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Creation Covenant

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
May 11, 2022 12:01 am

Creation Covenant

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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May 11, 2022 12:01 am

In the covenant of creation, Adam functioned not only as an individual before God but ultimately as a representative of the entire human race. Today, R.C. Sproul discusses the implications that this covenant has for all people today.

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When God made a covenant with Adam. It included you and me because I'm represented the entire human race. What that means is that all human banks hold the sun from Adam participate in the Adamic covenant we are by nature, as the children of Adam necessarily involved in a covenant relationship with God outside the church. There are countless people and religious groups who don't believe in the God of the Bible does that mean they're not in covenant with God or is there a common covenant that includes atheists and agnostics and all non-Christians. Let's find out this week on Renewing Your Mind featuring Dr. RC Sproul series.

The promise keeper the God of the covenants we continue now with our study of the covenants of the Bible. Today I want to focus our attention on the first covenant that God makes with mankind and actually when we look at that very first covenant.

It is known by different names and for different reasons. Sometimes that first covenant is referred to simply as the Adamic covenant for obvious reasons. It was made with Adam and the second way in which the first covenant is described is that it's often called the creation covenant before mentioned, the third designation I want to talk a little bit about these two designations obviously recall that first covenant Adamic because Adam is related to God in it and the term on Dom means man in the generic sense mankind or humanity, and we know, particularly from our studies of the New Testament, but also can be gleaned from the Old Testament but one God made this covenant with Adam.

It was not a covenant simply between God and a particular historical individual, but Adam was representing the whole of humanity is very important for us, particularly later on in our understanding of the history of redemption because in the role that Adam play initially, he failed as our representative. And so when Christ comes into the world. One of the responsibilities the father gives to him is to be the new Adam and you see the contrast mentioned many times in the New Testament through the first Adam's disobedience. Death comes into the world and through the new Adam, you're the second Adam's obedience life comes into the world so the New Testament makes much of the contrast between the original Adam and Christ as the second Adam, because in both cases, both in the original Adam and in Christ they function, and worked not as private individuals but as representatives. Secondly, because Adam represents the entire human race in the covenant that God makes with him again it's not with an isolated individual. But it's with the whole of mankind and what that means is that all human banks who descend from Adam participate in the Adamic covenant we are by nature, as the children of Adam necessarily involved in a covenant relationship with God. That's a point that is often overlooked and obscured people say well I'm not Jewish or I'm not Christian. Therefore, I'm in no covenant relationship with God. They can say I don't believe in God so there's no way I can be in a covenant relationship with God.

What the Old Testament is saying here is that you are in a covenant relationship with God.

Even if you deny it you can escape this covenantal relationship that was forged between God and you in Adam. Again, this representative concept of Adam is referred to by Paul in Romans.

We talked about in Adam we all sinned in Adam. Even though we weren't there, and that raises the whole specter and the mystery that attends the question of original sin in our relationship to the fall. But that's not the scope of our discussion today rather were just reminding us that all of us are inescapably in a covenant relationship with God by virtue of our relationship with Adam and the question is this whether you're a covenant keeper or a covenant breaker. We are all one or the other but none of us is outside of the covenant, and again it's also called the creation covenant because it was built in to the order of things. Before the fall and that the stipulations that God gave to Adam in this covenant were, by extension, given to the whole world and then the question is asked are those stipulations or requirements that God imposes upon Adam. In this first covenant ever abrogated or nullified. Know what would be the significance of a question like that. Well, one of the questions that we debate all the time or are questions of the sanctity of marriage the sanctity of life, and some people say well whatever God gave through Moses in the Old Testament doesn't apply to Watts anymore or whatever stipulations God gave through Jesus to his people in the New Testament may apply to Christians but they don't apply to non-Christians, but the real answer that is any law that God instills in the covenant of creation extends as far as the creation extent so that if God sanctifies marriage in creation than the sanctity of marriage would apply to all generations in a given culture at a particular time and place does not have the right before God to dispense with the sanctity of marriage and say well were just going to live together, and were not going to have marriages anymore. That's an old fashion Puritan or Christian concept is not binding us one of the reasons for example why the church recognizes civil ceremonies of marriage and does not restrict marriage to the church and grants that the state has the right to regulate marriage is the conviction that marriage is not just given to human beings as Jews were human beings as Christians, but it is given to human beings that it is in the state that God blesses and sanctifies the entire human race. And there is no requirement that one be a Jew or a Christian in order to participate in the sanctity of marriage. It built into creation. That's why ethical issues that touch on the nature of the family. The nature of sexual relationships as well as the nature of marriage transcend contemporary cultural considerations if indeed these things are rooted and grounded in creation. Then they can never be treated as a matter of custom. Now that gets me to another question is related to this in my book knowing Scripture. I have a chapter on the difficult interpretive question of custom and principal we read certain admonitions and expectations in the Bible that are set forth there and we say, are these things binding on Christians of all ages and of all places and all times. Or were these simply contemporary customs of the first century church that passed away when that particular culture changes that we know that there are certain things that are given to cultural mutations.

