Class Notes, Chapter 4

By KATHY HORAN|CONTRIBUTOR

Foundations

We learned in this lesson that First and Second Timothy and Titus were known as pastoral letters. They were letters Paul wrote to these men regarding their position as pastors of local churches. These letters dealt with principles for organizing the covenant life of the church, defining roles and responsibilities of the members, including the women of the church.

There are foundational truths found in these letters, and seeing these will help us to understand the principles concernning women’s ministry in the church. The Gospel is central to the focus of the Women’s Ministry, and must be the reference point for what we do. The Truth must be faithfully taught and passed on to others. Paul instructed that the older women would teach the younger women, and in this context maturity, particularly spiritual maturity, was to be modeled and taught. Sound Doctrine is necessary for a healthy church body. Here is an excellent post from Tim Challies’ blog on 6 Great Reasons to Study Doctrine that ties in with this study. Paul also emphasizes Discipleship as a means of educating the covenantal community of believers. And last, the Covenant of Grace is seen as the unifying theme.

Covenant

We are all living under either the Covenant of Grace or the Covenant of Works. And what is the Covenant of Grace? How do we see this in the Old and New Testaments? The Westminster Confession says that “the distance between God and His creatures is so great that there would no way for His creatures to enjoy the fruition of His relationship unless He condescended by means of a covenant to enter into a relationship with them.”[1] Simply stated, the Covenant of works is based on obedience of man, however in the Covenant of Grace,” God writes His law on our hearts, giving us the will to obey Him in order to thank Him for our great salvation, not to merit eternal life.” [2]

This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people” Jeremiah 31:33

Jana took us on a brief walk through the bible which illustrated how God’s revelation unfolded through time. Beginning with the proto evangel in Genesis, we see how God began to reveal His plan of salvation to man, with His Son fulfilling the Covenant of Works for His chosen ones. Jana is ordering a number of Bible Timelines from the PCA bookstore, a great resource for seeing the big picture of the bible. A good resource for studying more about Covenants is Covenants Made Simple by Jonty Rhodes, designed for the lay person as a study of the story of the bible through the lens of Covenant Theology. For those wanting to dig a bit deeper, Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Robertson is known as the standard for this study.

We also discussed the Covenant of Redemption. This is the Covenant that was formed prior to the beginning of the world between the members of the Trinity, in order to bring us salvation. We can only marvel that the grace of God was working on our behalf long before we were born.

Eph 1:3-14 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. 

Class outlines are in the sidebar.

 

[1] Westminster Confession Chapter 7, Section 1

[2]Tabletalk