Thesis #40 of 95 - Justification within the exclusive covenant sealed with Christ's blood is by faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour
Heb12:24 Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel
Heb10:29 How much more severe punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was consecrated, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Jn6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day
Acts13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and those who had been appointed to eternal life believed
Eph1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will
Eph2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God
Jn15:2a Every branch in (Christ) that does not bear fruit, God shall take away
What is being drawn attention to in this thesis is the exclusive and elective nature of the New Testament Covenant sealed in Christ’s blood, referred to by Paul as a Covenant of Promise. Such also was the Old Testament Covenant that God initiated through Abraham, its exclusive nature also evident from the fact that Abraham’s son Ishmael, who had been blessed by both God and Abraham and circumcised by the latter, was not admitted. It was the offspring of Ishmael’s half-brother Isaac who were to be the children of promise, and such is the Church today (Gal4:28).
But as the above biblical references indicate (to which more could be added), those incorporated into the body of Christ are there, not through their own choice or merit, but by God’s good pleasure. In Paul’s language they were predestined; in Luke’s language, appointed; according to Jesus, drawn by His Father. Truly, if these were the only covenants between God and humanity within each testament period, it would (to put it mildly) be a problem in terms of what it would say about God, His providence, His nature and His justice. I am here to affirm that this is simply not the case. The Covenant of Promise does not concern “who goes to heaven when they die” but who shall have a joint inheritance with the Lord of Glory. The previous post drew attention to a transhistorical inclusive covenant eluded by the churches’ theologians, whilst the brief extract from my book below places both covenants within their providential context:
“Everyone in God’s covenants enters them by grace alone, i.e., divine favour and generosity not dependant on merit. Unmerited grace clearly applied to a Jewish baby born within the Abrahamic Covenant; equally to the Christian baby baptized by the Church and incorporated within the Covenant of Christ’s blood. Likewise, to the adult convert, divinely appointed to eternal life (Acts13:38) having been given faith to apprehend the gospel of Christ (Eph2:8) and go on to receive Christian baptism. And the human baby, starting with Cain as the world’s first infant, freely incorporated within the Universal Covenant of life through the two-way age-enduring merits of Christ’s righteous act that universally nullifies Adam’s act of disobedience (Rom5:18).
“The issue then becomes how one retains the benefits of that covenant as opposed to defaulting. The answer is faith or faithfulness [same word in biblical Greek] evidenced by fruit. The Jew who turned from JHWE to idolatry defaults his covenantal privileges; those in Christ who fail to produce fruit may remain in the Church but will not participate in the marriage of the Lamb, for every branch in Christ that fails to bear fruit will be removed (nota bene: Jn15:2). Members of the human race who fail to produce any fruit in the form of compassionate love (agape) like Cain and the Matthew 25 “goats” remain on earth but become alienated from God’s loving care; they have a new master to look after their interests, and at least as far ahead as Scripture permits us to foresee will not be incorporated within God’s eternal Kingdom but will receive post-mortem punishmentExtract from The Little Book of Providence chapter two
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