Another Word on Republication

In one of the posts below we have been discussing the Covenant of Grace and the Mosaic Administration and its place in Covenant Theology. One of the arguments against this view is an understanding that the Covenant of Works is republished in the Mosaic Covenant.

Here linked is a great article refuting Republication.

Sermon November 30, 2008


“Giving Thanks to God for Forgiveness”

Audio Here

I. Introduction

A. A Story of Forgiveness and Repentance

1. Beauty and the Beast

T- A similar, but true story we find today in the Book of Joel, Chapter 2:

B. Explain Background of the Book of Joel and Chapter 2

C. The main point of today’s text is that God is passionate for His people when they repent of their Sin and as we will discover as we look at Joel 2:18-27 particularly there is a great lesson to be learned in our own lives from the example given to us by this part of Scripture. That prayer and repentance given with humility and sincerity shall be forgiven.

T- Turning to the Scripture Lesson for this Lord’s Day morning let us look once more at verse 18 of chapter 2 in the Book of Joel: Joel writes:

II. The Lord our God is Passionate for Purity in His Church

A. Destruction of the Earth in Noah’s Time (Gen 7)

B. Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Abraham’s Day (Gen 19)

C. Destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians (2 Kings 24)

D. What about Today? (Matthew 24, Sheep and Goats)

T- We see how God deals with those who refuse to repent of their wicked ways, both as a nation and as a people. But what about those who do repent of their sin? What waits for them? Look again at verses 18-20 of our Scripture Lesson:

III. God has Pity on and Forgives His People when they repent.

A. Read Joel 2:12-17, example of true repentance

B. David’s Repentance after Affair with Bathsheeba (Read Psalm 25)

C. Story of Repentance and Forgiveness in Modern Times

(James Earl Ray and Martin Luther King III)

T- But how can we know that God will forgive us of our Sins, that God will do this for us?

Look again at Joel 2:21-23.

IV. Our God has Done So Before And Will Do So Again

A. As we saw with David, who was King and through whom Christ is a descendant.

B. The Children of Zion in Verse 23 are God’s Elect, His people, The Church is Zion (John 6 and 17, the Shepherd laying down His life for the Sheep)

C. God Fulfills His Promises (Adam (Gen 3:15) Abraham (Gen 16, Isaac)

T- We have seen that God honors our Repentance when given with humility and sincerity, but what does He promise He Will Give us in our Repentance? Read verses 24-26

V. Our Blessings Shall Overflow

A. Salvation in Christ (Read 2 Thess 2:13-14, Explain, Illustrate, Applicate)

B. Eternal Life (Read Acts 2:38, John 3:16)

T- From where will these blessings come and by whose authority will they be made known? Read Verse 27 again.

VI. By All these things We will know the Lord our God

A. The First Commandment (Verse 27 directly quotes from Exodus 20)

B. Why We Should Not Doubt He is Our God (Luke 24:36-45)

In closing this morning Brothers and Sisters what we should take away from this prophetic declaration from the words spoken to the Prophet Joel in the time after the exile from Babylon is that when we come to the Lord Our God with honesty and humility and sincerity in confessing the sins we have done in both in ourselves and omission our Sins shall be forgiven, not may but shall be forgiven by our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Because He is Our God and We are His people. For: (re-read Joel 2:18-27)

Amen and Amen.

Covenant of Grace and the Mosaic Law

You will here some say in the Reformed world that the Mosaic Administration is a republication of the Covenant of Works, citing most effectively Leviticus 18:5 (“So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD.”) and other places where it seems that obedience to the Law as given by Moses is the requirement for the Lord’s blessing and therefore life. However I believe that one can cite the same verses and make the opposite notation, that the Law being an administration of the Second Covenant, the Covenant of Grace, is not a Covenant of Works because most strikingly that which a Covenant of Works is cannot be fulfilled by the Mosaic Covenant. So there is I think a definitional mistake by categorizing the Mosaic administration in any part of a Covenant of Works because in doing so it presupposes that one can follow the Law to receive salvation like Adam (even if such a thing were possible, which it is not), who was first under the Covenant of Works for salvation and failed. Since Adam failed the probationary test we cannot now fulfill the requirements of this covenant and since according to Romans 5 the curse of this failure continues in us since Adam was our covenantal head it would therefore not make sense that God would put is again under a covenant which had been broken by Adam’s disobedience (and our disobedience in Adam). Especially since we continue under its curse. The Covenant of Works had already been abrogated, why would/should it be instituted again by the Mosaic administration since we who are descendants of Adam were already condemned? It seems to be unnecessary to put us again under condemnation a second time.

The Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 7, sections III, IV, & V makes clear that the Law (or Mosaic covenant) is an administration of the Covenant of Grace.

