Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | August 26, 2006

Two Testaments: One Faith, One Redeemer, One Covenant

Today we will conclude our review of Article 2 of the Belgic Confession, however the topic of revelation will continue as we consider Article 3.  One note, however before we proceed with our topic is on the Colossians Bible Study.  This is actually a study that was almost fully prepared about three years ago, which was never actually used or completed.  However, after a significant time on the shelf the current circumstances have afforded the opportunity to use this study, which is about 60% complete.  So far, the Tuesday night Bible studies have been going well and have been an opportunity to promote the Reformed understanding of the Scriptures in an interdenominational setting.  God willing it has been and will continue to be edifying to those who participating in them.   

When we last addressed our review of the Belgic Confession we indicated that the nature of special revelation is progressive.  Today as we conclude Article 2 we would like to briefly consider the implications of this on our understanding of the Scriptures.  Especially in light of many Christian’s confusion regarding this topic.  Admittedly, I must confess that I too was also guilty of devaluing the importance of the Old Testament revelation thinking it was no longer as valuable in our “dispensation”.   

As we discussed in our previous entry Christ is revealed in all of Scripture, however the full expression of Christ is found in the New Testament (John 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2).  Although, some may think (like I used too) that an entirely different way of saving God’s people was in affect in the Old Testament, there was not.  The Old Testament sacrificial system is thought to have been the means by which God saved people in the Old Testament.  However, the purpose of the ceremonial law in the Old Testament was to point to Christ who from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20-21) was ordained to save His people of all times once and for all (Hebrews 9:24-26).  Thus, the people in the Old Testament were saved the same way as people in the new, faith in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 11).  The plan of redemption was slowly unfolded through the history of the world, as Calvin states in his Institutes:         

The Lord held to this orderly plan in administering the covenant of his mercy: as the day of full revelation approached with the passing of time, the more he increased each day the brightness of its manifestation.  Accordingly, at the beginning when the first promise of salvation was given to Adam [Gen 3:15] it glowed like a feeble spark.  2.10.20 

One of my professor’s at Biola stated that Old Testament saints were only temporarily filled with the Holy Spirit and not indwelt like the post-Pentecost Christian.  This has always bothered me, however technically the Old Testament only explicitly mentions people being temporarily filled (i.e. Saul or the artisans of the ark).  As Calvin states the first promise of salvation glowed like a feeble spark.  And although the Old Testament saints were only supplied with shadows and types they still maintained faith in God’s promises, as cited above (Hebrews 11).  Since I know that my faith, without the Holy Spirit, would not exist. How much more did the saints of the Old Testament require the Holy Spirit to persevere in their faith with less revelation?  This question will definitely be dealt with in the future, as for now we will continue to consider the concept of revelation in our review of the beginning Articles of the Belgic Confession. 

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