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.
Last week we saw that God made a ‘covenant of works’ with humans. The covenant was that if humans keep God’s commands by doing good works, then they shall live forever. But we also sadly saw that all humans have broken that covenant of works by not faithfully doing what God wants. Thus no human can live forever according to the covenant of works. Paul says: ‘the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin’ (Galatians 3:22).
But then last week we also saw that God made a covenant of grace that allows people to live forever, despite their sinfulness. The question then remains, who is included in the covenant of grace? All humans?
Firstly, we must understand that Jesus is included in the covenant of grace. Paul says the covenant of grace that was announced in the Old Testament to Abraham was specifically for Jesus Christ: ‘The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ’ (Galatians 3:16). The covenant of grace is primarily with Jesus as he is the mediator by which the covenant of grace is then administered to sinful people.
So to whom does Jesus administer the covenant of grace? To those who come to Jesus in faith. Paul says: ‘For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ’ (Galatians 3:21-27). Paul reinforces in Galatians that no one can come to life through keeping the law (the ‘covenant of works’), but instead the law shows us our sin and leads us to trust in Christ. Thus God’s covenant of grace is only for those who put their trust in Christ, not their good works.
Have you trusted in Jesus Christ and so are included with him in the covenant of grace?