How can the following scriptural references assist you in correcting the mistaken views expressed in Example One and Two?
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
We may not overvalue nor undervalue the outward covenant relationship God has graciously granted to us.
How do the following examples illustrate these two errors?
"I am a Christian person. I have been brought up in a Christian home, enrolled in a Christian school, and faithfully attended a Christian church. I read the Bible and live a Christian lifestyle. No one can point a finger at me for any public sin. I have purchased several Christian books and received Christian baptism. As a Christian person, I am confident for the future."
"Baptism and church membership do not really make a difference. Regardless of whether or not a person has an outward relationship to the covenant or church, God must savingly regenerate him. God can save and convert someone from the midst of the world who never has attended church, or someone who has attended church his entire life. If God has elected you to be saved, you will be; and if not, you won't be. An outward church and covenant relationship makes no difference."
What is frightfully wrong with the views expressed in these examples? How would you correct each viewpoint?
The two-fold manner in which a person may be related to the Covenant of Grace must be clearly understood with the corresponding benefits and responsibilities of each.
To be saved we must be regenerated by God the Holy Spirit, we must be born again spiritually. Only then will we be brought into the essence, unbreakableness, and eternal benefits, of the Covenant of Grace.
The two possible relationships to God's covenant and church are shown in the following chart: