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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary

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Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

How are we to worship God? What is the Regulative Principle? Is it taught in the Scriptures? What are the elements of worship? What are circumstances? Are we only to sing the Psalms? Can we use musical instruments in public worship? 

Is there a specific day of worship? What is the Sabbath? Which day is it? When was it first instituted? How is it that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath? Where does Scripture teach the change of the day? What about Romans 14:5-6; Galatians 4:9-11; Colossians 2:16-17? Don’t these passages teach the abrogation of the Sabbath? How is the Sabbath to be kept?


§1 The Regulative Principle Of Worship

  1. The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. 1 But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. 2
    1. Jer. 10:7; Mark 12:33[1]
    2. Gen. 4:1-5; Exod. 20:4-6; Matt. 15:3, 8-9; 2 Kings 16:10-18; Lev. 10:1-3; Deut. 17:3; 4:2; 12:29-32; Josh. 1:7; 23:6-8; Matt. 15:13; Col. 2:20-23; 2 Tim. 3:15-17

The light of nature or natural revelation as we call it shows that there is a God, Who hath lordship and sovereignty over all (Rom. 1:19-23). That there is a God, no one will be able to deny when they stand before God. Both creation and the Creator testify to God. This is basic Romans 1. Furthermore, this God is just, good and doth good unto all (Ps. 145:9) as evidenced by the things which we have and receive. Therefore, He is to be worshiped and served with the whole of our being. Yet He is not to be worshiped as we like. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by Himself (Ex. 20:4-6; Deut. 4:2; 12:29-32). It is God Who determines how He is to be worshiped. This acceptable way is limited by His revealed will, i.e., Holy Scripture. The unacceptable way of worshipping God as according to the imagination and devices of men (Acts 17:29; Col. 2:23), the suggestions of Satanvisible representations (Ex. 20:4-6) and any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures (Lev. 10:1-3) is abominable to God and He is not pleased with it. God is not to be worshiped as we think He would like to be worship. Why should we think of ways of worshipping Him when He has revealed how He desires to be worshiped? Neither is He to be worshiped through or by any visible representations. This excludes all images and statues of the persons of the Godhead as well as the saints who according to Roman Catholic theology can act as intercessors between us and God/Jesus. The most important aspect of what is called the Regulative Principle of Worship is expressed in the last clause: any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. Not only is He to be worshiped according to His revealed will, but He is not to be worshiped through that which He has not revealed. If it is not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures, it should not be an element of His worship. If it is prescribed in the Holy Scriptures, it should.


There Is A God

Creation testifies to everyone w...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 19: Of the Law of God - Commentary

...which are right based on God’s being and character. They reflect His righteousness and holiness, therefore they are the standard. They are a perfect rule of what is right and what is contrary to them, is wrong and sinful. Before the Fall, they were a perfect standard and after the Fall, they remain a perfect standard of righteousness. The Fall did not change the perfection, holiness and moral excellence of God, therefore, the moral law was also not changed. The Decalogue is certainly moral law that reflects God’s perfect character. Nine of the Ten Commandments are self-evident and obvious, there is only one positive precept which is also moral and part ceremonial and that is the Sabbath (see for more chapter 22 on the question of the Christian Sabbath).

The Decalogue was not something new given to Israel, but rather it was the essence of the covenant with Israel (e.g., Ex. 34:28; Deut. 4:13) and it was given so that there would be no misunderstanding through weakened conscience about what God’s moral law was. That this was the case is seen in the general knowledge of the Ten Commandments prior to Sinai in the Pentateuch.

The First and Second Commandments Before Moses

The first commandment declares the exclusivity of Yahweh as the only God to be worshiped and adored (Ex. 20:3) and the second commandment declares how he should be worshiped and also forbids idolatry (Ex. 20:4-6). The first and second commandments are very similar to each other. This was obvious to Adam and Eve as they had perfect knowledge of God prior to the Fall wherein God would walk with them in the Garden. They knew no other God, but the LORD. Cain and Abel both worshiped and knew God, but one was accepted and the other denied. Cain worshiped God, but he broke the second commandment by not worshiping Him rightly (see here for chapter 22 on the Regulative Principle of Worship). He brought that which the Lord had not commanded or that which was not pleasing as a sacrifice to Him and was rejected.

