What Is Covenant Theology? The Best Bible Interpretation I Know- Episode 25
Teaching Thursdays With Kevin Morris
What Is Covenant Theology? The best Bible interpretation I know. Next to dispensationalism, covenant theology is the most popular Bible interpretation. But why do I prefer it and what makes it better than any other method of reading and understanding the Bible? Find out today on Teaching Thursdays, a series from the Better Bible Reading Podcast with Kevin Morris!
The Starting Point of Covenant Theology is Our View of God.
When the Bible first introduces us to God, it is vital that we take our cue of the way in which He is conveyed to us, namely, by way of the covenantal name Yahweh.
God Is Covenantal In His Being
As the Triune God, God is always in unity and agreement within Himself and always at peace, not enmity. The persons of the Trinity are not seeking antithetical goals over against one another.
The New Covenant is an evidence of this- that it is accomplished by the mutual work of each person of the Trinity. We can note Jesus’ intent of ‘oneness’ in his prayer in John 17. It is the three-fold witness of God and the fullest expression of His person.
This is in part why the New Covenant it is eternal in nature; there is no addition of witness that could ever be given. Redemption/salvation is what we sing of in heaven (see Revelation for example) redemption is therefore focal, not parenthetical.
Covenant, Covenant and More Covenant.
Admittedly, ‘covenant’ is perhaps the most overused word in all of Presbyterianism. It has become a buzz word in many camps, but for good reason: it is the proper understanding of reality in God’s world.
Note: (Romans 1 and condescension in natural revelation).
This condescension on God’s part is required for us to have any type of relationship whatsoever. This is evident in the first way that God is revealed in relation to mankind
Note: Genesis 2 and The “LORD” God’s activity.
The fact that common grace is a universal reality speaks to the fact that we have covenantal God
Two Covenants Only
In order to rightly understand dispensationalism as a theological system, it will be helpful to look at it in relation to the backdrop of covenant theology. Frankly, this is the easier place to start rather than developing the entire dispensational system first. Why? Because covenant theology is actually a much simpler system and organization of scripture’s teaching.
Every Human in Covenant With God
Our confession states that the covenant of works was given to Adam and “all his posterity” (WCF 7). Why does it say this? It is because Adam represented the entire human race and all those who are in Adam share in that covenant, along with its outcome. This is the covenant of works
Note: Romans 5, 1st Corinthians 15
This covenant of works is both the condition of man before the fall and the context of all mankind after the fall (and outside of Christ). Notice the “work” language of wages in Romans 6:23.
The Curse Does Not Come Without A Promise.
After Adam and Eve sinned, God cursed mankind, but He didn’t do so without making a promise. Genesis 3:15 is the foretelling of the gospel message- the good news of promise
Note: Genesis 3:15 promotes the need for the right offspring
This aspect of covenant theology leads to that which is called the covenant of grace. That’s it. No other ones. Of course, we don’t deny the covenant God makes with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc.… instead, they are all seen within the covenant of grace.
Further, this is why our church is named “grace covenant”, because it recognizes that we belong to God through this covenant of grace in Christ.
Why is This Pertinent to a Contrast With Dispensationalism?
Seeing the way that CT understands history quickly shows the difference between dispensations and dispensationalism.
History of Redemption
The basis of Covenant Theology is that there is one purpose being shown throughout the “history of redemption.” That is, God is working one plan over time from the point of the fall to the New Heavens and the New Earth.
All of History is redemptive history, from the shadow of Genesis 3.15 to the full bloom and substance of Revelation. ( 2:16-17). But Christ’s advent and work is designated as the fullness of time and the last epoch of history (Galatians 4:4, Eph. 1:10).
The Universal Call of Mankind
In the Church/Israel distinction of Dispensationalism, today’s church age is in fact a unique parenthesis for the gentile church- not ethnic Israel. Thus, Hagee and others pride themselves by being anti-proselytes towards the Jews. They see a unique way of conversion reserved for the Jews.
But as it relates to the charge brought to the church, it is important to note that the time for conversion is now and only now:
Acts 17:30– all men everywhere
Matthew 28:19– disciples of all nations
Mark 16:15– the gospel to every creature
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