Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Covenantal Nature of Christianity (Part1)


1. The Gospel cannot be properly understood unless it is viewed within a covenantal frame.

Hebrews declares Christ to be the mediator and guarantor of the covenant between God and His elect (Heb. 7:22; 8:6). The Gospel itself is an invitation to enjoy a covenant relationship with God. The Church is the covenant community. God's gifts to the Church, such as the preaching of the Word, pastoral care and discipline, the administration of the sacraments, these are all sign, seals, and instruments of the covenant through which the covenant blessings flow to those who believe.

The Bible is the book of the covenant. The preaching of the Word reaffirms to us God's gracious promise that He will be our God and we will be His people. Christ himself, when He instituted the Lord's Table, described His expiatory sacrifice as the fulfillment of the protoevangelion: This is the New Testament (i.e., covenant) in my blood. When Adam sinned and thus violated the covenant of works, God established the covenant of grace by promising a Savior, of the seed of the woman and then demonstrated what this meant by killing animals (showing a substitutionary sacrifice for their sin) and by clothing them in the skins of these sacrificed animals (showing the imputed righteousness of God's elect).

In order to be truly mobile, our bodies require a skeleton. In much the same way, Scripture has an internal framework upon which everything is connected. This internal structure is Covenant. That is why we will never understand the Gospel until we view it covenantally.

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