Important clarification on Henry’s view

 This is a very important comment from Henry that I do not want to get buried in the comment section in our discusion of the faith.   


 As I said to you in my last comment, there are some points of disagreement in your post in response to me that I would like to address. What you have done in your post in some way reflects the view to the ordinary reader that I have made unbiblical statements so I have highlighted these areas which I will then relate back to my original comment which you are responding to.

 Here is the first point then:

 Consequently, I can not agree with the comment, “Repentance and remission were thus obtained through ritual sacrifices, and of course it was God’s Grace to forgive Israel of their sins through the “mechanisms” of these practices”. Hebrews teaches that sacrifices were an annual reminder of sin. I don’t see a teaching in scripture that teaches remission of sins was accomplished through ritual sacrifices. Instead I see scripture teaching the opposite.
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.[3]
It is through Christ only that there is remission of sin.

Let me ask you this: could Israel have obtained remission for sins without performing these ordinances which God had commanded them to do under the Covenant? My answer to that is NO! Not performing these ordinances as required by the Old Covenant would constitute rebellion to God and therefore sin! Have I not therefore qualified what I said in the above quote that repentance and remission were obtained through the “mechanisms” of these ordinances but that it was in fact God’s grace to forgive Israel of their sins? Maybe you misunderstood what I said but I most certainly did not state that the sacrifices took away sin in and of themselves BUT rather I stated categorically that it was through God’s Grace and that the sacrifices were just symbolic. By introducing Heb 10:4 into the equation though you changed the complexion of what I was trying to say. Or do you mean to imply that God did not forgive Israel when they performed the ordinances required on the Day of Atonement? Noting that these things merely foreshadowed that which was to be fulfilled in Chirst, which is why I said they were symbolic.

Anyway let’s look at the next point of disagreement:

Consequently I can not believe that the Spirit solely, “Under the Old Covenant therefore it was the Law (as opposed to the Spirit) that convicted man of sin”. For I see the Law working in the lives of people in both covenants.

Once again here you have given the impression that I have made an unbiblical statement. The case in point is that my emphasis was in the fact that under the Old Covenant it was the Law that convicted man of sin and not the Spirit. But you countered by saying that you see the Law working in the lives of people in both covenants. So what you have done here is to contradict something that I did not say. I never made reference to the fact that only the Spirit worked in the lives of people in the New Covenant. In fact if you had read my follow up comment to the first which you are responding to here you would have noted where I cited scripture to show that the righteousness of the Law was fulfilled in us in Christ. I am therefore not ignorant of the fact that the law works in us under the new covenant through Christ. This does not take away from the truth that it is the Spirit that convicts man of sin (since the law is now written upon our hearts). Though this was not the point I was making.

The last point of contention is as follows:

Consequently again, I can not solely believe the idea that, “Under this [Old] Covenant however, Jesus had not yet gone to Calvary”. The world saw it manifest this way and would conclude this, but we understand it to be done before the world began. The manifestation was accomplished around 33 AD just as Jesus said on the cross, but our Savior died for us before the world began.

Dave again here you appear to give the impression that I have made an unbiblical statement. The fact that Jesus was a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world DOES NOT conflict with the Biblical fact that at the time of the Old Covenant He had not yet gone to Calvary. Or do you mean to imply that He was slain at Calvary from the foundations of the world? For me to say that “Jesus had not yet gone to Calvary” or that “the manifestation at Calvary” had not been fulfilled at the time amounts to the same thing. As far as human history was concerned Calvary had not yet taken place. Moreover Israel was ignorant of the fact that Jesus was a Lamb slain from the foundations of the world. This was only revealed in the New Covenant.

I might be wrong here but to me it appears that you are saying that Israel possessed the revealed knowledge of Christ under the Old Covenant, which we now have in the New Covenant. Of course Israel did not already possess the revealed knowledge of Christ until it was given to them in the New. Hence when I treat the subject of the Old Covenant I speak in terms of their ignorance.

3 thoughts on “Important clarification on Henry’s view

  1. Dave,
    Are you now saying you understood the points I was making and that you now agree by putting up this post? You see although we write individual blogs my purpose is not to promote my own agenda or personal view in order to gain followership or draw desciples after myself but rather to share in the knowledge of Christ in order to come to the unity of the faith. It is not about me but putting CHRIST at the centre. If I say something that someone says is wrong or unbiblical and if I agree come to the realisation that I have made such unbiblical statements, I am only too happy to stand corrected and ask the Lord for forgiveness. It is for these reasons I am happy to dialogue with you or anyone else who are interested. But the church today is so divided and many people are so scared of engaging, perhaps because they think you will indoctrinate them given they hold to a different view. How can we therefore come into the oneness of the faith? Today fellowshiping has been reduced to sharing tea and biscuits after Sunday service and discussing matters of the faith is largely left out of it.

    • Henry,

      I was happy to put your comment on my main page because I really appreciate your defense of the gospel. I always seek to be fair and I believe many people will similarly look at scripture the way you do. In fact more your way than my way. I believe it is all part of the process to share and to grow in God’s word.

