[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What Do You Make of This Passage?

by Rose

The following passage was sent to me in an email complete with the four questions underneath. How would you answer those questions? What do you think the person is driving at? (hint: NCT)

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:14-18)

1. What "covenant" is He referring to?
2. Who is "them" referring to? Is that us?
3. How is "perfected" different than "sanctified"?
4. What are "my laws" referring to?

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17 Comments:

  • This is the New Covenant that God will make with Israel. It has nothing to do with the Church.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 06, 2007 10:07:00 PM  

  • Matthew, are you saying there will be yet another covenant? With only Israel (the national people)? Because if that's what the writer intends, it gets kind of confusing. Especially if you read Heb. 9.

    Vs. 16-18
    "For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood."

    So if the convenat that you're referring to is yet to be made, then will the one who made it die yet again?

    And if it only refers to Israel, then why does the writer say in 10:14, "he hat perfected for ever them that are sanctified."? Wouldn't that imply those who have believed in Christ. Aren't they the ones who are sanctified?

    And the verse 15 says the Holy Spirit testifies to us and then quotes that passage from the Old Testament. Why would the Holy Spirit be testifing to us about a different covenant that will happen in the future when the writer has already made reference to the "New Covenant" He has made with those who believe in Him?

    Or maybe I'm misunderstandig your response.

    Rose, these are good questions. Thanks for sharing.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at Wednesday, February 07, 2007 11:57:00 AM  

  • Rose,
    The NCT hint is not working for me. I have no idea. I have no clue what the person is driving at.

    The passage in Hebrews comes from Jeremiah 33: 33-34. It is also quoted in Hebrews 8.

    If we look at the words "after those days" this seems important.

    If "after those days" have not already come, then why is the author of Hebrews quoting this passage from Jeremiah twice in this epistle?

    So I will disagree at this time with Matthew here. He says it is a covenant that God WILL make with Israel and not the church. I think "those days" happened at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to indwell each believer from that point on. His laws are written on our hearts when we believe in the Christ and His Spirit comes to live within us. "yet not i live but Christ lives in me"
    I think God has already made this new covenant with Israel, except not all of Israel according to the flesh has accepted it yet. But those who are according to the promise of Abraham have. Which is both Jew and Gentile according to faith and not works.

    I will stick my neck out here and offer my answers. I am not saying they are correct, but it is what I believe at this time:

    1. The New Covenant of God's indwelling Spirit in those who believe we are accepted by God by faith in His Christ.
    2. All believers in the testimony of God concerning His Son.
    3. We are declared righteous by God when we simply believe God the same as Abraham believed. Therefore we who have believed are sanctified(set apart) and are perfected by the offering of Christ.
    4.I think this simply means His unconditional love toward us.

    By Blogger Kris, at Wednesday, February 07, 2007 12:28:00 PM  

  • Ten Cent, the writer of Hebrews never identifies Christians as a party to the New Covenant. He raises the New Covenant to demonstrate the inadequacy of the Old Covenant.

    The New Covenant has its ground in the death of Christ, but it is not yet inaugurated.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, February 07, 2007 7:23:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Hebrews 9:15
    "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant."


    How would you explain this verse if the writer is not associating the new covenant with Christians?

    And can you explain what you mean by "The New Covenant has its ground in the death of Christ, but it is not yet inaugurated."?

    Are you saying that the New Covenant was started but has not yet gone into effect? And if so, wouldn't that mean we're still under the Old Covenant?

    Or are you saying that "Covenant" language has nothing to do with the church at all? Maybe that the covenant only applies to Israel?

    That's a lot of questions, sorry about that. Just trying to better understand why you don't believe it has anything to do with the Church.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at Thursday, February 08, 2007 5:25:00 AM  

  • 'How would you explain this verse if the writer is not associating the new covenant with Christians?'

    The New Covenant is grounded in Christ's completed work. The benefits of that finished work are mediated to the Christian, though she is not a party to that covenant.

    'And can you explain what you mean by "The New Covenant has its ground in the death of Christ, but it is not yet inaugurated."?'