Chapter 7 –

Of God’s Covenant with Man.

III. Man by [Adam’s] fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace: wherein he freely offered unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.

IV. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in the Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ, the testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.

V. 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 fore-signifying 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.

You see in section V that the Divines at least believed the Law (thereby meaning the Mosaic Covenant) is just a special administration of the Covenant of Grace. While administered differently than “in the time of the gospel” it still is part of the Second Covenant, or the Covenant of Grace.

Revelation 5 and Musical Instruments in Worship

Below I wrote a short little piece on Revelation 14:2 and its relation to the use of Instruments in Worship in the New Testament. Rev. Kevin Carroll said, “Personally, I think Rev. 5 provides a great argument against exclusive psalmody in worship.” So we’ll take a look at it and see if Revelation chapter 5 makes this argument.

But first I want to make a point about categories. There is some misunderstanding as to what “Exclusive Psalmody” argues and what I am talking about here. Whether or not the Psalms are to be sung exclusively is a completely separate argument as to the discsussion we are having over if we should accompany our singing with musical instruments aside from the human voice. There are plenty of examples of denominations and churches that have and do use musical instruments but limit the verse to the 150 Psalms of the Book of Psalms. Now this all being said Revelation 5 has nothing to do with instrumental worship. The only verse that mentions instruments at all is Rev 5:8 which says, ” 8When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

The question then would be for those wanting use this as a support for instrumental accompaniment is two-fold.

1) Why do you not also have all of your elders carry golden bowls full of incense?

2) Are the bowls of incense literally the prayers of the saints? Yes or No? If No then why is the harp literal then?

Revelation 14:2 and Musical Instruments in Worship

One of the verses I see most quoted in the arguments surrounding the propriety of using Musical Instruments in stated corporate worship is Revelation 14:2. This verse is used by many of the proponents of Musical Instruments as being a source text that we can point to for showing a New Testament example of the use of Musical Instruments in worship after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. In the short exegetical piece after the pericope I will show how the citation of this verse is folly and ripped out of context for those who wish to use it for the purpose of supporting the use Musical Instruments in worship.

Revelation 14:1-5

Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.

The above section of Scripture from Revelation 14 (specifically the highlighted part in verse 2) is often used as a proof text (and we wonder why the Puritans were not too keen on proof texting)  against the view that instruments should not be used in stated corporate worship.  However the problems with using this verse as a proof of “New Testament instrument use in worship” are many.

1) It is a dangerous thing to do, in my opinion, to use the visions of John to support practically anything we do, because hermeneutically and logically if we do it here in Rev. 14:2 then why should we not do so for the other places in Revelation where worship is described in heavenly places? (cf: Rev 4: 9-11, 5: 13-14, 7:11, 11:16, etc…)

2) The Greek grammar in this passage, specifically verse 2, is full of simile. In Greek, just as in English, simile is not meant to be taken literally. The passage uses the Greek word ως before describing the many waters (ως φωνην υδατων πολλων), the loud thunder (ως φωνην βροντης μεγαλης), and the harpers playing their harps (η φωνη ην ηκουσα ως κιθαρωδων κιθαριζοντων). I have never seen “many waters” or “loud thunder” used in corporate worship, but if we take the third clause in that way why should we exclude them? Also we would never use verse 1 in this passage to support writing God’s name on our foreheads so why would we use a like, as simile statement to support what we do in worship?

3) Even more so this passage has nothing to do with the church gathered for worship, on earth or in heaven. Remeber who/what is John describing in verse 2? He is describing the voice from heaven, not what the 144,000 are doing.

Lord’s Day One

1.   Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own,1 but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death,2 to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.3 He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood,4 and has set me free from all the power of the devil.5 He also preserves me in such a way6 that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head;7 indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.8 Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life9 and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.101 1 Cor 6:19, 20. 2 Rom 14:7-9. 3 1 Cor 3:23; Tit 2:14. 4 1 Pet 1:18, 19; 1 Jn 1:7; 2:2. 5 Jn 8:34-36; Heb 2:14, 15; 1 Jn 3:8. 6 Jn 6:39, 40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess 3:3; 1 Pet 1:5. 7 Mt 10:29-31; Lk 21:16-18. 8 Rom 8:28. 9 Rom 8:15, 16; 2 Cor 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph 1:13, 14. 10 Rom 8:14.
2.    Q. What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
A. First, how great my sins and misery are;1 second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery;2 third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance.3

1 Rom 3:9, 10; 1 Jn 1:10. 2 Jn 17:3; Acts 4:12; 10:43. 3 Mt 5:16; Rom 6:13; Eph 5:8-10; 1 Pet 2:9, 10.