It occured to me that in my study of Hebrews I keep noticing the abbrogation and imperfection of the first covenant, a covenant that is finally replaced by a new and better covenant in Christ. However, our Reformed churches tend to treat the old and new covenants as cut from the same cloth, and this confuses me.
Clearly, the covenant with Abraham hasn’t been ended, nor was it imperfect. Thus, the author must be speaking about the Mosaic covenant, which only makes sense as its forms and shadows have been done away with, dispensed with symbolically at the tearing of the temple veil at Jesus’ death.
This is my argument for covenants then – and I admit that I could be entirely wrong on this point – and also for infant baptism: the covenant in Abraham was clearly to him and his descendants as a peculiar people, and we, through Christ, are part of that people today. Salvation and national status as “honorary Jews” is conferred on us by God’s grace through faith. This applies in a national and familial sense as well, and carries with it the same sort of national, familial, and adoptive rights and privileges, as well as responsibilities.
The Mosaic covenant differed in means and symbols, then, but not in substance. We’re the same people (the Jews of the old covenant, and Christians of the new), all the same Church. For instance, the symbol of circumcision has clearly been transmogrified (I love that word!) into baptism. As part of the Abrahamaic covenant that contains the Mosaic and Messianic covenants – a wrapper covenant that ensures that the old and new flow together and don’t become separate dispensations with entirely different focuses – we and the Jews are constrained by the same covenantal obligations. That is to say, we baptise our children, not merely our adults, the same way the Jews of the Mosaic covenant were bound by the same grace and faith we accept now, as Hebrews (what a great book) makes clear.
Does that make any sense whatsoever?