Owen: Christians Are In The Same Church As Abraham

And herein is a solemn prefiguration of the implanting of believers of all nations into the covenant and faith of Abraham; for this name he received upon the solemn establishment of the covenant with him, as the apostle explains the place, Rom. 4:11–17. All, then, that believe are taken into the covenant of Abraham; and as unto the privileges of it, and inheritance to be obtained by it, they are no less his children and heirs than those who proceeded from his loins according to the flesh; as hath been manifested in our Exercitation concerning the oneness of the church. And herein also God manifested what was his design in his call and separation unto himself, even to make and constitute him and his posterity the means of bringing forth the promised Seed, wherein all nations were to be blessed.

John Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, 1.450.

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  1. The covenant with Abraham is the good news, that God alone redeems His people. The covenant sign of circumcision, as a bloody cutting off, pointed to the One who would do all that the covenant of works requires. The new covenant sign of Baptism, points to the fulfillment, showing us that sin has been washed away from our conscience, if we believe that Christ has accomplished all that God promised to Abraham, by fulfilling all that the covenant requires, thereby securing our acceptance before God.

  2. Recently I came across an argument by the neolegalists, such as the FV that faith is a work but it is a work that is produced in us by God, and that therefore any good work that we do in faith is, like faith, a work of God in us, and as part of true faith therefore necessary for final salvation where works are a necessary part of faith. But the covenant with Abraham shows that God does all that the covenant requires to provide the perfect righteousness that God requires. When we believe God’s promises, it is the alien righteousness of Christ, God with us, that becomes ours by imputation. In this way we become the doers of the law who will be justified. Our imperfect obedience is only our expression of gratitude for God’s amazing grace.
    God knows them that are his, He chose them before the foundations of the World, he does not need to asses our works at thefinal judgment. At the end of the World He separates them and puts them on his right before he praises their works as though done to himself. The works are not the measure of saving faith, but are a response of love. And Jesus condemns those that come to him boasting of all the great things they have done in his name. They are condemned for trusting in their good works even when they are done in faith, or in His name.

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