Question 5Is there any farther alteration to be expected in or of those institutions and ordinances of worship which are revealed and appointed in the gospel?

AnswerNo; the last complete revelation of the will of God being made by the Son, who is Lord of all, his commands and institutions are to be observed inviolably unto the end of the world, without alteration, diminution, diminution, or addition.

Heb. 1:1,2,10:25-27; Matt. 28:20; 1 Cor. 11:26; 1 Tim. 6:14.

Explication— It was showed before that all the institutions of the Old Testament had respect unto the coming of Christ in the flesh, who was “the end of the law,” Rom. 10:4; and thereupon they were subject to alteration and abolition upon a twofold account:

1. Because that which they were appointed principally to instruct the church in, and to direct it unto the expectation of, was, upon his coming, accomplished and fulfilled; so that their end was absolutely taken away, and they could no more truly teach the mind and will of God, for they would still direct unto that which was to come, after it was past and accomplished. And this is that which the apostle Paul so variously proves and fully confirms in his Epistle to the Hebrews, especially in the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth chapters.

2. The Lord Christ, during their continuance, was to come as the Lord over his whole house, with more full and ample authority than any of those whom God had employed in the institution of his ordinances of old were intrusted withal: Heb. 1:1-3, “He spake in time past by the prophets,” but now “by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all.”  Heb. 3:6, “Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we.”  And, therefore, they were all to be at his disposal, to confirm or remove, as he saw reason and occasion.  And this he did, —

(1.) Virtually, in the sacrifice of himself, or the blood of his cross, fulfilling and finishing of them all, John 19:30; “breaking down the middle wall of partition; abolishing in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances;” “blotting out the hand- writing of ordinances,” he “took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross,” Eph. 2:14,15; Col. 2:14.

(2.) Authoritatively, by his Spirit in the apostles, and the doctrine of the gospel preached by them: Acts 15:10,11, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” Gal. 3:24,25, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Gal. 5:1-4.

And, (3.) Eventually or providentially, when he caused sacrifice and offering to cease, by the prince of the people, that came with an army making desolate, to destroy both city and sanctuary, Dan. 9:26,27, according to his prediction, Matt. 24:2. But now, under the New Testament, the worship that is appointed in the gospel is founded in and built upon what is already past and accomplished, namely, the death and life of Jesus Christ, with the sacrifice and atonement for sin made thereby, 1 Cor. 11:23-26; which can never be again performed; neither is there any thing else to the same purpose either needful or possible, Heb. 10:26. So that there is not any ground left for any new institution of worship, or any alteration in those that are already instituted. Nor, —

Secondly, Can any one be expected to come from God with a greater and more full authority for the revelation of  his mind than that wherewith his only Son was accompanied; which yet must be, if any alterations were to be made in the appointments of worship that he hath instituted in the gospel.

For no inferior nor an equal authority can abolish or alter that which is already appointed, so as to give satisfaction unto the consciences of men in obedience unto such alterations. And, therefore, because there arose not a prophet like unto Moses under the Old Testament, there could be no alteration made in his institutions, but the church was bound severely to observe them all until the coming of Christ: Mal. 4:4, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments;” and that because “there arose not a prophet afterwards in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,” Deut. 34:10. And our apostle, to prove the right of Christ to alter the ordinances of the law, lays his foundation in manifesting that he was above the angels: Heb. 1:4, “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they;” and that because the law was given by the ministry of angels, Heb. 2:2; and so also that he was greater than Moses, Heb. 3:3,5, “For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, but Christ as a son over his own house;” because Moses was the lawgiver, and the mediator between God and man in the giving of the law. Now, if this be the sole foundation and warrant of the alteration made of Mosaical ordinances by Christ, namely, that he was greater and exalted above all those whose ministry was used in the dispensation of the law, unless some can be thought to be greater, and exalted in authority above the Son of God, there can be no alteration expected in the institutions of the gospel.

Owen, John. The Life and Works of John Owen Vol. 15