In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Previously we’ve looked at sin and its consequences. Today I want to start looking at how to avoid the consequences of our sin.

All humans are due to die in their sins. This is because all humans fell into sin when they broke God’s covenant commonly known as the ‘covenant of works’. The ‘covenant of works’ instructed humans to do good works if they were to live forever. We see this in Genesis when God gives Adam the following command: ‘And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). Eat the fruit and you die, don’t eat the fruit and you don’t die. Sadly, Adam ate the fruit which plunged every human into sin, resulting in eternal punishment.

But wonderfully God made a new covenant with humans by which sinful humans can have eternal life and be set free from sin and its punishment. This covenant is commonly known as the ‘covenant of grace’ as it depends not on man’s works, as did the ‘covenant of works’ but on God’s grace. We read a description of this new covenant in Titus 3: ‘But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life’ (Titus 3:4-7). Note what Paul says. We are justified – that is ‘declared in the right’. And Paul says this is not because of ‘righteous things we have done’ but because of the mercy and grace of God.

So how do you accept God’s grace toward you so that you are justified in the new covenant and not condemned in the old covenant? Acknowledge your sin, turn from it and simply trust that Jesus has saved you through his work at the cross. Then you no longer have to worry about breaking God’s ‘covenant of works’, you can rest on the fact that you are in a new covenant of grace that depends on God’s love and mercy and grace – which are completely dependable!

Have you accepted God’s grace toward you through repentance and faith? Or are you still in the old covenant of works and so still stand condemned in your sin?

Joel Radford