Leviticus 26:40-41 With Implications For Justification By Faith -- By: David Graves

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 06:1 (Jan 2009)
Article: Leviticus 26:40-41 With Implications For Justification By Faith
Author: David Graves


Leviticus 26:40-41 With Implications For Justification By Faith

David Graves

This article is taken from the author’s dissertation Far as the Curse is Found: Leviticus 25-26 as a Window on the Nature of Eschatological Rest. David Graves has a M.Div. and Ph.D. in Theological Studies, with an emphasis on Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

If God commands something in the law, must fallen man be able to fulfill that command? Many assume so. Leviticus 26 contains the blessings and curses of the Sinai Covenant (Exod. 20-Num. 10). Within this larger complex Lev. 26:40-45 contains a conditional sentence that sets up a test case for this question.

If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their sacrilege in which they committed sacrilege against me and also in walking contrary to me so that I myself walked contrary against them, so that I brought them to the land of their enemies, if they humble their uncircumcised heart, and they recompense for their iniquities…1

This conditional sentence (given at Sinai) looks forward to a future time in which Israel has undergone the ultimate covenant curse, i.e. exile symbolizing national death.

When one examines the literature on Lev. 26:40-41, one is hard-pressed to find commentators who dissent from the assumption that fallen humanity must be able to fulfill whatever God commands. This position, however, is assumed a priori and not addressed a posteriori from the text. This article will seek to demonstrate that, far from leaving restoration from exile within the power of Israel, this command conforms to the larger testimony of Scripture that fallen humanity is enslaved to sin and unable to positively keep God’s commands apart from a special work of divine grace.

There has been a reemergence of interest in the relationship between the two testaments. This discussion has produced helpful resources, yet one doubts that the work of John Calvin in his Institutes (2.10) will be surpassed. Calvin argued that “all whom, from the beginning of the world, God adopted as his peculiar people, were taken into covenant with him on the same

conditions, and under the same bond of doctrine, as ourselves… the Fathers were partakers with us in the same inheritance, and hoped for a common salvation through the grace of the same Mediator.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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