When we read of the patriarchs, we see them also only devoting themselves and worshiping the one true God. When Abraham was called by God, he was an idolater as it was common in his day (Josh. 24:2), but the Lord called and he obeyed. We nowhere read of Abraham having any other god, but rather he held fast to the true God even to the point of offering his own son. He is the One whom Abraham declares to be the judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25) and who demands from Abraham that he walk blamelessly before Him (Gen. 17:1).

Jacob, when he fled from Laban, unknown to him Rachel, his beloved wife had taken the idols of her father with her (Gen. 31:19). When Laban finds out that Jacob along with his family had fled and the household gods were no more, pursued Jacob and found him. When asked why did Jacob steal Laban’s gods, Jacob’s response was a clear affirmation of his devotion to the only one God. He said, “Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live” (Gen. 31:32). Here are two sins coupled together: one is theft and the other idolatry. Jacob was ready to put to death the person who had the idols. It was a grievous sin to him because he knew the true God who demands exclusivity from His people.

When God the LORD called Jacob to go to Bethel and dwell there, Jacob follows the call of God with a call to his people to “Put away the foreign gods that are among [them]” (Gen. 35:2). Jacob knew that God is a God Who is jealous and wants His people to be obedient only t...


A Review Of Robert Martin's The Christian Sabbath

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Dr. Robert Paul Martin

The Christian Sabbath

Its Redemptive-Historical Foundation, Present Obligation, and Practical Observance

"A masterpiece and a biblically grounded book" is how I would describe this amazing work. He engaged with those with whom he disagrees. He demonstrate a spirit of love and respect toward those with whom he disagrees. The tone is never harsh. 

He grounds the Sabbath in Creation, goes to every major text in the Old Testament concerning the Sabbath. Demonstrates his ability in linguistics and in his knowledge of various interpretations of some texts. The footnotes are just great!

He then goes on to make a case for Sabbath observance under the New Covenant, but he does this by first going to major texts on the abiding validity of the Law in the New Covenant. He goes on to demonstrate our Lord's teaching on the Sabbath. He never did abrogated it, but cleared it from Pharisaic legalism. He has two chapters on works of piety and necessity and works of mercy.

He then moves to consider four misused texts: Rom 14:5-6; Gal 4:9-11; Eph 2:14-15; Col 2:16. He makes a case that none of these texts speak of the abrogation of the moral duty of observing one day out of seven as a Sabbath already established at Creation. He then moves on to consider Hebrews 4:9 wherein we are clearly told that there is still, for the New Covenant people of God, an obligation of Sabbath-keeping.

Until now he had not made a case for the change of the day. His book was about the Christian Sabbath, but what he argued for until now was the seventh-day Sabbath. To be sure, he made passing remarks on the change of the day. But he treats the change of the day in two chapters. The first one is dedicated to "the Apostolic Witness" where he examines the resurrection and the resurrection appearances as the prime reason for the change of the day, the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), the gathering of the church on the first day to break bread and have Paul preached to them (Acts 20:7), the gathering of alms on the first day (1Cor 16:1-2) and finally, the Lord's Day (Rev 1:10). In my opinion, he makes a good case for the change of the day from these passages and also from his treatment of the abiding Sabbath from Hebrews 4:9.

Then he moves to the post-apostolic testimony to the Lord's Day. He notes that often the word Sabbath was retrained for the Jewish Sabbath and was not frequently used for Sunday. Rather, from the earliest times, the expression "the Lord's Day" was used for the first day of the week on which Christ rose.

Finally, he moves on in the last part (3) to teach us how we should observe the Sabbath. He is careful in his suggestions and what He may say and deduce from God's Word. His desire is not to bind consciences where God has not bound them, but carefully give guidelines and suggestions.

