Heidelcast Special: Chad Vegas On Covenant and Baptism (3)

This is a special episode of the Heidelcast and a special series featuring my dear friend and colleague in ministry, Chad Vegas, pastor of Sovereign Grace Bakersfield. He’s been walking his congregation from a Baptist to a Reformed understanding of covenant theology and baptism. He’s focusing on shepherding his congregation but he’s allowed us to share these six messages on baptism and covenant theology with you. He will he writing on this on the Heidelblog in the coming months but for now, here’s Chad working though the issues. As you can tell, these are timely since I’m losing my voice.

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  1. Hi Dr Clark / Pastor Vegas,

    Could you explain what was said in this episode about the New Covenant being better because God would write his laws on our hearts? Wouldn’t we say that for sanctified saints in the Old Covenant, God was also writing his laws on their hearts – otherwise how could the Psalmist in Psalm 1 delight in the law? Thank you.

    • Mark,

      Chad writes,

      Yes, I was expressing two realities:

      1. Administratively, the law was written on tablets of stone in the OC, whereas is it written on our hearts in the NC.

      2. While the Law was always written on the hearts of the elect, in the sense your question is asking about, which I also acknowledged in my sermon with a citation from the Psalms, the NC is more expansive and efficacious than the OC.

      My point was to distinguish administration from the substance of the COG. The substance is the same in every admin, but the admin is distinct.


  2. Thank you for the reply Dr. Clark/Pastor Vegas. A follow-up question if I may.

    When the NC was referenced as being unbreakable, does it refer to the administration or the substance? My understanding is that it cannot be the substance, since the substance is Christ and is unbreakable both under the OC and NC.
    However, if the unbreakableness refers to the administration, how should we understand this unbreakableness in the NC, given that many in the Church will still apostatise?
    Thank you.

  3. Hello, I’m coming from a dispensational view, and I’m trying to understand covenant theology. I’ll admit that the new covenant is compared to the Mosiac, not the Abrahamic. However…

    If the new covenant contains cleansing of the conscience, the mediation of Christ, and Christ as the fulfillment, how is Christ also the substance of any thing but the new covenant? Hebrews 10:1 as stated talks about it contains a shadow of the things to come, it doesn’t say the things to come are in shadow form. Hebrew 9:12 talks about how Christ secured an external redemption, not a temporary one that had to be done yearly (10:). Also, 9:13-14 talks about the blood of bulls and goats purifying the flesh, well Christ purifies the conscience. How is there such a drastic comparison of the external things in the old covenant with the internal things of the new, if Christ was equally the substance of both?

    • Hi Dalton,

      You’re asking important questions.

      I think you passed by the issue of Moses & Abraham too quickly. In order to understand Reformed covenant theology you need to account for the fact that, according to the New Testament, Moses is the “Old Covenant” (so 2 Cor 3; Heb 8–10). The New Covenant is new relative to Moses specifically.

      New doesn’t mean, however, “never before appeared in redemptive history.” How do I know this? Because of the way both Paul and Hebrews treat Abraham. Indeed, Hebrews 11 treats a range of believers, who lived under the types and shadows, as though they had the substance of what we have in the New Covenant.

      This pattern of treating Moses as the Old Covenant goes back to Jeremiah 31:31–33. When God says, “the covenant I will make in those days…” he is contrasting the New Covenant specifically with the Mosaic and not with the Noahic or Abrahamic. How do we know? Because he says, “when I led them out of Egypt.” The point of reference is Moses, not Abraham.

      Paul appeals to Abraham against Moses in Galatians 3. It was under Moses, not Abraham, that the dividing wall was built. Paul appeals to Abraham as the paradigm for the New Covenant Christian. Indeed, Abraham was a Gentile when he believed and he was a Jew when he continued believing after circumcision. Abraham is the father of all who believe (Rom 4).

      Who led the the church out of Egypt? Jesus (Jude 5, in the NA28). Who was with the church in the wilderness? Jesus (1 Cor 10:1-4).

      The language of Her 31 is intentionally hyperbolic. It’s not meant to be taken literally but figuratively.

      Take a look at these resources and listen to the Heidelcast series linked there.

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