VII. Of God’s Covenant

1. 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 attained the reward of Life, but by some avoluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express, by way of Covenant.

aLuke 17:10; Job 35:7–8

2. Moreover Man having brought himself aunder the curse of the Law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a Covenant of Grace wherein he freely offereth unto Sinners, bLife and Salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them Faith in him, that they may be saved; and cpromising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal Life, his holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.

aGen. 2:17; Gal. 3:10; Rom. 3:20–21 bRom. 8:3; Mark 16:15–16; John 3:16 cEzek. 36:26–27; John 6:44–45; Ps. 110:3

3. This Covenant is revealed in the Gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of Salvation by the aseed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, until the full bdiscovery thereof was completed in the New Testament; and it is founded in that cEternal Covenant transac­tion, that was between the Father and the Son, about the Redemp­tion of the Elect; and it is alone by the Grace of this Covenant, that all of the posterity of fallen Adam, that ever were dsaved, did obtain life and a blessed immortality; Man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms, on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.

aGen. 3:15 bHeb. 1:1 c2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2 dHeb. 11:6, 13; Rom. 4:1–25; Acts 4:12; John 8:56


Elders' Comments Regarding Article 7: Of God’s Covenant

7.2 contains the term, “Covenant of Grace”, found here and at various other points throughout the Confession (e.g. 8.1, 14.2, 15.2,5, 17.2). This term is carried over from the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF), which also contains the related, contrasting term, “Covenant of works”. The 1689 London Baptist Confession (LBC) does not include the term, “Covenant of works”, in this chapter or at various other points, however it is retained later in 19.6 and 20.1.

We think it is helpful to point out that the terms, “Covenant of works”, and “Covenant of grace”, are not found in Scripture. Historically, the theological ideas behind these terms have been helpful to an extent; however, the terms also carry some potential for confusion (e.g. in all the covenants we find God’s grace, as well as a call to obedience). We affirm that from eternity past, God has had one plan of salvation for humanity, progressively revealed across the biblical canon through a plurality of covenants, reaching fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant He mediates, with a yet future consummation.

We also affirm that God’s great work of Redemption is “to the praise of His glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6).