The overarching point of Part 3 of MM is that Klinean republication generates dangerous instability in a number of theological areas. Such instability is caused by the fact that the republication doctrine sees both works and grace (albeit at different layers) in a single covenant, the Mosaic covenant. One of the key areas of instability that the authors of MM detect is the potential for “spiritual schizophrenia” in the piety of OT and NT believers. The authors of MM write:
The basic problem centers on how the same obedience of an Israelite in the Republication Paradigm could function on one level to merit a reward (apart from grace) and at the same time on another level be rewarded by grace alone. This dual role of works leads to a dualism in God’s people—a kind of spiritual “schizophrenia” in the everyday life of the believer. By this term, we are describing the divided mindset and contradictory approach to life that would result from living according to these opposing views of obedience simultaneously—one of grace and one of works (MM 126).
They go on to spell out the nature of this supposed spiritual schizophrenia in terms of two contrasting spiritual mindsets. On the one hand, when viewing God’s acceptance of their good works in the context of the covenant of grace at the lower layer, they would have had a “sense of unworthiness.” On the other hand, when viewing God’s rewarding of their good works with temporal blessings in the context of the covenant of works at the upper layer, they would have had a “sense of entitlement,” viewing God’s rewards for their good works as something they merited, rather than as his gracious acceptance of their flawed works. The authors ask, “Would this not have resulted in a life of personal and spiritual confusion and instability?” (MM 126).
My response to the “spiritual confusion” and “schizophrenia” charge is going to be two-fold. I’ll begin, first, by arguing that there would have been no schizophrenia since the entire arrangement was a gift of grace. Second, I’m going to drill down and examine the piety of OT believers – first, looking at those leaders appointed by God to function as types of Christ (e.g., Abraham and David); second, looking at the piety of the Israelite who was not appointed to be a type of Christ but was an ordinary member of the covenant community. The piety of these two sub-groups of Israelites, in terms of how they related to God under the Law, is similar but not identical.
First, I want to begin by pointing out that God made it very clear to the Israelites that the very arrangement in which they as a nation were appointed to function as a typal kingdom governed by the works principle was a gift of grace, granted them for no merit of their own. As Kline affirmed so clearly, Israel’s “election to receive the typological kingdom in the first place was emphatically not based on any merit of theirs (cf. Deut 9:5,6)” (KP 323).
Even if God did reward their imperfect and fluctuating obedience to the Mosaic law with temporal blessings in the land, they had no reason to boast in themselves or in their own righteousness. God brought Israel into the land not because of their righteousness but in fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise. As they are standing on the brink of entering the land, Moses exhorts them:
“Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people” (Deut 9:4-6 ESV).
Moses goes on to rehearse the sad history proving that they were a “stubborn people.” He reminds the people that they rebelled against God in the wilderness from the very outset, immediately after being brought up out of their bondage in Egypt. Therefore, the fact that they are still God’s chosen people and that he is still intent on bringing them into the land under Joshua, is proof that their ordination to be “a holy nation,” a typal kingdom, is not on the basis of their merit but on the basis of God’s free, electing grace in fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise.
Throughout Israel’s long history from the conquest of Canaan under Joshua right on down to the exile, they repeatedly rebelled and disobeyed God, and yet he continued to sustain them in his grace on the basis of the prior Abrahamic promise. Thus, any limited temporal blessings that God did bestow on them as a reward for what little obedience they did have, was not a reward in which they could rightly indulge in a “sense of entitlement” before God. Because of the continued sinfulness of the nation, both corporately and individually, they knew they needed God’s grace at every point to sustain their obedience and their continued retention of the land and the temporal blessings of life in the land.
KP = Kingdom Prologue (2006)