What was the Father’s part in the covenant of redemption? First, He issued commands which function as the conditions of the covenant. Second, He set forth promises upon fulfillment of the conditions. And third, He confirmed all these promises to the Son.
(1) God the Father "sent” Christ to carry out the “commandment” He gave Christ before He came to earth, i.e., in eternity. (2) This “commandment” includes everything Christ must do to give “eternal life” to His people. (3) Jesus said or did nothing except what He was commanded to do by His Father.... (4) Christ’s authority to “lay down” His life in death and to “take it up again” in resurrection are parts of “this commandment” that He received from His Father. (5) Therefore,
nothing in man will determine nor hinder the outworking of the Divine commandment Christ came to execute for our salvation. (714-715)
(1) The Son would take upon Himself our fallen human nature by incarnation...(2) The Son, as Immanuel, truly God and fully human, having assumed the human nature of elect sinners, would become their substitutionary sacrifice for sin...(3)
On behalf of His chosen ones, He would bear all the punishment which their sins deserved, and would suffer, die and rise from the dead...(4) On behalf of His chosen
ones, He would have to fulfill all righteousness in order to make them righteous...(5) He would make the elect actual partakers of the salvation He merited for them, by calling them with the gospel, regenerating them, giving them the gift of faith, keeping them from falling from Him, resurrecting them from the dead, and bringing them into heaven... (715)
Second, God the Father added promises upon the fulfillment of these conditions, which promises have reference both to Christ and to the elect. (1) The Father promised Christ that God’s good pleasure would prosper through Him, that God would actually accomplish what He was pleased to purpose by the work of Christ...(2) The Father promised Christ that He would be the King over a global and eternal kingdom of His elect, comprised of Jews and Gentiles...(3) The Father promised Christ that He would have authority and power over all creation in order to cause all things to work together for the benefit of the elect...(4) The Father promised Christ that He would be exalted and glorified in an incomparably wondrous manner which would be observed by the entire creation...(5) The Father promised Christ that He would be the Judge of heaven and earth....(6) The Father promised Christ that the elect would receive all the blessings and promises of the covenant of grace through Him... (715-716)
Third, God the Father confirmed all these promises of the covenant of redemption to Christ by means of both sacraments and extraordinary declarations. (1) He confirmed them to Him by an oath: “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’” (Ps. 110:4)....(2) God confirmed them to Him by means of extraordinary revelations and declarations....(3) God sealed these covenantal promises to Him by means of the Old and New Testament sacraments of circumcision, Passover, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. (716-717)
He accepted both the conditions and the promises. He fulfilled the conditions,
and He demanded that the promises be fulfilled on the basis of the conditions being fulfilled. (717)
First, God the Son, upon hearing the conditions laid down by God the Father, “neither would nor could but accept these conditions due to His perfect holiness and love for God.”39 With fullness of joy He wholeheartedly accepted them... 39. Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, 1:258. (717)
Second, God the Son accepted the promises made to Him by God the Father, which is confirmed by the fact that the Father supported Him in the execution of the conditions of the covenant: “He who vindicates Me is near; who will contend with Me?” (Isa. 50:8). (718)
Third, God the Son, having promised to fulfill all the Father demanded of Him in the covenant of redemption, came and perfectly accomplished all He had promised to fulfill: “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou has given Me to do” (John 17:4; 19:30; Phil. 2:6–8). (718)
Fourth, upon fulfilling the conditions of the covenant of redemption, God the Son, being equal with the Father, demanded the fulfillment of the promises of the Father both for Himself and for the elect. (718)
"Certainly, just as creation and providence come into being from the Father through the Son and in the Spirit, so the redemption or recreation takes place only through the applicatory activity of the Holy Spirit [John 16:7; Acts 2:4,17; John
15:26; 16:13,14; John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 8:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30].… And all this the Holy Spirit can work out and bring into being because, together with the Father and the Son, He is the one true God who lives and reigns eternally." 41 Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith, 268. (719)
It [the Covenant of Redemption] is the firm foundation of the covenant of grace, making the covenant of grace possible. And it gives effectiveness to the covenant of grace, for it provides the means for its establishment and execution. (720)
The covenant of redemption was made in eternity before the creation of the world; and the covenant of grace was made in history after the creation of the world. (720)
First, the covenant of grace has its origin and basis in the covenant of redemption.
Second, the covenant of redemption reveals a love that is unparalleled and which exceeds all comprehension.
Third, the covenant of redemption teaches us that the work of salvation is from first to last, from beginning to end, the work of God alone, and not of man (Rom. 11:34–36).
Fourth, the covenant of redemption is the work of God’s infinite mind AND of His sovereign and omnipotent will, which powerfully realizes His plans in time and history.
Fifth, because the covenant of grace from generation to generation is nothing other than the working out of the eternal covenant of redemption in God, therefore, a person does injustice to the work of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, “when he removes the foundation of eternity from time by loosening history from its anchorage in the gracious, almighty Divine will.” 47. Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith, 273
Sixth, the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace cannot be separated, but they differ from each other in this: the covenant of grace is the actualization of the covenant of redemption.
Seventh, “Behind the covenant of grace lies the sovereign and omnipotent will of God, which is penetrated by Divine energy and which therefore guarantees the triumph of the kingdom of God over the whole power of sin…." 48. Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith, 277–7
Eighth, in the covenant of redemption we see the distinguishing trait of Christianity that separates it from all other of the world’s religions.
The covenant of redemption is proof that God took the initiative in entering into fellowship with man.
Ninth, the honor of God is inseparably linked to the doctrine of the covenant of redemption.
Tenth, the covenant of redemption is the basis for the certainty of the success of the evangelization of the earth.
