Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology

Covenant Theology

by Dennis N

From Genesis to Revelation, God has been up to one thing: redeeming a people to Himself through the work of His Son. The most consistent understanding of this great work of God is what has come to be known as the Reformed Faith. It is my conviction that a vital part of Reformed Theology is an understanding of the unity and organic nature of God's revelation, the Bible. Reformed Theology consists of much more than the "five points of Calvinism," or the "five solas of the Reformation." Historically, the Reformed Faith has been identified with an understanding of Scripture known as Covenant Theology.[1] This understanding of Scripture recognizes that, since the fall, all of God's covenantal dealings with man are in essence the same, although they may be administered differently. Each of the various covenants is a further unfolding of God's one plan of redemption.

Because of this unity, and because God only has one plan of redemption, Reformed theologians have concluded that the various covenants of the Bible (Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and the New Covenant) can be summarized as one everlasting covenant (Isa. 61:8; Jer. 32:40; Heb. 13:20) that is progressively unfolded until it reaches full realization in the New Covenant with Christ.[2] This one covenant, including all of God's gracious dealings with fallen man, has been called the Covenant of Grace[3]. Some theologians prefer to call it the Covenant of Redemption.[4] I will use these two terms interchangeably to refer to the same thing. It is beyond the scope of this article to deal with all objections to viewing God's redemptive history as one covenant. However, I trust that this article will give the reader a taste of Covenant Theology that will provoke him into a deeper investigation.

The promise of the Covenant of Grace which rings loudly throughout both of the Testaments is this: "I shall be your God, and you shall be my people." Throughout Scripture there is only one way of salvation--through faith in Christ.[5] Because of the fall into sin, men and women are alienated from God. The only remedy to this alienation is the atoning work of Christ. This was also true for the Old Testament saints who lived before the Incarnation. The only way they could have been reconciled to God was by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Most Covenant Theologians recognize that the first promise of the Covenant of Redemption was given to Adam in Genesis 3:15. "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." All of the subsequent covenants of the Old Testament were an unfolding and expanding of this promise, and the New Covenant is the fulfilment of it. As would become evident in the succeeding covenants, this promise (Gen. 3:15) included a general seed (God's people), enmity between the wicked and the godly, and a specific Seed who would bring redemption to the fallen race. This is repeated as the Covenant of Grace further unfolds, revealing that God’s purposes would include a promise of people, a promise of land, and a promise of a Redeemer. There is a sense in which Genesis 3:15 was a New Covenant promise because, in seed form, it contained everything that would be revealed and accomplished by the supernatural Seed (the Lord Jesus Christ).

Warren Austin Gage, speaking of the "divine command" as referring to the original mandate to multiply and fill the earth, writes, "After the disobedience of the first Adam, however, the divine command (as restated in the Protevangelion) is confirmed through the divine covenants to Noah, Abraham, and David. Each of these promissory covenants successively designates more specifically the Seed who would subdue the earth. Christ, who is the Seed promised as well as the Mediator of the New Covenant, expresses in the Great Commission the redemptive correlative to the divine command, namely, that the earth is to be filled with disciples and subdued unto obedience to the Word. Finally, the resurrection becomes the telos of history whereby the divine command finds consummation."[6]

Demonstrating the unity of the Old Testament unfolding of the covenant, Gage goes on to explain how the Noahic, Abrahamic, and Davidic covenants were each an expansion of the promise given in Genesis 3:15. "Each of these covenants, though administratively and typically diverse, is nevertheless an expression of the same promise that a Seed would come who should subdue the earth. Each is progressively more particularistic in defining the Seed: the Noahic identifying the Semitic race, the Abrahamic identifying the Israelite nation, and the Davidic identifying the family of Jesse. Yet each is equally universalistic in scope, encompassing every creature (Noah), all nations (Abraham), and all the realms (David)."[7]

