I don’t pretend to have an answer to every question or have all the details worked out, but Lord willing, I will update this commentary 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. The covenants that I would like to deal with are the following:
- The Covenant of Redemption [§2] [here]
- The Covenant of Grace [§3] [here]
- The Covenant of Works [§1] [here]
- The Covenant with Noah (Noahic Covenant) [§3] [here]
- The Covenant with Abraham (Abrahamic Covenant) [§3] [here]
- The Covenant with Israel through Moses (Mosaic Covenant) [§3] [here]
- The Covenant with David (Davidic Covenant) [§3] [here]
- The Covenant with the church (New Covenant) [§3] [here]
What Is A Covenant?
Before going into the specific 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.
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 that 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 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.”
Walter Chantry defines a covenant as “a sovereignly given arrangement by which man may be blessed.” 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.
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 ...