if the the law were a covenant of works, they would be simultaneously under the covenant of grace and the covenant of works. This is Impossible…
Fourthly, if the law were a covenant of works,man would have had to seek salvation by works, for it is thus declared, “For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.” (Rom 10:5)…
Fifthly, there can be no manifestation of mercy in the covenant of works; however, there is room for mercy in the law of the ten commandments. “but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Ex.20:6). Thus, the law is not the covenant of works.”
Matthew Winzer writes:
“Obviously there is this sense in which all men are under the covenant of works, namely, as it has been broken in Adam; but to say that all men personally and individually stand as Adam under the covenant of works is to make all men undergo their own probation. Charles Hodge (ST, 2:122): “In the obvious sense of the terms, to say that men are still under that covenant, is to say that they are still on probation; that the race did not fall when Adam fell.”
It might also be pointed out that the covenant of works is conceived in reformed theology as a temporary administration. It is not usual to speak of it as the eternal covenant for the simple reason that once it was broken there was no provision for reconciliation. Its purpose was to prepare the way for the covenant of grace, which is more properly considered the everlasting covenant.”
“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 abrogated 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)”
J. Durham writes:
The Covenant of Works and the Law
“Our purpose is not to aim at any great accuracy, nor to multiply questions and digressions, nor to insist in application and use, but plainly and shortly (as we are able) to give you the meaning of the law of God. 1. By holding forth the native duties required in every commandment. 2. The sins which properly oppose and contradict each commandment, that by these we may have some direction and help in duty, and some spur to repentance, at least a furtherance in the work of conviction, that so by it we may be led to Christ Jesus, who is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes (Rom. 10:4), which is the principal intent of this law, as it was given to Israel.
To make way for the exposition, we shall:
I. Lay down some conclusions, which arise from the preface.
II. Give you some ordinary distinctions.
III. Clear and confirm some rules or observations useful for understanding of the whole law.
1. The first conclusion that we take for granted is, that this law (as it is moral) ties even Christians and believers now, as well as of old. Which appears from this, that he who is God the Lawgiver here, Acts 7:38, is the Angel Christ, and it is his word, as is clear, vs. 30-31. As also, the matter of it being connatural to Adam, it did bind before the law was given, and that obligatory force cannot be separated from its nature (though the exercise of right reason in nature be much obliterated since the fall). Therefore Christ was so fa4r from destroying this law in its authority, and Paul so far from making it void by the doctrine of faith, that our Lord tells, he came to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17), and Paul shows that his preaching of faith was to establish it (Rom. 3:31). Which truth being confirmed by them both in their practice and doctrine shows that the breach of the holy law of God is no less sinful to us now, than it was to them before us.
The second conclusion is, that though this law (and obedience thereto) lie on Christians, and be called for from them, yet it is not laid on them as a Covenant of Works, or that by which they are to seek or expect justification. No, but on the contrary, to overturn self-righteousness, by this doctrine, which manifest sin, and of itself works wrath. Which is also clear, in that he is here called, Our God, which he cannot be to sinners but by his grace. And also it appears from the Lord’s owning of this sinful people as his, and his adjoining to this law so many ceremonies and sacrifices with point out and lead to Christ; and from his adding the law on mount Sinai, as a help to the covenant made with Abraham (Gen. 17 – which was a covenant of grace, and was never altered as to its substance), in which the people of Israel, as his seed, was comprehended. Therefore it appears that this was never the Lord’s intent in covenanting thus with his people, that they should expect righteousness and life by the adjoined law, but only that it should be useful in the hand of grace to make the former covenant with Abraham effectual. So then, though we are bound to obey the law, we are not to seek righteousness or life by the duties therein enjoined.