    The New Covenant is possible because of Christ's death. However, the benefits it entails to the nation of Israel are not yet realised.

    'Are you saying that the New Covenant was started but has not yet gone into effect? And if so, wouldn't that mean we're still under the Old Covenant?'

    We are not under the Old Covenant because that covenant is nullified by Christ's death. We are in a parenthetical age of grace that is between the old covenant and the realisation of the New Covenant. God's grace is recieved in a non-prophetic ethereal aspect throught the believer's union with Christ in heaven.

    'Or are you saying that "Covenant" language has nothing to do with the church at all? Maybe that the covenant only applies to Israel?'

    Only Israel is a party to the New Covenant (and the Mosaic Covnenant). The Church benefits from the completed work of Christ and thus the spiritual benefits of the New Covenant are mediated to the Christian.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, February 08, 2007 5:56:00 PM  

  • Hey, you guys. Thanks for commenting on this issue. I will be back later to ask some questions.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 09, 2007 5:57:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Thanks for sharing your view and answering my questions. Can I ask what your answers would be to the questions that Rose has posted? I realize you have somewhat answered the first one, but I'm not sure how you would answer the rest of them.

    I would probably be in agreement with Kris's answers, but I know you would differ. However, Kris's answer to #4, I'm not sure I agree with, but I'm also not sure how I would answer it.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Anonymous Ten Cent, at Friday, February 09, 2007 9:09:00 AM  

  • I agree with Matthew. The Old and New Covenants are between God and Israel. Christ's death is the basis both for his New Covenant with Israel, and the salvation of anyone, both Jews ans Gentiles, who calls on him. In fact, ever since the fall of man, faith in Christ's death and resurrection has been the only approach that God has accepted. It should not surprise us that both the Church and Israel under the New Covenant have their basis in Christ's death.

    1. The "covenant" being referred to is with Israel (as a whole nation--both Judah and Ephraim).

    2a. "Them that are sanctified" is parallell to v.1, where the OT sacrifices "can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect."
    It identifies those who approach God on the basis of a particular sacrifice: in this case, there is a contrast between animal sacrifice (by which OT Israelites approached) and the sacrifice of Christ (by which Christians approach, and Israel will also approach under the New Covenant).

    2b. "This is the covenant that I will make with them" is a quote from Jer 31:33, which says, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel..."

    3. The OT sacrifices were an approach to God: the "comers therunto" are those who "draw near" to God. In both cases, they were set apart: separated from their sin in the eyes of God by that sacrifice. The OT sacrifices, however, were inferior to the death of Christ, because Christ's death was final and "complete." The repetition of the OT sacrifices was meant to communicate that the work was not done: the issue of sin still loomed, not truly resolved until the true sacrifice to which the animal offerings pointed had occured.

    4. The Law was meant to demonstrate righteousness in the righteous and unrighteousness in the unrighteous. It is a sort of litmus test to determine the quality of the heart producing the actions. God's Law was a statement about Himself: it identified which behavior was consistent with His holy nature, however, the Law did not provide the means to accomplish it.

    God's "New Covenant" with Israel will be one that does not depend (as the old covenant did) on man to produce righteousness: in stead, God will pour out His Spirit on all of Israel, changing their hearts, and they will therefore be both capable and willing to live in holiness.

    The above has clearly not happened to Israel yet, however, all of the groundwork has been laid for God to "perfectly" sanctify and to pour out his Spirit on sinners. He was perfectly willing and ready to do so even in Acts 2, if they would accept him, but they would not, and so the natural olives are cut off from Christ, and wild olives (gentiles) are grafted in.

    I would be curious to hear what others think about the character of the "perfect" sanctification as it will be in Israel. We know that "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." We know that in theory, we have access to the same Spirit that Jesus did, and so we as Christians are capable of not sinning in every instance, but the undenyable fact remains that quite often we still do. The promise in Jerimiah 31:31 seems to be a complete sanctification, where those who formerly were slaves to sin have been made completely immune to sin: they do not sin.