The promise in Genesis 3:15 was a promise of Christ. To embrace this promise by faith was to believe in Christ. Once understood properly, the redemptive work of Christ, historically fulfilled only in the New Testament, can be described as retroactive.[8] The glory of the New Covenant is so great that the Apostles, once they begin to grasp the glory, see Christ everywhere in the Old Testament. This is why we can confidently say that Moses was a Christian (Heb. 11:26), that the Israelites in the wilderness had spiritual communion with Christ (1 Cor. 10:1-4), and that the gospel was preached to the Old Covenant people (Gal. 3:8, Heb. 4:2a). To refute the Judaizers, the Apostle Paul goes to the Old Testament to prove the doctrine of justification (Gal. 3). There is a sense in which we can say that the Covenant of Grace = The New Covenant. But Covenant Theologians also see the Covenant of Grace as being present in the Old Testament; this is because it is retroactive.[9] The efficacy of the work of Christ is not tied only to the point in history when it was accomplished.[10] In the Old Covenant, salvation was communicated through belief in the promises. Those who were effectually called saw Christ in the sacrifices.[11] The Levitical sacrifices were derived from the New Covenant because they were patterned after the heavenly (Heb. 9:23-24).[12] The sacrifices themselves did not accomplish salvation, but they did picture the atonement of Christ to those who by faith were enabled to see it. Each covenant in the Old Testament is an expansion of the first promise and reveals something more about Christ; in each one we see both "continuity and progression."[13]

All of the various covenants found in the Old Testament were different administrations of the one Covenant of Redemption. This becomes obvious when we find in each new administration a connection to the previous covenant. In the covenant with Noah there was continuity with the promise given in Genesis 3:15. Promises are given that would enable the outworking of redemption in history, and the enmity between the two seeds continued (Gen. 5).

With Abraham the Lord continued to work out His promise of the seed of the woman (generally and specifically). In the Abrahamic covenant the gospel message became much clearer. A promise of land was revealed along with the familiar slogan of the Covenant of Grace, "I will be your God, and you will be My people." In Hebrews 6 the connection and continuity between the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant is clearly seen because the main promise is unchangeable and trans-covenantal, "For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath" (Heb. 6:16-17).

The Mosaic covenant was connected with the previous covenants as well. As the Lord was taking action to redeem the children of Israel from Egypt, He told Moses that His response to their cries was because of the existing covenant with Abraham (Ex. 6:1-8). The promise of union with God is repeated, "Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians" (Ex. 6:7). The entire Levitical sacrificial system was given to Moses at this time, and all these sacrifices pointed to the atoning work of Christ; they pictured it to God's people at that time.

The Covenant God made with David also followed this pattern of unity. The promises of a people and a land were repeated (1 Chron. 16:15-17; cf. Ps. 105), and references were made to the redemption from Egypt (2 Sam. 7:6). David prophesied the coming of a Descendent that would rule forever. The Davidic covenant pointed forward to the kingly office of Christ.

Most people have no problem seeing the unity and organic unfolding of the various covenants in the Old Testament. The Bible itself summarizes them by calling them the Old Covenant. The problem many have, however, is seeing the unity of all of the previous covenants with the New Covenant. Is the New Covenant something radically different? Do we discard everything that went before? Or is there a basic continuity and oneness in essence with the previously established covenants? We will contend that despite some discontinuity, the essence is the same, and we are not to discard everything that went before. Both the Old and New Covenants share the one same promise (Eph. 2:12-16), and this one promise is Christ. Therefore, we see the Covenant of Grace operating in both Testaments.

The pages of the New Testament provide evidence that the writers did see connection between the New Covenant and the previous covenants (Matt. 1:1, 8:11; Luke 1:31-33, 54-55, 68-74; Acts 3:25-26; Heb. 6:16-17). The presence of God with His people that was foreshadowed in the Old came to a greater fulfillment as the Word became flesh (John 1:1-18) to be "God with us." This is the familiar reoccurring theme of the Covenant of Grace, "I will be their God, and they will be My people." The writers saw continuity between the Old Testament Scriptures and frequently went to the Old Testament Scriptures to prove a New Testament doctrine. Many modern Christians unknowingly agree with the Pharisees in opposition to the Apostles. They do this when they teach that the Old Testament was all about law keeping and that the New in contrast is all about grace in opposition to the law. This is the same error that the Judaizers and Pharisees believed. The Apostles went to the Old Testament Scriptures to demonstrate that there is no disparity between the motif of the Old and New Testaments. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. And, the Apostles insisted that the law is holy, righteous, and good (Rom. 7:12). So, we can say that the message of the Old Covenant, understood properly, was the same as the message of the New Covenant. Douglas M. Jones III, in the book Back to Basics, writes,

