The Covenant with Adam

The Westminster Confession, bulwark of  Reformed and Presbyterian churches states in chapter 7, “The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.”

Herman Hoeksema, theological father of the Protestant Reformed Churches states in his Reformed Dogmatics, ” Adam had life but not eternal life.  Nowhere do we find any proof in Scripture for the contention that God gave Adam the promise of eternal life if he should obey the particular commandment (not to eat of the forbidden tree). A command is no covenant.”

But was it not just continued blessed earthly life that would have been Adam’s had he not fallen?  He was earthy (I Cor.15:47). Only since, have Christians interpreted it as ETERNAL LIFE. There was no way he could attain immortal heavenly life. Hence Goodwin, one of the Westminster delegates, and others deny the possibility of eternal (spiritual) life for Adam if he obeys, and how long would he have to obey before the reward? Scripture is silent on this hypothesis.

But Adam had friendship with God which is the essence of every divine and unconditional covenant. When he sinned he incurred separation from God which is death and would physically die in time to come. He transgressed the covenant (Hosea 8:1).

A condition, posited by followers of WCF, implies ability and any covenant of works like they posit this is, as was also the Sinaitic covenant taken on it’s own (no grace behind it) is doomed to fail because man cannot keep God’s law whether it’s “Don’t eat from that tree” or “Keep my (10) commandments and live.” In the first case because he was fallible and in the second because he is a slave to sin. Man can never merit with God as Paul points out in Romans 4:4.

Yes Adam was federal head and stands in federal headship to all humanity just as Christ does to saved humanity but I deny he failed in a covenant of works that Christ then obeyed perfectly. He transgressed a covenant of grace which would be superseded by another gracious one in which God would rekindle the friendship and put his law and Spirit in Adam’s heart that would last eternally because of Christ. THEN he possessed eternal life.

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Sure and steadfast

Many of us men were at one time in the Boys’ Brigade but it’s fair to say we knew little of what their motto really meant! It is taken from Hebrews 6.

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 6:17-20.

An anchor  that is properly stuck fast, is something fixed and immovable guaranteeing that the ship will remain where it is. Our hope in Christ, who is already in heaven, indeed Christ himself, is our hope, our certainty that one day we will be with him. He is fixed there, reigning in glory and all the blessedness in him is promised, indeed sworn to be given us, as it was to Abraham thousands of years ago (v18).

Covenant (a summary for those not well aquainted).

Based on Calvin’s writings.

Calvin and God’s covenant

“The Psalmist, “calling to remembrance” God’s covenant promises, especially “I will dwell in the midst of you,” and “trusting to that sacred and indissoluble bond,” does not hesitate to portray all the godly, no matter what their earthly miseries may be, “as partakers of this celestial glory in which God dwells.” Resting in the indissoluble bond of the covenant, the believer knows that all God’s “suffering” people will dwell with Him eternally in heavenly bliss, nay, are already “partakers of this celestial glory in which God dwells” (cf. John 17:20-23; Eph. 2:6). The covenant assures us that God dwells in us and we will dwell with God both now and forever.” Calvin’s commentary on Psalm 102:12.
Calvin explains God’s “spiritual covenant” as our being “join[ed],” “bound” and “united” with Him, so that we “cleave” to Him and enjoy a “real participation” in His blessedness.
Calvin considers “the very formula of the covenant,” which, he observes, is the same in every age: “For the Lord always covenanted with his servants thus: ‘I will be your God, and you shall be my people’. This covenant formula, Calvin notes, is frequently used in the Old Testament as a summary of all of salvation: “The prophets also commonly explained that life and salvation and the whole of blessedness are embraced in these words.”
For he (God) did not declare that he would be a God to their bodies alone, but especially to their souls. Still, souls, unless they be joined to God through righteousness, remain estranged from him in death. On the other hand, such a union when present will bring everlasting salvation with it.
In the Protestant Reformed Churches the truth of the covenant, as a bond of friendship and fellowship between God and His elect in Jesus Christ, has been developed and maintained most fully, consistently, antithetically and systematically. This has resulted in increased insight into and/or practical help regarding, for example, the living fellowship within the Holy Trinity, the covenant with Adam, Old Testament history, sovereign grace, infant baptism, Reformed worship, the unbreakable bond of marriage, Christian schooling, and the Christian life as one of God’s friend-servants keeping His covenant.
For Calvin, the covenant promise to be our God, applies not only to us in body and soul and in this world and the next, but it also applies to our (elect) children.
Even in the Old Testament, God’s covenant promise for body and soul, for time and eternity and for us and our children, was through Jesus Christ, the mediator
The saving benefits found in the covenant include: Christ as redeemer, salvation, eternal life, adoption, redemption, gospel, union with God, eternal salvation, life, blessedness, inheritance, privilege, access to God, reconciliation, pardon, forgiveness of sins (justification), adoption into salvation, regeneration or sanctification, resurrection, and the believer’s future and eternal happiness, all of which is due to God’s covenantal mercy and grace.
As Calvin eloquently puts it, “Since therefore this covenant contains solid and perfect blessedness, it follows that all who are excluded from it are miserable.
God has joined these two things together, viz., that he will be propitious to his sons [i.e., justification], and will also renew their hearts [i.e., sanctification]. These benefits are joined together by an everlasting and indissoluble bond, so that those whom he illumines by his wisdom, he redeems; those whom he redeems, he justifies; those whom he justifies, he sanctifies. I Cor. 1:30.
Calvin describes the sacrament of baptism (the New Testament equivalent of circumcision) as a sign and seal of both justification and sanctification: Calvin refers to the blessings of both justification and sanctification through believing partaking of the Lord’s Supper, for it is “a mirror in which we may contemplate Jesus Christ crucified to take away our offences [i.e., justification] and raised again to deliver us from corruption [i.e., sanctification].” And mentions the  third which depends on the second, and that is the illumination of the mind as to the knowledge of God” (Comm. on Heb. 8:10).
All by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, from the scripture alone and to the glory of God alone.

