What about that Covenant on Sinai?

"It is the swearing of the ratificatory oath that provides an identification mark by which we can readily distinguish in the divine covenants of Scripture between a law covenant and one of promise. For it is evident that if God swears the oath of the ratification ceremony, that particular covenantal transaction is one of promise, whereas if man is summoned to swear the oath, the particular covenant thus ratified is one of law...

We are bound to conclude, then, that the covenantal transaction of Exodus 19-24 cannot be defined in terms of a unilateral promissory commitment from the divine side. This particular engagement was, on the contrary, constituted a covenant by Israel's formal pledging of obedience to God's law. It was a law covenant." Kline, Meredith. By Oath Consigned: A Reinterpretaton of the Covenant Signs of Circumcision and Baptism. (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids), 16-18.


  1. For those who claim that there is no difference between the Mosaic covenant and the Abrahamic covenant how do you explain the difference in their inauguration. In the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 15) God passes through the pieces of multilated flesh, symbolizing that he will bear the penalty for our covenant breaking. But in the establishment of the Mosaic covenant the blood is sprinkled on the people, symbolizing that they will bear the penalty for their covenant breaking. The application of blood points to the distinction between these two covenants. The difference between these two covenants is illustrated by who bears the penalty for covenant infidelity. The Abrahamic covenant, or the covenat grace anticipates the mutilation of Christ's body for our sins. In the covenant of grace, Jesus Christ bears the penalty for our sins and he secures the blessing through his perfect righteousness. Instead of do this and live, fail to comply and die, the promise is reallized by faith alone in Christ alone. This is truly good news.

  2. Hi Mark, this is really helpful. Yes, i agree, if you ignore what Paul even calls "two covenants" (Gal. 4) and fail to distinguish that one operates on the principle of grace and the other law, you end up confusing justification and sanctification, law/gospel, creating a whole bunch of other problems. Chris