For example, when we give our ties. We don't try to play God in shackles. We give our ties in dollars because the principle that remains intact is that we are to be stewards of our property and we are to support the work of the kingdom of God. But the particular form of currency that we use changes from culture to culture from generation to generation. The Bible calls Christians in every place and all generations to address with modesty, but what would be immodest in one culture if we ran around like people in some of the primitive tribes in the world run around in our culture. It would be considered provocative and obscene, whereas in another culture. It's their standard garb and so you have differences in the way in which people dress from one generation, one culture to another. That's something that changes its fluid and so we don't require that people wear robes and sandals in our culture because that's what Jesus wore, because those have to do with custom.

The principle is that which transcends local custom and applies to all Christians everywhere and every time now. Sometimes it's very simple to understand the difference between a principal and a custom, you take the case of Christ's command to his disciples to go out and do not take sandals with them, and so on the set mean that we have a universal mandate from Christ, always to do evangelism in our bare feet. Of course not, because how people took care of their feet in the first century with shoes or sandals are barefoot differs from our own culture, but it becomes much more complicated when we have issues like this. How strong is the issue today. For example, of the structure of authority in the home or in the marriage is the idea of male headship in the house a matter of custom or is it a matter of principle. Now, again, that issue is one that is become fiercely debated in our own day. I'll take a simple representation of it were in Corinthians in the Corinthian correspondence. Paul tells the women to cover their heads in worship right and hardly anybody does that today and if you get 10 commentaries on first Corinthians, you will get 10 different opinions but almost every one of them. I guarantee it will tell you that at the time that Paul wrote first Corinthians in the town of Corinth which was a seacoast town known for its immorality and sexuality that the mark of a prostitute was walking around with an uncovered head and Paul was concerned about the decorum of the Christian community. Obviously, because he didn't want the Christian women of Corinth to appear to be prostitutes, and so he tells them to cover their heads.

That's the explanation that you read and commentary after commenter I have a problem with that and here's why Paul never says in first Corinthians that the reason I want the women to cover their heads is the so they won't look like prostitutes. Now, think carefully.

If the apostle gives an admonition like that that is puzzling to us because it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense in our culture. I think it's a legitimate work of the biblical interpreter to examine what we call visits and labor in the life situation in which the text was written and I think it's helpful in aiding us in understanding the Bible to read what the contemporary culture was like and ask yourself how would people in the first century understand this text or this admonition. That's a legitimate approach to biblical interpretation. But here's what isn't legitimate when the apostle gives one reason for his injunction. It is not legitimate to dismiss his reason is rationale and replace it with a speculative rationale that we draw from our study of the contemporary culture to follow what I'm what I'm saying. The apostle Paul. Not only does not say that the reason he wants the women to cover their heads is because of the prostitutes noted does not say that, but it gives a reason and the reason has to do with the sign of the subordination of the wife to the husband in the family and one palm gives that case he does not appeal to the local culture in Corinth, but he appeals to creation and I say to people. Be very careful before you dismiss a mandate of God as a local custom that is not binding upon you were upon me. If we are going to between custom in principle. There is even a biblical principle to teach us how to on that and that is the principle that if it is not of faith that sent in other words, the burden of proof when we come to a mandate of Scripture is always on those who would say it's a custom rather than those who would say it's a principal because of the Bible tells me to do something actually tends that it was a custom plan to scrupulous and I treat a custom as a principal, all I'm doing is being over scrupulous, but if I take a principal that God establishes for his people, and dismiss it as a mirror custom. Now I am guilty of subverting the very law of God, and that's why this is very delicate when we come to these things and it's not always easy to discern the difference between principle and custom and the debates rage endlessly about it but again, if we find something that is rooted in creation. That's the last thing that we should treat as a custom because of anything transcends local considerations. It is that principle that is established in creation, because those principles are binding as long as creation is bind and we get to the no way a covenant will spell out some more the details that relate to that. The concept of the creation covenant because it spells out, specifically some things that are only implied in the original covenant of creation. But then I said that there is 1/3 designation and all of these three designations for the first covenant that was made between God and man. This one is by far the most controversial and this is the designation of the first covenant God made with man as the covenant of works. The covenant of works very briefly in historic reformed theology, particularly a distinction is made between what is called the covenant of works and the covenant of grace, just as a reference to that. Let me read. I quick portion from the 17 century reform document the Westminster confession of faith where in chapter 7, entitled of God's covenant with man.

