Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Real Turretin on: The Covenant at Sinai

The Reformed Reader provides some helpful comments from the real Turretin on the covenant given at Sinai, which was actually a new administration of the one and only covenant of grace (link).

4 comments:

The Outcast Who Can't Be Named said...

This is not a helpful way of saying it. It was a republication for the Second Adam to fulfill. Jesus fulfilled what the first Adam failed to fulfill. You don't think Jesus' active obedience was in not eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil do you? I mean, God revealed the fuller extent of the covenant of works on Sinai. That covenant of works, by the way, had always been in effect.

The Old Testament nation and people of Israel are unique in God's plan of redemption, in the same way as Adam was unique. Israel was a type for the Messiah. Jesus' life mirrors the history of Israel to make us see this. The republication of the covenant of works was for Israel to fulfill for salvation. Israel culminated in the birth of the Messiah. The advent of Jesus Christ. He could fulfill it.

There is only one way to be saved: works. Either our own, or Jesus', appropriated by faith. The latter is the covenant of grace.

I am mystified by the inability of Reformed Christains to understand this subject.

Turretinfan said...

TOWCBNS,

a) Cute SN.

"This is not a helpful way of saying it. It was a republication for the Second Adam to fulfill. Jesus fulfilled what the first Adam failed to fulfill. You don't think Jesus' active obedience was in not eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil do you?"

b) Jesus' active obedience was in perfect obedience to the moral law.

"I mean, God revealed the fuller extent of the covenant of works on Sinai. That covenant of works, by the way, had always been in effect."

c) God revealed more precisely the boundaries of the moral law, but more significantly God pointed out the way of escape from the condemnation of the law.

"The Old Testament nation and people of Israel are unique in God's plan of redemption, in the same way as Adam was unique."

d) No. They were unique, but not in the same way as Adam.

"Israel was a type for the Messiah. "

e) Israel, the man, certainly was a type of the Messiah as to various aspects of his life. Israel the nation was - at least mostly - a type of the elect: the people of the Messiah.

"Jesus' life mirrors the history of Israel to make us see this."

f) He is born in Canaan, brought into and back from Egypt, died at Jerusalem, and then was brought back to life there. That's a very, very vague similarity to Israel's history.

"The republication of the covenant of works was for Israel to fulfill for salvation. Israel culminated in the birth of the Messiah. The advent of Jesus Christ. He could fulfill it."

g) No, the republication was to make Israel aware of Israel's acute inability to fulfill it: to point Israel to faith in the coming Messiah.

"There is only one way to be saved: works. Either our own, or Jesus', appropriated by faith. The latter is the covenant of grace."

h) Not exactly. Works are a way to avoid judgment, but it is not salvation in the case of one who perfectly obeys the law of God. It is not salvation, because salvation requires a predicament. The only way to be saved, is by faith in Christ: which is - to be sure - an appropriation by faith of the works of Christ.

"I am mystified by the inability of Reformed Christains to understand this subject."

i) I'm not sure who you are, or how you think Reformed Christians precisely disagree with you on this.

-Turretinfan

The Outcast Who Can't Be Named said...

The parallel of the two Adams is the spine of Classical Covenant - Federal - Theology. Jesus fulfilled what Adam failed to fulfill. Of course the law given on Sinai was different for the human beings that made up national Israel - they were fallen human beings unable to save themselves by works - but to point out that national Israel was a type of Jesus (the parallels are more than your list, by the way - 40 years of temptation in the desert, 40 days in the desert tempted by the devil; God on Sinai, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount) is just to say national Israel was unique in God's plan just as Adam was unique in God's plan (not in exactly the same way, that was not my point, but that Adam and national Israel are unique in God's plan and thus can't be used as normative for fallen man (unregenerate fallen man or regenerate fallen man) hence one doesn't have to get all worked up about suggesting the Mosaic Covenant was a covenant of works, etc., etc. National Israel not only were given the Oracles of God, but they existed to keep pure the royal line from Adam to Jesus, which they did. They also were used by God to enact an historical drama of types and examples and so on. A unique role in God's plan.

If people can't sort out that the Mosaic Covenant was a covnenat of works for Jesus to fulfill, making it a part of the ongoing Covenant of Grace for fallen man then so be it, but it's not a difficult thing to grasp and all the 'concern' among some (not to mention the FV types who exploit the difficulty) regarding calling the Mosaic Covenant a covenant of works is not helpful.

As individual human beings they - Old Testament believers - had to have faith in the coming Messiah just as we have to have faith in the already come Messiah for salvation.

Turretinfan said...

TOWCBN,

It seems to me that you may be interacting only with my extremely concise summary above, and not with the full scope of Turretin's comments, as discussed at the link I provided.

I think Turretin explained that it is the covenant of grace clothed with the covenant of works. The idea being that the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to grace.

I'm not sure why you would deny that the covenant of grace was republished by Moses in this form, with a heavy emphasis on the need for repentance.

-TurretinFan