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In this section of the Baptist Larger Catechism, we address Ch. 7 in the 1689 London Baptist Confession on the Covenant of Grace. This section consists of a substantial extension of question 24 in the Baptist Catechism (1693) and the Keach Catechism. As a result, four additional questions have been added to this section to explain the baptist distinctives in covenant theology, with particular attention to the relationship between the historical covenants (Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic) and the covenant of grace. The additional questions in this section (particularly Q33, Q34, and Q35) are purposely designed as a contrast to questions 33-35 in the Westminster Larger Catechism.
For full disclosure, the questions and answers used in this section is based on the following source materials:
The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology, Pascal Denault (Solid Ground Christian Books).
Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology and Biblical Theology, Micah and Samuel Renihan
An Introduction to 1689 Federalism from http://www.1689federalism.com
1689 Federalism v. Westminster Federalism from http://www.1689federalism.com
As before, feel free to comment on the additional questions added and the expanded questions below.
Q. 31: Does God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A: God does not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery,1 into which they fell by breach of the first covenant (commonly called the Covenant of Works).2 But God, out of His mere good pleasure, from all eternity, having chosen a people to everlasting life, did enter into a second covenant (commonly called the Covenant of Grace3) to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.4
Q. 32: How is the grace of God manifested in the Covenant of Grace?
A: The grace of God is manifested in the Covenant of Grace by God freely providing and offering to sinners a Mediator,1 and life and salvation through Him.2 God requires faith as the only condition for sinners to become united to Him,3 promising and giving His Holy Spirit4 to all His elect to work in them that faith5 (along with all other saving graces6) and enabling them unto all holy obedience,7 as the evidence of their faith and thankfulness to God.8 This is the way in which He has appointed and established them to salvation.9
Q. 33: How was the Covenant of Grace revealed through the Scriptures?
A: The Covenant of Grace is revealed in the gospel and is founded upon that eternal covenant transaction between the Father and the Son concerning the redemption of the elect1 (commonly called the Covenant of Redemption). It is first revealed to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman2, and is progressively revealed throughout the Old Covenant (which is defined by the Abrahamic, conditioned by the Mosaic, and focused by the Davidic covenants) until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament.3
2. Genesis 3:15
Q. 34: How does the Covenant of Grace differ from the Old Covenant?
A: The Old Covenant differs from the Covenant of Grace not merely in administration, but also in substance.1 The Old Covenant was established on a temporary priesthood2 with the blood of bulls and goats (which could not remove sins3) and contained only national, temporal promises.4 The Covenant of Grace was founded on an eternal priesthood5 with the very blood of the Redeemer as the single, complete sacrifice for sins6 and contains the promise of eternal salvation.7 The Old Covenant was administered by circumcision,8 the Passover,9 and other ordinances, whereas the Covenant of Grace is administered by the faithful preaching of the Word10 and the faithful administration of the sacraments of baptism11 and the Lord’s Supper.12
11. Matthew 28:19-20
Q. 35: How is the Old Covenant related to the Covenant of Grace?
A: The Old Covenant is historically and typologically related to the Covenant of Grace. Historically, the Old Covenant promised that the nations would be blessed through Abraham;1 that the Messiah would be the physical seed of Abraham;2 and that the Messiah would be an everlasting king over His people.3 Moreover, the Old Covenant progressively revealed the covenant of grace through types and shadows,4 which pointed to Christ and the Covenant of Grace.5 Yet, it is only by the Covenant of Grace that all descendants of Adam that ever were saved did obtain eternal life6 — for the Old Covenant imprisoned everything under sin in order that the only means to obtain the promised inheritance was through faith in Christ.7