"In the Old Testament, the Lord graciously revealed His Covenant of Redemption like a beautiful mosaic, rich in features and deep in color--through merciful promises of a people and a land, gracious and pure commandments of His holy will, comforting pledges of union and communion, assurances of a coming kinsman-redeemer who would hold the offices of prophet, priest, and king, and so much more...It is the same story. The same promises continue. The past covenant work is not forsaken, but fulfilled. The New Testament cannot stand on its own. It stands on the unified promises made to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets. These promises have determined all of redemptive history up to the first chapter of Matthew's gospel, and they continue into the fulfillment stage of the Covenant of Redemption."[14]

The Westminster Confession of Faith, in chapter seven, summarizes the historical understanding of Covenant Theology as related to the Old and New Covenants.

5. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel; under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come, which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament.

6. Under the gospel, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are, the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.[15]

What the Confession teaches here is that there is one Covenant of Grace. This covenant, at a certain point in history, can be equated with and identified as the New Covenant, with Christ as the substance. But before that point in history we can still see that the same covenant was in operation throughout the Old Testament. Things were not fully revealed or accomplished yet, but the promises in the Old Covenant were spiritually efficacious, through the effectual work of the Spirit, because they signified the Christ to come. Keep in mind that these promises were still sufficient and efficacious to the believer although they had not yet been fulfilled.

O. Palmer Robertson, in his excellent book The Christ of the Covenants, shows how a remarkable passage from the prophet Ezekiel ties the Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and New Covenants together.

“my servant David will be king over them, and they will have one shepherd [an allusion to the Davidic covenant], and they will walk in my ordinances, and keep my statutes, and observe them [an allusion to the Mosaic covenant]. And they shall live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived [an allusion to the Abrahamic covenant]...and I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them [an allusion to the new covenant] (Ezekiel 37:24-26).”[16]

This passage beautifully demonstrates the unity of all the covenants of the Bible. The New Covenant does not appear as something radically new, but it appears as a fulfillment of what was promised and gradually unfolded in the Old. There are not two different expectations for the people of God; there is one that passes through a time of shadow and promise to the time of fulfillment and reality. The prophet Jeremiah united the promises of the Abrahamic covenant with the New Covenant (Jer. 32:39-41). The prophet also predicted that the New Covenant people would internalize and obey the same law that the Old Covenant people, for the most part, were unable to obey (Jer. 31:32-34). God was up to the same thing in the Old Covenant as He is in the New. He was redeeming a people to Himself by His free grace.

The promises of land have continuity in the New Covenant as well. Abraham was promised a certain portion of land, but even he knew that the land signified much more than a small piece of real estate in the Middle East (Heb. 11:10). There are allusions that the prophets were also aware of something greater being behind the promise of the land (Ps. 72:8; cf. Ps. 2:8; Dan. 2:35). In the New Testament we are taught exactly what was behind the promise of land to Abraham. “The land” was a very important idea in the Old Testament, and when we come to the New Testament we see the same promise being reapplied to the whole earth. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount quotes a passage from Psalm 37, “For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land...but the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” He says in Matt. 5:5, quoting this Psalm, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”[17]

The Apostle Paul does the same thing in Romans 4:13, “It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.” Here we see that the promise of the land to Abraham had a meaning that, at minimum, included the entire earth. The promise that Abraham and his offspring should inherit the Promised Land is altered to “inherit the world.” Due to this New Testament illumination, we can think of the land of Canaan as a down payment, or a small token that has a greater fulfillment and represents all of God's covenantal blessings to His people. The promise of the land of Canaan is included and expanded in the New Covenant to include the entire earth. But it does not stop there; it has a greater fulfillment.[18] The whole earth is but a down payment, or small deposit that has its ultimate fulfillment in the new heavens and earth.[19]

