The Covenant of Grace

We examined the Covenant of Works, and found why and how the divines argued the way they did. It must be added to that post that Revelation 21-22 also supports the idea of the reward of eternal glorified life (uses most of the same terminology as Gen 1-3).

We come now to the Covenant of Grace. There is hardly a more important topic in the whole of theology than this. For it is in the Covenant of Grace that God offers to us life and salvation upon condition of faith, which holds out empty hands to receive the fulness of Christ. The Covenant of Grace is one way of describing our salvation. The Covenant of Grace has its origins in the so-called Protoevangelion. This is (literally) the “first Gospel” in Genesis 3:15, wherein the seed of the woman is promised to crush the seed of the serpent. That was a promise of the Christ to come, Jesus. In the Old Testament, the Covenant of Grace was administered primarily in the way of typology, wherein everything foreshadows Jesus Christ, who was to come. However, even the Old Testament people were always saved by faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. That it part of what it means when Abraham rejoiced to see the day of Jesus Christ. There is only one Covenant of Grace, not two. This is proved by Galatians 3, which says that we are the children of Abraham. That is, we are the true heirs; the church is the true heir of all the promises given to Abraham. Thus, there is only one Covenant of Grace, though it was administered differently under the time of the law versus the time of the Gospel, though such a distinction does mean an absolute bifurcation. There are elements of continuity and discontinuity between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Jesus Christ is the promise of the Covenant of Grace. It is He who is the fulfillment of all the OT types and shadows. Therefore, our faith-union with Him constitutes the promise of the Covenant of Grace. It should be noted here that God fulfills all the conditions of the Covenant of Grace. Otherwise, one would have to say that the Covenant of Grace wasn’t really all that gracious.

One of the thorniest questions surrounding this Covenant of Grace is the question of those who are “in the Covenant.” Who are in covenant with God? The ultimate answer is that the Covenant of Grace was made with Christ, and in Him, all the elect. This is the eschatological definition of those who are in covenant with God. But in a real sense, there are those who are part of the covenant, yet not in a saving way. Children of believers are truly set apart from the world. They are not to be treated like pagans. They receive the sign of the covenant. However, not all children of believers are elect. Some will fall away.

I firmly believe that the elect children of believers who die in infancy will be saved. But I also beleive that there is reason to believe that all covenant children who die in infancy will be saved. The Bible says that they are holy, set apart. There is no reason to believe that God will not bring them home to Himself. One might object, saying that if they grew up, some of them would have apostatized. True enough. However, they did not grow up, and God is merciful and just. There will be no mistakes on Judgment Day. And that is about all we can say on that subject.

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