Friday, May 06, 2011

What is New Covenant Theology?

Here's an update to an ongoing work in progress. The recently concluded 2011 John Bunyan Conference in Lewisburg, PA was a good place to think about these things, and an update to this project was a necessary outcome. Again, I am indebted to John Reisinger, Gary Long, Fred Zaspel, Steve West, and Blake White for some of the verbiage contained herein.

What is New Covenant Theology?
Friday, May 06, 2011
11:38 AM

Interpretation of the Bible

  1. New Covenant Theology insists on the priority of Jesus Christ over all things, including history, revelation, and redemption.  New Covenant Theology presumes a Christocentricity to the understanding and meaning of all reality.
  2. Jesus Christ, who reigns in heaven, has not only reached the goal of history and its reality, he Himself is the goal of history and reality, giving meaning to all that has occurred in human history and will occur in human history. Since it is Christ who gives meaning to human history, he is the One who interprets all of the deeds and acts of God in history.
  3. Special revelation, comprised of the 66 books that we call the Sacred Scriptures, not only informs us about God, but redeems us and makes God present to us, focusing on the person and work of Jesus.
  4. New Covenant Theology interprets Scripture after the manner of Christ's and the New Testament writers' use of the Old Testament. Jesus and the inspired New Testament writers, by their use of the Old Testament Scriptures, have left us a pattern by which to      interpret not only the Old Testament prophecies, but its history and poetry.
  5. The way that Jesus, the Apostles, and the prophets used the Old Testament is normative for this age.
  6. All of the Old Testament scriptures are inherently prophetic in that the entire Old Testament, the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, point forward to and anticipate the WORD Incarnate, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). New Covenant Theology presumes that Jesus Christ, in his person and his saving acts, is the hermeneutic center of the Bible.
  7. A careful study of the way Jesus and the New Testament writers understand and write about the Old Testament shows that the Old Testament's anticipated Messiah (and His work) is revealed in the types and shadows of the revelation of the Old Testament, both in God's speech-revelation and God's acts.
  8. The Old Testament Scriptures are God’s revelation of Himself as the eventual Messiah in Word and Deed, or in Speech and Act. In the Old Testament, divine activity accompanies divine speech, and vise versa, prophetically foreshadowing the activity and work of the coming Messiah. In the revelation of God’s word and deeds, the Old Testament provides the eschatological and salvation context for the person and work of Jesus.
  9. Because the Word and its accompanying events are anticipating the coming of the seed of the Woman, Messiah, the Old Testament is thoroughly typological. Old Testament events, persons, and institutions have a typological relationship to Jesus, the antitype. Jesus Christ, the antitype, is the final, climactic expression of all God ideally intended through the types in the Old Testament.
  10. The Old Testament, including its types, Israel’s history, and revelation, betrays an organic progress of history moving toward its end in Christ. Old Testament history is God’s revelation of the history of salvation proceeding toward its full realization in Jesus Christ. Each era of the Old Testament is both interconnected with and builds on the era preceding it, with all of the eras and their metanarrative finding their culmination in the Christ era, the end of days, the age to come. As history and revelation progress through the Old Testament toward their goal in Christ, there is increasing intensity in the types and increasing illumination of the nature and work of the Messiah.
  11. All of the Old Testament authors are writing from a Messianic consciousness. The Old Testament Scriptures are thoroughly Messianic, and therefore interpretation of the Old Testament is comprehensively Christocentric and Christological. Jesus provides the fullest and final meaning to the Old Testament scriptures because all of the Old Testament Scriptures are about Jesus. Christ is the endpoint for the types and the shadows because those types and shadows in their original form were ultimately about Him. All of God’s activities and works recorded in the Old Testament revelation are ultimately saying something about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. This does not mean every verse is about Jesus, but it does mean that Christ and the Christ event are the context for every passage in the Old Testament.
  12. The Old Covenant scriptures, what we call The Old Testament, are to be interpreted in the light of their new covenant fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Jesus is not only the interpretive key to understanding the Old Testament, the terminology of the Old Testament must be understood through and defined in light of Christ's fulfillment. The New Testament scriptures bear witness to the Christ event (Christ’s life, death, resurrection, exaltation) and interpret the Old Testament through the lens of that Christ event.
  13. The Old Testament scriptures, its words, and its deeds are thoroughly and intentionally eschatological. The end of all things in Christ is always imposing itself into the present, and this is true of the Old Testament age and its revelation.
  14. The New Testament scriptures provide a definitive interpretation of the Old Testament. The end and goal of all things in Christ gives meaning to and provides interpretation for all that precedes it. The New Testament use of the Old Testament presumes the hermeneutical and eschatological priority of the Christ event in interpreting the Old Testament. The New Testament use of the Old Testament shows that the New Testament authors are interpreting the Old Testament in a way that the Old Testament events, persons, institutions, and Scriptures have found their fulfillment and final goal in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
  15. New Covenant Theology is based upon a redemptive-historical approach to interpreting the Bible, understanding the fulfillment of all of God's promises in Jesus Christ as they are progressively unfolding from Genesis to Revelation.
  16. The rhythm of the redemptive history and revelation of the Old Testament scriptures occurs in the form of Promise and Fulfillment. Just as the Word accompanies and interprets God’s salvific events in the Old Testament, so too Promise is consistently and faithfully followed by fulfillment. This divinely orchestrated pattern that threads together the events and revelation of the Old Testament becomes, for the New Testament authors, the pattern by which he has interpreted the Person and Work and Word of Jesus Christ, the Promised Messiah – the Yes and Amen -- who fulfills, or fills up, the meaning of all of the Old Testament promises.
  17. The New Covenant, Jesus Christ, has inaugurated the New Covenant age which is the hermeneutical context for the New Testament scriptures. The New Testament authors are operating with a presumption that they are living in the New Covenant age. New Testament writers bear witness to the Christ and the Christ event with a belief that the old covenants of the Old Testament have given way to a new and better Covenant, Who fulfills (fills up) their meaning to its fullest.
  18. Obsolescence is a fundamental hermeneutical principle in interpreting the Old Testament through the New Covenant lens of the New Testament. The obsolescence of the Old Testament types and shadows, including the covenants, is grounded in the emergence and inauguration of the New Covenant in Christ.
  19. New Covenant Theology presumes that the “now-not yet” principle of interpretation is essential to understand the teaching of the NT.
  20. The organic historical connection, and the Christocentric unity that exists between the Old and New Covenants, guarantees the usefulness of the Old Testament for the church.
  21. In the term New Covenant Theology we declare that God, for his own delight, has revealed himself and manifested his glory ultimately in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and his complete and perfect work on the Cross through which he has established a New Covenant in his blood. (Heb. 7:22; 8:6; 9:11; 10:14)
  22. The pinnacle of God’s unfolding revelation comes to us in the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ himself, by the New Testament Scriptures.
  23. The two testaments proclaim the same Christocentric message, but from differing standpoints.
  24. The New Covenant documents, interpretive of and informed by the Old Covenant documents, are binding for the new people of God until the end of this age.


