Trying to organize the covenants

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by perl2012, Aug 4, 2013.

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  1. perl2012

    perl2012 Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm trying to understand how all the difference covenants relate to one another. The post by R. Scott Clark was extremely helpful, but I'd like a little more detail on the other covenants. Here's what I have so far, but I'd really appreciate any feedback.

    • Covenant of Redemption - pre-temporal, intratrinatarian covenant to save
    • Covenant of Works - covenant between God and Adam based on Adam's obedience
    • Covenant of Grace - God's promise to save and forgive based on Christ's work (fulfilled Cov. of Works that Adam did not) through faith

    Within the Covenant of Grace are different administrations:
    • Noahic - promise to save him and his family
    • Abrahamic - descendents, land, blessing - fulfilled literally in the OT and eschatologically in Christ
    • Davidic - descendent on the throne
    • New Covenant - fulfillment of the Abrahamic cov., Cov. of Works, and Cov. of Redemption; sealed by Jesus' blood

    The common grace Noahic covenant, where God promises not to destroy the world again by flood seems to stand outside of the three big covenants. I guess you could argue that it supports the Cov. of Grace, since the reason for the covenant is the outworking of the Cov. of Grace.

    So am I close? Thank you for your help!
  2. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Quite close.

    Some theologians just deal with the CoR and the CoG as one Covenant between God and the elect in Christ. They'll just call the whole thing the CoG. Others like to divide them up, with the CoG being the unfolding of the CoR in history. The CoW was with all mankind in Adam.

    The CoG being the CoR revealed in history by God, it is revealed progressively.

    (a) Protevangelium - Genesis 3:15.
    (b) Noachic Covenant.
    (c) Abrahamic Covenant.
    (d) Old Covenant or Testament.
    (e) Davidic Covenant
    (f) New Covenant or Testament.

    There are really only two, or at the most three religious administrations or dispensations, and these were variously administered according to the place in which you were in the unfolding revelation of the CoG. The religious administrations were shaped and secondary to their place in the unfolding of the CoG.

    E.g. The period after circumcision was introduced until Moses , was part of the Patriarchal admin, but a new phase of it. The period after the Davidic Covenant was introduced until Chris was part of the Mosaic admin, but a new phase within it.
    (a) The Patriachal Administration, from Adam to Moses, in which the father of the family administered divine worship, and offered one or two types of sacrifice on behalf of himself and his people.

    (b) Mosaic Administration, from Moses to Christ, with the highly sophisticated and complex "Levitical Economy".

    (c) Christian Administration, to end of the world, greatly simplified and more mature.

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
  3. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    The Westminster Confession is a marvelous, succinct summary of the doctrine of Scripture.

    Basically, salvation has been since the Fall, is now, and shall be until the end of the world,
    by grace through faith (in Christ's righteousness alone).

    What we call "covenant of works" and "covenant of grace" are descriptors of what the Scripture says explicitly and implicitly, but without using those terms. It's like the Trinity in that way.

    The covenant of grace began immediately after the Fall when God did not kill Adam physically and end His Creation, the human race, but began showing mercy mixed in with the consequence of sin by redeeming a people for Himself.

    The covenant of grace, throughout the Old and New Testaments are revealed progressively through covenants made with Noah, Abraham and David. Christ becomes more revealed, though He is implicit from the very beginning.

    Lately, I've come to understand the work of redemption more in terms of the work of our Triune God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are all, and have been, since eternity past, involved. And that goes back to what is sometimes called, the "covenant of redemption," amongst the Godhead. The Puritans called it the "counsel of peace."
  4. perl2012

    perl2012 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks very much -- that was extremely helpful
  5. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    I have heard "mono covenantal" used as a negative term. In a nutshell, what does that mean?

    I have always basically seen one covenant throughout redemptive history, although it is developed and expanded; I see it as the same covenant. Am I one of these "mono-covenantalists," and if so, why is that bad?
  6. Boosterseat_91

    Boosterseat_91 Puritan Board Freshman

    In a nut shell it refers to those who reject the bi-covenantal view (a covenant of works and a covenant of grace) and instead accept a mono-covenantal view by rejecting the covenant of works. This is a part of Auburn Avenue Theology (aka federal vision theology). They redefine covenant as a relationship and since Adam was created in a relationship with God, a covenant of works was unnecessary. They tell us that we who are baptized are in a relationship with God in the same way Adam was and so must persevere in obedience if we are to attain "eschatological life" or "final justification." In other words, they accept the mono-covenantal view to deny justification as a one time declarative act of God and instead say that one can only be justified if they persevere - we are saved by faith and obedience according to their view.

    So no; I don't believe you hold to least I hope not! lol
  7. Unoriginalname

    Unoriginalname Puritan Board Junior

    There are a couple views consider "mono covenantal" including the FV. That view in a nutshell is that basically any time God interacts with humanity it is gracious, which sounds nice until you realize that means that there is substantial difference between Adams standing before the Fall and ours now if true. It is the view that there was no covenant of works, which in turn tends to downplay or drop the concept of Christ's active obedience.
  8. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks, Leah
    for the succinct summary of one aspect of the error of 'federal vision' (Auburn Avenue) theology.

    For some reason, that is now really making sense, the error of it.
    After all, Jesus is referred to as the second Adam, (cf I Cor. 15) doing what Adam did not do, perfectly obey (covenant of works to Adam).
    In so doing, our Lord merited the righteousness reward of the covenant, by obeying.
    Our Lord's perfect righteousness is imputed, "reckoned" to us which satisfies God's justice and secures our salvation.
    Indeed, that's why we can never lose it.

    The "covenant of grace" begins right after the Fall, so all but the very first part of Scripture is about that.

    But something hugely important changed when Adam fell.
  9. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you, I think I get it.

    There were two covenants. The covenant of works (Adam told not to eat of the tree, and did, and fell) and the covenant of grace (begun in Genesis 3 as God promised a Seed to destroy the serpent, and expanded with Noah, and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, and finally and most majorly, Jesus).

    Correct me if I'm off. The above I suppose is a bi-covenantal view.
  10. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    I think you are basically correct.

    Remember, Adam's initial blessing and communion with God were dependent on him obeying God. When Adam, and all mankind with him fell, it changed everything.

    Ever since, God has been working out an unfathomable plan to redeem a people. Central to that was Jesus Christ's perfect obedience, doing what Adam did not do, therefore satisfying God's justice. That perfect obedience was part of His perfect sacrifice, which included blood atonement upon the cross.

    Somehow the "alien righteousness" of our Lord becomes ours, for Christ's sake, according to the plan of our Triune God from the beginning.

    And almost all the Old and New Testaments are about that, progressively revealing that plan under what we describe as a "covenant of grace."

    (This is but another reason that 'federal vision' is so harmful, because it is, at best, a confusion of central truth of the gospel. But that is another discussion.... )
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  11. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Hi Richard,

    I'm doing a series on covenant theology on the HB.
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