Full articles here:

Covenantal thought.

My most loved Scriptural doctrine which permeates the whole Bible is that of the COVENANT. This book, written by a faithful local pastor from Crumlin is full of gems in tracing  covenant theology through the ages……e.g.” The origin of  this grace and the benefits enjoyed by those in covenant were always rooted in the election of God. The evidence of the covenant of grace depended on God alone. He answered for both parties in the covenant and worked both willingness and enabling in man by the Holy Spirit…God everywhere reserves to Himself and exercises the right independently of fixing the terms of the relation between Himself and man.” Fellow Christian seek out the truth of the covenant, God’s friendship with man.

Articles

Oh that so many in Roman Catholicism and other false religions would grasp this truth that underlay the Reformation namely salvation from sin is by GRACE ALONE, through FAITH ALONE, in CHRIST ALONE, revealed in SCRIPTURE ALONE and to the GLORY OF GOD ALONE.

Upcoming conference

Christ the Covenant

 

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The covenant of God, the glorious, personal, warm and loving embrace that encompasses all his people is established by Christ (I Cor.11:25). The covenant formula is “I will be your God and ye shall be my people” (II Cor.6:16). He is not only the messenger of it (Mal.3:1) but he is the substance of it (Isaiah 42:6). He makes it with his elect and their elect seed (Ps.89:3, Gen.17:7) as well as all creation (Gen.9:16). The beneficiaries all get the sign (circumcision in the Old and baptism in the New). His blood ratifies it (Heb.13:20) as he is its mediator (Heb.8:6). He keeps it for ever (Dan.9:4, Jer.33:20, Ezek.37:26), it is unbreakable (Ps.89:34, Ps.105:8-10). It is his marriage to the church (Eph.5:30-32). In it he gives himself, laying down his life for his bride, then he fills her with his Spirit and continues to enrich her by his grace till the great consummation when they are publicly united bodily on the last day at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Eagle’s wings

Isaiah 40:31 is often misconstrued like Phil.4:18.

