John Calvin on Jer. 31 and the New Covenant

Posted: July 12, 2016 by rickyroldan in Topical


Calvin writes:

Now, as to the new covenant, it is not so called, because it is contrary to the first covenant; for God is never inconsistent with himself, nor is he unlike himself, he then who once made a covenant with his chosen people, had not changed his purpose, as though he had forgotten his faithfulness. It then follows, that the first covenant was inviolable; besides, he had already made his covenant with Abraham, and the Law was a confirmation of that covenant. As then the Law depended on that covenant which God made with his servant Abraham, it follows that God could never have made a new, that is, a contrary or a different covenant. For whence do we derive our hope of salvation, except from that blessed seed promised to Abraham? Further, why are we called the children of Abraham, except on account of the common bond of faith? Why are the faithful said to be gathered into the bosom of Abraham? Why does Christ say, that some will come from the east and the west, and sit down in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? (Luke 16:22; Matthew 8:11) These things no doubt sufficiently shew that God has never made any other covenant than that which he made formerly with Abraham, and at length confirmed by the hand of Moses. This subject might be more fully handled; but it is enough briefly to shew, that the covenant which God made at first is perpetual.

Calvino, Ezequiel 33:11 y la Libre Oferta del Evangelio

Posted: June 3, 2016 by rickyroldan in Topical

Excellent Reformed Blog in Spanish by Marcelo Sanchez

Reformado reformándome

Juan Calvino Juan Calvino

Uno de los textos que muchos de los reformados de hoy usan para decir que Dios quiere la salvación incluso de aquellos que Él mismo decretó condenar es Ezequiel 33:11. Este texto dice:

Diles: Vivo yo, dice Jehová el Señor, que no quiero la muerte del impío, sino que se vuelva el impío de su camino, y que viva. Volveos, volveos de vuestros malos caminos; ¿por qué moriréis, oh casa de Israel? (Eze 33:11 R60)

Incluso nos llaman de híper calvinistas a los que no creemos en esa doctrina. Pero los que no la creemos estamos en buena compañía. Calvino mismo afirma:

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The Doctrines of Grace are clearly taught in the tenth chapter of the gospel of John. “sheep” are believers.

John 10

14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Who did Christ lay down his life for? The sheep. All who will be believers. The elect

24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.[b] 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Why didn’t they believe? Because they were NOT of the sheep. Then Christ goes on to explain that all his sheep know his voice and will finally follow and believe and not only that but He will not lose ANY of his sheep and gives then ETERNAL life not temporary life.

We see here Total Depravity (they can’t believe because they are not sheep) Unconditional Election (he knows the sheep by name) Limited Atonement (Christ died for sheep only) Effectual Grace ( all his sheep WILL believe and follow His voice) and Perseverance of the Saints (He will lose NONE of his sheep but gives them ETERNAL LIFE)

Doctrines of Grace in a nutshell

Praise God!!!!

“But I Don’t Have To Go Church”

Posted: February 2, 2016 by rickyroldan in Topical

“But I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian”

How many times have we heard this over and over from friends and family who refuse to go to church or join a local fellowship?

Unfortunately, this kind of mentality has spread like cancer throughout the last few generations and has permeated our culture. In my experience with this thinking, the thought process behind it is due to the obvious fact that they don’t care at all about going to church because they are not actually Christian and not made alive by the Spirit but are merely religious and or they are blatantly living in habitual sin that has them in its clutches or they are struggling with sin and feel guilty walking into church and showing their face. Whatever the case the common denominator is sin. The reality is that we have all dealt with the temptation to skip church for one sinful reason or another and I don’t want to make it seem that I am judging and pointing fingers when the fact of the matter is we have all been there and still struggle with the flesh and the temptations to break the laws of God.

There are many consequences in refusing to join the local church. When you have no accountability to others who are designed to help you, you will attempt to solve your personal struggles on your own and will eventually fall flat on your face and make things worse. You tend to rely on your own self righteousness that only leads to spiritual despair and moral surrender. What many fail to realize and understand is the vital necessity of going to church and being properly discipled by men God has called and ordained to shepherd believers in their walk of faith. The local assembly is God’s means by which He continues to sanctify his people conforming them to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ. Without this vital fellowship and accountability you will not grow spiritually but rather you will grow cold and shrink in faith.

