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. In past weeks we have been learning about the covenant of grace by which God forgives sin and grants eternal life. We also started looking at how the covenant of grace was shown in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. This week I want to show that one way the covenant of grace was revealed in the Old Testament was through promises.

There are many promises made by God to humans in the Old Testament. One of the most significant promises are made to Abraham. God promised Abraham: ‘I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’ (Genesis 12:1-3). To receive such blessing all Abraham had to do was trust God, which he did: ‘Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness’ (Genesis 15:6). The apostle Paul explains that this shows Abraham was made right with God not through works, but through grace: ‘What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about–but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:1-3). Thus Paul elsewhere comments: ‘The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you”‘ (Galatians 3:8). So Paul can conclude that Christ’s covenant of grace fulfils the promises made to Abraham: ‘For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs’ (Romans 15:8). Therefore the wonderful covenant of grace includes the promises of the Old Testament and so we too share in them. Paul says ‘So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith’ (Galatians 3:9).

Have you trusted in God so you share in the covenant of grace and the promises made to God’s people in the Old Testament?   

Joel Radford.