John Gill is wise: ” But they that wait upon the Lord,…. As children on their parents, to do them honour, to obey their commands, and receive food and blessings from them; as servants on their masters, to know their pleasure, do their work, and have their wages; as clients on their patrons, to have advice of them, put their cause into their hands, and know how it goes; and as beggars at the door, who knock and wait, tell their case and wait, meet with repulses, yet keep their place, and continue waiting: such an act supposes a knowledge and reverence of God, confidence in him, attendance on him, not with the body only, in public and private, but with the soul also, and with some degree of constancy, and with patience and quietness: the Lord is to be waited upon for the manifestations of himself, who sometimes hides himself, but is to be waited for, since he has his set time to show himself again, and his presence is worth waiting for; also for the performance of his promises, which may be expected from his perfections, the nature of the promises, and their being in Christ; likewise for answers of prayer, and for the fresh discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy; and as Old Testament saints waited for the first coming of Christ, so New Testament saints for his second coming, and for eternal glory and happiness: and such “shall renew their strength”; which is to be understood of spiritual! strength in the heart, and of the graces of the Spirit there: it supposes strength received already, which natural men have not, but converted men have; and yet they want more, and more they shall have; to assist them in the performance of duty, to enable them to resist Satan and his temptations, and the corruptions of nature, and to cause them to endure afflictions and persecutions patiently, and to persevere unto the end:they shall mount up with wings as eagles; swiftly and strongly; it is expressive of the motion of the affections heavenwards towards God and Christ, and things above; of the entrance of faith and hope within the veil, and of the exercise of these graces on Christ, who is now at the right hand of God; of the expectation of glory and happiness in heaven hereafter, and of present support under afflictions, the Lord bearing them as on eagles’ wings; see Psalm 103:5 they shall run, and not be weary; in the way of God’s commandments; which shows great affection for them, haste to obey them, delight and pleasure, cheerfulness and alacrity, therein, so as to be without weariness: and they shall, walk, and not faint: in the ways of God, in the name of the Lord, or in Christ, as they have received him; leaning on him, trusting in him, continuing to do so, till they receive the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls; and so shall not sink under their burdens, nor give out till they enjoy it; different persons, though all of them believers, may be here intended; particularly Christians under the Gospel dispensation, tried and exercised by many enemies; some shall soar aloft, and dwell on high; others, though they cannot rise and “fly” so swiftly and strongly, yet shall “run” without weariness; and others, though they can neither fly nor run, yet shall “walk” without fainting.

Three Cups

THESE ARE WONDERFUL POWERFUL MESSAGES.

THREE CUPS

By Rev Carl Haak (Reformed Witness Hour)

“Of all the truths of the sufferings of Jesus Christ there are none so dear as the truth that He suffered voluntarily. He was not dragged to the cross against His will. He did not endure His suffering as a passive victim, reluctantly, with cold resignation. But He went to the cross and endured His suffering willingly, zealously, and voluntarily…

Scripture presents this truth to us in a figure of speech, in the figure of a cup which He willingly drank. All the sufferings necessary to make full payment for our sins were poured into a cup which the Father presented to His Son, the Son of God, who knew what was in that cup and who loved us, drank the cup, and then dashed the empty cup on the ground before the cross.”

Read to find out more of our Lord’s willing suffering for His people.

Communion with the Son of God (7)

 