  1. God’s plan to glorify himself in Jesus Christ through the redemption of his people is revealed and administered through the unfolding of biblical covenants in the flow of redemptive history.
  2. God's promise of the New Covenant was that the Messiah would be Himself the embodiment of an everlasting covenant with His people. This promise, typified in the covenants, is fulfilled in Christ. (Is. 42:6-9; 43:19; 45:21-25; 46:9-13).
  3. The Old and New Covenants are two different covenants in terms of both form and function.  The one is an administration of death, and the other is an administration of life (2 Cor. 3:6-8).
  4. The New Covenant is distinct from, while typified by, previous covenants in the Old Testament. The New Covenant, personified by and having put on flesh and blood in Christ, fulfills all previous covenants making them obsolete, including the Abrahamic and Sinaitic Covenants.
  5. Christ has fulfilled the Adamic, Noaic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic covenants in his life, death, resurrection, and exaltation. While he has completely fulfilled them, they yet will be consummated in him in the New Heavens and New Earth.
  6. The New Covenant is a new covenant in its own right.  The New Covenant is not the Abrahamic Covenant or a recapitulation of the Abrahamic Covenant. The New Covenant is not a new administration of the Mosaic Covenant.
  7. The New Covenant is not like the covenant made with the people through Moses.  Embodied and personified in Christ, the New Covenant brought into existence through the life and cross work of Christ is made with his redeemed people through grace. God's people do not enter the New Covenant by works, but by grace through faith; it is radically internal, not external; everlasting, not temporary.
  8. The tearing in two of the veil in the temple was a decisive, supernatural act that visibly demonstrated the end of the Old Covenant and the establishment of the New. This end of the Old Covenant was consummated in the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple.
  9. As the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises of a New Covenant, Jesus Christ personifies, embodies, and incarnates the New Covenant. Thus, he Himself is the New Covenant (Isaiah 42:6, 49:8, Luke 22:20).
  10. All of Scripture is to be read, understood, and interpreted in light of the New Covenant, established in Jesus Christ (Matt. 5:17; Luke 10:23-24; 24:27, 44; John 5:46; 8:56; Heb. 10:7). The New Covenant has become the interpretive paradigm for understanding the church's existence in temporal and redemptive history.
  11. True biblical theology of the New Covenant is the recognition of God’s purpose, unfolding and weaving its way from Genesis to Revelation on the timeline of redemptive history, culminating in Jesus Christ.
  12. Christ’s inauguration of the New Covenant brings in things that are both qualitatively and quantatively “newer,” expressed in developing the theological significance of such basic concepts as new wineskins, new teaching, new commandment, new creation, new man, new name, new song, new Jerusalem and all things new (Rev. 21:5).