Overall, I very much enjoyed reading this book and I used it a lot in my own study for the 1689 Baptist Confession's chapter 22 on the Sabbath (sections 7-8). It is detailed, it is biblical and it is written in a loving and respectful tone. What more can we expect? Get it and read it already!

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A Short Review of Beckwith's & Stott's This Is The Day

...rong>The Biblical Doctrine of the Christian Sunday in Its Jewish and Early Church Setting

by Roger T. Beckwith and Wilfrid Stott

A well researched book by two readable authors. Makes a convincing and honest case from both the Holy Scriptures as well as the first four centuries from Christian history.

The biblical case is short and to the point. I love the fact there is always reference back to what he has said or established on earlier pages. Roger Beckwith goes on to demonstrate that the Sabbath was a creation ordinance and as such it is not connected with the Fall. Then he goes on to survey the passages speaking about the Sabbath. Very interesting was chapter 4 where he showed continuities between the Jewish Sabbath and the Lord's Day (the Christian Sabbath). He makes the case that the Lord's Day is the day of the Lord Christ, the day on which He rose and which we keep to celebrate His resurrection. The first part was very well written and argued, although I would have liked it to be longer and more extensive, but oh well!

The second part has 9 chapters devoted to a historical study about the Sabbath and the Lord's Day. It is very interesting to many how many early references there are to the Christian observance of the Lord's Day as the day of worship. The New Testament has a handful of passages speaking about the Lord's Day (first day of the week), but apparently, in the mind of the early Christians, these passages were a firm foundation to show them that Sunday was the day of worship, the kyriake hemera! Dr. Stott makes a good survey of various pre-400 AD writings in these chapters. There are things which the Fathers believed that I don't agree with, neither do Beckwith nor Stott. But they are honest to lay out their views honestly and clearly. For example, although the observance of the Lord's Day is directly connected to the Fourth Commandment in the mind of the Christian Sabbatarian, the early Fathers, according to Stott, do not make a direct connection with it. As Christian Sabbatarians we believe that the Sabbath was instituted in the Garden and given to Adam to keep, but the Fathers did not agree or say that Adam had to keep a Sabbath, but some of them connected it with the existence of sin (i.e. trouble, sin in our lives and the need for rest). Stott lays these views out honestly and makes some observations on them. It is still amazing to me how much Christians wrote and said about the Lord's Day, although there were but a handful of passages on it in the New Testament. It goes to show that what is insignificant in our modern eyes, was more than enough for the early church. It was enough that the Lord Christ rose on the Lord's Day, for the Lord's Day to be considered the day of rest and worship--a holy day.

His chapter on Eusebius of Caesarea (8) is very interesting. He tries to demonstrate that Eusebius tried to systematize and summarize the doctrines about the Lord's Day and the Sabbath which the Fathers taught. He was the systemizer of the Christian Sunday. He speaks of the Lord transferring the feast of the Sabbath to the first day and so on. Clearly connecting the Lord's Day with the Sabbath.

Overall, a very good and well argued book. I will certainly go back to it and check some stuff again!

Seeing that this book was publishe

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

... together in particular societies, or churches. Which means that it is the duty of Christians to join local churches and walk together with other brothers and sisters. For which purposes? For their mutual edification which cannot come if we are on our own and are not part of a local body of Christ’s church. And most importantly, the due performance of that public worship, which He requireth of them in the world. Worship on the Lord’s Day is both private as well as public (see chapter 22:8). But those who are not part of a local church cannot obey the command of God concerning public worship on the Sabbath day and are neglecting to meet together (Heb. 10:25).


