This Mystery

reflections on theology and life

Tag: Earth Stove Society

The Enfleshment of the Law in the Word Made Flesh

Chad Richard Bresson

Pas­tor Chad Richard Bres­son at the 2011 Bun­yan Conference

At last week’s Earth Stove Soci­ety think tank, Chad Richard Bres­son pre­sented a paper enti­tled, “The Incar­na­tion of the Abstract: New Covenant The­ol­ogy and the Enflesh­ment of the Law.”

Chad asks the ques­tion, “What does the Pri­or­ity of Jesus have to do with New Covenant ethics?” He lists five implications:

1.      That the Law is a Per­son means the Law of the New Covenant is not encoded in exter­nal imper­a­tives or principles.

2.      The Law Incar­nate has placed a Per­son, the Holy Spirit, within the believer as the law writ­ten on the heart. That’s the upshot of ’s under­stand­ing of . The law writ­ten on the heart should not be iden­ti­fied in its typ­i­cal form, but its Anti­typ­i­cal… a Per­son, liv­ing and breath­ing life into and through the New Covenant mem­ber. The entire law “cat­e­gory”, as it moves from Old Tes­ta­ment to New, lands on a per­son. The tra­jec­tory of the ful­fill­ment of the law does not land on a new set of rules or prin­ci­ples, or even a sum­ma­rized list of the law of Christ. The Law as a type has its end in Christ. The law as a type fades away into obliv­ion because all types do… it has become a person

3.      Abro­ga­tion of the law and a denial of third use is a given. The law, like any other type of the Old Tes­ta­ment, has ful­filled its prophetic and rev­e­la­tory role and is gone and done now that the Anti­Type has filled up its intended mean­ing to the fullest.

4.      Imper­a­tives have a role to play in the New Covenant, but they can­not eclipse the Indica­tive, a Per­son, from whence they come. It’s not a mat­ter of bal­ance, as some have sug­gested. The New Tes­ta­ment doesn’t not speak of, explic­itly or implic­itly, a so-called bal­ance between the Indica­tive and imper­a­tive. In fact, see­ing the New Tes­ta­ment as hav­ing a heavy empha­sis on the imper­a­tives says more about the pre­sup­po­si­tions of the inter­preter than it does about proper hermeneutics.

5.      An Incar­nate Law does not mean that com­mands in the New Covenant are not impor­tant. It does not mean that obe­di­ence is not impor­tant. It sim­ply means the grounds for the dis­cus­sion have changed. Obe­di­ence to com­mands is the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the inward obedience-causing law writ­ten on the heart.

Chad has more at his blog, The Vossed World, includ­ing a link to his paper on Scribd.


3:1 Are we begin­ning to com­mend our­selves again? Or do we need, as some do, let­ters of rec­om­men­da­tion to you, or from you? You your­selves are our let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion, writ­ten on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a let­ter from Christ deliv­ered by us, writ­ten not with ink but with the Spirit of the liv­ing God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the con­fi­dence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are suf­fi­cient in our­selves to claim any­thing as com­ing from us, but our suf­fi­ciency is from God, who has made us com­pe­tent to be min­is­ters of a new covenant, not of the let­ter but of the Spirit. For the let­ter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the min­istry of death, carved in let­ters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the min­istry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the min­istry of con­dem­na­tion, the min­istry of right­eous­ness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that sur­passes it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is per­ma­nent have glory.

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the out­come of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hard­ened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day when­ever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is free­dom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, behold­ing the glory of the Lord, are being trans­formed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)


31:1 “At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”

Thus says the Lord:
“The peo­ple who sur­vived the sword
found grace in the wilder­ness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an ever­last­ing love;
there­fore I have con­tin­ued my faith­ful­ness to you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
O vir­gin Israel!
Again you shall adorn your­self with tam­bourines
and shall go forth in the dance of the mer­ry­mak­ers.
Again you shall plant vine­yards
on the moun­tains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant
and shall enjoy the fruit.
For there shall be a day when watch­men will call
in the hill coun­try of Ephraim:
‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God.’”

For thus says the Lord:
“Sing aloud with glad­ness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
pro­claim, give praise, and say,
‘O Lord, save your peo­ple,
the rem­nant of Israel.’
Behold, I will bring them from the north coun­try
and gather them from the far­thest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
the preg­nant woman and she who is in labor, together;
a great com­pany, they shall return here.
With weep­ing they shall come,
and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back,
I will make them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stum­ble,
for I am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.

10 “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the coast­lands far away;
say, ‘He who scat­tered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shep­herd keeps his flock.’
11 For the Lord has ran­somed Jacob
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radi­ant over the good­ness of the Lord,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall be like a watered gar­den,
and they shall lan­guish no more.
13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourn­ing into joy;
I will com­fort them, and give them glad­ness for sor­row.
14 I will feast the soul of the priests with abun­dance,
and my peo­ple shall be sat­is­fied with my good­ness,
declares the Lord.”

15 Thus says the Lord:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamen­ta­tion and bit­ter weep­ing.
Rachel is weep­ing for her chil­dren;
she refuses to be com­forted for her chil­dren,
because they are no more.”

16 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weep­ing,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the Lord,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future,
declares the Lord,
and your chil­dren shall come back to their own coun­try.
18 I have heard Ephraim griev­ing,
‘You have dis­ci­plined me, and I was dis­ci­plined,
like an untrained calf;
bring me back that I may be restored,
for you are the Lord my God.
19 For after I had turned away, I relented,
and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh;
I was ashamed, and I was con­founded,
because I bore the dis­grace of my youth.’
20 Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he my dar­ling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remem­ber him still.
There­fore my heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the Lord.

