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Author Topic: Israel--Law / Church--Grace  (Read 385 times)
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« on: December 29, 2011, 07:10:55 PM »

Miles J. Stanford


We must stop here and stanch the flow of Covenant theology that is flooding onto Dispensational ground--beginning with the primary effusion, Israel's New Covenant.


All traditional Dispensationalists believe and teach that Israel alone will be under the New Covenant of Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the future Messianic Kingdom.  Yet they all, almost without exception, forsake this exclusiveness of the rightly-divided Word by maintaining that the Church shares in the "spiritual" blessings of Israel's New Covenant!  Down goes the scriptural separation between Israel and its Law, and the Church and her Grace.


Those who pander to Israel's New Covenant, and seek to participate in - its "spiritual" blessings, are simply playing into the hands of Amillennial Covenant Theology, its stepchild, Theonomy, as well as Judaistic Messianic Christianity. They are evidently in need of Israel's New Covenant to help them legalize their legality.


Mr. F. W. Grant long ago warned against such a teaching: "To take from Israel what is hers is only to diminish her and not enrich ourselves; nay, what has been called in this way the spiritualizing of the promises has led most surely and emphatically to the carnalizing, and the legalizing, of the Church."


There is neither word nor inference in the Covenant concerning the Church, nor is it to be established during the Church's dispensation.  Paul, in his time, stated that Israel's New Covenant was yet future: "And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins" (Rom. 11:26,27).


THE ETERNAL COVENANT -- The Church, on the contrary, presently has the benefits of the Eternal Covenant of Hebrews 13:20,21:

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the Blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through - Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."

NT NEW COVENANT -- There are a number of NT references which have to do with Israel's New Covenant, and others which have to do with the Church--some of which we will briefly touch upon.

"For this is My blood of the new testament (covenant), which is shed for many for the remission of sins."  "And He said unto them, This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many."  "Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you" (Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Lu. 22:20).

In these Synoptic references the Lord Jesus is introducing the New Covenant of His coming Church.  He is not explaining it, but is instituting it eschatalogically, on the basis of the soon-coming Cross.


He introduced the subject of the Church in Matthew 16:18: "I will build My Church," but He did not explain it. That He would do through Paul to the members of His Body. The explanation of the Church's Eternal Covenant is the responsibility of Paul, the primary source of Church truth.

"For I received of the [ascended] Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed.. . took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come" (1 Cor. 11:23,25,26).

Here Paul establishes the Church's New Covenant, identical to that previously introduced in the Synoptics by the Lord Jesus.

"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit" (2 Cor. 3:6).

Paul's ministry to the heavenly Church is not made up of, nor does it contain, aspects of Israel's New Covenant. The Church's New Covenant consists of the life of the Son, not the law of the Kingdom.

"And for this cause He is the Mediator of the new testament [Greek: recent in its beginning as well as new in quality], that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." "And to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and the Blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb. 9:15; 12:24).

His Blood having been poured out in fulfillment of the eternal pact between the God of peace and Himself, the Lord Jesus thereby becomes the Mediator of the New Covenant for His Body, the Church--of which the Lord's Supper is the blessed reminder.


The blood of Abel spoke of judgment--"The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground. And now art thou [Cain] cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand" (Gen. 4:10,11). But the Blood of sprinkling--the application by faith in the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ--testified of the judgment of the Cross, and of everlasting peace with the God of peace Himself!

"And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins" (Rom. 11:26,27).

Paul here is speaking of some of the gracious I wills of Israel's New Covenant. "For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more." "I will also; save you from all your uncleannesses...in the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities" (Jer. 31:34; Ezek. 36:29,33).


The primary purpose of the Book of Hebrews was to keep the Jews, both saved and unsaved, from turning back to Judaism and the law, the old decaying Mosaic Covenant. They were exhorted to focus, not on the Covenant, but the Mediator of a better covenant.


Those Jews who were saved had come to Jesus, the Mediator of Israel's New Covenant, not to the Covenant itself, which was yet future. They were in living union with Him who is the Mediator of the Church's New Covenant, and that is a higher thing than if merely come to Israel's earthly kingdom Covenant. The Mediator will actualize this New Covenant with Israel on earth in the Millennial Kingdom.

"But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises ['I will'].


"For if that first covenant, had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days come [Millennial], saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah" (Heb. 8:6-8).

In these verses (Hebrews 8:10-13) the writer gives more details concerning Israel's New Covenant, and then in verse 13 he states: "In that He saith, a new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and groweth old is ready to vanish away."


They were not to turn back to Moses, but to the greater than Moses, greater than all: "that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant" (Heb. 13:20).

Covenant theology at the utmost, is forgiveness of sins and divine favor enjoyed; and all that concerns their new position in the Lord Jesus Christ is ignored, or alas! guarded against as dangerous.


Men are placed under Israel's New Covenant which does not go beyond remission of sins and the law written on the heart. But being new creations in Christ Jesus, and knowing it by the Holy Spirit, and what 'that involves now--that is not a part of their creed. --J.N. Darby


We are come "to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant" (Heb. 12:24). We are not come to the New Covenant, but to Jesus the Mediator of it. We are associated with Him who is the Mediator; that is a far higher thing than if merely come to the Covenant. He will make this New Covenant with Israel on earth. --H.H. Snell


The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Himself living His own life through us; 'no longer I, but Christ.'"
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