Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Covenant Theology Part 2: Pactum Salutis

Of the Covenant of Redemption (pactum salutis) part 1 listen here

Introduction to Covenant of Redemption

The Covenant of Redemption is defined as “The Father gives the Son to be Head and Redeemer of the elect; and the Son presents himself as a Sponsor or Surety for them.” This covenant is between God and the Mediator, not the elect and God. The elect simply reap the benefits of this agreement between God and the Mediator. John 17:3, Luke 22:28, Rom 5:12-24.

The Covenant between the Father and the Son more fully explained.

The Covenant of Redemption was made in eternity past before creation (1 Pet. 1:20; Prov. 8:23,; Eph. 1:4; John 17:6; Rev. 13:8). This was a voluntary covenant. The Son did not have to agree to the covenant. This is foundation for the Covenant of Grace. It had to be voluntary in order to make redemption a legal transaction.

Of the Person of the Surety.

The Person of the surety had to be a sinless man born of virgin (to avoid original sin) in order to fulfill the demands of the Law Gal 4:4 Matt 5:17 and to propitiate man’s sins Rom 3:25,5:6-11 Gal 3:13. The Surety had to be God in order to enter in to the covenant voluntarily and to be the Sponsor of the Covenant of Works.

Of the Suretyship and Satisfaction of Christ

In order for Christ to expiate and propitiate the sins of the elect there needed to a vicarious substitution atonement. This involved the sins of the elect been imputed to Christ and then in turn having the wrath of God dues those sins placed on Him Isa 53:6-10, 1 Peter 2:23-24. He knew no sin became sin on our behalf 2Cor 5:21(Isa. 53:10; Matt. 20:18; John 10:15; 1 Pet. 3:18; Col. 1:21-22; Rom. 5:10; Heb. 9:15; Rom. 8:34).

What Sufferings of Christ are Satisfactory.

Christ active and passive obedience fully satisfies the demands of Law and to redeem the elect. He active obedience consisting of his sinless life and perfect love for the father, Matt 3:15, 5:17. His passive obedience consisting of the sufferings Christ, which include Gethsename, the floggings, and the Cross.

Of the Efficacy of Christ's Satisfaction

The efficacy of Christ's satisfaction is twofold. First, Christ obtained for himself, as Mediator, a right to all of the elect (Ps. 2:8; Isa. 53:10). Christ obtained for the elect immunity from all misery and a right to eternal life to be applied to them (Matt. 26:28; Gal. 1:4; Tit. 2:14). Christ did not achieve a bare possibility of salvation but actual salvation for His elect. The idea of redemption, ransom and price of redemption infers the reality and not possibility of salvation. Scripture declares that the proximate effect of redemption is actual salvation (Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Cor. 6:20; Acts 20:28; Gal. 4:4-5). .

Of the Necessity of Christ's Satisfaction.

The following may be set forth as real and true arguments in favor of the necessity of Christ's satisfaction. First, an unnecessary satisfaction is contrary to the goodness, wisdom and holiness of God. Second, an unnecessary satisfaction mitigates against the Scripture's stress on the great love of God as demonstrated in the giving of his Son. Third, Christ's satisfaction was a declaration of the righteousness of God which cannot be overthrown (Rom. 3:25). Fourth, animal sacrifices could not atone for sin (Heb. 10:1,4,11) only the sacrifice of Christ could atone for sin. Fifth, Hebrews 10:26 infers that sacrifice is necessary for pardon. Sixth, the necessary satisfaction of Christ exalts the attributes of God. Seventh, the necessary satisfaction of Christ promotes Christian piety. Eighth, the necessary satisfaction of Christ does not detract from any of God's attributes.

Of the Persons for whom Christ Engaged and Satisfied.

There is ample Scriptural support for the doctrine of particular atonement. The "all" of 2 Cor. 5:15, Heb. 2:9, Col. 1:20, and 1 Tim. 2:6 is restricted to the elect, which means exegetical work is needful in order to understand the passages in question. The term "world" in such passages as 1 John 2:2 refers to "the collective body of believers or of the elect." Specifically, the Scripture says that Christ died for his sheep, his church, his people, and his peculiar people (cf. John 10:15; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25; Tit. 2:14).

After what manner Christ used the Sacraments

For Christ, the sacraments were signs and seals of the covenant between God the Father and God the Son. It demonstrated the benefits of salvation for His church and that they were promised to Christ. As a result of these promises, Christ promised to faithfully redeem the elect.

The Covenant of Grace (fodues gratiae) part 2 listen here

Of the Adamic Covenant

The Adamic Covenant was the first administration of the Covenant of Grace beginning in Gen 3:15 also know as the protoevangelicum. This Covenant promised that the seed of the women (The Messiah) would destroy the work of the Serpent (the Devil). The covenant community began with Adam and his sons Cain and Abel who were priest as ministers to the first family in Eden. After the Death of Abel Seth became heir of the promise. His descendants became known as the sons of God and served as priests for the family of Seth.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Jonathan for this very helpful series. In part 2a, you mentioned Hebrews 13:20 as referring to the Covenant of Redemption. Since ai┼Źnios can mean:

    1) without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be

    2) without beginning

    3) without end, never to cease, everlasting

    ...what leads you to choose (1) as the proper understanding of "eternal/everlasting"?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand your series to largely be a summary of Meredith Kline's work. Did Kline interpret 13:20 to be referring to the Covenant of Redemption? If so, would you be able to provide a reference for me?

    Much appreciated.


Before posting please read our Comment Policy here.

Think hard about this: the world is watching!