Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Covenant and Election in Hebrews

Hebrews is also of help to us in thinking about the whole covenant-election thing.

Q: Is the new covenant unbreakable? [i.e. are the only people in the covenant those who cannot fall from it]

If yes, then you’d expect the logic in Hebrews to be: The new covenant is unbreakable, so you can’t break it, so you’re fine. In others words, to argue from the covenant to security, but not from the covenant to the danger of falling.

So, how come the logic is: Jesus brings in a new covenant, so don’t be a covenant-breaker, because that’s far worse than being a covenant-breaker under the old [Hebrews 2:1-4, Hebrews 12:18-29]. That is, Hebrews is written to people in the new covenant warning them not to become covenant-breakers.

Ok, so maybe therefore you could put it like this:

The new covenant is unbreakable, so make sure you don’t break it, because if you break it you prove that you’ve never been in it (because, after all, the new covenant is unbreakable). After all, doesn't Hebrews say something like this in 3:6, 14.

Which is fine, but only if we are able to distinguish types of being ‘in’ the covenant. Otherwise I don’t think it works. They’re spoken to on the basis of being in the covenant, not on the basis of maybe being in the covenant. They have come to Mount Zion where they can hear the voice of the Son of God speaking to them.

And if we’re able to distinguish types of being ‘in the covenant’ then it is possible to be a covenant-breaker.

[More to come later...]


Anonymous said...

If I were you I would give Owen's commentary on Hebrews a read :-)

Pete said...

I've not read Owen on Hebrews, I have read some of his material on covenant and election though and found him excellent.

Pete said...

Sorry, Calvin, not Owen! (my brain is in Owen and Hebrews at the moment. He would not agree with my comments on the new covenant I gather)