This fulfillment and expansion of the promise of ‘land’ is illustrative of what the New Covenant does for the Old Covenant promises. Once this continuity of the covenants is embraced, the Old Testament can be viewed (at least consistently so) as a rich document for the benefit of Christian living this side of the resurrection. Properly interpreted in light of the New Testament, the Old Covenant Scriptures have a depth to them that is astounding. For example, Psalm 119 is a glorious meditation on the Law of God. Even though this type of internalization of God's commandments is something that for the most part was only a future promise (Jer. 31:33-34), we can learn much from the Psalmist's devotion. [20]

Having said all this, it also needs to be stressed that there are major discontinuities between the Old and New Covenants, and all of these are spelled out clearly in the New Testament. The flow of animal blood has stopped, as has the practice of dietary laws, temple worship, and other temporary ceremonies. The gracious provision of a sacrificial system has been replaced by the sacrifice of Christ. But it needs to be remembered that the sacrifices pictured the same Christ.[21] That is why we keep saying that the one Covenant of Grace is the same in essence but administered differently. Now that we have the substance, we no longer need it administered in the old way. The discontinuities between the Old and New Covenants are seen in two ways. Some of the regulations from the Old Covenant have been abrogated with the coming of the New (i.e., blood sacrifices). Others have been altered but continue (i.e., Passover > Lord’s Supper). Furthermore, under the Old Covenant there were human mediators involved (Levitical priests), but under the New there is direct access to God through Christ. The pouring out of the Spirit and the grace revealed in the New Covenant is also much more clearly seen and experienced, that in comparison, the Old Covenant can be said to have nothing. The New Testament writers actually use this type of language.[22] But this is an overstatement (hyperbole) because it is evident that the Old Covenant believers did have the Spirit and they did partake of God's grace.

In this brief look at Covenant Theology, I hope the reader has caught a glimpse of the beauty and unity of the various covenants that make up the one Covenant of Redemption. It is my conviction that those who maintain radical discontinuities between the various covenants are missing something essential to a proper and rich understanding of the Bible and God's covenantal dealings with man. Also, those who hold to a radical distinction between the people of God in the Old Testament (Israel) and the people of God in the New Testament (the Church) cannot properly understand God's unfolding covenant. Dispensationalism is not consistent with Reformed Theology because it is rooted in a "radical distinction between the people of God before Christ and the people of God after Christ."[23] This essential doctrine of dispensationalism is relatively new[24] and cannot be found in Church history prior to the nineteenth century.[25] The radical distinction taught by Dispensationalism overthrows what the Bible clearly teaches about the unity of the people of God (Rom. 11:11-24; Eph. 2:11-19; Gal. 3:16, 19; Heb. 11:39-40; Rev. 21:9-14). The following errors do either accompany or flow from dispensationalism:[26] a misunderstanding of the nature of saving faith,[27] treating sanctification as an optional work of grace,[28] pietism,[29] humanism,[30] Arminianism,[31] subjective individualism, and Antinomianism.[32]

In contrast to this, Covenant Theology or Reformed Theology teaches that there is but one "International People of God by Faith."[33] The Church existed in the Old Testament[34] in infant form and grew into a mature adult with the coming of the New Covenant.[35] From this flows the understanding of continuity in God's promises and moral requirements which gives a Biblical solution to the many errors listed above.


Dennis N. is a member of Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church,

Chatham, Ontario


End Notes

[1] "A third distinctive of Reformed churches is their view of the Bible as a whole. The Old and New Testaments reveal God's unified plan..." Stephen Smallmen, What is a Reformed Church? Basics of the Reformed Faith Series, P&R, pg. 17

[2] "If we view the substance of the covenant, it is but only one, nor is it possible it should be otherwise. There is no other way worthy of God, in which salvation can be bestowed on sinners, but that discovered in the Gospel." Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants, chapter 2, pg. 291

[3] "But his own amazing love and sovereign grace was the cause and spring of it...And hence it is commonly called the Covenant of Grace." John Brown of Haddington, A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion, Book 3, Chapter 2, pg. 227