II. These conclusions being laid down as necessary caveats, we shall propose these distinctions for clearing of them.
1. We would distinguish between a law and a covenant, or between this law considered as a law, and as a covenant. A law does necessarily imply no more than: (1) To direct. (2) To command, enforcing that obedience by authority. A covenant does further necessarily imply promises made upon some condition, or threatenings added, if such a condition is not performed. Now, this law may be considered without the consideration of a covenant, for it was free to God to have added or not to have added promises, and the threatenings (upon supposition that the law had been kept) might never have taken effect. But the first two are essential to the law; the last two are made void to believers through Christ. In which sense it is said, that by him we are freed from the law as a covenant, so that believers’ lives depend not on the promises annexed to the law, nor are they in danger by the threatenings adjoined to it. Hence we are to advert, when the covenant of works is spoken of, that by it is not meant this law simply, but the law propounded as the condition of obtaining life by the obedience of it, in which respect it was only so formally given to Adam. This then is the first distinction between the law and the Covenant of Works.
2. [We would] distinguish between these ten commandments simply and strictly taken in the matter of them, and more complexly in their full administration, with preface, promises, sacrifices, etc. In the first sense they are a law having the matter, but not the form of the covenant of works. So Moses by it is said to describe such righteousness as the covenant of works requires, yet he does not propound it as the righteousness they were to rely on, but his scope is to put them to a Mediator, by revealing sin through the law (Rom. 10:3). In the second sense it is a covenant of grace, that same in substance with the covenant made with Abraham, and with the covenant made with believers now, but differing in its administration.
3. [We would] distinguish between God’s intention in giving and the believers in Israel, their making use of this law; and the carnal multitude among that people, their way of receiving it, and corrupt abusing it contrary to the Lord’s mind. In the first sense, it was a covenant of grace. In the second it turned to be a covenant of works to them. And therefore it is that the Lord rejects (as we may see, Isa. 1:13; 66:2-3; Jer. 7:22) their sacrifices and services as not commanded, because rested on by them, to the prejudice of grace, and contrary to the strain and scope of this law complexly considered.”
If one is under a covenant, they subscribe to it’s requirements, i.e. If I subscribe to the C of W’s than that means I am basing my salvation on my works. If I am subscribing to the C of G, that means I am basing my salvation on Christ’s work. One cancels the other out…..Christ had to be under the C of W’s because it was His work under that covenants requirements, that now saves us. Christ is however, the mediator of the C of G. He is executor of sorts; We are recipients of it. He is outside of it, we are in it.
Here’s a good way to understand this: The C of W’s is a car. After the fall, the drive train was rendered useless-the fall was a large speed bump in the road that crushed the drive train. In the giving of the law to Moses, what God does essentially is take the engine out of the Car (the C of W’s) and gives that piece to Moses (the Law) which still works.
I found this on Monergism’s site. I believe it is by Hodge. It describes the 3 reformed views on the C of G:
3. What are the three views as to the parties in the covenant of grace held by Calvinists?
These differences do not in the least involve the truth of any doctrine taught in the Scriptures, but concern only the form in which that truth may be more or less clearly presented.
1st. The first view regards the Covenant of Grace as made by God with elect sinners. God promising to save sinners as such on the condition of faith, they, when converted, promising faith and obedience. Christ in this view is not one of the parties to the covenant, but its Mediator in behalf of his elect, and their surety; i.e., he guarantees that all the conditions demanded of them shall be fulfilled by them through his grace.
2nd. The second view supposes two covenants, the first, called the Covenant of Redemption, formed from eternity between the Father and the Son as parties. The Son promising to obey and suffer, the Father promising to give him a people and to grant them in him all spiritual blessings and eternal life. The second, called the Covenant of Grace, formed by God with the elect as parties, Christ being mediator and surety in behalf of his people.
3rd. As there are two Adams set forth in the Scripture, the one representing the entire race in an economy of nature, and the other representing the whole body of the elect in an economy of grace, it appears more simple to regard as the foundation of all God?s dealings with mankind, of whatever class, only the two great contrasted Covenants of works and of grace. The former made by God at the creation of the world with Adam, as the federal head and representative of all his posterity. Of the promises, conditions, penalty, and issue of that Covenant I have spoken under a former head, see Chapter 17. The latter or Covenant of Grace, formed in the counsels of eternity between the Father and the Son as contracting parties, the Son therein contracting as the Second Adam, representing all his people as their mediator and surety, assuming their place and undertaking all their obligations, under the unsatisfied Covenant of Works, and undertaking to apply to them all the benefits secured by this eternal Covenant of Grace, and to secure the performance upon their part of all those duties which are involved therein. Thus in one aspect this Covenant may be viewed as contracted with the head for the salvation of the members, and in another as contracted with the members in their head and sponsor. For that which is a grace from God is a duty upon our part, as St. Augustine prayed, “Da quod jubes, et jubes quod vis;” and hence results this complex view of the Covenant.
