Union with Christ: Letham (4)

Covenantal Representation

“There is a legal aspect to union with Christ” (57).  He introduces the theme of corporate solidarity: Josh. 7:1-26).  “Individuals are not identified in isolation: they are A the son of B the son of C of the tribe of D” (58).


Substitution.  OT sacrificial ritual in Lev. 4-5

Representative.  All Jesus does he does on our behalf.

Letham finishes this chapter with a survey of Reformed and Puritan thought on Union.  Outstanding comments on Justification by faith only.  Gives a good rebuttal to Thomas Torrance who accused the Confession of bifurcating justification and union.

I warned y’all 8 years ago, but no one listened

I find it humorous that the Reformed world is up in arms over the Tullian fracas and the Republication of the Covenant of Works debate.  I pointed all of this out eight years ago and people laughed me off. Oh well, here are my thoughts, and this might surprise some, since I am closer to the “Westminster West” camp than I used to be.


  • Republication of Covenant of Works:  If all is being said is that the land promises are republished and typological, contingent upon the people’s obedience, then I don’t see what the problem is.   That doesn’t deny a gracious element to the covenant.   No one is saying people aren’t saved by grace alone.  A legitimate difficulty with this position is what to do with the moral equity of the judicial laws.   Fortunately, equity is a natural law category.  If we are no longer under the CoW, and the CoW is typified in the judicial laws, then it seems the judicial laws, per this gloss, are no longer binding.    The Westminster Confession doesn’t go that far, though.
  • Tullian debate:  I didn’t bother with this because I avoid anything to do with parachurch ministries and the Gospel Coalition.  I will say this, echoing Dr Clark, faith alone is the instrument of sanctification.  Keep in mind how the Reformed have always used causality and this isn’t a problem (and I think Tullian is much to blame in this controversy).
  • Radical Two Kingdoms, so-called:  2 Kingdoms is the Reformed position.   It is simply the common-sense observation that the king doesn’t meddle in the affairs of the church and vice-versa.  The problem come when we try to come up with common-grace ethics and the like.  Still, I’m tempted to side with Horton on this, at least practically.   I’ve watched conservatives fail miserably at “reconstructing politics” for 20 years now, all the while sucker-punching the church on reforming worship.

Turretin on Original Sin

Some notes and a brief summary:

Those who deny original sin have to explain why death is prevalent even among infants and imbeciles.   Romans says the wages of sin is death.   If the curse of death is universal, it necessarily follows that the wages of sin is universal.  Yet, how can they be held accountable for sin before the giving of the law (Romans 5:12-13)? Only something like the Covenant of Works can really answer this question.  Yes, the curse of death is imputed to us (as our Eastern friends tell us).   Yes, death is the enemy.  But as Paul makes clear, how can their be death without the wages of sin?

Incidentally, we deny that sin is a substance. It is a moral quality in the soul, but it is not the soul.