Life in the Garden of Eden was defined and enriched by “the Covenant of Life,” which God made with Adam, “upon condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge; and forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.” (WLC, Q. 20). (727)
When God entered into this Covenant of Life with unfallen Adam, as the root and head of the human race (Rom. 5:12), He acted in grace and condescension....In
grace, God offered to bestow upon obedient Adam far more than he would ever earn or deserve by his obedience. This relationship between God and Adam was not only a natural one between Creator and creature, or Sovereign and subject. It had the added quality of a covenant bond, wherein a loving Father graciously seeks the welfare and happiness of His dependent children. (729)
God...gave Adam the opportunity to secure for himself, and his posterity, unloseable eternal life and indefectible holiness of life, by bringing him into a probation period, wherein Adam’s righteousness and holiness would be tested. (730)
[Adam] was placed, at the beginning of his life, under a divine arrangement, in which he was the subject of special divine revelation. Man’s life in this world has always been defined and conditioned by the gracious self-revelation of the character and will of God.(730)
Therefore, being moved by sheer grace, God condescended to establish the Covenant of Life with Adam in which He would graciously accept a temporary obedience to a limited probationary period as the basis for God’s giving Himself in love to Adam, and assuring him of eternal and indefectible holiness, happiness and
communion with the Living God. (732)
God acted in grace, not only by limiting the time frame of Adam’s probation, but also by limiting the persons being tested to Adam, as the root, head and representative of the entire human race(Rom. 5:12–21). (732)
"The provision by which Adam was made a public person, [the representative of the human race], and not treated as a private individual, is as much a provision of pure goodness as any other provision of the whole scheme.....Without the principle of representation it is possible that the whole race might have perished and perished for ever. Each man, would have been placed under the law of distributive justice. His safety, therefore, would have been contingent. It is possible that if the first man, with all his advantages, abused his liberty and fell, each of his descendants might imitate his example and fall also…. There can be no redeemer if each man is to be treated exclusively as an individual. If we cannot sin in another, we cannot be redeemed by another. If the principle of representation is to be excluded from God’s government, salvation to the guilty must also be excluded." 61 Thornwell, Collected Writings, 1:269–270. (733)
The reward promised to Adam’s obedience was far more generous than his obedience deserved, securing forever his position as a son of God, and surrounding him forever with the safeguards of His wisdom, omnipotence and faithfulness, making his holiness, happiness and eternal life in God’s favor indefectible and unloseable. (734)
Eternal life in the Bible includes the blessing of knowing God, and all that implies (John 17). Eternal life includes holiness, happiness, intimate knowledge of God, and eternal security. Eternal life implies: (1) A change of inward condition; and (2) A
change of outward condition. (735)
God gave Adam the promise of life in the path of obedience, which, if he walked in that path, would secure life for himself and for all his descendants. If he chose to disobey, he would secure death for himself and his posterity (Rom. 5:12–21)....His deliberate choice of disobedience corrupted himself; but, in addition, because he was the natural, covenantal and representative head of mankind, his disobedience affected, corrupted and condemned all his descendants. (738)
God justly threatened Adam and his posterity with death—spiritually, physically, and eternally, if he disobeyed God’s commands. (738)
THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL (2:9; 3:3) symbolized the principle of probation....It was the sign of God’s supremacy over man and of man’s submission to God. Man is to live in terms of God’s definitions, moral boundaries and ethical standards. He is to learn the radical difference between good and evil, from God’s perspective. (739)
THE TREE OF LIFE was the symbol of the principle of life in its highest potency. It was God’s “pledge” to Adam of life and communion with Him in covenant faithfulness to each other. (739)
First, the human race is no longer on probation....We have fallen in Adam: “All in Adam die” (1 Cor. 15:22). (740)
Second, human beings cannot attain to eternal life and communion with God in terms of the Covenant of Life, i.e., by their obedience to God’s Law. (740)
Third, God continues to require of man perfect obedience as a requirement of fellowship with Him. (741)
Fourth, the mandates and promises of the Covenant of Life give us a whole and unified world-and-life-view. We become kingdom-centered, rather than exclusively church-centered. The Christian man and woman, as the restored images of God, are to be concerned with all of life on earth, now and forever. (742)
[Fifth], “We all stood the probation in Adam as our representative head and failed in Adam.” 72 John Murray, Collected Writings of John Murray, 4 vols. (Edinburgh, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1997), 2:58. (743)
...the Law God gave Adam was the law of the ten commandments... (745)
The law of God was the standard of right and wrong for Adam before the Fall.
The demands of God’s law are absolute, requiring personal, entire, exact and perpetual obedience. (746)
Immediately after the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin and death (Gen. 3:1–13), God made a second covenant with Adam. The Covenant of Works gave way to the Covenant of Grace....This covenant is a covenant of grace in the fullest sense of the word, both as to its basis and purpose (Eph. 1:6). (747)
First, GOD’S WORD OF TRIUMPH (3:14–15). In this promise of victory over Satan and evil, God promises: (a) Satan’s defeat (3:14), and (b) Christ’s victory (3:15). The history of the covenant of grace, from this point onward, involves the totality of man and his created environment. (749)
The divine initiative in the establishment of this “enmity” is emphatic. God created the animosity between man and the serpent. “God himself shall perpetuate a continuing warfare,”85 between Satan and evil, on the one hand, and the people He redeems in Christ on the other. 85. Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants, 96. (850-751)
Second, GOD’S WORD OF CURSE AND BLESSING (Gen. 3:16–19). In God’s promise of curse and blessing, He gives a specific promise to woman (3:16) and to man (3:17–19). (752)
I left off there today. Next week, Lord willing, I will try get through the rest of the chapter, starting with the Noahic Covenant.