The Law

  1. The Law of Moses (as a totality) was connected to a particular covenant people. It was codified after a specific act of redemption, the Exodus.
  2. In the ultimate purpose of God, this Mosaic economy was temporary, destined to exist "until the time of reformation" (Heb.9:10) when God would speak in a final way in His Son in the last days (Heb.1:1-2).
  3. Everything going on in Israel, including the covenants and the law, was of a typical nature, and was fulfilled in the person and work of Christ (Heb.3:5; 8:5; 9:8-9) who is the New Israel of God (Matthew 2:15).
  4. The Ten Commandments are not “eternal moral law” first written in the heart of man at creation and forever binding upon all mankind.
  5. The Decalogue is not "transcovenantal".
  6. The Decalogue is specifically tied to the Mosaic covenant and is a covenantal expression of the two greatest commandments, loving God and loving neighbor (Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:37-40).
  7. The church no longer has to do with the law in any other way than in Christ, being onnomos Christou (in-lawed to Christ). The Old Covenant law, including the Decalogue, has been completely fulfilled in Jesus Christ which it typified in shadow and stone.
  8. New Covenant believers are in-lawed to Christ through their union with Christ, and in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; they are not under the OC law of Moses.
  9. Because the Old Covenant law, including the Decalogue, has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, New Covenant Theology denies that the Old Covenant law, including the Decalogue and its so-called “moral law”, is binding on New Covenant believers today.  Yet, as the special revelation of God as fulfilled in Christ, the Old Covenant law, including the Decalogue, continues to inform behavior in the New Covenant.
  10. New Covenant believers, no longer under the law but in-lawed to Christ, are under the grace personified by, expressed in, and given through Jesus Christ. This means that New Covenant believers are no longer under the covenant of Moses and its terms. Since New Covenant believers are no longer under the covenant of Moses, they are no longer under its covenantal law.
  11. All behavioral norms, including those detailed in the Decalogue, are ultimately defined by and expressed in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
  12. While at times it may be helpful to distinguish between the ceremonial, civil, and moral aspects of Old Testament law, all laws of the Old Covenant were moral since right relationship with the God of the covenant was at stake in the keeping or breaking of those laws.
  13. While at times it may be helpful to distinguish between the ceremonial, civil, and moral aspects of Old Testament law, the New Testament treats the law as a singular unit and does not distinguish between these aspects.
  14. Just as the law cannot justify, the law cannot sanctify. Just as it is impossible to be justified by the law, one cannot be sanctified by the law. The background problem being addressed by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3, Galatians 3-5, and Romans 7 (albeit in 3 different church situations) is the attempt to be sanctified by the law.
  15. Regeneration does not change the inability of the law to transform.  "Walking" in or by the law is the antithesis of "walking" in or by the Spirit (Galatians 5).
  16. God's Old Covenant law is fulfilled in Christ Himself and obeyed by those who, in Christ, fulfill the greatest commandments to love God and their neighbor.
  17. New Covenant Theology insists that the law of Christ is not to be equated with the Decalogue, nor is it to be equated with that work of the law which was on the heart of Adam and all natural men. The work of the law on all men (Romans 2:14-16) causes all men to perceive God’s power and divine nature (Romans 1:20) so that the natural man’s conscience does what the law requires (Romans 2:14) and he is without excuse.
  18. The New Covenant law is called the law of Christ which is distinguished -- both in substance and in form -- from the Mosaic law.
  19. Christ is the Law of the New Covenant, incarnating the new standard of judgment as to what "has had its day" in the law and what has abiding validity (Col. 2:17). The Holy Spirit is the indwelling Law of Christ, causing New Covenant members to obey Christ the Law in conformity to His image.
  20. God also promised that each New Covenant member would have His law written on their hearts.  This promise, typified by circumcision, is fulfilled by the Holy Spirit who dwells in believers to guide their steps and conform them to Christ.
  21. Just as the Old Covenant community was structured by written revelation which centered in Moses, so the New Covenant community is ordered by the "law of Christ" as personified and incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ, applied by the Holy Spirit,  and given in the writing of the Apostles and prophets (Eph.2:20).