I understand very clearly the excuses used so one doesn’t have to go to church and I am sympathetic to them. The fact that there are hypocrites and gossipers in the church or the fact that many so called “pastors” are preying on the the members for their money. These complaints falsely assumes that every church on the planet is the same exact way. Another common excuse or argument is that Christians are no longer obligated to keep the sabbath holy because Christ abolished the Ten Commandments on the cross. Despite these problems rampant in the church today it is no justification to break God’s command and law in his word to “keep the sabbath day holy” (Ex. 20:8) and “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”(Heb. 10:25) to worship our Lord and God as one body as one people united in spirit and by the Spirit.

Either you live by your own autonomous law or you live by God’s moral law found only in Holy Scripture. If you claim to be a Christian then you are supposed to love Gods word and his moral laws which are summarized in the Ten Commandments. With all due respect anyone who tells you or says that the New Testament teaches that Christians are no longer bound by God’s law taught in the commandments, that person has not understood scripture correctly and lacks biblical precision. Ask that person if its ok to murder or commit adultery since we are not bound by those commandments anymore and I am positive they will say that it is not. Then ask them where do we find in scripture where it is prohibited and they should, by then, realize their foolishness and inconsistency. We can’t pick and choose what we want to obey. Scripture is not a buffet table at a Chinese restaurant where we can pick and choose what we like and leave what we do not. Its all or nothing, period.

This is one of the reasons why a few who have claimed to be Christian rappers have recently now claimed to be walking away from Christianity. They are being self absorbed, self righteous and have neglected joining the local assembly of church fellowship. They refused God’s means of growing in grace and faith.

Therefore, all who claim to be Christians, who claim to love the Lord and who claim to love his word must obey God’s command to go and worship him on his day and not to put anything in its place. Scripture clearly teaches and commands us to join a local assembly and submit to the elders and pastors who God has called and ordained to help us grow in faith and righteousness. Find a church that clearly preaches the true gospel who makes it a priority to disciple their members and teaches the truth and sound doctrine and not man-made false doctrine. How? Seek God’s face by praying diligently and asking for wisdom and to strengthen your faith and also ask God to lead you to other believers who will help you to find a true church. There is nothing like worshiping the Lord with like minded people and growing in grace together as one body of Jesus Christ. Selah

“Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8

25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” Hebrews 10:25

A common argument used against infant baptism by my Reformed Baptist brothers is that what makes the New Covenant better is that Christ is now the mediator or minister of this covenant. It consists of the elect only whom He perfectly intercedes for being that they are the true spiritual seed of Abraham who the promise is given to, therefore the sign of the Covenant should only be given to those who profess faith in Christ and it should not be administered to our infants or children until they profess faith for themselves since they are not part of the fulfilled Covenant of Grace. Therefore giving the sign to infants and including them in the New Covenant is a vital error since many baptized infants finally apostatize which would then indicate that Christ fails as a mediator. There are other Reformed Baptist who would concede to the fact that our children are in the covenant but then they claim that the sign should not be given but that issue can be for another time. Of course there is more to their arguments but I want to focus on this specific point for this article.

Westminster’s view agrees that Christ is the mediator or minister of the covenant and that the Covenant of Grace is fulfilled in Christ and the types and shadows have vanished in Him and also that the Covenant of Grace is made specifically with the elect alone. What Baptists reject is the vital distinction between the visible and invisible administrations of the covenant. This distinction has always existed but they claim that the new covenant is only invisible and spiritual with the elect alone. Although reformed baptists do affirm a distinction between the visible and invisible Church, they divorce the concept of covenant from church. That is another vital error. Let us leave that also for another time.

It is also quite common these days for our Baptist brothers to use John Owen who is considered one of the most gifted and respected English reformed theologians of our history. They use Owens view of covenant theology specifically from his commentaries on the book of Hebrews chapter 8 and make the claim that Owen is more inline with 1689 Federalism than with Westminster covenant theology and that the implications of Owens understanding of the Covenant of Grace logically leads to a credobaptist view rather than a paedobaptist view. Despite Owen being a paedobaptist he, they claim, was actually inconsistent and contradictory.

It is no surprise that Reformed Presbyterians would absolutely and respectfully disagree with that notion. We believe that assertion has been already proven false by reading the same Hebrews commentary they use by Dr. Owen and also in his polemical work on infant baptism. Nevertheless my intent here is not to go into detail as to why these claims are false nor is it my intent to show where my Baptist brothers misread and misinterpret Owen in regards to the distinction between the Abrahamic and Mosiac covenants in relation to the New Covenant.

What I want to do here is attempt to prove using one of Dr. Owen’s points in his defense on infant baptism that contrary to the reformed baptist assertion that to include infants in the New Covenant who would eventually apostatize would mean that Christ is a failing mediator is false. Furthermore for Owen it is for the very reason that Christ is the mediator and minister of the New Covenant of promise that children of believers should indeed be given the sign of this promise of grace. I found this point most intriguing.

