The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary

..../post/A-Review-Of-Jeffrey-D-Johnsons-The-Fatal-Flaw/1067"see my review) and the Kingdom of God.

I don't pretend to have an answer to every question or have all the details worked out, but Lord willing, I will change this post if I become persuaded of some things that I think are necessary to mention. It is a subject that has fascinated me and it's a subject I want to learn more about. In this chapter, I will try to lay out all the major covenants of the Bible and see how they are fulfilled or still await fulfillment in Christ and His people. Covenant theology is Christocentric. The covenants that I would like to deal with are the following:

  1. The Covenant Of Redemption [§2] [go]
  2. The Covenant of Grace [§3] [go]
  3. The Covenant of Works [§1] [go]
  4. The Covenant with Noah (Noahic Covenant) [§3] [go]
  5. The Covenant with Abraham (Abrahamic Covenant) [§3] [go]
  6. The Covenant with Israel through Moses (Mosaic Covenant) [§3] [go]
  7. The Covenant with David (Davidic Covenant) [§3] [go]
  8. The Covenant with the Church (New Covenant) [§3] [go]

What Is A Covenant?

Before going into the covenants, let us define what a covenant actually is. A covenant may simply be defined as: A commitment with divine sanctions. To add more input, it may be said this way:

In the general sense, a covenant is simply a binding agreement or compact between two or more parties; in legal terms, it is a formal sealed agreement or contract.[3]

Simply said, a covenant is the way that God communicates with man. It must be noted that the covenants made by God are made up by God - what I mean is, God doesn't ask people's opinion about what they think of the covenant, blessings, and curses. It is something imposed by God. It is a sovereign covenantal arrangement. This is seen in Nehemiah Coxe's definition of Covenant, which is...

“A declaration of his sovereign pleasure concerning the benefits he will bestow on them, the communion they will have with him, and the way and means by which this will be enjoyed by them.”[4]

Walter Chantry defines a covenant as “a sovereignly given arrangement by which man may be blessed.”[5] A. W. Pink defines it as:

Briefly stated, any covenant is a mutual agreement entered into by two or more parties, whereby they stand solemnly bound to each other to perform the conditions contracted for.[6]

From these definitions we observe that a covenant seeks to bring man to a better state of existence or being. It doesn't seek to leave man in the place he was prior to the covenant. Dr. Richard Barcellos observes:

Think of the Noahic covenant. Prior to its revelation as found in Genesis 6-9, the earth was potentially subject to a universal flood due to the justice of God being executed on the earth against the wickedness of man. We know this for certain because that is exactly what happened. The Noahic covenant, which includes man (Noah and his descendants), also involves every living creature (Genesis 9:9-10, 15, 16). It embraces and benefits the earth as well (Genesis 8:22...Genesis 9:13...Jeremiah 33:20, 50...). That divine covenants are revealed to man for "the advancing and bettering of his state" [Nehemiah Coxe] can also be said of all other divine covenants with man throughout the Bible. Abraham (along with his carnal and spiritual seed) was better off for the covenant revealed to him. The Israelites were better off for the covenant revealed to them. It promised them blessings from God that were not promised to them prior to i...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator - Commentary

...eb. 1:2; Acts 17:31
  • Rom. 8:30; John 17:6; Isa. 53:10; Ps. 22:30; 1 Tim. 2:6; Isa. 55:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:30
  • The only begotten Son was from all eternity chosen and ordained (Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 1:19-20) to be the mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5). This means that having Christ to be the Savior of sinners and the Incarnation were not afterthoughts in God. God did not plan them after the Fall of man, but set them in motion after the Fall. This choosing and ordaining of Christ as mediator was according to the covenant made between them both, i.e., the Covenant Of Redemption (see chapter 7:2). Even before sin and before the world was, the Lord Jesus was to be the Savior of His people. The Confession goes on to name the threefold offices of Christ as prophet, priest, and king. He is also the head and savior of the church (Col. 1:18; Acts 5:31). The heir of all things (Heb. 1:2), Who will inherit everything and believers are co-heirs with Him (Rom. 8:16-17). He is also the One Who will judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2Tim. 4:1). All these offices and functions were agreed upon by the Persons of the Trinity even before the foundation of the world. God from all eternity gave a people to be His seed and to be by Him in time redeemed (John 17:2, 6; Isa. 53:10) and given all the blessings of redemption. All these considerations make the Fall a necessity within God's decree. For if there is no Fall, then it means that there is no sin and therefore, no need of a savior. But if Christ is said to be ordained as Savior even before the creation of the world, then this means that there will be sinners who will be saved by Him, which makes the Fall an important part of God's plan.


