Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q20.2

Answer: God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.

An explanation: “…Did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery…by a Redeemer…”  What is the Covenant of Grace? In the Covenant of Works, God made a covenant with Adam and all those he represented. Adam, and all of his seed (all humanity) fell into sin and rebellion in this covenant (Gal. 3:10ff). But God, who is rich in grace and mercy, also made another covenant, the Covenant of Grace, with Christ, the Second Adam, and all of His seed or offspring (the elect).

“Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16).

As in Adam all die because of Adam’s sin and transgression, so in Christ all live and receive grace because of Christ’s perfect obedience: “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men” (Rom. 5:18). This Covenant of Grace was first announced in history after the fall of man into sin in Genesis 3:15.

Those who are represented by Christ Jesus in the Covenant of Grace, who are His offspring, true sons o Abraham (Gal. 3:8-10), are those God has elected (Rom. 8:29-31). This election that God decreed from eternity past (Eph. 1:3-14) is realized in history when someone is acted on by the Holy Spirit, regenerated, or made alive, and responds in faith and repentance before God, receiving Christ as their Savior! (Eph. 2:1-10; Acts 4:12). “But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Th. 2:13; cf. 1Th. 1:5). “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48).

The foundation of the Covenant of Grace is the covenant made between the Father and the Son as Meditator of the elect in eternity past, or “before the ages began” (2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 13:20-21, this covenant sometimes also called the Covenant of “Redemption” or “Peace”, see Isa. 54:10; Ezek. 37:26). Thomas Vincent (1634-78) wrote: “God did covenant and promise to Christ, as the representative of the elect, that, upon condition He would submit to the penalty which the sins of the elect did deserve, and undertake in all things the office of a Mediator, He should be successful, so as to justify and save them” (see Isa. 53:10-11).

The glorious promise of the Covenant of Grace is:

“I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Heb. 8:10).

God has promised to all of His elect that He will provide for them in Christ all that they need to embrace the covenant: Spiritual regeneration, knowledge of God, faith, repentance, justification, sanctification, and glorification! “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Rom. 8:30; Ezek. 36:25-27; Heb. 8:10-11; Eph. 2:8; Jude 24-25).

A Prayer: Dear Kind King and Heavenly Father, Salvation is from you! All that I have in Christ Jesus, has been given to me as a gift because of your grace that was provided for me from eternity past, before the ages began! My embracing of Christ Jesus as my Savior from sin was a gift from you. I am yours, not my own, I’ve been bought with a price, and owe my life to you. Let me live faithfully before you in instant, exact, and joyful obedience by faith.

In Christ’s love,
Pastor Biggs