  22. The indwelling Holy Spirit, the law written on the heart, is the norm for Christian living.
  23. New Covenant Theology emphasizes that it is the Spirit, the indwelling "law" who both causes (Ezekiel 36:27) and enables the Christian to be conformed to and transformed into Christ's image, Who is the Imago Dei, the perfect image of God.
  24. “Do this and live” (Genesis 2:15-17, Leviticus 18:5, Leviticus 19:2, Ezekiel 20:11,13,21, Matthew 5:48, Luke 10:25-28, Romans 5:10, Romans 10:5, and Galatians 3:12) is the fundamental principle of obedience to the law, expressing both Israel’s obligation to the law of God as well as all men (Romans 3:19-23).
  25. Perfect obedience to God is necessary for eternal life (Matthew 5:48, Luke 25-28, Romans 10:5). In the Old Covenant, perfect obedience to God was tied to obeying the law perfectly.
  26. "Do this and live" is both grounded in the original command to Adam (expressed in "eat and die"), and expressed as a condition of the law (with "life" as an eschatological shadow or type of "eternal life"). Because his people could not fulfill the fundamental principle of obedience to the law, Christ obeyed the law on behalf of his people in order to fulfill the obligations of the law and release his people from the condemnation of the law (Romans 5:1, Romans 8:1-2).
  27. Christ’s perfect obedience to the law and fulfillment of the obligations is the necessary grounds for the righteousness imputed to his people, without which there is no right standing with God.
  28. Because Christ has obeyed the law on behalf of his people and has become a law for his people, unlike the external Mosaic law, the Law of Christ as the Spirit applied to the redeemed is able to effect and enable the obedience and love that is in accord with Christ's obedience and love.
  29. For the New Covenant church, the law of God is no longer an external standard that demands compliance with the will of God.  The Law of Christ as the indwelling Spirit is now an internal person who causes and inclines us to obey God from the heart.
  30. The New Commandment of the New Covenant, the Law of Christ, expresses the indwelling of the Spirit through belief in Christ and love for one another (John 13:34, Galatians 6:2, 1 John 3:23). The work of the Spirit as the new covenant law applied to the heart of the believer (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:27) is manifest in love for God      and one another, in following the examples set by Christ and his apostles, and in living out an ethic informed by the whole of the canon. Love is central to the law of Christ.
  31. The New Testament and New Covenant Theology do not teach that the Ten Commandments are the objective standard for evaluating the Christian life. Christ is now the objective standard by which all holiness in the Christian life is measured.
  32. The progression of history to a final New Covenant guarantees the "law of Christ", as personified and incarnated by Jesus Christ, and applied by the Spirit who is written on the heart, to be sufficient for the church.

The Sabbath

  1. The Old Covenant Sabbath day was the divinely ordained sign of the Mosaic Covenant. With the rest of the Mosaic Covenant, the Old Covenant Sabbath commandment has passed into obsolescence in the inauguration of the New Covenant in Christ. The Old Covenant Sabbath has been typologically and eschatologically fulfilled by Christ for the people of God who rest in Him by faith (Romans 14:5; Colossians 2:16,17; Heb. 4:9-10).
  1. New Covenant Theology denies that Sunday is a Christian Sabbath after the manner of the Old Covenant. New Covenant Theology denies that the Sabbath principle of physical rest in the Old Testament has been transferred to the first day of the week. New Covenant Theology also denies the so-called “floating day” principle, or one day in seven, since the Sabbath principle has passed into obsolescence with the rest of the Mosaic Covenant and its so-called “moral law”. New Covenant Theology denies that the physical principle of Sabbath-keeping can be transferred to the first day of the week, or any other day, without doing violence to the so-called moral aspect of the Sinaitic Covenant’s Sabbath commandment.
  2. New Covenant Theology affirms that every Christian is a Sabbath-keeper because every Christian has entered in a rest from works in Christ the Sabbath Rest (Hebrews 4). Sabbath Rest for the New Covenant believer consists of resting or ceasing from works of the law or works of sin and resting by faith in Christ. Christ is our Sabbath Rest because having finished his work on our behalf he now sits at the right hand of the Father. Because Jesus Christ has become Sabbath Rest for his people, every moment of every day is Sabbath for the New Covenant believer.