Owen writes:

“Seventhly, Christ is “the messenger of the covenant,” Mal. iii. 1, – that is, of the covenant of God made with Abraham; and he was the “minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers,” Rom. xv. 8. This covenant was, that he would be “a God unto Abraham and to his seed.”

Now if this be not so under the new testament, then was not Christ a faithful messenger, nor did confirm the truth of God in his promises.

This argument alone will bear the weight of the whole cause against all objections; for, –

  1. Children are still in the same covenant with their parents, or the truth of the promises of God to the fathers was not confirmed by Christ.
  1. The right unto the covenant, and interest in its promises, wherever it be, gives right unto the administration of its initial seal, that is, to baptism, as Peter expressly declares, Acts ii. 38, 39. Wherefore, –

The right of the infant seed of believers unto baptism, as the initial seal of the covenant, stands on the foundation of the faithfulness of Christ as the messenger of the covenant, and minister of God for the confirmation of the truth of his promises.”

Owen here is clearly saying that the sign and seal of the promise of grace in Christ in the Abrahamic covenant was circumcision and that this sign of promise was also given to the children of the believing parents. He goes on to say that the promise in the New Covenant continues to be with believing parents and their children via the sign and seal of baptism. Of course this is also due to the fact that Owen properly understood the nature of sign and seals of covenant promises in that they are signs and seals of the promises of God. Therefore for Owen the covenantal nature of the sign and seal of Gods promise to save continues into the New Covenant and that nowhere is it said to have changed nor has the administration of participants changed. Baptists erroneously define baptism as a present reality in the one believing as the fulfilled promise and then discontinues the aspect of promise for the believers children and deny that they are still included in the “same covenant as their parents”, to quote Owen. For Owen this promise continues into the New Covenant for the children of believers and to reject the sign of grace to children is to also deny that Christ is the minister and mediator of the Covenant of Grace where the promises of God in Christ via grace is magnified to a greater degree.

Owen continues:

“In brief, a participation of the seal of the covenant is a spiritual blessing. This the seed of believers was once solemnly invested in by God himself. This privilege he hath nowhere revoked, though he hath changed the outward sign; nor hath he granted unto our children any privilege or mercy in lieu of it now under the gospel, when all grace and privilege are enlarged to the utmost. His covenant promises concerning them, which are multiplied, were confirmed by Christ as a true messenger and minister; he gives the grace of baptism unto many of them, especially those that die in their infancy, owns children to belong unto his kingdom, esteems them disciples, appoints households to be baptized without exception. And who shall now rise up, and withhold water from them?

This argument may be thus further cleared and improved: –

Christ is “the messenger of the covenant,” Mal. iii. 1, – that is, the covenant of God with Abraham, Gen. xvii. 7; for, –

  1. That covenant was with and unto Christ mystical, Gal. iii. 16; and he was the messenger of no covenant but that which was made with himself and his members.
  1. He was sent, or was God’s messenger, to perform and accomplish the covenant and oath made with Abraham, Luke i. 72, 73.
  1. The end of his message and of his coming was, that those to whom he was sent might be “blessed with faithful Abraham,” or that “the blessing of Abraham,” promised in the covenant, “might come upon them,” Gal. iii. 9, 14.

To deny this, overthrows the whole relation between the old testament and the new, the veracity of God in his promises, and all the properties of the covenant of grace, mentioned 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.

It was not the covenant of works, neither originally nor essentially, nor the covenant in its legal administration; for he confirmed and sealed that covenant whereof he was the messenger, but these he abolished.

Let it be named what covenant he was the messenger of, if not of this. Occasional additions of temporal promises do not in the least alter the nature of the covenant.

Herein he was the “minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers,” Rom. xv. 8; that is, undeniably, the covenant made with Abraham, enlarged and explained by following promises. This covenant was, that God would be “a God unto Abraham and to his seed;” which God himself explains to be his infant seed, Gen. xvii. 12, –  that is, the infant seed of every one of his posterity who should lay hold on and avouch that covenant as Abraham did, and not else. This the whole church did solemnly for themselves and their posterity; whereon the covenant was confirmed and sealed to them all, Exod. xxiv. 7, 8. And every one was bound to do the same in his own person; which if he did not, he was to be cut off from the congregation, whereby he forfeited all privileges unto himself and his seed.

The covenant, therefore, was not granted in its administrations unto the carnal seed of Abraham as such, but unto his covenanted seed, those who entered into it and professedly stood to its terms.