As embraced under one or other of these two great Covenants of works or of grace, every man in the world stands in God’s sight. It is to be remembered, however, that in the several dispensations, or modes of administration of the eternal Covenant of Grace, Christ has contracted various special covenants with his people, as administrative provisions for carrying out the engagements, and for applying to them the benefits of his covenant with the Father. Thus, the covenant of Jehovah (the Second Person, see above, Chapter 9., Question 14) with Noah, the second natural head of the human family, Genesis 9:11,15. The covenant with Abraham, the typical believer, bearing the visible sign and seal of circumcision, and thus founding the visible church as an aggregate of families. This covenant continues to be the charter of the visible church to this day. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord?s supper now attached to it, signifying and sealing the benefits of the Covenant of Grace, to wit, eternal life, faith, repentance, obedience, etc., on God?s part, as matters of promise; on ours as matters of duty, i.e., so far as they are to he performed by ourselves.?Compare Genesis 17:9,13, with Galatians 3:15,17. The national covenant with the Jews, then constituting the visible church, Exodus 34:27. The covenant with David, the type of Christ as Mediatorial King, 2 Samuel 7:15,16; 2 Chronicles 7:18. The universal offers of the gospel during the present dispensation, also, are presented in the form of a covenant. Salvation is offered to all on the condition of faith, but faith is God’s gift secured for and promised to the elect, and when given exercised by them. Every believer, when brought to the knowledge of the truth, enters into a covenant with his Lord, which he renews in all acts of faith and prayer. But these special covenants all and several are provisions for the administration of the eternal Covenant of Grace, and are designed solely to convey the benefits therein secured to those to whom they belong.
For the statements of our standards upon this subject, compare “Confession of Faith,” chapter 7., section 3, with “Larger Catechism,” Questions 30 36.
So, the key here, which IS the reformed view is my car analogy, as well as the fact that you can’t be under more than either the C of W or the C of G at one time. Remember, the other covenants are outworkings or administrations of the C of G.
An excerpt from ‘The Marrow of Modern Divinity’ by Edward Fisher:
“Truly, as it is the covenant of works, you are wholly and altogether delivered and set free from it; you are dead to it, and it is dead to you; and if it be dead to you, then it can do you neither good nor hurt; and if you be dead to it, you can expect neither good nor hurt from it. 1 Consider, man, I pray you, that, as I said before, you are now under another covenant, viz: the covenant of grace; and you cannot be under two covenants at once, neither wholly nor partly;”
In regards to republication: Murray has it right and uses the term correctly, aligning with Westminster. Kline, No. Westminster Seminary? No.
Biblical passages for reflection: Psalm 19:7-11 Psalm 119:9-16 Romans 7:7-25 Romans 8:3-4 1 Corinthians 7:19 Galatians 3:24
What is the difference between sanctification and righteousness?
The terms are very close. We are called to righteousness. In the process of sanctification, we are becoming more like Christ, hence righteous.
Sanctification is a process the believer receives as the Holy Spirit works in them. This is accomplished by the word of God.
When the word is applied to the believers heart, i.e. the mind, sin is illuminated in the light of truth. In that, the believer is able to fight things that God hates.
Righteousness flows directly from God; Men are receptionists of God’s grace; through this process we are sanctified and are becoming righteous. It is a now and not yet thing; In glory we will be perfectly righteous.
Antinomianism vs legalism-two items that are worthy of discussing in another paper.
“God’s gracious acceptance of us does not end our obligation to obey him; it sets it on a new footing. No longer is God’s law a threatening, confining burden. For the will of God now confronts us as a law of liberty – an obligation we discharge in the joyful knowledge that God has both “liberated” us from the penalty of sin and given us, in his Spirit, the power to obey his will.” – Douglas Moo