While the first four paragraphs focused on the invisible church and attention was given to its visible manifestation in paragraph 2, the following paragraphs concern themselves specifically with the order of the church. A word which is sometimes used in this respect is polity. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives two definitions for polity: (1) “something (such as a country or state) that has a government : a politically organized unit” and (2) “a form of government”[28]. Polity, then, has to do with government, i.e., how things are managed. Since we are speaking of the church then polity has to do with church government and how the church is organized. In the words of Mark Dever, “Polity, then, is management, organization, government, and structures of authority.”[29] This is thus the introductory paragraph for the rest of the chapter which touches upon different aspects of the local church on earth.

He calls by His Word and Spirit

The Lord Jesus is the Head of the church and He is her only Head. As Head, He is its Ruler. He gathers His people to Himself. A church, as the Greek word indicates is an assembly of people. John Dagg explains, “The Greek word ἐκκλησία denotes an assembly; and, in this particular, differs from the English word church, which is often used to signify the house in which men assemble for religious worship.”[30] The church is the assembly of God’s redeemed. The word congregation or assembly is a better fit for translation than the word church, which most often denotes the building in our society. We’ve argued in paragraph 2 that local churches should be composed of those who profess the true faith and live in a way consistent with that profession. But whom does He call to congregate? He calls those whom He died for to Himself. We’ve noted the Confessional use of the “Word and Spirit” formula in chapter 13:1

We must understand and believe that the church is the creation of Jesus Christ. It belongs to Him. It is His wife. He takes the initiative to call her to Himself. The way in which He calls her is through His Word and Spirit. Which word is this? It is the word of the gospel which creates spiritual life. Peter speaks of this precious word when he says, “you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God...this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Pet. 1:23, 25). God’s word, in the beginning, created the universe, and God’s word has recreated us spiritually. The apostle Paul says, ‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor. 4:6). He compares the creation of the world with the “new creation” of the believer (2 Cor. 5:17). The preached Word is calle...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...nto Life and Salvation
  • Of Good Works
  • Of the Perseveraance of the Saints
  • Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation
  • Of the Law of God
  • Of the Gospel and the Extent of Grace thereof
  • Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
  • Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day
  • Of Lawful Oaths and Vows
  • Of the Civil Magistrate
  • Of Marriage
  • Of the Church
  • Of the Communion of Saints
  • Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
  • Of Baptism
  • Of the Lord’s Supper
  • Of the State of Man after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead
  • Of the Last Judgement
  • (More) Scriptural references have been added from Sam Waldron’s excellent Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.


    Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures [Return] [Commentary]

    1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience 1, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable 2; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation 3. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church 4; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary 5, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased. 6
      1. Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29; Eph. 2:20; 2 Tim. 3:15-17
      2. Ps. 19:1-3; Rom. 1:19-21, 32; 2:12a, 14-15
      3. Ps. 19:1-3 with vv. 7-11; Rom. 1:19-21; 2:12a, 14-15 with 1:16-17; and 3:21
      4. Heb. 1:1-2a
      5. Prov. 22:19-21; Luke 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 3:1; Deut. 17:18ff; 31:9ff, 19ff; 1 Cor. 15:1; 2 Thess. 2:1-2, 15; 3:17; Rom. 1:8-15; Gal. 4:20; 6:11; 1 Tim. 3:14ff; Rev. 1:9, 19; 2:1 etc.; Rom. 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19-21
      6. Heb. 1:1-2a; Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:7-8; Eph. 2:20
    2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these: 
      OF THE OLD TESTAMENT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
      Genesis Matthew
      Exodus Mark
      Leviticus Luke
      Numbers John
      Deuteronomy Paul’s Epistle to the Romans
      Joshua  I Corinthians & II Corinthians
      Judges Galatians
      Ruth Ephesians
      I Samuel & II Samuel Philippians
      I Kings & II Kings Colossians
      I Chronicles, II Chronicles I Thessalonians & II Thessalonians
      Ezra I Timothy & II Timothy
      Nehemiah To Titus
      Esther To Philemon
      Job The Epistle to the Hebrews
      Psalms Epistle of James
      Proverbs The first and second Epistles of Peter
      Ecclesiastes The first, second, and third Epistles of John
      The Song of Solomen The Epistle of Jude
      Isaiah The Revelation
      Jeremiah  
      Lamentations  
      Ezekiel  
      Daniel  
      Hosea  
      Joel  
      Amos  
      Obadiah  
      Jonah  
      Micah  
      Nahum  
      Habakkuk  
      Zephaniah  
      Haggai  
      Zechariah  
      Malachi   

