What Is “Replacement Theology”

What Is Replacement Theology?Text: Hebrews 8:13

“Replacement Theology” – also known as “Supersessionism” or “Fulfillment Theology” – holds that the New Covenant in Christ supersedes (takes the place of) the Old Covenant given to the Jews and that the church has replaced Israel as the people of God. It is in contrast with “Dual-Covenant Theology” which holds that the Mosaic covenant is still valid for the Jews.* What does the Bible teach about all of this?

Questions to be answered:

Did the New Covenant Replace the Old Covenant?

  • The Hebrew writer said the old covenant was “obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13) – quoted the prophecy from Jeremiah (Hebrews 8:8-12; Jeremiah 31:31-34)
  • The NT emphasizes the NEW covenant – when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:20; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:25); Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant (Hebrews 9:15; 12:24); the apostles were ministers of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6)

Are the Jews Still God’s Covenant People?

  • Some believe that the covenant God made with the Israelites on Mount Sinai is still binding – despite what the Hebrew writer said about the old covenant being “obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13)
  • God made a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:2-7) – this was the reason why He saved Israel from Egypt (Exodus 2:23-24; 6:2-8); He established the covenant with Israel (Deuteronomy 5:2-3)
  • Those who believe the Jews are still God’s chosen people often cite Paul’s words (Romans 11:25-29) – however, the Jews were “broken off” because of their unbelief (Romans 11:20); yet they were able to be “grafted in” again [more on this in a moment]
  • Today, God’s people are those who have been circumcised spiritually, not physically (Romans 2:28-29) – this is referring to those who have been baptized into Christ (Colossians 2:11-13); many Jews did this (Acts 2:41); but they had been cut off (Romans 11:19) and needed to be saved (Acts 2:37-41)

Is the Law of Moses Still Binding?

  • The Law of Moses has been nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14) – it has been abolished (Ephesians 2:15)
  • It was a tutor to lead the Jews to Christ (Galatians 3:24) – they are no longer under the tutor (Galatians 3:25); i.e. the Law
  • The requirements of the law were an unbearable yoke (Acts 15:10)
  • Those who seek to be justified by the Law of Moses have fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4)

On What Basis Can the Jews Be Saved?

  • They can be “grafted in” just as the Gentiles were (Romans 11:23) – by God’s grace (Acts 15:11)
  • By becoming sons of God through faith and putting on Christ in baptism (Galatians 3:26-27)
  • By receiving the gospel and obeying it (Acts 2:37-41)
  • By being reconciled to God through the cross of Christ (Ephesians 2:14-16) – just like the Gentiles

Conclusion

  • Someone might say, “It sounds like you believe in replacement theology” – some may label us with that, but that does not mean we need to accept the label; they may bundle other ideas into this “theory” than what we talked about
  • What we can do is affirm what the Bible teachers – rather than saying “yes” or “no,” ask what they mean, then affirm what the Bible teaches (1 Peter 3:15); this may invite more discussion that way
  • The Scriptures teach that everyone (Jew and Gentile) can be saved through Christ – not by following the old covenant which was “obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13) and “nailed…to the cross” (Colossians 2:14); but by obeying the gospel in faith, we can receive the inheritance (Galatians 3:26-29)

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* Information on “Replacement Theology” or “Supersessionism” was found here.


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