    I think what it comes down to is that the New Covenant will come about in the "day of Jesus Christ." That is to say, when Israel turns to Him, He will reveal Himself, and it will therefore be the his day. At that time, the sanctifying work he is doing in us will be complete, and so naturally, he will work their complete sanctification as well.

    By Blogger Tim, at Friday, February 09, 2007 3:38:00 PM  

  • Tim, I am glad there are some fellow Darbyites around.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, February 10, 2007 5:06:00 PM  

  • II Corinthians 3 explicitly links and applies the fulfillment of the New Covenant in an inaugurated sense to the church--it will be fully realized in the Messianic Age by both ethnic Israel (i.e. the remnant Rom. 9--11), and the church (Eph 2). To assert to the contrary is, IMO, artificial and driven by over-committment to Classic Dispensationalism.

    In Christ

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, February 10, 2007 7:57:00 PM  

  • Furthermore, Eph 2:11ff says that both "groups" Gentiles and Jews have been made one in Christ, relative to the the covenants and commandments. The "Darbyite" dispensationalism must posit more than one "new" covenant, or at least forward, the way Matthew does, a "recipient view" (i.e. the church) of the new covenant--and not an actual partaking of the new covenant (i.e. in Matt.'s view reserved for ethnic Jews).

    The basis of all salvation is indeed the New Covenant established in Jesus' blood (accordind to Luke) for all to PARTAKE OF.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, February 10, 2007 8:45:00 PM  

  • For whatever it is worth, here are some comments by Z. Hodges on the subject being discussed:

    http://www.faithalone.org/journal/2005ii/hodges.pdf

    By Blogger Solifidian, at Monday, February 12, 2007 11:55:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Solifidian, for that link. I really like that Zane Hodges. He is very easy to read. I thought it was witty the way he threw in the name of Barnabas, just in passing, as the probable write of the book of Hebrews.

    I see the difference between Hodges view and the view Matthew has stated, that the church is the beneficiary of the NC, but not a party to it. He says we are a party to it, but that it doesn't mean the same thing to us as it does national Israel in their future.

    One thing I wonder about that I have read from my brother in San Diego and now from Hodges is the idea of regeneration in the OT. My idea of regeneration has always been that the HS comes to dwell within a person and from what I can tell, this did not happen until the day of Pentecost as the church began. I must say, though, the Sripture Hodges quoted about Saul receiving a new heart is definitely something to think upon.
    Maybe we should open up a new post just to discuss that topic.

    Thanks so much for the link, Solifidian!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 13, 2007 6:33:00 AM  

  • Matthew,
    I have read your comments with interest as we have discussed this before. Thanks for always being there to explain the dispensational approach.

    Ten Cent,
    Thanks for coming by also. I think you asked some really good clarifying questions to Matthew. You kept the discussion going and I have found it beneficial.

    Kris,
    The person is really into the New Covenant Theology. He says that since he became a believer, he is now a Jew. I don't know what to do with him! (an inward Jew)
    I appreciate your answers. What do you think of the answers that Tim gave, particularly in reference to his answer on #2:

    "This is the covenant that I will make with them" is a quote from Jer 31:33, which says, "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel..."

    It is hard for me to get around "the house of Israel" and then apply that to myself. This is really a tricky subject, don't you think?

    Tim,
    Thanks so much for your responses. I tend to think you are right. What do you think about Hodges' paper?
    I am going to make a post out of your comment near the bottom where you say you would be interested to see what others think about...
    Thanks again!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 13, 2007 6:59:00 AM  

  • Bobby,
    Please, please, tell me what you think of Hodges article. I am so curious because I would like to know the difference between your approach and his.

    I am certain that you would not take it as far as this brother of mine who says the church is made up of "inward Jews," though, right?I always appreciate your interactions, Bobby. Thanks for coming over.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 13, 2007 7:02:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    Hodges sounds quite progressive, although I might take issue with his view on "all" Israel--I see a remnant (cf. Rom 9--11) being saved.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:18:00 PM  

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