God in Trinity enters into Covenant with us and for us, as explained by Robert Purnell in “A Little Cabinet Richly Stored.”
See here for Part 1: Unlocking Abraham, Pt. 1: The Covenant of Redemption
In the last (first) post in this series, I posted 11 theses (along with Scripture proofs and brief comments) concerning the Gospel of the Covenant of Redemption revealed to Abraham. These theses were as follows:
1.) God’s promises to Abraham are based in mercy, not merit.
2.) The Covenant of Redemption, made in Christ’s blood and the only way of salvation, was revealed to Abraham.
3.) In Genesis 12, the Gospel Covenant, the Covenant of Redemption, is revealed to Abraham.
4.) These Redemption-Covenant promises are later confirmed.
5.) Any and all redemptive, justifying blessings that believers receive ultimately find their source in Christ, who has secured them in the Covenant of Redemption.
6.) Gentile believers are rightly called Abraham’s children because they are counted in Christ, the promised Seed of blessing to the nations.
7.) The way of salvation – inclusion in the Covenant of Redemption confirmed in Christ and revealed to Abraham – is by faith alone, and not by physical descent.
8.) The promises discussed above – the Gospel Covenant of Redemption – were given to Abraham 25 years before the institution of circumcision. There was no external sign, nor seal, attached to the Covenant of Redemption.
9.) The blessings of the Covenant of Redemption in Christ are spiritual in nature, and the recipients of them are those who are included in Christ & Abraham by faith alone.
10.) Since the promises discussed above comprise the gospel in an early, general form, the heirs of blessing are guaranteed to receive all the promises of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. There is no partial or temporary interest in the Gospel Covenant of Grace – the Covenant of Redemption in Christ. It is all of grace, and all of faith.
11.) The promise of a blessed seed was given uniquely to Abraham. It is not said that all believers will be made fathers of a nation, or given a seed through which all nations will be blessed. Thus, our blessings are derived from Abraham. Just as a man leaves his inheritance to his children, so we receive Abraham’s inheritance, and he is our father. The promises discussed above are to Abraham and his seed. We have seen that this seed is Christ, and all believers in Him by faith.
I would now like to continue in the same style, transitioning into the Covenant of Circumcision made with Abraham. For it is my belief that while the Covenant of Redemption was certainly revealed to Abraham, it was shrouded within and intermixed with the promises of a wholly different, yet subservient covenant – the Covenant of Circumcision. Only by using the shining light of the New Testament as our guide can we fully understand God’s covenant dealings with Abraham. Continue Reading
This is the first of a series of posts in which I hope to offer an explanation of my view of God’s covenant dealings with Abraham. This view is virtually the same as that held by Nehemiah Coxe, and presented in the book Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ, by Nehemiah Coxe & John Owen. Some dear paedobaptist brothers and sisters of mine are often confused when I assert that while the Covenant of Grace (I prefer the name Covenant of Redemption) was most certainly revealed to Abraham, the Covenant of Circumcision cannot be equated with this Gospel Covenant. In this, and, Lord willing, future posts, I’ve tried to present my view in the form of succinct statements, followed by Scriptural support. It is my hope that this will serve to edify and clarify my convictions concerning Abraham, circumcision, grace, baptism, and God’s eternal plan of redemption in Christ.
1.) God’s promises to Abraham are based in mercy, not merit.
20Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
72To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
73The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
18For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Continue Reading
“The covenant of grace made between God and Christ, and with the elect
in him, as their Head and Representative, is a proper covenant, consisting
of stipulation and restipulation; God the Father in it stipulates with his Son,
that he shall do such and such work and service, on condition of which he
promises to confer such and such honours and benefits on him, and on the
elect in him; and Christ the Son of God restipulates and agrees to do all
that is proposed and prescribed, and, upon performance, expects and
claims the fulfilment of the promises: in this compact there are mutual
engagements each party enters into, stipulate and restipulate about, which
make a proper formal covenant; see Isaiah 49:1-6; 53:10-12; Psalm
40:6-8; John 17:4,5.
