Earning an inheritance?

From O. Palmer Robertson’s The Christ of the Covenants (page 175, footnote 7):

The language of Meredith Kline is misleading on this point. His desire to maintain the distinctive emphasis of the law-covenant may be appreciated. But his statements too easily could be understood in a legalistic fashion. He interprets Paul as saying that the Sinaitic covenant “made inheritance to be by law, not by promise — not by faith, but by works” (By Oath Consigned, p. 23).

The distinctiveness of the Mosaic covenant resides in its externalized forms of law-administration. But the law under Moses cannot be understood as opening a new way of attaining salvation for God’s people. Israel must maintain the law, not in order to enter the favored condition of the covenant of redemption, but in order to continue in the blessings of the covenantal relationship after having been empowered to do so throught their covenantal oneness-with-God experienced by grace through faith alone. Under both the Mosaic and the Abrahamic covenants man experienced redemption by grace through faith in the work of the Christ who was to live and die in the place of sinners.

I must confess, I find the concept of earning an inheritance oxymoronic.

4 Comments

  1. Tim
    Apr 7, 2002

    Which is why the question of the “rich young ruler” was not legalistic: “What good thing should I do, that I may *inherit* eternal life?”

  2. mark
    Apr 7, 2002

    I thought Robertson was pretty oxymoronic himself when he criticized the term “covenant of works” for Adam, and then turned around and said that Adam’s righteousness was the meritorious ground of his standing before God.

    In any case, Robertson and Kline certainly were happy to join in mauling Daniel Fuller and Norman Shepherd.

  3. Jay
    Apr 8, 2002

    Mark, I’m left wondering if you intended your feedback as an ad hominem or what. Is it that you believe Robertson’s statements regarding the covenant of works and NT Wright disqualifies him from commenting on Kline? Or that his comments regarding Kline are wrong? Or what?

  4. mark
    Apr 14, 2002

    No, I totally agree with Robertson’s statement that you quoted. But I’m bitter that he disregarded all that he wrote when it came to joining Kline in a concerted attack on Daniel Fuller and Norm Shepherd. In the case of NS, this meant driving him out of the seminary where he taught.

    Not sure what N. T. Wright has to do with any of this…