This the spouse expresseth, Song of Solomon 2:16, “My Beloved is mine, and I am his;” — “He is mine, I possess him, I have interest in him, as my head and my husband; and I am his, possessed of him, owned by him, given up unto him: and that as to my Beloved in a conjugal relation.” So Isaiah. 54:5, “Thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” This is yielded as the reason why the church shall not be ashamed nor confounded, in the midst of her troubles and trials, — she is married unto her Maker, and her Redeemer is her husband. And Isaiah, chap. 61:10, setting out the mutual glory of Christ and his church in their walking together, he saith it is “as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.” Such is their condition,
because such is their relation; which he also farther expresseth, chap. 62:5, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” As it is with such persons in the day of their espousals, in the day of the gladness of their hearts, so is it with Christ and his saints in this relation……To this purpose we have his faithful engagement, Hos. 2:19, 20, “I will,” saith he, “betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgement, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness.” And it is the main design of the ministry of the gospel, to prevail with men to give up themselves unto the Lord Christ, as he reveals his kindness in this engagement. Hence Paul tells the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 11:2, that he had “espoused them unto one husband, that he might present them as a chaste virgin unto Christ.” This he had prevailed upon them for, by the preaching of the gospel, that they should give up themselves as a virgin, unto him who had betrothed them to himself as a husband. And this is a relation wherein the Lord Jesus is exceedingly delighted, and inviteth others to behold him in this his glory,  “Go forth,” saith he, “O ye daughters of Jerusalem, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.” (Song of Solomon 3:11) He calls forth the daughters of Jerusalem (all sorts of professors) to consider him in the condition of betrothing and espousing his church unto himself. Moreover, he tells them that they shall find on him two things eminently upon this account:— 1. Honour. It is the day of his coronation, and his spouse is the crown wherewith he is crowned. For as Christ is a diadem of beauty and a crown of glory unto Zion, Isaiah. 28:5; so Zion also is a diadem and a crown unto him, Isaiah. 62:3. Christ makes this relation with his saints to be his glory and his honour. 2. Delight. The day of his espousals, of taking poor sinful souls into his bosom, is the day of the gladness of his heart. John was but the friend of the Bridegroom, that stood and heard his voice, when he was taking his bride unto himself; and he rejoiced greatly, John 3:29: how much more, then, must be the joy and gladness of the Bridegroom himself! even that which is
expressed, Zeph. 3:17, “he rejoiceth with joy, he joys with singing.” It is the gladness of the heart of Christ, the joy of his soul, to take poor sinners into this relation with himself. He rejoiced in the thoughts of it from eternity, Prov. 8:31; and always expresseth the greatest willingness to undergo the hard task required thereunto, Psalm. 40: 7, 8; Heb. 10: 7; yea, he
was pained as a woman in travail, until he had accomplished it, Luke 12:50. Because he loved his church, he gave himself for it, Eph. 5:25, despising the shame, and enduring the cross, Heb. 12:2, that he might enjoy his bride, — that he might be for her, and she for him, and not for another, Hos. 3:3. This is joy, when he is thus crowned by his mother. It is believers that are mother and brother of this Solomon, Matt. 12:49, 50. They crown him in the day of his espousals, giving themselves to him, and becoming his glory, 2 Cor. 8:23.
Thus he sets out his whole communion with his church under this allusion, and that most
frequently. The time of his taking the church unto himself is the day of his marriage; and the church is his bride, his wife, Rev. 19:7, 8. The entertainment he makes for his saints is a wedding supper, Matt. 22:3. The graces of his church are the ornaments of his queen, Psalm. 45:9–14; and the fellowship he has with his saints is as that which those who are mutually beloved in a conjugal relation do hold, (Song of Solomon 1). Hence Paul, in describing these two, makes sudden and insensible transitions from one to the other, — Eph. 5, from verse 22 unto verse 32; concluding the whole with an application unto Christ and the church.

Isn’t that beautiful?-JK

Communion with the Son of God (6)

Further quotes from John Owen:

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This, then, for the present, may suffice in general to be spoken of the personal grace of the Lord Christ:— He has a fitness to save, having pity and ability, tenderness and power, to carry on that work to the uttermost; and a fullness to save, of redemption and sanctification, of righteousness and the Spirit; and a suitableness to the wants of all our souls: whereby he becomes exceedingly desirable, yea, altogether lovely; as afterward will appear in particular. And as to this, in the first place, the saints have distinct fellowship with the Lord Christ;

How do we then relate to him?-JK

Answer: As in the marriage bond.

The Promise of God

We read of many promises of God (II Peter 1:4) but in essence they are all wrapped up in Jesus Christ-he is the fulfilment of every Promise (II Cor.1:20).

He is the promised Messiah (Gen. 3:15). He fulfils the promises to Abraham of righteousness, multiplied seed, a people who would be redeemed from slavery, a land, and a seed who would bless all nations (Gen.12:2, 15:5,7,13,14 22:18, Acts 26:6, Gal.3:18). He is Abraham’s righteousness (Rom.4:3), gives him seed in great number (all believers) and gives him the inheritance of a new heaven and earth, of which Canaan was a type (Heb.11:8-10). As Abraham’s spiritual children we too inherit all the promises (Heb.6:12-17).

He is the promise of salvation or eternal life (Acts 16:31, 2:39, II Tim.1:1, I John 2:25, Heb.9:15) to all who repent and believe.

The promised Spirit who is poured out is His Spirit (Luke 24:49) who personally enables us to persevere and inherit the promises to come (Heb.10:36). Abraham and the Old Testament faithful looked forward to Christ’s coming but never actually saw it (Heb.11:13,33) we look back on it as history, but whether faith is prospective or retrospective, all are partakers of all the blessings that are wrapped up in him.