A crux interpretum with significant theological implications is the meaning of the promised New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:22-36). How does one distinguish between Israel and the church if at all (a debate between dispensational and covenant theologians)? Does the church presently participate in the NC and is there more than one NC (a debate chiefly among dispensationalist)? Is the NC a fulfilled reality or are there aspects which remain unfulfilled (realized?)? Are there “unbelieving” members presently in the NC?
Below are ten key theological aspects of the New Covenant that I believe are essential for articulating a consistent and complete theology of the NC. Each one is a weighty issue in and of itself so I simply offer the key points:
- The NC is in fact “new” (Heb. 8:13)
- The NC was promised by the prophets (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:22-36)
- The NC was instituted by Christ (Luke 22:20)
- The NC was inaugurated at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41)
- The NC is participated in by the church in the present age (1 Cor. 11:23-34; 2 Cor. 3:1-18; Eph. 2:11-13)
- The NC will be fulfilled in Israel in the Millennial Kingdom (Rom. 11:25-27)
- The NC will be consummated in the eternal state (Rev. 21:1-4)
- The NC is applied only to those who consciously know the Lord by faith (Jer. 31:34; cf. Heb. 8:11-12)
- The NC ensures that every recipient of its promises possesses forgiveness of sins (Jer. 31:34)
- The NC’s members cannot abandoned the faith in any respect (John 6:38-40, 10:27-30; 1 John 2:19)
I am indebted to my fellow contributer Matt Waymeyer who has written a helpful appendix on this issue in his A Biblical Critique of Infant Baptism (pp.111-31).