Thursday, September 24, 2015

Clark on the Conditions in the Covenant of Grace...

If the latest discussion on faith alone and works of obedience has left some a bit confused, then here is some more help. Dr. Scott Clark explains the conditions of and the differences between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. There is a lot at stake in this debate, and yet little is served by pigeonholing those on either side of the argument. Clark's blog links at the bottom of his post are a valuable resource and worthy of reasoned consideration and engagement.
Some thoughts relative to the current discussion about the nature of conditions in the covenant of grace: First, we cannot get this right unless we distinguish between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. Part of the problem in this discussion is that the covenant of works is either rejected or neglected. I understand the exegetical and historical reasons why that happened and have addressed them at length in print and online. Beginning in the early 1560s in Heidelberg Reformed theologians began articulating explicitly what at least some had been implying prior, that God made a legal covenant with Adam before the fall, which covenant he had the ability to fulfill as the federal representative of all humanity. This formulation was confessed by the Westminster Divines in the mid-17th century in the Westminster Standards (e.g., WCF 7.2, 19.1,6; WLC 30, 97; Savoy Declaration 6, 7, 19, 20). The divines used the expression “covenant of works” 4 times in the confession alone. They set up a strict contrast between the covenants of works and grace. Since, in the modern period, many have abandoned this distinction the table is set for confusion of the principles of works and grace and this is what has happened...
As they say, read the whole thing.


  1. Robert Strimple--"The Westminster Confession says that the moral law that God gave to Adam as a covenant of works is the “very same law” that continues to be a perfect rule of righteousness for us; and it was that law that was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai” But that law does not continue as a covenant of works for us, and it was not delivered upon Mount Sinai as a covenant or works for the children of Israel. This may not be what some on our faculty would like it to teach. But it is what the Confession teaches."

    theonomist George Gillespie---If The analogy betwixt the Jewish & the Christian church faile, the argument of Baptisme from circumcision will faile also…The state of the Jewish church is y a warrantableness for the analogy of the Old Testament & New. If we must cut loose the argument of the Jewish church, how shall we prove pedo-Baptism?

    1. You left this comment yesterday on another post. Go there to see my response.