The Covenant of Works, Part One

This post will begin a series on the Covenant of Works that will look at the different administrations and “dispensations” (used in a different manner than how our dispensational arminian brothers use it) of the Covenant. This series will lead into a discussion of how this Covenant reacts and interacts with the Covenant of Grace and how they both look and work with the Covenant of Redemption. As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I have a tendency to “skip around” so if we go a couple of days without a post just look for the COW posts on the left hand side numbered accordingly.

In my mind the chief mark of Reformed theology is the way in which we understand the various “covenants” in the Scriptures and how those Covenants work in history. While all Christians believe that there are differences between the way the Jews of the Older Testament are judged and how the Christians of the New Testament are judged exactly how that is exegeted from Scripture is hotly contested. In the following post I will define the Covenant of Works. Then in coming posts I will show how it is false to understand the CoW as “ending” in the Older Testament and as the Covenant of Grace “beginning” in the New Testament.

The  Covenant of Works is best defined as the agreement between God and Adam in the Garden that as long as Adam followed the Law that had been given to him he  would attain eternal life and live accordingly in the Garden for eternity (cf: Gen 2:16-17). As long as Adam did as God asked by fulfilling the Law then Adam would be rewarded with his eternal existence in the Garden. However we all know what happened next.

Romans 5:12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

Which will lead us to tomorrow’s post.

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3 thoughts on “The Covenant of Works, Part One

  1. I remember as I was coming to Covenant Theology that I was struck by Romans 5:14, “Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”

    It was like I had never seen the verse before. I had always thought of it as being a proof for the imputation of Adam’s guilt, and it was, but it was more than that. The persistence of death from Adam to Moses demonstrated that mankind continued to fail to obey. The requirements of the CoW stood, but no one could keep it so all died. Enter the Second Adam, who perfectly obeys and merits (yes MERITS! Sorry to all my FV friends, but it’s in the text) life, but passes it on to us.

    But I’m stealing your thunder so I shall desist. Great post. Wish I could write this well.

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