The first section of this chapter reads as follows. The distance between God and the creature is so great that, although reasonable creatures do owe obedience onto him as their Creator. Yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he has been pleased to express by way of covenant in section 2, the first covenant made with man was a covenant of works were in life was promised to Adam and in him to his posterity upon condition of perfect and personal obedience. Here's where the confusion comes in the very first section, the idea that the Westminster divines are expressing here is that by nature. We don't have a creation role entitlement program. When God makes us out of the dust. He's under no obligation to give us prosperity, good health, eternal life because the creature cannot say to the creator.

You must do this for me or you must do that for me, any benefit that we received from the creator comes not out of some divine necessity or some kind of external law that is supposed upon God by the nature of things, but any benefit that we get as creatures comes voluntarily. That is by God's own personal disposition. Now remember when we had our discussion about the difference between covenant and Testament. The difference between the Hebrew word, but written in the Greek word do you think you for Testament. I said the reason why the church is finally settled and actually the Septuagint finally settled Ithaca was because it had that element in their of sovereign disposition and that's very important because we've been so conditioned in our own culture to think in terms of entitlement programs that if we don't get these things. There's some miscarriage of justice. I always sent you a little bit unhappy with some of the language that I hear, particularly in the academic world. What are you doing life studying for my PhD that's okay if you mean by that. You hope that someday to achieve a Dr. but it's not like there's one reserved for you somewhere that all you have to do is go down and pick it up if you because you're entitled to it but we do have this thing. We now have come to think that the state owes us a college education. It owes us a certain wage level, it owes us this and it owes us that simple word when we get that from who said that any government ever owed its people. Anything other than to rule justly, but that's the way we are as creatures, and we let that influence our thinking with respect to how God relates to us.

God does not owe us anything, any blessing that he gives to us comes from him voluntarily from his grace now because of that principle which is so fully and firmly set forth in this first statement, the distance between the creature and God is so great that all reasonable creatures do obedience unto them as their Creator if they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which is been pleased to express by way of coming to see the differences in the nature of things by the very fact that God has made us and not we ourselves.

We owe him we are debtors to him for our very existence.

We all him everything he owes us nothing.

However, as it says our participation in blessedness comes from the voluntary condescension on God's part, which he's been pleased to express in the way he does it is through covenant, doesn't that say that the first covenant is not a covenant of works but a covenant of grace. Know this distinction between covenant of works and covenant grace is not intended to say that the point of the distinction between the covenant of works in the covenant of grace is what conditions God imposes upon those of us who were in covenant with them, for our experience of its benefits know we all agree, I would think that for God to enter into a covenant with us at all is gracious and because of that point there some people that objected to this distinction can covenant works in covenant of grace because I think it would obscure the reality that any covenant that we have with God is only by his grace. It is gracious that he would make any kind of a covenant with us in the first place.

Again, the Westminster divines acknowledge that in part one, and then import to immediately go on to make this distinction between covenant works and covenant of grace which will look at more fully accept, we can understand God's grace, apart from history, the way he dealt with people in the past. It's vital that we go back to the time before salvation was necessary in order to fully comprehend the grace of God referred that loud and clear today from Dr. RC scroll here on Renewing Your Mind.

This week we are pleased to hear portions of his series. The promise keepers of the God of the covenants. Dr. scroll helps us understand what covenants are why God made them with mankind and how they have shaped redemptive history.

These are foundational concepts of the Christian faith, and we encourage you to continue your own study were making the full series available to you for a donation of any amount today you can give your gift and make a request or when you call us at 800-435-4343. Understanding these covenants requires a comprehensive examination of both the old and new Testaments. And if you have questions as you continue your study. Let me encourage you to contact or ask look in your team of trained personnel standing by to answer your biblical and theological questions 24 hours a day, Monday through Saturday, for example, you may have a question about how the new covenant connects with all the previous covenants just go to to get started tomorrow. RC will continue his message about God's covenant with Adam and here's a preview what happens to our condition and our status with God.

After the fall of Adam any, are we still in the Dr. scroll to address that question tomorrow. Here on Renewing Your Mind. Join us

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