A Covenant of Grace

Sir Peter Paul Rubens
The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek, c. 1626


This begins Question 20, which examines how God has acted to redeem humans from the miserable and deadly estate of sin. Here we find that God’s action of redemption centers in the COVENANT OF GRACE, which God fulfills on the basis of His own character.

Such a powerful section! God’s choice of us in Christ — covenantal choice, which existed before the world began: we are ever loved by the eternal God! Explanatory Question 3 tells us that God’s purpose of grace and love towards us HAS NO BEGINNING, for He loves us from everlasting. Wow! We can only bow, and give thanks and praise for our heavenly Father loving us and choosing us before the world began… Alleluia!

Likewise, Explanatory Question 24 tells us that the Covenant of Grace exists from all eternity, or before the world began! Titus 1:2.

As Alyssa Wright has sung in song, our sin did not catch God by surprise — for He has loved us before the world began. It is thus that our failure can never have the last word! For we are chosen by God in Christ, enrolled in the Covenant of Grace, before ever we came to be — fully known, related to by the eternal God, when as yet we were physically unformed. The One who loved us and chose us before we were born is the One who will ensure that we endure to eternal life: He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. Alleluia!Be blessed in the reading! As follows:QUESTION 20: Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
ANSWER: God having out of His mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.

Explanatory questions and answers:

Q. 1. What became of the angels that fell, by their sinning against God?
A. God left them without remedy, in that state of sin and misery into which they plunged themselves; and hath “delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment,” 2 Pet. 2:4.Q. 2. When man joined with the devil in a conspiracy against God, did God treat him the same way?
A. No; he had a purpose of grace and love towards some of Adam’s race; and therefore, immediately after the fall, declares his fixed intention of assuming the human nature, in the person of the Son, that he might redeem lost man, and bruise the head of the old serpent, that had ruined him, Gen. 3:15.Q. 3. When did God’s purpose of grace and love, towards any of the human race, commence or begin?
A. It never had a beginning; for he loved them from everlasting, Jer. 31:3; Eph. 1:4.

Q. 4. Can any reason be given why God has elected fallen man, rather than fallen angels, and why he elected some of Adam’s race, and not others of them?
A. It is tenuous to search into the reasons of holy and adorable sovereignty; it becomes us to acquiesce in this, that God did it out of his mere good pleasure, Eph. 1:5; Matt. 11:26.

Q. 5. To what happiness did God ordain his elect from among men?
A. He ordained them to everlasting life, Acts 13:48 — “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.”

Q. 6. Did God make choice of any to eternal life, because of their foreseen faith and holiness?
A. No; because faith and holiness are the fruits and effects, and therefore can never be the cause of election, Eph. 1:4-6.

Q. 7. Is Christ the cause of election?
A. No; the free love of God sent Christ to redeem the elect, and therefore he could not be the cause of electing love, John 3:16.

Q. 8. Did not Christ procure God’s love to an elect world?
A. No; the Father himself loved them, John 16:27.

Q. 9. If Christ is not the cause of election, why are the elect said to be chosen in him?
A. Because in one and the same decree of election, the love of God lighted both upon the head, and upon the members, considered as in him, Eph. 1:4.

Q. 10. By whom is it that God brings any of Adam’s race to eternal life?
A. By a Redeemer, Rom. 11:26.

Q. 11. How are sinners of mankind to be viewed in relation to a Redeemer?
A. As lawful captives, Isaiah 49:24.

Q. 12. What is it to redeem the lawful captives?
A. It is to pay down a sufficient ransom to offended justice for their deliverance, and to rescue them by mere force and power out of the hands of Satan, Isaiah 49:25.

Q. 13. What ransom is laid down to offended justice for their deliverance?
A. Nothing less than “the precious blood of Christ,” or his obedience unto death, 1 Pet. 1:19.

Q. 14. What right and title has the Redeemer, to take the captives by force out of the hands of Satan?
A. The demands of law and justice being satisfied, he has a lawful right, both by donation and purchase, to rescue his captives out of the hands of Satan by his divine power, John 17:2.

Q. 15. Why did the Redeemer, in dealing with justice, lay down a price; but in dealing with Satan, act by way of power?
A. Because God, being the creditor, had a right to demand a price, but Satan being only the jailer, has no law right to detain the prisoner, after the creditor is satisfied; and yet, refusing to quit hold of his captives, the Redeemer’s power must be put forth for their deliverance, Luke 11:22.

Q. 16. Was there a covenant transaction entered into for their deliverance, by price and power?
A. Yes; Psalm 89:3 — “I have made a covenant with my Chosen.”

Q. 17. How is that covenant called?
A. A covenant of grace.

Q. 18. Why called a covenant of grace?
A. Because it is a covenant of eternal life and salvation to sinners, to be given them in a way of free grace and mercy, Jer. 31:33, 34.

Q. 19. Are not heaven and earth both concerned in this covenant?
A. Yes; because it is a covenant of peace between them, Isaiah 54:9, 10.

Q. 20. Who is the party contractor on Heaven’s side?
A. It is God himself, the proposer of the covenant, and the offended party, Psalm 89:3.

Q. 21. Whether is it God essentially considered, or as in the person of the Father, that is the party-contractor on Heaven’s side?
A. God essentially considered is the party-contractor on Heaven’s side, in the person of the Father.

Q. 22. Who is the party-contractor on man’s side?
A. It is Christ, the chosen of God, as he is called, Luke 23:35.

Q. 23. In what does this covenant consist?
A. In the mutual agreement between God and his chosen One.

Q. 24. When was this covenant made?
A. From all eternity, or before the world began, Titus 1:2.

Q. 25 “With whom was the covenant of grace made?”
A. “With Christ as the second or last Adam; and in him with all the elect as his seed, Gal. 3:16.”

Q. 26. Why is Christ called the last Adam? 1 Cor. 15:45?
A. Because as the first Adam was the federal head of all his natural offspring, in the covenant of works, so Christ is the last Adam, because he was the federal head of his spiritual seed in the covenant of grace; the last covenant that ever will be made about man’s eternal happiness.

Q. 27. How was the covenant of grace made with Christ as the second or last Adam?
A. The Father purposed that a remnant of lost mankind should be the members of Christ’s body, and gave them to him for that end; and Christ, standing as second Adam, accepted the gift, John 17:6; as also, the Father proposed to him, as the last Adam, the covenant of grace in the full tenor, condition, and promises of it, to which he consented; and thus the covenant of rich grace was concluded between them; Zech. 6:13 — “The counsel of peace shall be between them both.”


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