Sunday, October 14, 2012

God’s Covenant With Man

This we believe


8. God’s Covenant With Man

1 Corinthians 11:20-26; Hebrews 8; 12:22-24; 13:20-21; Romans 5:12-21

‘Covenant’: an explanation
· God is God, and we are His creatures – there is a great distance between us
· Even if we have lived perfectly, we should only have done our duty (Luke 17:10)
· We can never claim anything from God as a right
· God undertakes to give certain things to us upon certain conditions
· This is a great condescension on His part
· He chooses the gifts. He decides the terms
· A divine covenant is not an agreement between 2 equal parties, each imposing
conditions on the others. It is GOD bringing Himself to graciously do certain things for
His undeserving creatures, upon whom he lays certain conditions or obligations
(conqueror and conquered)
· Such an undertaking by God is called a covenant or testament

The Covenant of Works

Genesis 2:15-3:24

· At the beginning of history God clearly held before Adam two alternatives:
- obedience and life
- disobedience and death
· God alone decided that there should be such a covenant – and its terms
· It was a covenant of life – for this is what God held out to Adam
· It was a covenant of works – because God Adam to obey Him before He confirmed him unchangeably in his original state

- Yet Adam fell – with all the consequences we studied last week
- In theory the covenant of works is still in operation (Galatians 3:12)
- but in practice it is no good to us. We all sinners. We cannot possibly meet the
condition (of perfect obedience). If we are to have eternal life, it must be by some other way

The Covenant of Grace

· God has mercifully instituted another covenant – the “everlasting covenant” ( Hebrews 13:20 )
· In it GOD HIMSELF meets the conditions required to save His people
· God did not consult man to see if he would make such a covenant
· He consulted nobody but Himself – it was an eternal act of grace
· so we call it the Covenant of Grace

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· It is plain from the Scriptures that there is a covenanted agreement between the three
persons of the Trinity regarding the salvation of sinners:

- It was God the Father who eternally gave a chosen people to His Son, and sent
Him into the world to save them (John 6:37-40)
- It was God the Son who lived a perfect life on their behalf, and died in their place
(John 10:11,14-15; Romans 4:24-25)
- It is God the Holy Spirit who brings them into the enjoyment and benefit of what
Christ has obtained for them (1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10)

· This covenant was announced in an old way (Old Testament)
- The promises, prophecies, sacrifices, types and ordinances of the Old Testament
all pointed forward to the Lord Jesus Christ, and spoke of salvation obtained by
God’s doing, not ours (Luke 24:27,45-46; Romans 1:1-3; 3:20-22; 16:25-27)

· This covenant was announced, and is announced, in a new way (New Testament)
- by: preaching (2 Corinthians 3:6; 4:5); baptism (Colossians 2:12-14); and the
Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); in which the truth comes over more
clearly, yet more simply, with less outward glory

Only ONE Covenant

· Not even the covenant of works and the covenant of grace are different. Both are the
gifts of God’s grace. The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the terms of the first, that we might
benefit by the second!

· There is only ONE way by which salvation becomes ours. Dispensationalists believe that
God dispenses His saving benefits in different ways at different times, and are therefore
in error

· Arminians believe that Christ did not actually accomplish anything on the cross, but
only made salvation possibly. The work is not complete until we do our part and ‘accept
Christ’. They thus hold that in the final analysis, salvation depends on something
we do, and preach a form of salvation by works. This error springs up whenever people do not
properly understand the Covenant of Grace

Today’s Lesson:
Once grasp the Bible’s teaching about the covenant, and the whole of the Bible makes sense –
it is ‘the unifying principle of Scripture’. Until you do, the Bible will appear to you to be a

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