Covenant Theology

Covenant Theology holds that God has one people (true) Israel (spiritual decedents of Abraham) and the promises to Israel made in the Old Testament were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the new Israel (elect/chosen/church), and the object of Abraham’s hope.

Dispensationalists have often criticized Covenant Theology as being identical with what they call “Replacement Theology” or Supersessionism. Supersessionism is the concept that the Church has replaced Israel. However, in Covenant Theology, the church is not a replacement for the nation of Israel but an expansion of it where Gentiles are “grafted into” the existing covenant community. Jewish Christians are included in the spiritual Israel.

Covenant Theology’s view on spiritual Israel becomes both the clearest and most decisive in terms of separating Covenant Theology and Dispensational Theology views. Covenant Theology would view true Israel as the people of God, that is, true Israel, saved Israel as the people of God and the Church as the people of God.

There is really one people of God in both Testaments, both saved by faith, both serving the same God, both the special objects of God’s saving love. Israel really could be thought of and spoken of as the Old Testament Church. The Church in the New Testament can rightly be thought of as New Testament Israel. So we have Old Testament Church, that’s Israel, and we have New Testament Israel, that’s the Church. So there really should not be seen significant differences as they are the people of God. Granted Israel is also ethnic and the Church is multiethnic. But apart from that difference, as it relates to nation and ethnicity, we ought to understand the people of God, as believers, constituting the same group of people.

Because of this sense of unity that takes place, the hermeneutic of Covenant Theology tends to see in Scripture a unified teaching in both Testaments. In Covenant Theology there is more of a notion of simply amplifying or explaining with grater clarity or precession (progression through Bible) what has been there from the beginning. So for example, in Covenant Theology there is much more a tendency to look back in the Old Testament and see the same kinds of things as you do in the New Treatment.

Covenant Theologians organize all history and theology around several covenants, or arrangements between God and humans or the Son. They are:

1. Covenant of Redemption. This covenant is optional. It occurred before creation.

The Son’ agreement – perfect obedience in death promised to the Father
The Father’ agreement – promised to the Son: 1) all the Son’s needs to be met; 2) Holy Spirit given to the Church; 3) salvation to all believers; 4) exaltation of the son.

2. The Covenant of Works: Lasting from creation until the fall.

Man’s conditions – Adam must obey God
God rewards obedience with eternal life, punishes disobedience with death

3. The Covenant of Grace: Lasting from the fall until the second advent.

Man’s conditions – saving faith issuing in obedience
God’s response – salvation in all of its phases

To learn more about God’s Covenant check out my ebook:

God’s Covenant

Other Theologies:

Biblical Theology

Dispensational Theology

Redemptive Theology

Systematic Theology 

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