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Westminster Confession of 1646: Of God's Covenant with Man

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Chapter VII. Of God’s Covenant with Man

I. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He hath been pleased to express by way of covenant, (Isa 40:13-17; Job 9:32-33; 1Sa 2:25; Psa 113:5-6; Psa 100:2-3; Job 22:2-3; Job 35:7-8; Luk 17:10; Act 17:24-25).

II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, (Gal 3:12); wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, (Rom 10:5; Rom 5:12-20); upon condition of perfect and personal obedience, (Gen 2:17; Gal 3:10).

III. Man, by his fall, having made himself uncapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, (Gal 3:21; Rom 8:3; Rom 3:20-21; Gen 3:15; Isa 42:6); commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved, (Mar 16:15-16; Jhn 3:16; Rom 10:6, 9; Gal 3:11); and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe, (Eze 36:26-27; Jhn 6:44-45).

IV. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed, (Hbr 9:15-17; Hbr 7:22; Luk 22:20; 1Co 11:25).

V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel, (2Co 3:6-9): under the law, it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, (Hbr 8-10; Rom 4:11; Col 2:11-12; 1Co 5:7); which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, (1Co 10:1-4; Hbr 11:13; Jhn 8:56); by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the old Testament, (Gal 3:7-9, 14).

VI. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance, (Col 2:17); was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, (Mat 28:19-20; 1Co 11:23-25): which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory, yet, in them, it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, (Hbr 12:22-27; Jer 31:33-34); to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles, (Mat 28:19; Eph 2:15-19); and is called the new Testament, (Luk 22:20). There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations, (Gal 3:14, 16; Act 15:11; Rom 3:21-23, 30; Psa 32:1; Rom 4:3, 6, 16-17, 23-24; Hbr 13:8).



DISCLAIMER: Creeds, catechisms, and confessions do not replace Scripture, nor the authority of Scripture. The creeds, catechisms and confessions are included herein for purposes of reference. Blue Letter Bible aims to provide resources that cover a range of traditional, orthodox, conservative Christianity, for the benefit of all of our users. The inclusion of the creeds, catechisms, and confessions does not necessarily mean that the ministry agrees with each and every point in each, since some are coming from different Christian perspectives of faith, practice and worship. The user may find them useful as tools to assist in understanding or teaching the Scriptures, since they were drafted based upon Scripture. Used in their proper context, they can continue to aid us as much today as they did for our forefathers in centuries past.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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