I heard a sermon yesterday on Ecclesiastes 8:1-9. Verse 2 says I say, “Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God. (NASB) The sermon observed that this passage was about seeing wisdom in the world and that one primary effect of having wisdom is submission to authority. If you go to the…
The following is from Douglas Moo’s NIV Application Commentary on Romans. Where is the exception? As we noted above, the key question most of us ask when we come to Romans 13 is not “What does it mean?” but “Where is the exception?” Since it is taught so consistently in Scripture, we do not have…
Galatians 3:16 is not an easy verse to understand. It has stumped many, many theologians. Paul’s argument, however, is actually very simple. He is making a distinction between the seed in Genesis 13:15 & 17:8 and the seed in Genesis 22:18. And he is, thereby, making a distinction between the promise made to the seed in 13:15 and 17:8 and the promise made to the seed in Genesis 22:18. The promise that in Abraham’s offspring (singular) all nations of the earth shall be blessed (note Gal 3:8) is different from the promise that Abraham’s offspring (plural) will inherit the land of Canaan. To see this argued and explained more fully, please see here.
The following was an exchange with Brad Mason (Heart & Mouth blog). I thought it was useful in showing 1) that the paedobaptist has no coherent, logical explanation for how Paul could possibly be making an argument from the text of Genesis, and 2) that their argument that all Abrahamic promises were only made to Christ contradicts their claim that the Abrahamic promises were made to Abraham’s children, and thus to ours. Note Paul’s logic:
- P1 The “offspring” in the text under discussion cannot mean both offspring plural and offspring singular (law of contradiction & law of excluded middle).
- P2 The text says offspring singular.
- C Therefore the text does not say offspring plural.
The paedobaptist simply cannot affirm Paul’s syllogism (as we see below).
I did my best to format this to make it readable.
What is Paul denying in v16? “It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many,”
…was to Christ. That was a premise of my argument. If that’s where you want to land, we are already there. The difficulty of how Paul ….
…uses a singular collective term to get there is just another discussion. We’re already there!
I suppose we could have this same discussion from Rom 4 which uses plural seed throughout and to much the same end.
None of that is in Galatians, nor does Paul conclude that from his arguments, nor is that what he is arguing for. You have imported all …
…of that into the text. Paul is making a specific argument in those chapters, and never says any of that. It is about Jew & Gentile and…
…the place and purpose of the Law, explicitly.
At the very least, you cannot say you understand Paul’s argument if you come to completely different conclusions than does Paul.
1. Since you have no explanation of Paul’s line of argumentation regarding plural vs singular, you have no leg to stand on brother.
2. This is the only logical and grammatically possible explanation for Paul’s argument that has been offered
3. The OT scholars I linked to who make this argument were not importing 1689 Fed. They were just reading the text.
4. All of what I said is in Galatians, and yes Paul does conclude that (see 4:21-31). Thank you for the exchange. It has been useful.
In Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology and Biblical Theology (found in the volume Recovering a Covenantal Heritage), Micah and Samuel Renihan explain New Covenant union with Christ.
Jesus Christ has been and always will be the federal head of the covenant of grace/New Covenant. To be federally united to him you must be 1) promised to him outside of time in the covenant of redemption and 2) brought into union with him in time by the Holy Spirit.
The Son was the one elected by the Father to win the redemption of the elect. All of this is accomplished in the New Covenant, which is the historical climax of the covenant of grace. To be in the covenant of grace/New Covenant, you must be united to Christ, its federal head.17
Since the covenant of grace is the retro-active application of the New Covenant, if we posit that Christ is the mediator of the covenant of grace, we can only understand the terms of his role as mediator, and our relation to him as such, through the way that he is presented in the New Covenant. That Christ is the mediator of the covenant of grace, the New Covenant, no Reformed theologian denies. Thus, in line with New Testament doctrine, the only way to be under Christ’s federal headship is to be united to him by the Holy Spirit. This union finds its roots outside of time as we are chosen in Christ in the covenant of redemption and is applied to the elect in time by the Spirit, begun in effectual calling and consummated in the faith of the believer. Apart from saving faith there can be no union with Christ, because the Spirit does not indwell any except the elect, those who have been justified by faith.18 Christ is the one and only federal head of the covenant of grace, the New Covenant. Federal headship is never mediate, thus none can enter the covenant other than those who are directly or immediately under his federal headship by the Holy Spirit.19
17 Cf. WLC 57-59.
18 Cf. Acts 2:38, Eph. 1:13.
19 Cf. WLC 65-69.
To bring this to a conclusion, a right understanding of the membership of the covenant of grace is founded on the covenant of redemption and the New Covenant. Those who are in the covenant of grace are those who were promised to the Son by the Father in the covenant of redemption, won by the Son’s life, death, and resurrection, and sealed by the Holy Spirit, uniting them to their federal head, Jesus Christ. Laying claim to Christ and his benefits is a serious matter, and as Scripture shows, only those who have saving faith can truly make that claim. There is no external federal relation to Jesus Christ. In terms of membership or qualification, there are no distinctions in the body of Christ, that is, the church. All are sons of God through faith, under one head, indwelt by one Spirit. “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom. 8:9). In spite of the false professions, unbelief, and lies of apostates, God knows his own, Christ knows his sheep, and the Spirit of adoption knows the children of God.26 The covenant people of God are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9). The glorious New Covenant does not look to the Old for its pattern and people but stands on the eternal foundation of the covenant of redemption and comes to the elect as a covenant of grace, purchased, mediated, and eternally kept by “our great God and savior Jesus Christ who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people” (Titus 2:14).
26 Cf. 2 Tim. 2:19, John 10:27, Matt. 7:15-23, Rom. 8:16.