Provisions of God’s Covenant with Man | Biblical Christianity


On God’s Covenant with Man

[Chapter 7]

From The Westminster Confession of Faith

Approved by the General Assembly 1647, and ratified and established by acts of Parliament 1649, and 1690, as the Publick and Avowed Confession of The Church of Scotland, with the proofs from the Scripture.


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 hath been pleased to express by way of covenant. [1]

1. Isaiah 40:13-17; Job 9:32,33; 1 Samuel 2:25; Psalm 113:5.6; Psalm 100:2.3; Job 22:2.3; Job 35:7.8; Luke 17:10; Acts 17:24,25.


II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, [2] wherein life promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, [3] upon condition of perfect and personal obedience. [4]

2. Galatians 3:12.

3. Romans 10:5; Romans 5:12-20.

4. Genesis 2:17; Galatians 3:10.


III. Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, [5] 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, [6] and promising to unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe. [7]

5. Galatians 3:21; Romans 8:3; Romans 3:20,21; Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 42:6.

6. Mark 16:15,16; John 3:16; Romans 10:6,9; Galatians 3:11.

7. Ezekiel 36:26.27; John 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. [8]

8. Hebrews 9:15,16,17; Hebrews 7:22; Luke 22:20; I Corinthians 11:25.


V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: [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, [10] 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, [11] by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament. [12]

9. II Corinthians 3:6-9.

10. Hebrews 8 to 10; Romans 4:11; Colossians 2:11,12, I Corinthians 5:7.

11. I Corinthians 10:1-4; Hebrews 11:13; John 8:56.

12.. Galatians 3:7-9,14.


VI. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance, [13] 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: [14] which, though fewer in number, and administered with some simplicity, and less outward glory, yet, in them, it is held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, [15] to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; [16] and is called the New Testament. [17] There are therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations. [18]

13. Colossians 2:17

14. Matthew 28:19,20; I Corinthians 11:23,24,25.

15. Hebrews 12:22-27; Jeremiah 31:33,34.

16. Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 2:15-19.

17. Luke 22:20.

18. Galatians 3:14,16; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:21,22,23,30; Psalm 32:1 with Romans 4:3,6,16,17,23,24; Hebrews 13:8.


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