No One In The Reformed Tradition Has Taught That The Mosaic Covenant Was Exclusively A Covenant Of Works

This is the key. No Reformed thinker that I am aware of has taught that the Mosaic covenant was exclusively a covenant of works. I wonder if perhaps people hear us teaching this under the influence of dispensationalism, which teaches that each covenant simply replaces the one that preceded it. This is not the way the Bible nor Reformed covenant theologians have ever talked. Contrasting covenants can and do exist at the same time. Abrahamic promises are swept up and intertwined with Mosaic threats.

Thus the Mosaic law allowed the Abrahamic promises to continue to do their work. In fact, it strengthened them. Abraham sought a heavenly city, living as a stranger in the land of promise (Heb 11:10). The Mosaic covenant delivered on the temporal promise, with conditions, and so inspired a hunger and a third for the coming Savior. While teaching what Sabbath rest looked like, it denied its fulfillment, and taught that the true Sabbath rest would have to wait for the coming of the True Israel. In doing so, it held forth the promise of life and denied its fulfillment, and did so intuitionally (Heb 4). In this sense, Moses was a covenant of works.

Rev. Dr. Brian Lee | “Why I Hold To Republication” Nov. 13, 2013.


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