      Concerning understanding and agreeing with you:

      My disagreements or statements of my position which may or will be contrary to your is not meant to make you appear unbiblical. In fact I consider that opinion reserved for the readers. It may be the case that they will consider me the one in error. For me this conversation is opening up a part of scripture I don’t totally have my head, maybe my heart, completely wrapped around yet.

      About remission of sin:

      You stated that the people of Israel would not have remission of sin if they did not do as God commanded them to do, because they would be disobedient. This I agree. They fell in the desert because of their disobedience and faithlessness. So this would be an even greater act of disobedience.

      Are you saying that even though the rituals of the Law could never save, the fact the people demonstrated true faith in God by their obedience qualified them to be people of faith as their father Abraham? Therefore allowing them to have the spiritual manifestation of a physical circumcision in their lives, that being a seal of righteousness through their faith. I know that I am cramming a lot of words in your mouth, but this is how I see you being able to support your statement. To me, Hebrews would fit in with this too.

      Concerning conviction through the Law and Spirit:

      Yes, I made a straw man. That you have appropriately called me on it. But at the same time to say the Spirit was not involved in convicting man of sin in the Old Testament, I still hold reservation on. If no man knows God unless the Spirit of God draw him, then how could anyone of the Old Testament respond to God’s revelation in creation or from His special revelation, if we can not know Him outside of Him drawing us by His Spirit? This is unresolved for me.

      Concerning what Israel knew of the Messiah:

      In short, I think our New Testament speaks a lot of this, and yes I think they new more than what we give them credit for. But this I want to shelf for just a little while until we get through our talk on dispensations. I personally have enjoyed discovering what God’s word says about this topic and it ties directly into my position of faith. But let’s wait on it.

      Thanks for the response and I hope I don’t leave you with feeling of being bashed. I am still working on my response to you on the dispensations. I hope it will be thought provoking for anyone who wants to join in.

  2. Hello Dave,
    It is healthy to disagree but I think our whole purpose is to come into the oneness of the faith isn’t it? So please let’s not shelf anything but rather let us explore them and perhaps others will join in to bring deeper insight until we come to a fuller understanding. Do you agree? I am not here trying to say I have all the answers either as I am here to learn as well.
    Your position (to summarise your view) is that there is not a great deal of difference between the Old Covenant and the New. In this regard you believe that Israel had the same Grace available to them, they had knowledge of Christ crucified, and they had the same imputed righteousness through faith as Abraham did. In essence therefore you are saying that Israel had the same gospel we now have.
    Firstly, I do not think it is essential to go back to study Israel under the Old Covenant in order to understand salvation or to obtain it. But nevertheless all scriptures are profitable so there is nothing wrong with seeking to understand the Old Covenant especially in how it relates to the New.
    So once again let us look at the main points of disagreement, the first point being about remission of sin. Under the Old Covenant there were several ordinances that were to be performed to make atonement for Israel’s sins. Note that these conditions were a part of the Covenant which was laid down via Moses to the Israelites before they had entered the Promised Land. These were the things that were to be done once they had entered in. If they observed these ordinances it would be a blessing to them otherwise it would be a curse if they didn’t. In this sense the law was a schoolmaster to whip them into line. The question is therefore if Israel had faith and the gospel as we know it why would they have need for the Law to make them right with God? You see the ordinances could not make them clean because they could not keep the whole Law which would mean they were cursed. Throughout Israel’s history, particularly since entering the Promised Land, we see a rebellious people even leading up to the time of Christ, even noting all the Prophets who were sent to them to warn them of the consequences of their rebellion (see Deut 28 for example). I acknowledge therefore that scripture teaches that the atoning sacrifices were to remind Israel of their sins but is it incorrect to say that when Israel made the atonements they also received forgiveness from the Lord? The Lord had commanded them to do these things and as we see in this example they also received forgiveness:
    Lev 19:22
    And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him.
    It doesn’t mean though that after obtaining forgiveness that Israel were now righteous because they repeatedly fell into sin and hence why they needed to make regular atonement. But the question is doesn’t forgiveness of sins imply remission? In other words if God forgave the past sins after atonement then that implies remission isn’t it?
    Here is what Heb 9:19-23 says:
    19For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
    I hope you can now see why I have said that remission was “obtained” through the performance of the sacrifices.
    On the second point I didn’t mean to imply that the Spirit of God was not in operation in the Old Testament times. Of course the Spirit of God was active but what I was trying to show was that Israel in the main did not have a “saving faith” with the enabling of the Holy Spirit. They did not have the seal of the Holy Spirit generally speaking. Hence I said that the Law convicted man of sin in the main as pertaining to Israel under the Covenant. That is the context in which I presented the argument. You yourself cited scriptures to show that through the Law men became conscious of sin (Rom 3:20).
    With regards to what Israel new of the Messiah, I was pointing to the fact that Israel expected a Messiah as He was promised throughout the Old Testament but they were looking for one who would establish an earthly Kingdom. This is why the majority of Israel did not know Him when He actually came. Moses may certainly have spoken of the Messiah but Israel did not understand – they did not have faith in the main so could not believe in Him for salvation.

    All of these points are of course linked to the issue of “dispensation” (which is just my way of attempting to distinguish the periods pertaining to the two covenants).

Give me a piece of your mind, let me know what you thought.

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