[4] O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants, P&R, pg. 91

[5] "We therefore maintain, agreeable to the sacred writings, that to all the Elect, living in any period of time, 1st. One and the same eternal life was promised. 2dly, That Jesus Christ was held forth as the one and the same author and bestower of salvation. 3dly, That they could not become partakers of it any other way, but by a true and lively faith in him. If we demonstrate these three things, none can any longer doubt, but that the covenant of grace must be, as to its substance, only one from the beginning." Herman Witsius, pg. 292

[6] Warren Austin Gage, The Gospel of Genesis, Studies in Protology and Eschatology, Wipf and Stock Publishers, pg. 28

[7]Gage, pg. 29

[8] The one sacrifice was efficacious from the foundation of the world. The death of Christ was already efficacious then "as if He both at that time and since that time had actually suffered." Wilhelmus a Brakel, The Christian's Reasonable Service, Reformation Heritage Books, Vol. 1, pg. 454

[9] "In the Bible there is an obvious self-awareness of the pattern of anticipation and fulfillment...Acts 3:24, Rom. 1:1-3, 15:4, 1 Cor. 10:11, 15:3-4, Gal. 4:4, 1 Peter 1:10-12...It's not that after the fact we now look back at what the prophet said and say, 'Oh, you know what? There was more to it than they realized.' The Bible says, they realized there was more to it than what they understood." Greg Bahnsen, Biblical Hermeneutics: Necessary and Possible (Part 2), 6 of 17, GB1445.mp3

[10] "To confine the offices of Christ, as unto their virtue, power and efficacy, unto the times of the Gospel only, is utterly to evacuate the first promise, with the covenant of grace founded thereon." The Works of John Owen - Vol. 1, AGES Software , pg. 129

[11] "The Surety of the covenant was equally efficacious in the Old Testament as in the New, and thus this covenant existed then as well as now...(Heb. 13:8)." Wilhelmus a Brakel, Vol. 1, pg. 453

[12] "A consideration of the Levitical economy in its relation to the New Covenant is most revealing (Hebrews 9:23–24). The import is plain. The Levitical sacrifices were patterned after the heavenly Exemplar. That is, Christ, his priestly ministry, and sacrifices are the reality of which the Levitical economy is the shadow. In other words, the Levitical economy was derived from nothing less than the New Covenant itself." Smith, M.H. 1996, c1994. Systematic Theology, Volume 1. (electronic ed.). GPTS Press: Greenville SC, pg. 339; The Israelitish polity, and the law of Moses, were purposely framed after the example and shadow of things spiritual and heavenly; and the events, which happened to the ancient people of God, were designed to shadow out parallel occurrences, which should afterwards take place, in the accomplishment of man's redemption, and the rise and progress of the Christian church. John Brown of Haddington, Preface to The Psalms of David in Metre, pg. 15

[13] Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen, Covenant Theology, Tape 3 of 16, Covenant Media Foundation

[14] Douglas M. Jones III, Back to Basics: Rediscovering the Richness of the Reformed Faith, ed. David G. Hagopian, P&R, Part 2: Back to the Covenant, pg. 97

[15] WCF, chapter 7, Of God's Covenant with Man, section 5-6

[16] O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants, P&R, pg. 42

[17] "In Matthew, therefore, ge is used to refer to a specified region or nation (Israel, Judah, Zebulon, Naphtali et al.) only if that region's name is given. The possible exception is 27:45. The most natural way to render this notice in 5:5 is therefore "earth," not "land [of Israel]." Expositors Bible Commentary, Zondervan Reference Software, Matt. 5:5

[18] "The land of the Bible served in a typological role as a model of the consummate realization of the purposes of God for his redeemed people that encompasses the whole of the cosmos." O. Palmer Robertson, The Israel of God: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, P&R, pg. 194

