Justin Martyr on the New Covenant


#1

I’m learning about the Catholic Church after having read hundreds of pages of Anti-Nicene Fathers… and I am curious whether what some of these writings say is still considered correct. Especially this passage… this one really sounds evangelical to me;

From Justin’s Dialogue…

  Chapter XI.-The Law Abrogated; The New Testament Promised and Given by God.

“There will be no other God, O Trypho, nor was there from eternity any other existing” (I thus addressed him), "but He who made and disposed all this universe. Nor do we think that there is one God for us, another for you, but that He alone is God who led your fathers out from Egypt with a strong hand and a high arm. Nor have we trusted in any other (for there is no other), but in Him in whom you also have trusted, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. But we do not trust through Moses or through the law; for then we would do the same as yourselves. But now21 -(for I have read that there shall be a final law, and a covenant, the chiefest of all, which it is now incumbent on all men to observe, as many as are seeking after the inheritance of God. For the law promulgated on Horeb is now old, and belongs to yourselves alone; but this is for all universally. Now, law placed against law has abrogated that which is before it, and a covenant which comes after in like manner has put an end to the previous one; and an eternal and final law-namely, Christ-has been given to us, and the covenant is trustworthy, after which there shall be no law, no commandment, no ordinance. Have you not read this which Isaiah says: Hearken unto Me, hearken unto Me, my people; and, ye kings, give ear unto Me: for a law shall go forth from Me, and My judgment shall be for a light to the nations. My righteousness approaches swiftly, and My salvation shall go forth, and nations shall trust in Mine arm? '22 And by Jeremiah, concerning this same new covenant, He thus speaks:Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt’23 ). If, therefore, God proclaimed a new covenant which was to be instituted, and this for a light of the nations, we see and are persuaded that men approach God, leaving their idols and other unrighteousness, through the name of Him who was crucified, Jesus Christ, and abide by their confession even unto death, and maintain piety. Moreover, by the works and by the attendant miracles, it is possible for all to understand that He is the new law, and the new covenant, and the expectation of those who out of every people wait for the good things of God. For the true spiritual Israel, and descendants of Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham (who in uncircumcision was approved of and blessed by God on account of his faith, and called the father of many nations), are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ, as shall be demonstrated while we proceed.

This is my first post here… I know one other person on this forum; SDA2RC. I’m looking forward to some interesting discussion!

Jeremiah


#2

Welcome.

I’m not exactly sure what your question is. Could you summarize in a sentence or two what you think Justin Martyr meant?


#3

[quote=jsenner]I’m learning about the Catholic Church after having read hundreds of pages of Anti-Nicene Fathers… and I am curious whether what some of these writings say is still considered correct. Especially this passage… this one really sounds evangelical to me;

[/quote]

I am not familiar with the anti-Nicene Fathers, unless they were bishops who argued against the credal formulation from the council of Nicaea. I have heard of the ante-Nicene Fathers, those who lived and taught before that council.


#4

[quote=puzzleannie]I am not familiar with the anti-Nicene Fathers, unless they were bishops who argued against the credal formulation from the council of Nicaea. I have heard of the ante-Nicene Fathers, those who lived and taught before that council.
[/quote]

Har Har, Puzzle E-- You had me going there for a minute. :smiley:


#5

Thanks for the replies! That’s pretty funny, anti versus ante!

The sense that I seem to get out of this is that Jesus himself is the New Covenant, in a relationship kind of way. Kind of like “if you know Jesus then you are fulfilling the requirements of the law and don’t have to worry about keeping sabbaths etc”…

You’d have to share my background I guess to really understand… I was raised Adventist and then eventually began to see that Paul in Galatians and his other epistles didn’t seem to agree with SDA viewpoints on things… so I launched into a study of the writings of Christians who lived right after the Apostles to see what they thought Paul meant.

Jeremiah


#6

I would venture to say that Justin is assuming a bit. Under the Old Covenant, there were certain requirements, certain standards of action as well as belief to which men were held by God. So it is under the New Covenant, under Christ. Those shadows cast by the Old Covenant have been made real by the New. Works have not been dashed away by intellectual assent.

The Jews of old certainly believed as they worked, as we believe as we work. Trypho, being a Jew, would understand the implication of there being a covenant at all. It would seem quite silly to them both if someone claimed that God’s end of the covenant was the Holy Sacrifice of His Son, and that ours was simply a nodding toward the Lordship of Christ without any real commitment to Him.

Hope this makes sense. God bless.

Explore Joel Haubenreich

#7

I think I understand… like Trypho says here?

“This is what we are amazed at,” said Trypho, “but those things about which the multitude speak are not worthy of belief; for they are most repugnant to human nature. Moreover, I am aware that your precepts in the so-called Gospel are so wonderful and so great, that I suspect no one can keep them; for I have carefully read them. But this is what we are most at a loss about: that you, professing to be pious, and supposing yourselves better than others, are not in any particular separated from them, and do not alter your mode of living from the nations, in that you observe no festivals or sabbaths, and do not have the rite of circumcision; and further, resting your hopes on a man that was crucified, you yet expect to obtain some good thing from God, while you do not obey His commandments. Have you not read, that soul shall be cut off from his people who shall not have been circumcised on the eighth day? And this has been ordained for strangers and for slaves equally. But you, despising this covenant rashly, reject the consequent duties, and attempt to persuade yourselves that you know God, when, however, you perform none of those things which they do who fear God. If, therefore, you can defend yourself on these points, and make it manifest in what way you hope for anything whatsoever, even though you do not observe the law, this we would very gladly hear from you, and we shall make other similar investigations.”

So being in a covenant means “doing” something… according to Trypho at least!

Jeremiah


#8

Ach! Tell the rest!

What was Justin Martyr’s response to Trypho’s allegation that the Christians do not do anything to follow any law?

Where did you copy and paste that from?

It looks really interesting.


#9

Jeremiah: That’s how I understand it. I admit, however, I’ve only read Justin Martyr in part.

bengeorge: here’s a link that might help.

God bless.
-Joel


#10

[quote=bengeorge]Ach! Tell the rest!

What was Justin Martyr’s response to Trypho’s allegation that the Christians do not do anything to follow any law?

[/quote]

Here’s a portion of Justin’s reply…

If, therefore, God proclaimed a new covenant which was to be instituted, and this for a light of the nations, we see and are persuaded that men approach God, leaving their idols and other unrighteousness, through the name of Him who was crucified, Jesus Christ, and abide by their confession even unto death, and maintain piety. Moreover, by the works and by the attendant miracles, it is possible for all to understand that He is the new law, and the new covenant, and the expectation of those who out of every people wait for the good things of God. For the true spiritual Israel, and descendants of Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham (who in uncircumcision was approved of and blessed by God on account of his faith, and called the father of many nations), are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ, as shall be demonstrated while we proceed.

This sounds fairly Catholic, I think?

Jeremiah


#11

It sounds Catholic to me!


#12

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