            All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life. 1

    1. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Script...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 4: Of Creation - Commentary

    ...at there is no need for the sun for there to be a day. Why? Because a day constitutes of the earth rotating around its axis. Second, there was already light made on day 1.[2]

    The way the Bible refers back to the creation week is also confirming for the length of days. From Mount Sinai, the LORD, Yahweh the Creator Himself, commands His people to pattern their workweek after the work that He did in the Creation.

    Exod. 20:9-11 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (cf. Ex. 31:17)

    I think that the Israelites had a pretty good idea of how long a day was. They were not told to work for long ages, and then rest for a long age. No. They were told to work six regular days and rest the 7th. Pretty straightforward. They are to copy the pattern of God’s work-week.

    Another point is that it has been observed that whenever a numeral is attached to a day in the Old Testament, it always means a regular day. Thus we have the seventh day in a lot of places, for example. All these days refer to simple 24 hour days and not anything longer. The argument that the Day of the Lord is perhaps longer than a regular day, and thus in this way, perhaps the days of Genesis 1 are longer than regular days will not work here. The Day of the Lord is not preceded by a number, i.e., the first day or the sixth day. Second, we do not deny non-literal uses of the word “day” in the Bible, but we deny the non-literal use of the word day in Genesis 1 because of the context and the few points mentioned above. This is enough for me to be confirmed in the straightforward reading as the true history of the Creation.

    What Was Created Each Day?

    Reading the Genesis account, we come up with the following things that were created:

    Day Created
    Day 1 Earth, space, and light out of darkness
    Day 2 The firmament, diving the waters and creating the atmosphere
    Day 3 Dry land and vegetation (grass, herbs and seeds, trees and fruit)
    Day 4 Sun, moon, and stars; day and night
    Day 5 Fish in the waters and birds in the sky
    Day 6 Land animals, man as male and female in the image of God
    Day 7 The Sabbath day

    It is also interesting to notice the framework used in the days. God creates the realms and then populates them. This is a valid and good observation to see the order in God’s creation work, but some people use this insight to suggest that the days are not consecutive or not normal days, which is unwarranted.

    Day 1: God creates the light and space Day 4: God creates the sun, moon, and stars
    Day 2: God separates the water from the sky Day 5: God creates fish and birds
    Day 3: God separates the sea from the land Day 6: God creates land animals and man
    Day 7: The Sabbath Day

    Age Of The Earth

    This is a more tricky and hotly debated subject than the days of Genesis. I’m a Young Earth Creationist, thus I do believe the Earth to be young ...


    Welcome To The Staunch Calvinist

    ..., the abiding moral law under the New Covenant in the OT prophecy and the NT, Threefold Uses of the Law, The Law and the Gospel)
  • Of The Gospel, And Of The Extent Of The Grace Thereof
  • Of Christian Liberty And Liberty of Conscience
  • Of Religious Worship And the Sabbath Day (A case for the Regulative Principle of Worship and the Christian Sabbath)
  • Of Lawful Oaths And Vows
  • Of The Civil Magistrate
  • Of Marriage
  • Of The Church
  • Of the Communion of Saints
  • Of Baptism And The Lord's Supper
  • Of Baptism
  • Of The Lord's Supper
  • Of The State Of Man After Death And Of The Resurrection Of The Dead (Intermediate State Hades, Sheol, Heaven; A Case for Amillennial Eschatology; critique of Premillennialism)
  • Of The Last Judgment (Endless punishment in Hell contra Annihilationism)
  • ...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary

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    Dispensational Problems

    In addition to the problems with Historic Premillennialism, which are common with Dispensationalism, I see the following problems with this system.

