God's Covenants with Men

1. The proponents of the "non-amenability" theory often base much of their doctrine upon a false idea regarding covenants.
  a. In taking the modern day usage of the word "covenant" as made between people of our time, it is assumed that God's covenants with man are of the same nature.
2. It is believed that a COVENANT is BINDING ONLY when BOTH parties AGREE to its terms and conditions.
  a. They cite Exod. 19:7-8; 24:7-8 and conclude that Israel had to first agree to the terms of the covenant (accept it) before it was binding on them.
  b. Therefore, they reason that one must ACCEPT the new covenant (i.e., in faith and obedience) BEFORE it is binding upon him.
3. Bible shows that this foundational assumption is INCORRECT.
  a. All men are under the gospel of Christ (its authority) because of the universal authority of Christ - Matt. 28:18-19; Heb. 1:1-3.
  b. All are under the gospel of Christ, since it convicts all sinners (John 16:8-13), commands all sinners to repent (Acts 17:30) and will judge all men (Rom. 2:16; l Pet. 4:4-6).
4. In this lesson we will study THE NATURE OF COVENANTS. and see that a person does not first have to agree to obey the gospel before he is amenable to the gospel.
5. And what about so-called "internal covenant laws." That is, aren't there laws within the gospel which only regulate the conduct of Christians, which don't apply to alien sinners?
  a. We will see that since all men are under the gospel of Christ, whenever one meets a CONDITION described within it, he is REGULATED by it in that particular area.
  b. There is ONE law (gospel), although there are many different classes of people -- all of whom are amenable to the gospel.

  A. Definition of "Covenant."
    1. Webster: "A binding agreement made by two or more individuals, parties. etc. to do or keep from doing a specified thing; compact…in theology, the promises made by God to man, as recorded in the Bible."
    2. HEBREW (beriyth) - "A compact" (Strong, 24); "league" (Young, 207).
      a. "It is probable that it is 'to bind, ' but that is not definitely established" (ISBE, II, 727).
      b. "If this root idea is to bind, the covenant is that which binds together the parties" (Ibid.).
    3. GREEK (diatheke) - "A disposition, a contract" (Strong's Dict., 22); "An arrangement" (Young, 208); "A testamentary disposition, will" (The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised, 96).
  B. Types Of Covenants.
    1. PARITY COVENANTS (Man and Man, cf. Gal. 3:15): Made between two parties of equal power (cf. Business partnership).
      a. Both parties participate in the formation of its provisions (terms and conditions) and have to agree to the finished product (negotiate a mutual agreement) before it becomes binding (a contract).
      b. cf. Gen. 21:22-27,31-32 - Abraham and Abimelech:
        (1) v. 23 - Conditions (Abraham to deal truthfully and in kindness toward Abimelech and his descendants).
        (2) v. 24-26 - Negotiation and agreement.
        (3) v. 27 - Became binding.
        (4) v. 27, 31-32 - They two made a covenant.
    2. SUZERAINTY (VASSAL) COVENANTS (God and Man, Psalm 111:9):   Covenant made by a stronger party with a weaker party (such as a conqueror and the conquered).
      a. Stronger party formed the provisions (terms and conditions) and commanded them to the weaker party.
   * b. The weaker party was bound by those provisions at the point of command.
   * c. When the weaker agreed to live by the covenant, it did not cause the covenant to become binding -- It marked his commitment to obey a covenant which was already
binding upon him by commandment.
    3. GOD'S COVENANTS with man are NOT PARITY COVENANTS, they are VASSAL covenants.
      a. God's covenant with Israel illustrates this:
        (1) "My covenant" (not a mutual covenant) - Exod. 19:5-6 ("His" - Psalm 78:10).
        (2) God "declared" and "commanded" the covenant - Deut. 4:5, 10, 13-14 (no negotiation, God declared to them what they were to do).
        (3) God "made it" with Israel - Deut. 4:23.
     * (4) Israel obligated at the point of commandment to obey / perform the covenant (Deut. 4:13 - 10 commandments - Exod. 20:2-17 -- Spoken from the mount.).
        (5) Israel formally acknowledged their determination to obey the law of God -- Exod. 24:3-8; Heb. 9:19-20).
          (a) Israel's agreement was not necessary in order to make them amenable to the covenants (commands).
       * (b) 24:3-8 - If Israel had said, "we will not obey the words of Jehovah," would that have blocked the binding power of God's words?. NO.
          (c) 9:19-20 - "Every commandment. . .according to the law. . .covenant which God commanded to you-ward."
      (6) Israel's role was to obey the covenant and be blessed, or disobey it and be punished - Lev. 26:3-4, 14-16.
          a. The new covenant of Christ is of the same nature.
        * (1) Christ's law became binding at His death, not when men say "I will accept its terms."
           (2) All men are under the authority of the gospel of Christ whether they agree to it or not. Matt. 28:18-19
           (3) cf. Mk. 16:15-16 - Can a man say "I will not believe and be baptized" and be immune from the penalty of the covenant?. NO.
           (4) cf. Marriage: Can one say, "I will not abide by what Jesus said re. MDR," and thereby not be under His regulations?. NO. (Matt. 19:6, 9 - "I say unto you.")
    4. All men came under the authority of Christ's gospel.


-The non-amenability doctrine sees TWO CLASSES of people (alien sinners and Christians) and CONCLUDES there MUST BE TWO SEPARATE LAWS at work. But, can have ONE LAW ruling both classes, but in DIFFERENT PARTICULARS (cf. Prisoner and myself -- Under same state law, but different particulars).

  A. "We Teach The Alien Something Different From What We Teach A Christian."
    1. Also true of the babe in Christ and a mature Christian (Heb. 5:12). Does not mean there are TWO LAWS (One for babe and one for the mature).
    3. One law; Different uses.
  B. Same Law, But Different Particulars Within That Same Law.
    1. Alien: Law of pardon; Convict of sins; etc.
    2. Christian: Convict of sins; Growth in Christ; etc.
    3. Principle:
      a. All are UNDER LAW (gospel) OF CHRIST - Matt. 28:18-19.
      b. When one meets the CONDITION(S) WITHIN the Law of Christ...
      c. He is then REGULATED by it.
    4. Illustrations:
      a. Getting married. Teach about marriage to a teenage class differently than you would a couple about to get married.
      b. Business. When you start a business, are regulated by the laws of the state (were under state law all along).
      c. Elders. Gospel contains their work, only when you are one are you regulated by those laws.
      d. Lord's Supper. When you become a Christian, are regulated by its laws of observance (l Cor. 11).
      e. Husband and wife. When you enter marriage, you are then regulated by what Christ taught on these roles in it.
    5. The presence of two classes of people (alien sinners and Christians) does not demand two laws - Application of different particulars within the same law (gospel).

1. When God makes a covenant with man, man is obligated to obey the covenant because of God's superiority over him. Man's amenability is not contingent upon his agreement to live under God's covenant.
2. While parts of the covenant of Christ addresses alien sinners, parts address the single, married, babe, mature, man, woman, child, servant, master -- It is still ONLY ONE LAW -- THE GOSPEL.
3. We cannot Scripturally say the alien is ONLY under the gospel's teaching on the subject of MDR when he AGREES to submit to it (by becoming a Christian).
  a. Consistency would demand a similar treatment of all the other classes addressed by the gospel.
  b. Makes God's law subject to the will of man, rather than the will of man being subject to the law of God.