The Newness Of The New Covenant -- By: James R. White

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 01:2 (Jul 2004)
Article: The Newness Of The New Covenant
Author: James R. White


The Newness Of The New Covenant

Better Covenant, Better Mediator, Better Sacrifice, Better Ministry, Better Hope, Better Promises

James R. White*

The epistle to the Hebrews embodies one of the strongest apologetic defenses of the supremacy of Christ’s work in all of the NT. The purpose of the book, its intended audience, its historical setting, and its deep use of the OT, provides a rich treasure of inspired teaching on the work of Christ, especially in his office as High Priest.

For those who take seriously the consistency of God’s self-glorification in his establishment and continuance of the covenant of grace, through all its manifestations down through time, the discussion of the διαθήκη καινή, the new covenant, drawn from Jer. 31:31–34, must be given its due prominence in answering the question, “Exactly what is the nature of the covenant in the blood of Christ (Lk. 22:20; Heb. 13:20), and how does it differ from other administrations of the covenant of grace?” A full-orbed investigation into the nature of the New Covenant has led many to conclude that the “newness” of this covenant leads inevitably to conclusions that impact many other areas of theological inquiry. If this New Covenant is, in fact, based upon better promises, and has a better Mediator, with a better ministry, who offers a better sacrifice, resulting in a better hope, so that all those who are within the boundaries marked out by its very identification as a covenant made in the blood of Christ know him and experience the forgiveness of their sins, then it follows that such issues as covenant membership, its relationship to the external church, and our understanding of apostasy, must start with these truths. If we approach the topic backwards, beginning with traditions regarding covenant membership, signs, or a particular view of apostasy, we run a great danger of turning the direct and plain exegesis of the text of Hebrews upon its head.

* James R. White, D.Min., Th.D., is an Elder at Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, Phoenix, AZ, Adjunct Professor of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and Columbia Evangelical Seminary, Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, and author of many books.

Recent Developments

P&R Publishing released a compendium of articles edited by Gregg Strawbridge titled The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism in 2003. In this work the issue of the nature of the New Covenant comes up often and is in fact the subject o...

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