This year, whenever I have had the opportunity to teach at the Wednesday night prayer meeting of Kosmosdale Baptist Church
, I have been teaching about the covenantal structure of Holy Scripture. Jeffrey Johnson's book, The Fatal Flaw of the Theology Behind Infant Baptism
has been crucial in informing my own understanding of the biblical covenants. The benefit of Johnson's book consists in much more than a polemic against infant "baptism". Johnson demonstrates, from Scripture, the right way to understand the continuity and discontinuity of the divine covenants. The following is a key chapter from Fatal Flaw
The Apostle Paul clearly teaches that the old covenant was a covenant of works. In Galatians 4:21-31 he does a side-by-side analysis of the old and new covenants. Moreover, rather than unifying them together under the umbrella of the covenant of grace, he defines them as being two distinct and separate covenants. His physical and natural seed signify the old covenant of works, while his spiritual and supernatural seed signify the new covenant of grace. From this he goes on to attach the Mosaic Covenant to the covenant of works and the new covenant to the covenant of grace. (83)
Johnson's chapter that focuses on exegesis of Galatians 4:21-31 is, in itself, worth the price of the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is thinking through God's covenantal relationships with Man. The Bible is (rightly) structured with an Old Testament and New Testament ["Testament" is another word for "covenant".] Therefore, it is important for every Christian to consider how the Old Covenant is related to the New.
Labels: Bible study, Reformation Theology