    It is obviously a recent innovation starting with John Nelson Darby in the 1830s and is certainly not confessional. Dispensationalists reject Covenant Theology (chapter 7), the abiding validity of the moral Law of God (chapter 19), the Christian Sabbath (chapter 22), and the eschatology of the Confession (chapter 31) among other things. But the biblical problems are greater.

    Two Peoples Of God

    First of all, it’s a novel idea that the Church and Israel are a separate people of God. From the earliest times of the Church, the Church saw itself as coming in place of Israel as the people of God. Dispensationalists derogatorily refer to this as Replacement Theology. Call it what you want, the Scriptures teach that the Church, Jewish and Gentile believers, are the Israel of God and the history of Christian theology up to Darby proves this. If you would read the old commentators, they would always refer to the Old Testament prophecies of restoration and prosperity as relating to the Church as the singular people of God. No doubt, a lot of the commentators saw also a latter-day restoration of Israel (e.g., John Gill does this very often), but not as a separate people of God. But there came a change with the prominence of Dispensationalism, and the promises of God to His Church were taken away and given to an earthly and fleshly people, i.e., only to physical descendants of Abraham. They contended that we must separate Israel and the Church. They are not one people, but two different peoples of God, one heavenly and the other earthly with two separate plans. To defend this novel teaching, Dispensationalists do not allow the New Testament to interpret the Old. It is our belief that the New Testament should take precedence over the Old, not because the Old was not inspired or the New is more inspired. Rather, it is our belief that there is a greater clarity in the New Testament than in the Old. The Old was filled with types and shadows, but in the New, we have the reality in Christ. Moreover, the interpretation of the apostles of the Old Testament is the correct interpretation of the Old Testament, not the “literal” interpretation of Dispensationalists. Let me give you a few examples.

    In Galatians 3, the apostle Paul interprets the Abrahamic Covenant to have had promises made to Abraham to his singular Offspring who is Christ (Gal. 3:16). Then he goes on to say that “if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29). Also,

    Gal. 3:7-9 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

    It is the teaching of Dispensationalism that the Abrahamic Covenant forms the basis that Israel must remain as the people of God and is always entitled to the Promised Land, and that Israel has not yet attained to the (complete) fulfillment of that promise. But this is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture that all the promises were indeed fulfilled to Israel (e.g., Josh. 21:43-45) which were made to the physical seed. Yet, as we saw, ...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary

    ... to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

    Those who accept circumcision as a condition of our Christianity are seeking to be justified by the law of Moses. In fact, our beloved Lord Jesus said:

    John 7:22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.

    The Lord Jesus says and knows that circumcision was given to Abraham, but He also sees it as interconnected with Moses and the Law that God delivered through him. The last text is found in Romans 2.

    Rom. 2:25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.

    It doesn’t matter if you are circumcised and don’t care about God and His Law. It is as if you were not circumcised. Circumcision only matters if you keep the law, which is impossible for fallen man to do. Even in the text of the Old Testament in some instances, we see a connection between these two covenants (e.g., Deut. 7:11-12). The promises which Israel in the Exodus inherited were given by the Abrahamic Covenant, but the Mosaic Covenant conditioned the enjoyment of these promises upon the obedience of Israel as a people.

    Galatians 3 – The Interpretation of the Abrahamic Covenant

    The go-to text for understanding the higher purpose and the typological nature of the Abrahamic Covenant is Galatians 3. There, we learn very important things about interpreting and understanding the Abrahamic Covenant in light of Christ’s coming.

    Gal. 3:13-19 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. 19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

    Let’s try to unpack and understand what Paul is saying here.

    The Blessing of Abraham

    Christ has freed, purchased and redeemed us from the curse of the law, for the purpose that the blessing of Abraham might come to us. What is the blessing of Abraham? The blessing of Abraham has been mentioned above and that is, justification by faith:

    Gal. 3:5-9 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In...