“It is by some divines called, “the covenant of redemption”; and very
truly, because the redemption of God’s elect is a principal article in it: the
Father proposed to the Son, that he should raise up, restore, redeem Israel,
his chosen ones; the Son agreed to it, and hence he was declared and
promised, and expected as the Redeemer, long before he came into this
world to do this service; Job knew him as his living Redeemer, and all the
Old Testament saints waited for him as such, having had a promise of it,
which was founded on this covenant agreement; for as it was proposed to
him, and he agreed to it, to be the Redeemer, so it was promised him, that
upon the condition of giving himself, the redemption and ransom price for
the elect, they should be delivered from all their sins, and the effects of
them, and out of the hands of all their enemies; see Isaiah 49:5; 59:20;
Job 33:24. But then,
This covenant is the same with the covenant of grace; some divines,
indeed, make them distinct covenants; the covenant of redemption, they
say, was made with Christ in eternity; the covenant of grace with the elect,
or with believers, in time: but this is very wrongly said; there is but one
covenant of grace, and not two, in which the Head and Members, the
Redeemer and the persons to be redeemed, Christ and the elect, are
concerned; in which he is the Head and Representative of them, acts for
them, and on their behalf. What is called a covenant of redemption, is a
covenant of grace, arising from the grace of the Father, who proposed to
his Son to be the Redeemer, and from the grace of the Son, who agreed to
be so; and even the honours proposed to the Son in this covenant,
redounded to the advantage of the elect; and the sum and substance of the
everlasting covenant made with Christ, is the salvation and eternal
happiness of the chosen ones; all the blessings and grants of grace to them,
are secured in that eternal compact; for they were blessed with all spiritual
blessings in him, and had grace given them in him before the world was;
wherefore there can be no foundation for such a distinction between a
covenant of redemption in eternity, and a covenant of grace in time.
The contracting parties concerned in this covenant, are next to be
considered more particularly and distinctly. This covenant is commonly
represented as if it was only between the Father and the Son; but I see not
why the Holy Spirit should be excluded, since he is certainly promised in it
both to Head and members; and in consequence of it, is sent down into the
hearts of God’s covenant ones, to make application of the blessings,
promises, and grace of the covenant to them, and to work a work of grace
in them; all which must be by agreement, and with his consent; and I think
there are some traces, and some footsteps of all the three Persons, as
concerned in it, in the dispensation and manifestation of this covenant to
the people of Israel, Haggai 2:4,5.
“[T]here is the Father’s
distinct act of will notified in the covenant, that it is his will and pleasure
his Son should be the Saviour of the chosen ones; and there is the Son’s
distinct act of will notified in the same covenant, he presenting himself, and
declaring himself willing, and engaging himself to be the Saviour of them;
which distinct acts of the divine will thus notified, formally constituted a
covenant between them; and as the holy Spirit dispenses his gifts and
grace, the blessings of this covenant, “severally as he will”, 1 Corinthians 12:11 this is pursuant to an agreement, to a notification of his
will in covenant also” (Of The Everlasting Council Concerning The Salvation Of Men. Gill’s Body of Divinity, Vol 1. John Gill. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI ,1978. Pages 306-314.).
Some great stuff from A.W. Pink’s Divine Covenants, in which he explains the importance of the doctrine of Federal Headship. Highly recommended, and well worth the read!
“It is of vital importance for a right understanding of much in God’s Word to observe the relation which Adam sustained to his posterity. Adam was not only the common parent of mankind, but he was also their federal head and representative. The whole human race was placed on probation or trial in Eden. Adam acted not for himself alone, but he transacted for all who were to spring from him. Unless this basic fact be definitely apprehended, much that ought to be relatively clear to us will be shrouded in impenetrable mystery. Yea, we go further, and affirm that, until the federal headship of Adam and God’s covenant with him in that office be actually perceived, we are without the key to God’s dealings with the human race, we are unable to discern man’s relation to the divine law, and we appreciate not the fundamental principles upon which the atonement of Christ proceeded.
“Federal headship” is a term which has almost entirely disappeared from current religious literature—so much the worse for our moderns. It is true that the expression itself does not verbally occur in Scripture; yet like the words Trinity and the divine incarnation, it is a necessity in theological parlance and doctrinal exposition. The principle or fact which is embodied in the term “federal headship” is that of representation. There been but two federal heads: Adam and Christ, with each of whom God entered into a covenant. Each of them acted on behalf of others, each legally represented as definite people, so much so that all whom they represented were regarded by God as being in them. Adam represented the whole human race; Christ represented all those whom the Father had, in His eternal counsels, given to Him. Continue Reading