The New Covenant & Covenantal Faithfulness

“For it is not the hears of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”  Romans 2:13

It seems to me that alot of people are so weary of joining faith and works that they say crazy things that aren’t Biblical, and are yet hidden under the guise of “the historic reformed faith” so as to stop all the mouths of any one who might approach things from another angle. Why this is so, I don’t know.

People say that we are saved by faith, and by faith alone. True. People also say that we are not saved by works. True again. But then people get into some kind of theological bind when others attempt to combine the two concepts (faith and works) and try to understand what James means when he says we are justified by works. All of a sudden the soteriological gestapo show up flashing their badges ready to throw some person into heterodoxical prison.

These same people say things like, “works are the “proof” that we are saved, but works do not save us. We are saved by faith alone.” What they mean is, “the only thing that renders me right with God and forgives me of my sin is my intellectual assent. I believe in Jesus with my mind, and I am not trusting in my good works to render me right with God. I am saved by faith ALONE. If I do have any good works, it is just proof that I am saved.”

When people think like this, and speak like this, they are separating works from faith, as if you can have one without the other. But James makes it clear, “you show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works…Faith apart from works is useless” (James 2:18,20). 

Jesus also says that the one who loves Him will obey His commandments. John also says, “Whoever says ‘I know Him’, and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in Him” (1 John 2:4). Now my basic point is this, Faith and works cannot be separated. One is not the proof of the other, works is not to demonstrate to God, or anybody else that our faith is real and genuine. That is not how it works.

The New Covenant passage in Jer. 31 and Heb 8 say that the very nature of the N.C. is that God’s Law would be put into minds and be written on our hearts. So, the very nature of N.C. faith is one which is an obedient faith. You want to see what a fruit tree looks like, it has fruit. It has fruit, not because it is proving it is a fruit tree, but becuase its very nature is to produce fruit. And what did jesus say  about trees that bore no fruit? They would be cast into the fire because they are worthless.

People don’t want to mix faith and works, but in order to understand our covenant relationship with God (promise, obligation), we must understand that our obligation is to obey God’s Commandments. Now some crazy gestapo is saying, “well your saying that a person can be saved by keeping God’s commandments, which is by works. You believe in salvation by works.” Uhh, yes and no. If you mean that a person can simply do the commandments of God and be saved absent of any faith, then NO. Because Faith is commanded, and is the foundation of all good works and obedience.

If you mean that a person must be covenantally faithful by observing the laws of God (which can only be done through faith) in order to be justified and saved on the last day then yes, This is what i mean. 

I’m sure nobody will read this, but in the crazy chance that someone does, please comment if my thoughts are too scattered and I will attempt to make clarification.

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3 thoughts on “The New Covenant & Covenantal Faithfulness

  1. Hey, just found your blog. I can’t make a judgment on FV yet, I still haven’t examined both sides. But I think that your citation of Romans 2:13 is out of context. In Romans 2:13, Paul isn’t saying to the Jews, “You guys need to start obeying this law in order to be justified!”, but he’s pointing out that even though the Jews were entrusted with the Law, they fail to obey it and thus need to be justified by faith.

    We can talk about this, I think the over all argument in Romans shows what I’m saying is the correct interpretation. Romans 1, Paul is showing that the Gentiles are guilty before God because they suppressed the knowledge they had of God through creation, as well as disobeyed the moral law of God that he had given them. Romans 2 goes on to show that the Jews are not better off,they break the law, they need to be justified. And in Romans 3, Paul sums up by saying that all are guilty before God and all break the law.

    Looking forward to reading some more on here, adding it to my blog list. 🙂

    In Christ,
    Andrew

  2. Andrew, thank you for commenting on my post. I have to say though, that out of all the posts that i have done thus far, it is this one that I wasn’t quite so sure about. When I got home I thought that I would erase this post because I wasn’t satisfied with what I said, and the way I said it. So I am going to erase this post, but I will put one up again very soon similar to this concept.

    But I will respond to you though, because, well, for some reason people just started reading my blog, and I am pretty excited about it.

    Your comment is noted, but I do have to say, that Paul doesn’t really begin to speak to the Jews until 2:17. In 2:6 Paul warns the Gentiles that God will render to each one according to his works. His warning in verse 8 is that there will be wrath and fury for the one that does not obey the truth. OBEY THE TRUTH. Not BELIEVE THE TRUTH, but Obey the Truth. that is because true faith obeys. And true Obedient Faith believes in JESUS.

    V. 12 he says, “For ALL who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law (he is speaking to Gentiles), and all who have sinned under the law (Jews) will be judged by the law. Then verse 13, I believe Paul is speaking to both groups, and letting them know that it does not matter if you have heard the law or not (meaning have had the law given to you, the Jews), it is the doers of the law who will be justified (Jew or Gentile) and will be considered righteous before God. And what does it mean in this context to be a doer of the law, to believe in Jesus, for the law points to Jesus.

    Now this is the crucial issue, obedience is faith, and faith is obedience. But what kind of faith. Is it mere mental assent? Is faith believing in justification by faith? Are we justified by faith in Justification by Faith? Or are we justified by faith in Jesus? In Jesus of course. (But notice also that the justification spoken of here is a future justification. Check out the articles at the end of this post for some clarification.)

    But here is the kicker, what does faith in Jesus look like. Jump over to Rom. 6, where Paul is still preaching the gospel (alot of people stop after 3 or 4 and conclude the gospel is contained only there, but Paul writes more), and in v. 16ff, Paul addresses the issues of obedience once again, and says that we are slaves to the one we OBEY, either to righteousness or to sin. V.17 Paul praises the Romans for being, “obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching…and have become slaves of righteousness.” and then down to 6:22, one of my favorite verses, where Paul says that the fruit that we receive from being a slave to God is sanctification, and the end of sancitification is eternal life. Sancitification is attained by Obedience to the truth. And yet what does 23 say, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    We cannot have eternal life without obedience, and we cannot be obedient with out faith in Christ. In Christ we are a new Creature, restored to the position we were meant to have in the garden, and we are to live obediently to the Father, because it is our duty as a creature, but also because we love God and he saved us.

    There is alot here, sometimes it is hard for me to collect all my thoughts. Please forgive me. I’ll try to have more precise thoughts when I write from now on. I might not erase this post now that i think about it.

    Check out these links:
    http://www.hornes.org/theologia/rich-lusk/future-justification-to-the-doers-of-the-law

    http://www.hornes.org/theologia/norman-shepherd/the-34-theses

    http://www.hornes.org/theologia/rich-lusk/why-the-law-gospel-paradigm-is-flawed

    There is ALOT more good stuff at http://www.hornes.org/theologia/

  3. Hey Mike, sorry for not writing back yet, I had a busy weekend and haven’t really had a chance to approach Romans again. I’m going to reread Romans in light of you said and going to come back and respond to whether or not your citation of Romans 2:13 is right.

    In Christ,
    Andrew

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