A Comparison Between The Old Covenant And The New Covenant -- By: Richard W. Gray

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 04:1 (Nov 1941)
Article: A Comparison Between The Old Covenant And The New Covenant
Author: Richard W. Gray


A Comparison Between The Old Covenant And The New Covenant

Richard W. Gray

JONATHAN Edwards, distinguished as one of the first great preachers and theologians of America, once wrote: “There is perhaps no part of divinity attended with so much intricacy, and wherein orthodox divines so much differ, as the stating the precise agreement and difference between the two dispensations of Moses and Christ” (Works, New York, 1881, Vol. I, p. 160). These words are just as true today as they were two centuries ago. Therefore a study of the comparison between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant in its substance and in its accidents should prove fruitful. It should bring to light many of the similarities and differences of the Old Testament and the New. It should reveal either the underlying unity or the underlying diversity of the Bible. It should give us a comprehensive knowledge of God’s redemptive dealings with man from the Fall in Eden to the Regeneration of all things in the new heavens and the new earth.

In making a comparison between the Old and New Covenants in substance and in accidents, there are two types of error to be noted: the error that the God of the Old Covenant, or Testament, is different from the God of the New Covenant, or Testament, and the error that God’s dealings with man under the Old Covenant were substantially different from God’s dealings with man under the New Covenant. The former error is held by the Modernists who do not accept the whole of the Bible as the Word of God. The latter is held by the modern dispensationalists who do accept the entire Bible as the Word of God. This article will deal, indirectly at least, with the modern dispensationalism. It is the thesis of this article to demonstrate that the Biblical view is that God’s dealings with man under the Old Covenant were the same as

to their substance and different as to their accidents when compared with his dealings with man under the New Covenant.

The terms “Old Covenant” and “New Covenant” are slightly ambiguous in that they suggest two different covenants. They are Scriptural terms, based on Jeremiah 31:3134. But a careful study of this passage as well as of other passages of Scripture will demonstrate that both are forms of administration of the one Covenant of Grace. The Covenant of Grace is that agreement between God the Father and God the Son as the representative of the elect, whereby God the Father promises to give salvation on the basis of the atoning work of God the Son, which salvation is to be received through faith by the elect. The Old Covenant is a term used to refer to the administ...

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