Monthly Archives: January 2010

  • The Covenant of Works

    In an effort to provide classification and clarification to the teachings of Scripture, Reformed theology has recognized in Scripture three distinct covenants which offer the needed categories for rightly dividing the word of truth. Those three form the heart of Reformed theology and are referred to as the covenant of redemption (pactum salutis), the covenant of works (foederus naturae), and the covenant of grace (foederus gratiae). Last week we looked at the first of those three and this week we examine the second.

    In obeying God freely and perfectly Jesus earned a righteousness for us that we were sorely lacking.

    The covenant of works has variously been called the covenant of creation, nature and law. All of these are appropriate and emphasize different aspects of the covenant. The covenant of works was the initial covenant God made with Adam, … Read More »

  • Covenant Theology

    Last week we noted that the covenantal ethos that permeates scriptures is also present in the surrounding culture in which the Bible was given. This is nothing less than gracious accommodation on God’s part, speaking to us and revealing himself in ways that we can understand. We might, though, go even back a little further yet. We should probably say that the covenantal ethos that permeated the surrounding culture in which the Bible was given actually stems from a covenantal structure that exists within the Godhead itself. That is to say, that, broadly speaking, the members of the Trinity interact with one another covenantally. And because humanity is made in his image, humanity in turn images that image by dealing with one another by way of covenant.

    …it is important to remind ourselves that redemption was … Read More »

  • What Is A Covenant?

    The idea of God relating to us covenantally doesn’t appear out of thin air. In fact, the form of many of the Biblical covenants is nearly identical to older, secular covenants of the ancient Near East. This became the context for God’s gracious revelation to his people. God in his mercy has condescended to speak to us in a way that we can understand. Had he not, his revelation would have been unintelligible and, worse yet, he would have been unknowable.

    God in his mercy has condescended to speak to us in a way that we can understand.

    The secular treaties of the ancient Near East were done between suzerains and vassals. Vassals were those in need and suzerains were those who could help. A vassal might actually be a king, but a king with less … Read More »

  • Covenant Theology II

    Last week we introduced this series on Covenant Theology. Before we get into the particulars, let’s see if we can’t make the case for the importance of such a theology. For starters we need to remember that Covenant Theology is not a sub-set of a larger system, like Christology (the doctrine of Christ) or Ecclesiology (the doctrine of the Church), but is rather the nexus of our theology by which all of these topics are collated, organized and connected. As such, R. Scott Clark can say, “Covenant theology structures all of Biblical revelation.” To this we might add that it also gives us the necessary framework by which we can read the Bible with understanding. Have you ever wonder why so many people can read the same book for so many different reasons and come … Read More »

  • Covenant Theology I

    Although this began as a section to explain “Why We Do What We Do” I think it is a good place to also explain “What We Believe and Why We Believe It.” We just finished TULIP and for the next couple of months we will investigate covenant theology.

    When the adjective (Reformed) is thrown around so widely it is emptied of its content and virtually looses all of its distinctiveness.

    There are several reasons why I think this will be helpful for us, but the main one is the confusion that exists today over the nomenclature “Reformed” when used as an adjective to define one’s theological system. For the most part this adjective has been emptied of all its content with only a lone TULIP remaining. Let me explain. Very often I will hear people describe popular preachers … Read More »