The church

  1. The dominion of Christ over His Kingdom (the church, Matt. 16:19, 18:17,18), typified and foreshadowed in Israel's Old Testament theocracy, has been inaugurated in the New Covenant, is expressed in the New Testament, and is effectively carried out in the life of the local assembly, the visible New Covenant church.
  2. The visible and local New Covenant church is the primary means by which the invisible church is expressed and manifested in the New Covenant.
  3. The church on earth is located in the local church.  New Covenant Theology recognizes that Christ exercises his Lordship in and through the local church.
  4. The New Covenant church is a local, visible colony of the universal gathering in heaven. The universal gathering of God's redeemed people has begun on earth in the form and expression of the local church. Thus by intent and design, the local church as a gathering of New Covenant people who participate in faith, mirrors the universal gathering of the redeemed.
  5. It is through the New Covenant church that God's wisdom for the ages and his purposes throughout revelation and history -- having been fulfilled in Jesus -- are most visibly expressed.
  6. New Covenant Theology posits that the Church, which is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), first came into visible existence in history when the Spirit descended and was poured out at Pentecost, not in past history under the Old Covenant.  There is only one redemptive purpose for the people of God, which is the Church, the good olive tree (Rom. 11), the body of Christ (Eph. 2:13-22; 3:1-12), the visible expression of which is the local church.


  1. The New Covenant is now in force and finds its fulfillment in Jesus, the antitypical New Israel.
  2. New Covenant Theology sees in Christ a fulfillment of promises that, in their Old Testament context, seemed to be addressed to Israel as a nation. It is in Christ, the New Israel, that the church enjoys the blessings of the promises that seemed to be addressed to Israel as a nation in the Old Testament Scriptures.
  3. New Covenant Theology denies that there is a one to one correlation between Israel and the New Covenant church. Israel was not the church in the Old Covenant, which consisted of an admixture of those who participated in faith and those who did not. In Christ, the New Israel, the church is not an admixture of believer and unbeliever, but is entirely by faith.
  4. Under the Old Covenant, Israel was the people of God. Under the New Covenant, the church is the people of God anticipated in and foreshadowed by national Israel in the Old Testament scriptures.
  5. In the Old Covenant, Israel, the second Adam, was a demonstration and proclamation of Jesus as a type. Israel typified the New Israel and His redeemed New Covenant people of God. That which was true of Israel, in type, is now true of Jesus as the federal head of His new covenant people in fulfillment. Thus, the supreme covenantal formula promised to Israel is now true of the church: Jehovah is our God, and we are His people. Christ, the New Covenant, now dwells among His people.


gospelmuse said...

Excellent stuff! Thanks for posting it, brother.

Joseph G. Krygier said...

On track update. Gets better and better.

razzendahcuben said...

This is so valuable. Thank you so much, Chad.

T L said...

I have a comment awaiting moderation on the version over at Earth Stove Society

Randall said...

I was just wondering how you would react to the idea that our obedience is not important since Christ's active obedience for us in continuing. There is no need for us to obey since he is obeying for us. This idea is being imputed to you. I would like to be able to verify or falsify it. You may email your answer to rseiver1@hotmail/com.



Randall said...

I would appreciate it if you would add our page to your links. I think your buddy Moe B. can vouch for us.



Chad Richard Bresson said...

Randall, since it's an oft asked question, I'll briefly address it here. And because it will be very brief, it will not do the topic justice.

The quick answer is that our obedience is important, but I would not pit our obedience over against Christ's active obedience. It's a false dichotomy. We "work" because he "works" (in us). Christ's active obedience imputed to the sinner works itself out in the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the church and lives of every one who has been redeemed and regenerated by the Spirit. Christ's active obedience both affects and effects obedience in those who are His own. "We love him because he first loved (us)" isn't simply descriptive of "why" we love. It is also descriptive of "how" it is that we love. There is cause and effect in that verse.

