This edition of Present Truth Magazine completes the presentation of "Covenant" which appeared in the previous issue. It presupposes that the reader has already read Part 1 and is familiar with the discussion therein presented.
In attempting to deal with the great subject of covenant in a systematic way, we could hardly avoid the matter of signs and seals. That would be like going to a wedding and missing the reception. The problem is that the discussion of the signs and seals has not always been as pleasant as a wedding reception. It has often led to fierce and bitter battles in the church. For within the framework of covenant signs and seals there is the Supper and baptism; and as if the sixteenth century evangelicals did not have enough to argue about on these two matters, the seventeenth century Puritans introduced what they fondly called "the Christian Sabbath" as another sign and seal of the covenant.
It is therefore with reticence that we reopen some matters over which Christians have become so heated at times that they have spilled one another's blood. But this issue of Present Truth Magazine will not be a call to war but a call to approach the whole subject in the joyful spirit of gospel celebration. We will try to look at covenantal principles which will give us a fresh approach to some thorny problems.
Too much theological controversy is motivated by the spirit of self-justification — individual and corporate. But surely the gospel should teach us that we are justified neither by our moral nor our doctrinal uprightness but by Christ alone. It is only as we keep this in memory that we can allow the truth of justification by grace alone to call all that we do and all that we teach into serious and radical question.
Come, let us reason together.