    Christ the Elect

    Our Confession states that the Lord Jesus was chosen, called and ordained by God to the office of the mediator. He was chosen by God for this office according to the Covenant Of Redemption between them (see chapter 7 on the Covenant Of Redemption). We said in chapter 7 that the Covenant Of Redemption was the eternal covenant between the Persons of the Trinity, which laid out their roles in the self-glorification of God and the redemption of God’s elect. The Father was to elect a people and give them to the Son. The Son was to redeem the people whom the Father gave to Him. The Spirit was to apply the benefits of Son on their behalf to them and indwell them.

    Christ was chosen by the Father from before the foundation of the earth to be the Savior of God’s people. God’s plans had Him as the center. In Ephesians 1:3-6 we read that before the foundation of the world we were chosen and predestined in Christ for salvation, meaning that Christ was already then chosen to be the Savior of God’s elect. He is the only One who can save us. We also read about the Servant Messiah in Isaiah’s prophecies. In Isaiah 42, we read –

    Isa. 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

    The Servant of the Lord is none other than the Lord Jesus who is prophesied about before He came on the scene. He is the Lord’s chosen and He is in whom God delights (Matt. 3:17; 17:5, etc). We also read of Christ being the chosen of God and in whom God delights in the New Testament Scriptures often with allusion to the Old Testament (John 6:27; 1Pet. 2:4-6). Christ is the prime elect of God, and all the believers have been elected in Him and when they believe th...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 27: Of the Communion of Saints

    ... and with Christ, but Christ Himself is said to be in us (John 15:5; Rom. 8:10; 2Cor. 13:5; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:27; 1John 4:4; Rev. 3:20)! What a blessing! What a great comfort and love!

    The Scope of Union With Christ

    Eternity Past

    The union of Christ with His people begins before time began. In eternity past, the Father gave Him a people to save from their sins (Eph. 1:3-4). He would perfectly obey the Law on their behalf and take the punishment for their law-breaking upon Himself. What the Lord Christ did, He did not do for Himself, but for His people. He is our covenant head. What He did in fulfilling the Covenant Of Redemption, He did for His elect, not for Himself. It is said in Ephesians 1:4 that God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him”. The sovereign election of God and the plan of redemption was made with Christ as the center of it all. Notice carefully what is said. it is not said that God chose Christ. But it is said that God chose us in Christ.

    Christ's Life, Death, and Resurrection

    We were also united with Christ in His life because the life that He lived He lived in our place so as to provide us positive righteousness. The Apostle Paul writes, “For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). This concerns our union with Christ as our covenant head doing for us what we could never do and that is living a perfectly righteous life. In this way, the righteous life which Christ lived is credited to us. He is our righteousness (1Cor. 1:30; Phil. 3:9). This is the active obedience of Christ (see here).

    The New Testament teaches that we were united with Him in His death (Rom. 6:5-6, 8; Gal. 2:20). The curse of the law was removed and the wrath of God satisfied on behalf of the elect. In this sense, Christ’s death becomes our death. We, in Christ, died to sin and the punishment of the law of God. The union of the believer with Christ and Christ with the believer is so intimate that it is said, “our old self was crucified with him" (Rom. 6:6). His crucifixion on our behalf was also our crucifixion.

    Scripture likewise teaches that we were united with Him in His glorious resurrection (Col. 2:1, 12). His resurrection is the source of our life and justification (Rom. 4:26). Without the resurrection, there would be no redemption.

    Christ's ascension is His entrance into His throne room, having accomplished everything which the Father had commanded Him to do. He went to heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit Who will apply the work of redemption to the elect. Scripture teaches that we share in the heavenly reign of Christ (Eph. 2:6). Furthermore, Scripture encourages to live as Christ currently lives His resurrection life (Rom. 6:2-11).

    Our Lives

    The elect were not only united with Christ in His life, death, and resurrection in the past, but they are also, in the present, intimately united with Him through faith. The Scriptures teach that our regeneration and new life is the result of our union with Christ. Paul writes that "even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ" (Eph. 2:5). A few verses later he also says that we are "created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Eph. 2:10). In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Apostle says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the ne...