Covenant of Works / Grace or Law / Merit or non Merit

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PuritanCovenanter

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Staff member
As far as Wilson's stance on the Covenant of Works...I was right with many up until a few months ago. I then argued with a man about it (a man who is not FV, btw) and he made a case I couldn't refute...not Biblically, and not logically.

If man was to "merit" anything in the Covenant of Works, then autonomy would have been man's standing before God.

No one is denying that God wasn't condescending in creating man nor that man's dependence upon God for life was none existent. The Covenant that was between Adam and God was binding in and of itself. Do this and Live. Do this and die.

I believe the Covenant of Works is somewhat separate from the Creation even though creation suffered from Adam's breaking of the law. I might be mistaken here. Do this and live is merit based, just like Do this and die is merited also. Just because you couldn't argue a position adequately doesn't mean that it isn't to be understood as truth. I think you would be one of the first ones to acknowledge that.

If you are basing your conclusion on autonomy, I believe you are starting at the wrong place in understanding that the Covenant is based upon man's dependence upon God. I don't think anyone ever denied that that wasn't a true stance. Adam's very breath was given to him by God. In my discussions concerning this topic it matters what one thinks of the prelapsarian understanding of Law and Grace. Most FV and mono-covenantalist advocate a trust and obey scheme and that Adam fell from Grace when he sinned. I don't believe he fell from grace though. He broke the law of the Covenant and merited death. Had he not broken the law he would have merited life.

(Rom 4:4) Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

There is a confusion of grace and law in the mono-covenant scheme. And that renders a false view of the Work of Christ in the Gospel.
 

Reformed Rush

Puritan Board Freshman
As far as Wilson's stance on the Covenant of Works...I was right with many up until a few months ago. I then argued with a man about it (a man who is not FV, btw) and he made a case I couldn't refute...not Biblically, and not logically.

If man was to "merit" anything in the Covenant of Works, then autonomy would have been man's standing before God.

No one is denying that God wasn't condescending in creating man nor that man's dependence upon God for life was none existent. The Covenant that was between Adam and God was binding in and of itself. Do this and Live. Do this and die.

I believe the Covenant of Works is somewhat separate from the Creation even though creation suffered from Adam's breaking of the law. I might be mistaken here. Do this and live is merit based, just like Do this and die is merited also. Just because you couldn't argue a position adequately doesn't mean that it isn't to be understood as truth. I think you would be one of the first ones to acknowledge that.

If you are basing your conclusion on autonomy, I believe you are starting at the wrong place in understanding that the Covenant is based upon man's dependence upon God. I don't think anyone ever denied that that wasn't a true stance. Adam's very breath was given to him by God. In my discussions concerning this topic it matters what one thinks of the prelapsarian understanding of Law and Grace. Most FV and mono-covenantalist advocate a trust and obey scheme and that Adam fell from Grace when he sinned. I don't believe he fell from grace though. He broke the law of the Covenant and merited death. Had he not broken the law he would have merited life.

(Rom 4:4) Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

There is a confusion of grace and law in the mono-covenant scheme. And that renders a false view of the Work of Christ in the Gospel.

There was no command from God to "do this and live" given in the garden. The command was to "not do this" and die.

Which made it a covenant of works; not grace.

Grace, by necessity, followed the fall.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
There was no command from God to "do this and live" given in the garden. The command was to "not do this" and die.

Which made it a covenant of works; not grace.

Grace, by necessity, followed the fall.

So, there wasn't a positive command at all in the Garden? Anyways, I really don't want to pursue that line of thought as much as the merit issue. I desire that this be more of a discussion of mono-covenantalism vs. bi-covenantalism and grace being a part of the prelapsarian covenant.
 

Reformed Rush

Puritan Board Freshman
There was no command from God to "do this and live" given in the garden. The command was to "not do this" and die.

Which made it a covenant of works; not grace.

Grace, by necessity, followed the fall.

So, there wasn't a positive command at all in the Garden? Anyways, I really don't want to pursue that line of thought as much as the merit issue. I desire that this be more of a discussion of mono-covenantalism vs. bi-covenantalism and grace being a part of the prelapsarian covenant.