21 “Set up road mark­ers for your­self;
make your­self guide­posts;
con­sider well the high­way,
the road by which you went.
Return, O vir­gin Israel,
return to these your cities.
22 How long will you waver,
O faith­less daugh­ter?
For the Lord has cre­ated a new thing on the earth:
a woman encir­cles a man.”

23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I restore their fortunes:

“‘The Lord bless you, O habi­ta­tion of right­eous­ness,
O holy hill!’

24 And Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and the farm­ers and those who wan­der with their flocks. 25 For I will sat­isfy the weary soul, and every lan­guish­ing soul I will replenish.”

26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleas­ant to me.

27 “Behold, the days are com­ing, declares the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to over­throw, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the Lord. 29 In those days they shall no longer say:

“‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

30 But every­one shall die for his own sin. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

31 “Behold, the days are com­ing, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their hus­band, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my peo­ple. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neigh­bor and each his brother, say­ing, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the great­est, declares the Lord. For I will for­give their iniq­uity, and I will remem­ber their sin no more.”

35 Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
36 “If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the off­spring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.”

37 Thus says the Lord:
“If the heav­ens above can be mea­sured,
and the foun­da­tions of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the off­spring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the Lord.”

38 “Behold, the days are com­ing, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Cor­ner Gate. 39 And the mea­sur­ing line shall go out far­ther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 The whole val­ley of the dead bod­ies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the cor­ner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be uprooted or over­thrown any­more for­ever.” (ESV)

Apologetics That Brings Glory to Christ

Pas­tor Dustin Segers

I had the great bless­ing of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2011 Earth Stove Soci­ety Think Tank this week with sev­eral pre­sen­ters, includ­ing Pas­tor Dustin Segers of Greens­boro, N.C. He is an active evan­ge­list on the streets of his city and on col­lege campuses.

One of his two pre­sen­ta­tions was on the topic of Apolo­get­ics and New Covenant Theology.

Dustin reminded us to “defend the Bib­li­cal God and the Bib­li­cal gospel with the Bible. Stand on the Hill of God’s word to defend that self­same Hill. Jesus and the apos­tles did it, and you should too.”

You can read a sum­mary of what he pre­sented on his blog, Grace in the Triad.

Video of his pre­sen­ta­tion will be avail­able soon. I rec­om­mend both.

The Promise and Necessity of the Spirit

Pas­tor Moe Bergeron

Pas­tor Moe Berg­eron spoke at the Earth Stove Society’s 2011 Think Tank (in which I par­tic­i­pated) on July 27 on the topic “The Neglect of the Spirit of God in NCT.”

Paul con­trasted the Old Covenant econ­omy of the let­ter with the New Covenant econ­omy of the Spirit (, ) but most the­o­log­i­cal sys­tems — includ­ing the New Covenant The­ol­ogy move­ment — obscure, ignore or dimin­ish the role of the Holy Spirit as the indwelling Spirit of Christ in the believer. Moe believes that it’s time to change that.

I highly rec­om­mend you give Moe a lis­ten: http://earthstovesociety.com/?p=314


3:1 Are we begin­ning to com­mend our­selves again? Or do we need, as some do, let­ters of rec­om­men­da­tion to you, or from you? You your­selves are our let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion, writ­ten on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a let­ter from Christ deliv­ered by us, writ­ten not with ink but with the Spirit of the liv­ing God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the con­fi­dence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are suf­fi­cient in our­selves to claim any­thing as com­ing from us, but our suf­fi­ciency is from God, who has made us com­pe­tent to be min­is­ters of a new covenant, not of the let­ter but of the Spirit. For the let­ter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the min­istry of death, carved in let­ters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the min­istry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the min­istry of con­dem­na­tion, the min­istry of right­eous­ness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that sur­passes it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is per­ma­nent have glory.

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the out­come of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hard­ened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day when­ever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is free­dom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, behold­ing the glory of the Lord, are being trans­formed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)


3:1 O fool­ish Gala­tians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was pub­licly por­trayed as cru­ci­fied. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hear­ing with faith? Are you so fool­ish? Hav­ing begun by the Spirit, are you now being per­fected by the flesh? Did you suf­fer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who sup­plies the Spirit to you and works mir­a­cles among you do so by works of the law, or by hear­ing with faith— just as Abra­ham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abra­ham. And the Scrip­ture, fore­see­ing that God would jus­tify the Gen­tiles by faith, preached the gospel before­hand to Abra­ham, say­ing, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abra­ham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is writ­ten, “Cursed be every­one who does not abide by all things writ­ten in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evi­dent that no one is jus­ti­fied before God by the law, for “The right­eous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becom­ing a curse for us—for it is writ­ten, “Cursed is every­one who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the bless­ing of Abra­ham might come to the Gen­tiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

15 To give a human exam­ple, broth­ers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been rat­i­fied. 16 Now the promises were made to Abra­ham and to his off­spring. It does not say, “And to off­springs,” refer­ring to many, but refer­ring to one, “And to your off­spring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years after­ward, does not annul a covenant pre­vi­ously rat­i­fied by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inher­i­tance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abra­ham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of trans­gres­sions, until the off­spring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an inter­me­di­ary. 20 Now an inter­me­di­ary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then con­trary to the promises of God? Cer­tainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then right­eous­ness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scrip­ture impris­oned every­thing under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held cap­tive under the law, impris­oned until the com­ing faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be jus­ti­fied by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were bap­tized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is nei­ther Jew nor Greek, there is nei­ther slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s off­spring, heirs accord­ing to promise. (ESV)

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