It was while reading the Creed Cult Code blog about “The Mediocrity of the New Covenant?” when I thought about this,
Is the justification of Abraham equal to the justification we receive in the New Testament?
Because, if it is, then the New Testament is not superior to the Old. But Scrpture says:
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
I think this verse from Scripture makes the point clear that the New Testament is superior and that the justification of the sinner in the New Testament is superior to that of the Old.
Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
At the time when Jesus made this statement, the OT Patriarchs had not been Baptized of the Holy Spirit. They were only born of woman. They had not been renewed and regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
And Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest of these. John the Baptist had also not received the Baptism of Jesus Christ. But we, who are baptized, are citizens of the Kingdom of heaven.
Hebrews 12:22 King James Version (KJV)22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Therefore, justification in the NT is greater than justification in the OT.
Therefore, when Scripture says in
Gen 15:6 “He believed and it was credited to him as righteousness”,
Abraham did not receive at that moment, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit nor a new life in Christ. He was not born again.
Certainly, after many centuries, he received what we receive the moment we are justified. And of course, the Catholic Church teaches that this happens in the Sacrament of Baptism. But that brings us back to “imputation”. And I think I can ask this in a different manner.
“Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.”
Protestants frequently say it this way, “The righteousness of Christ was imputed unto Abraham”.
Does that Protestant terminology mean the same thing as “being born again in the image of Christ”? and does it result in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?
Because I don’t see that in Scripture.
Scripture says that we are promised the Holy Spirit in Baptism:
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
And Scripture says that Abraham did not receive that promise:
Hebrews 11:39New International Version (NIV)39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,
Nor could he, since the Holy Spirit was not yet given:
John 7:39 New International VersionBy this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Does that make sense?