The Covenant of Grace – Sacred Bond

sacred_bond_coverThe covenant of grace is the historical outworking of God’s eternal plan of salvation in the covenant of redemption. As we learned in chapter 1, the covenant of redemption was made in eternity among the persons of the Trinity and fulfilled in time through Christ’s active obedience and atoning death. It was for Christ a covenant of works . Just as there was a covenant of works with the first Adam, there was also a covenant of works with the second Adam, Christ. His obedience under this covenant is the foundation of the gospel and the covenant of grace. The covenant of grace is essentially the application to sinners of the benefits earned by Christ through his fulfillment of the covenant of redemption. In this covenant, because of Christ’s obedience, God brings his people into communion with himself and promises them, “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” His promise is not on the basis of their obedience, but on the basis of Christ’s obedience. It was works for Christ so that it is grace for us. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5: 19).

Like the covenant of works, the covenant of grace is made between God and humans. One of the chief differences between these two covenants, however, is that the latter has a Mediator between God and his covenant partners, whereas the former does not. Christ is that Mediator (1 Tim. 2: 5). This makes the nature of these covenants very different from one another. As was shown in chapter 2, the covenant of works is based on law and requires perfect , personal obedience. Its condition is , “Do this and you will live” (cf. Lev. 18: 5; Gal. 3: 12). The covenant of grace, on the other hand, is based on God’s promise to save sinners. Its condition is, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16: 31; cf. Rom. 10: 6– 13; Gal. 2: 16). In the covenant of grace, God pronounces sinners justified and righteous on the basis of the righteousness of Christ imputed to them and received through faith alone.

Brown, Michael G.; Keele, Zach (2012-05-29). Sacred Bond; Covenant Theology Explored (Kindle Locations 885-900). Reformed Fellowship, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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Comfort from the Covenant of Redemption – Sacred Bond: Covenant Theology Explored

sacred_bond_coverKnowing that our salvation was planned out by the triune God before the foundation of the world gives us unspeakable comfort.  If you are a Christian, it is because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit covenanted together in eternity to save you.  You are not a Christian because you are better, smarter, or possess a softer heart than other people.  You are a Christian because the Father chose you in the Son, the Son fulfilled the conditions for your salvation, and the Spirit applied to you the redemptive benefits of the Son’s work.  When you are tempted to doubt your salvation, remember that Christ said, “It is finished,” and that the Father is satisfied with the work of his Son.  Your salvation remains secure, not because of anything you do, but because Christ finished the work the Father gave him to accomplish and satisfied God’s justice.  Consequently, the Father has highly exalted him.  The obedience-reward pattern in the covenant of redemption causes us to look to Christ rather than ourselves for assurance of our salvation.  pp. 37-38

Brown, Michael G. & Keele, Zach, Sacred Bond: Covenant Theology Explored; Reformed Fellowship, Inc. 2012, Grandville, MI

Lectures based upon this book are currently being delivered by Michael Brown and are available here: http://christurc.org/catechism_others.html

Michael Brown and Zach Keele,

Sacred Bond is an introduction to covenant theology geared to the lay reader. This book gives an introduction to the nature of a covenant and the various covenants in Scripture: the covenant of redemption, the covenant of works, the covenant of grace, the common grace (Noahic) covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, the Davidic covenant, and finally the new covenant. The authors explain how these covenants relate to each other and provide brief explanations of how these covenants relate to justification, sanctification, and the law/gospel distinction.

More about the book below.  HT: Pilgrimage to Geneva

Authors Michael Brown and Zach Keele are both Alumni of Wesminster Seminary California.

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An excerpt from the introduction:

“What is a covenant? A covenant is a formal agreement that creates a relationship with legal aspects. By relationship, we do not mean merely those relationships of husband-wife, or government-citizen—though these are included—but also the relationship of giving your word to do something. If you tell your neighbors that you will feed their dogs while they are on vacation, this is a commitment or agreement. You have a relationship with your neighbor just by being her neighbor, but giving your word that you will feed the dogs is a commitment, a covenant of sorts. A covenant can be commitment, promise, or oath. In fact, in the Bible, promise and oath are often used as synonyms for covenant.”

“People often ask me for a basic or introductory book on covenant theology. Now we’ve got one—Sacred Bond. Brown and Keele explain covenant theology in basic and readable terms. Better yet, they do so without succumbing to the tendency to talk down to the reader or make the complicated too simplistic—a common problem with introductory texts. This book does many things well, but perhaps the most important thing it does is that it will help people to better understand their Bibles. That, it seems to me, is what makes this book so valuable. And that is why you should buy it, read it, and digest it. To understand covenant theology is to understand the Bible.”—Dr. Kim Riddlebarger, pastor of Christ Reformed Church (URCNA) in Anaheim, CA, and author of A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times

“Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest this wonderful guide. In doing so, you will be much better equipped to know what you believe and why you believe it.”—From the foreword by Dr. Michael S. Horton, Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California

See more on Covenant Theology here: http://pilgrimagetogeneva.com/category/covenant-theology/