And the promises made unto the fathers were, that their infant seed, their buds and offspring, should have an equal share in the covenant with them, Isa. xxii. 24, xliv. 3, lxi. 9. “They are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them,” chap. lxv, 23. Not only themselves, who are the believing, professing seed of those who were blessed of the Lord, by a participation of the covenant, Gal. iii. 9, but their offspring also, their buds, their tender little ones, are in the same covenant with them.

To deny, therefore, that the children of believing, professing parents, who have avouched God’s covenant, as the church of Israel did, Exod. xxiv. 7, 8, have the same right and interest with their parents in the covenant, is plainly to deny the fidelity of Christ in the discharge of his office.

It may be it will be said, that although children have a right to the covenant, or do belong unto it, yet they have no right to the initial seal of it. This will not suffice; for, –

  1. If they have any interest in it, it is either in its grace or in its administration. If they have the former, they have the latter also, as shall be proved at any time. If they have neither, they have no interest in it; – then the truth of the promises of God made unto the fathers was not confirmed by Christ.
  1. That unto whom the covenant or promise doth belong, to them belongs the administration of the initial seal of it, is expressly declared by the apostle, Acts ii. 38, 39, be they who they will.

The truth of God’s promises is not confirmed if the sign and seal of them be denied; for that whereon they believed that God was a God unto their seed as well as unto themselves was this, that he granted the token of the covenant unto their seed as well as unto themselves. If this be taken away by Christ, their faith is overthrown, and the promise itself is not confirmed but weakened, as to the virtue it hath to beget faith and obedience”

As we can clearly see Dr. Owen equates the Abrahamic covenant with the Covenant of Grace and that Jesus Christ has always been the mediator and minister of both administrations. We also see that for Owen it has ALWAYS been about the spiritual seed of Abraham even though there are outward administrations of the promise. This is also nothing new.

Therefore in conclusion in Owens view, and in this writers view, to reject the sign and seal of Gods promise of grace to the children of believers is to deny and minimize the fact that Jesus Christ is a faithful and perfect mediator and minister of His own fulfilled covenant of grace.







“Fourth, if election is from foreseen faith, God would not have elected man, but rather man would have elected God, and so predestination should rather be called postdestination; the first cause would be made the second, and God would depend of man (the falsity of which, both the thing itself exclaims and Christ expressly testifies: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” (Jn. 15:16).

Francis Turretin, Institutes of elenctic theology, trans. G. M. Giger, ed. J. T. Dennison (1679; 3 vols, Philipsburgh, 1992), i, 361.

The following is taken from Dr. Owen’s defense of infant baptism and the argument from silence as making a strong case for the paedobaptist view.

…A spiritual privilege once granted by God unto any cannot be changed, disannulled, or abrogated, without a special divine revocation of it, or the substitution of a greater privilege and mercy in the place of it; for:

1. Who shall disannul what God has granted? What he has put together who shall put asunder? To abolish or take away any grant of privilege made by him to the church, without his own express revocation of it, is to deny his sovereign authority.

2. To say a privilege so granted may be revoked, even by God himself, without the substitution of a greater privilege and mercy in the place of it, is contrary to the goodness of God, his love and care unto his church, [and] contrary to his constant course of proceeding with it from the foundation of the world, wherein he went on in the enlargement and increase of its privileges until the coming of Christ. And to suppose it under the gospel is contrary to all his promises, the honor of Christ, and a multitude of express testimonies of Scripture.

Thus was it with the privileges of the temple and the worship of it granted to the Jews; they were not, they could not be, taken away without an express revocation, and the substitution of a more glorious spiritual temple and worship in their place.

But now the spiritual privilege of a right unto and a participation of the initial seal of the covenant was granted by God unto the infant seed of Abraham, Gen. 17:10, 12. This grant, therefore, must stand firm for ever, unless men can prove or produce:

1. An express revocation of it by God himself; which none can do either directly or indirectly, in terms or any pretense of consequence.

2. An instance of a greater privilege or mercy granted unto them in the place of it; which they do not once pretend unto, but leave the seed of believers, while in their infant state, in the same condition with those of pagans and infidels; expressly contrary to God’s covenant.

All this contest, therefore, is to deprive the children of believers of a privilege once granted to them by God, never revoked, as to the substance of it, assigning nothing in its place; which is contrary to the goodness, love, and covenant of God, especially derogatory to the honor of Jesus Christ and the gospel.

John Owen. The Works of John Owen. Ed. William H. Goold. Vol. 16. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. Print.