Fine, it is your thread, but how can there be a "merit issue" when there was no promise of reward ever made for obedience? Obedience is the obligation and responsibility of all men before God, and not a means to rewards or eternal life.

And we ask . . . regarding "grace being a part of prelapsarian covenant," what would constitute the necessity of any Godly grace before the fall? Sin and death, is the mortal condition what necessitates Godly grace.
 

Theognome

Burrito Bill
There was no command from God to "do this and live" given in the garden. The command was to "not do this" and die.

Which made it a covenant of works; not grace.

Grace, by necessity, followed the fall.

So, there wasn't a positive command at all in the Garden? Anyways, I really don't want to pursue that line of thought as much as the merit issue. I desire that this be more of a discussion of mono-covenantalism vs. bi-covenantalism and grace being a part of the prelapsarian covenant.

Fine, it is your thread, but how can there be a "merit issue" when there was no promise of reward ever made for obedience? Obedience is the obligation and responsibility of all men before God, and not a means to rewards or eternal life.

Merit is a term that does not require only a positive reward- it can be negative as well. For example, if I drive my car at 120 MPH, I would rightly merit a speeding ticket. It can also be used in a comparative sense- the enemy firepower was so great that it merited thicker armor on our tanks. The base idea of is earning something, whether it be a boon or a detriment.

Theognome
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Just by the nature of God, I think we can adduce that there might be some positive commands also. Adam was to tend to the garden and have dominion over all. He was also commanded to be fruitful and multiply. I am sure there would have been something about honoring parents since he said that a man would leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife. I do believe that there were positive commands. At the same time there was the most negative command to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That one, they broke by stealing from God something that he forbid them to have. Adam also didn't honor God (his father) which would have been a positive. He dishonored God and himself. By honoring God and doing what he should have done he would have merited life. Instead he dishonored God and merited death.

Just for thought.

Now back to our discussion. Adam was created sinless and good.

He was promised life outside of the grace we need in Christ as the one who fulfilled the Covenant of Works and took our punishment that we might be clothed with a righteousness not our own.

(Rom 4:4) Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
 

Reformed Rush

Puritan Board Freshman
Just by the nature of God, I think we can adduce that there might be some positive commands also. Adam was to tend to the garden and have dominion over all. He was also commanded to be fruitful and multiply.

Agreed. These were positive commands, given according to law and obligation (duty), which Adam was responsible to obey . . . not to earn anything, but just as a matter of submission of will to the sovereign will of God.


By honoring God and doing what he should have done he would have merited life.

Sorry to be persistent about this, but there is a difference between obligation and duty to do what one should, and doing something (according to choice?) to gain points or earn merits and reward. We just do not see God ever offering Adam the choice or opportunity to earn eternal life, by his own actions.

This is an important detail, if one want to retain the teachings of grace that give Jesus Christ all the glory for providing eternal life to His people.

Instead he dishonored God and merited death.


Agreed.

Adam was created sinless and good.

He was promised life outside of the grace we need in Christ as the one who fulfilled the Covenant of Works and took our punishment that we might be clothed with a righteousness not our own.

(Rom 4:4) Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Provided with life; not promised eternal life before the fall.

Amen to Romans 4:4.

What we say . . .obedience is a debt to God; an obligation put upon all men, under the law and the covenant of works.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Duty required to live thus renders an understanding that one must perform in order to obtain. Thus I believe, merit is assigned correctly. Of course obligation is understood. All of God's creation is obligated to give glory to him. Obligation doesn't neglect the fact that if he performed correctly he wouldn't be rewarded according to the covenant.

It is of debt rewarded, not of grace as Romans states.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
The Covenant of Works was gracious in the sense that Adam was given the "opportunity" to save himself and his posterity for doing precisely nothing. His original righteousness would not be broken until he ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

So all he had to do to merit eternal life for himself and his posterity was to avoid that. In this sense the Covenant of Works was a Covenant of Works that hinged on Adam's merit.

Adam ate the fruit with his eyes wide open, far more than sinners such as ourselves, who may think such an act of disobedience a mere pecadillo.

In reality Adam and Eve were - as we might say in Britain - the Ian Brady and Myra Hindley of the Garden of Eden.
 
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