Christ, the Purpose of the Law

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The law was […] offered to fallen man in order that, lacking all faculty of fulfilling the law, he may fulfill it through Christ.

Therefore, the promulgation of the law to Israel on Mount Sinai was a very gracious act. (Johannes Wollebius, Compendium Theologiae Christinae, p. 76)

Throughout this series we have been answering the question from which we began, “how was Christ administered to the saints of the Old Testament?”  We have shown that Christ was administered and dispensed by means of the Land and Seed promises, the ordained Sacrifices, the Sacrament of Circumcision, and we have for the last couple of posts been discussing the Law itself as part of the administration and dispensation of the one redemptive work of Christ to the saints of the Old Testament.

Contrary to the assumption of many, the Law was not simply a ministration of death (2 Cor. 3:7), that which slew Paul (Rom. 7:9), the sting of death (1 Cor. 15:56), etc., but was rather a very gracious act of God—a redeeming act of God—Christ Himself promulgating the Law to His own people from Mt. Sinai, carrying them on eagle’s wings through the Wilderness, and in the Law displaying His own perfect and most desirable character.  As we discussed last time, the Law became death to apostate Jews, not because it was not holy, righteous, and good in itself, but because we are fallen and evil by nature.  What the Jews had failed to see was the purpose of the Law, preferring in the pride of their uncircumcised hearts to “do this and live,” rather than believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths the faith that was by it brought near.

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How was Christ Administered in the Old Testament? Introduction

Old Testament Sacrifice

After reading through some modern works defending alternative “covenant theologies” (Denault and the like), I am always left wondering how the saving work of Christ was administered or dispensed to the saints of the Old Testament on these alternative terms?

We all agree, I presume, that there were many saved saints in the Old Testament. We would also agree that all who ever have been or will be saved, were saved by the work of Christ through faith.  We read in the New Testament:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26)

And,

Therefore he [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15)

But how was this saving work of Christ administered or dispensed to the saints of the Old Testament?

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