I have framed it this way because our obedience isn't important simply because God says it is or simply because God says it must be. Our obedience is important because of its role in redemptive history. Our obedience manifests the expansion of Christ's kingdom as he works through His Spirit accomplishing His ends for his own glory. Our obedience is an effect of the gospel's transformational power, obedience compelled by what Christ has done for us, is doing through us, and what he will accomplish for us in our union to Him through the Spirit. So... far from suggesting obedience is not important, active obedience necessitates obedience. If we do not obey the King, one may rightly begin to wonder whether the King's righteousness through obedience has indeed been imputed to us.

Long story short: no need to juxtapose Christ's active obedience and our obedience. The two are bound up with one another in a cause/effect relationship. Because Christ obeyed, I will obey. Because Christ obeyed, i will want to obey. Because Christ obeyed, I'm called to obey. That's the glory of the cross and resurrection applied to me.

I hope this helps.

Chad Richard Bresson said...

btw... active obedience is the greatest of comforts in counseling others from the Scriptures. No matter the crisis, no matter the failure, no matter the sin... it is a great assurance to know that I don't have to beat myself up because I don't measure up. I'll never measure up. I don't have to measure up because Christ has already done so. For example, if I fail to love my wife like I should, the beginning point for my confession, repentance, and reconcilation with my wife is an admission that I will never love her as I ought all of the time and because of my inability, Christ not only died for that failure but positively "obeyed" the command on my behalf. Because I haven't, he did. Because I don't obey, Christ obeyed... in order that I might obey. That is huge in counseling. Life change doesn't occur as we pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Life change occurs as we place our hope and our confidence in the One who obeyed in all of the areas that I don't, imputed that obedience to me, affects obedience through me, and compels new, radical obedience via the Word and Spirit in me. My confidence is not in my own abilities to live up to the standard He has set. My confidence is in the fact that Christ already lived up to the standard He has set and has imputed that "living up to" to my account.

Paul's ethic was "be who you already are in Christ." But before we can "be who we are" we needed a Savior who "did"... on our behalf. Counseling from the position of our union in Christ must begin with what Christ has accomplished for us in his life and in his death. This is what Jerry Bridges calls "preaching the gospel to yourself every day."

Steve Fuchs said...

Well summarized Chad, re: the importance of obedience. That is what most systems of theology miss - namely that his active obedience affects AND effects our obedience via indwelling. His is the cause which produces the effect of obedience within us, now as a first installment, but on that day the fullness of perfect righteousness like the Father's. We love not merely as a response but as an inescapable effect of His work within us.

Chad Richard Bresson said...

Those who would downplay the importance and necessity of Christ's active obedience in our sanctification typically have dumbed down obedience in the Christian life to attainable standards. They don't need Christ's active obedience because they think they can attain obedience without it. Ask for their list of "do's" and it most assuredly is a list they can keep (and they'll tell you about it.) Show me someone who values the active obedience of Christ and I'll show you someone who recognizes the impossibility of attaining the standard of holiness Christ has set for his people. We run to the cross on a daily basis because without it and the holiness earned by Christ on our behalf, we and our holiness are doomed.

Randall said...


What passages would you use to show that Christ's active obedience is imputed to us in progressive sanctification? There can be no question that his grace is imparted to us, causing us to will and do what pleases him. My question is how are our works which will usually, if not always have some tincture of sin in them made acceptable to God as the Scripture says they are? I have some ideas about how all this works out, but would like to hear your take on it.



Jason Strange said...

10. The Old Testament, including its types, Israel’s history, and revelation, betrays an organic progress of history moving toward its end in Christ.

Chad should the word be 'portrays' and not betrays?

Jason Strange said...

"The tearing in two of the veil in the temple was a decisive, supernatural act that visibly demonstrated the end of the Old Covenant and the establishment of the New. This end of the Old Covenant was consummated in the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple."

I keep saying yes and amen to all these points. God gave hard historical evidence to the Jewish nation that the Old Covenant was over. Their city destroyed, place of worship burned to the ground, and all the people either dead or scattered. Jesus foretold that this would happen and even told his disciples not to marvel at the grandeur of what was growing old, fading away, and about to vanish (Heb 8:13).