[19] Isaiah 65:17, 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1

[20] "The Psalms contain the richest fund of Christian experience...high esteem of the word of God, and devout recognition of His law, in its extent, purity, spirituality and obligation (Ps. 19, 25, 119)." The True Psalmody, Naphtali Press, pg. 22; "The Psalms are the deepest, most profound, most penetrating, most insightful, portion of all the Word of God." James M. Boice, The Fast Lane of the Right Path: Ps. 1:1-6, Sola Scriptura Ministries Int., Tape of the Month--June 2003

[21] "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, for before his translation he had this testimony that he pleased God" (Heb. 11:4-5). Abel sacrificed in faith, Abel pleased God, and Abel was righteous. This expresses irrefutably that Abel saw Christ represented in his sacrifice." Wilhelmus a Brakel, Vol. 1, pg. 454

[22] Gal. 3:23; John 1:17; "Clearly this cannot be taken to mean that there was no 'grace' and no 'truth' in the Old Testament. The point is that it had not yet fully revealed the grace that saves through the truth that is the promised Messiah." Gordon J. Keddie, John: An EP Study Commentary, Evangelical Press, Vol.1, pg. 66

[23] "Keith A. Mathison, Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? P&R, pg. 85

[24] Keith A. Mathison, pg. 13

[25] "I have more than once criticized dispensational theology, which is a nineteenth century aberration, and clear movement away from historical, orthodox, biblical Christianity. There was no dispensationalism before the nineteenth century." R.C. Sproul, Ligonier Ministries of Canada, Tape of the month, April 2000

[26] For an excellent discussion of these errors see chapter seven of Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow, By Curtis I. Crenshaw and Grover E. Gunn, III, Footstool Publications

[27] Many dispensationalists deny the necessity of repentance. Others say repentance is a change of mind, not a change of life. Faith becomes a mere "mental assent" involving only the mind and not the will and affections. This error leads to a denial of the Lordship of Christ over the life of the believer.

[28] For a balanced, Biblical treatment of sanctification, saving faith, and good works, see the Westminster Confession of Faith

[29] "Pietistic people promote the idea (however unconsciously) that there are some areas over which Satan is lord, and Jesus and His children dare not challenge him for fear of defeat." Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow, pg. 69

[30] "A third tendency in dispensationalism, since it discards most of the Old Testament law and biblical law as irrelevant, is to look to humanism for answers in many areas. For example, we were taught at Dallas Theological Seminary that the Bible is not a textbook on counseling, and therefore we needed Freud, Rogers, Mowrer, Narramore and other humanists for our counselling techniques and messages." Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow, pg. 72

[31] "It is undeniable that the Pentecostals, Churches of God, charismatic groups, independent Bible churches, fundamental Baptist, and many others, are both Arminian and dispensational." Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow, pg. 77

[32] "Some dispensationalists, like John F. MacArthur, Jr., and the Master's seminary, reject semi-Pelagianism, and for this we are grateful. But there is still an antinomianism inherent in dispensationalism, waiting to manifest itself. Why do dispensationalists tend to reject works of any kind as necessary in salvation, even as the fruit? There are theological reasons inherent in dispensationalism that give the answer: They (1) place a wall between law and grace, (2) deny that Old Testament saints were justified by faith in Jesus, (3) maintain that Jesus is not ruling now, and (4) assert that the Old Testament biblical covenants were only unconditional. These four seemingly unrelated beliefs are actually related, all in some way disconnecting good works as the necessary product of grace." Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow, pg. 93

[33] Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen, Covenant Theology, Tape 4 of 16, Covenant Media Foundation

[34] "This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:" (Acts 7:38) KJV

[35] "We believe, then, that no new Church was set up at Pentecost. The child grows to be a man, and is emancipated from tutors and governors, but he is still the same being, though promoted to higher dignity. The new dispensation was, as Isaiah shows, to be but a continuation or development of the economy in being. Zion was to be enlarged, so as to admit all the nations of the earth (Isa. 49:14-20, 54:1-3), and ultimately to realize the glory of the "one family in heaven and in earth," to which the saints of all dispensations belong, rejoicing in the same Saviour, and destined to share in the same eternal glory." Thomas Croskery, Plymouth-Brethrenism: A Refutation of its Principles and Doctrines, 1879, pg. 16

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