Jason Strange said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It might be helpful to add under "The Law" section that the basis for Christian obedience is first the Gospel, not to the Decalogue. Wouldn't this be the meaning of the law of CHRIST? The Christian lives by the compulsion of an internal Person, the Spirit of Christ. The Gospel must be applied at the outset and carried all the way through personal sanctification, right? I wrote this out today as we go through a series of NCT at CCC:

The Christian lives by the Spirit and is informed by the Gospel first
The Holy Spirit is the indwelling law of Christ causing New Covenant members to obey.
Christians live now by the law of Christ.
This Law of Christ is not external.
The Law of Christ is an internal compulsion by a Person.
(Max Strange)

Anonymous said...

Chad, can you help me understand the difference between the Moral law and the Decalogue? Lee Irons has me thinking.

Chad Richard Bresson said...

I don't know that use of the "moral law" as a label is helpful considering its baggage. However, let's say there is such a thing for the sake of the argument. The Decalogue would be the temporary expression in the life of Israel of God's moral law.

Jason Strange said...

Can we actively resist the active obedience of Christ?

For it seems that we can resist the active obedience, yet we cannot obey without it...

If His active obedience is affecting and effecting my participatory obedience sin seems to, on occasion, override the affecting and effecting activity...

To me this is the same idea where Paul says in Philippians, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to do..."

So with that being said, God is active and I am active...He causes me to will and to do (Exercising 'faith and repentance'). His activity never stops in the working out of my salvation...and even when I feel that I am not actively working it out it is the Spirits work to actively finished the good work of saving me unto the very end...

Chad Richard Bresson said...

Jason, could you actively resist regeneration or justification, etc? I view sanctification from the same lens of God's sovereignty and human responsibility for these sanctification questions. In our articulation and apologetic for the doctrines of grace, sanctification doesn't belong to another category. It doesn't get a pass. It's not *different* in its DNA. It is distinct from justification. But the underlying m.o. is of the same substance.

Chad Richard Bresson said...

Added note... sanctification in the NT, is primarily a past event. Only once (maybe twice) is sanctify or any of its thematic derivatives used in a present or progressive sense. Is it possible to actively resist a past event?

Jason Strange said...

"1. New Covenant Theology insists on the priority of Jesus Christ over all things, including history, revelation, and redemption. New Covenant Theology presumes a Christocentricity to the understanding and meaning of all reality."

+++I love this...the weightiness of this statement is beyond measure...Jesus being 'the priority in history'...which means He does not merely stand as one of many people of have entered history and left, watching it go by as a passenger and then departing...He stands over and above history as its architect and designs it so as to enter it and it is there to serve His was created for that he moves history to serve his intended means and goals...History makes no sense unless he enters into it, and without him there is a vacuum...the timeline would become a disjointed mismatch of senseless chronology...He fills History with meaning and fills out out history as enters it. He creates the timeline to serve the purposes of revelation and he rides its eschatological wave, so that the ocean of history pushes him forward through the pipeline...the board is redemption and only He can control the outcome...:)

"2. Jesus Christ, who reigns in heaven, has not only reached the goal of history and its reality, he Himself is the goal of history and reality, giving meaning to all that has occurred in human history and will occur in human history. Since it is Christ who gives meaning to human history, he is the One who interprets all of the deeds and acts of God in history.

+++ I love this statement because it shows Jesus' primacy in history. Most people do not think that history has a end goal...that goal being set by God and He accomplishing His objective...History being every second of every life lived, of every event and interaction between the three...they are intertwined and interspersed...and from our perspective it often seems chaotic without any harmonization or cohesiveness...but time and space belong to Him and he wields it...directing, moving, building, overseeing, communicating, entering, changing, destroying etc...its His to do as he wishes...with the One all consuming goal...Redemption. "He interprets all of Gods deeds and acts," and His interpretation by the NT authors is clear without any distortion...Without His interpretation of Gods deeds and acts, life is lived in an anthropocentric fog that will not impossible crossword puzzle with no key...Only He is the true Interpreter of God His Father and only He knows Him to communicate his words accurately...
Without Jesus history is in order to find real meaning you must possess the One who holds all the cards...

Joel Estes said...

Excellent, excellent stuff! Thanks for so aptly expressing this summary of Biblical Truth. As I reflect, I agree with each and every tenant posited herein. Thanks for all your work on this!