Covenant Theology: Covenant of Grace [Reformation Month 2020]

Covenant Theology: Covenant of Grace [Reformation Month 2020]

I do not think it’s humanly possible for me to distill how thoroughly the Covenant of Grace permeates through scripture in a post like this, so if this is something that you want to dive deeper on, I would encourage Ligon Duncan’s lectures because he has a section on each of the OT covenants and also talks about covenant theology in the NT, as well.

What is the Covenant of Grace?

The Covenant of Grace is the covenant that God made with Adam that the seed of the woman (Jesus) would come and fulfill the Covenant of Works. Through this covenant, all other covenants between God and man are tied together. Herman Bavinck articulates 3 characteristics of the Covenant of Grace in his book, Our Reasonable Faith:

  1. The covenant of grace is everywhere and at all times one in essence, but always manifests itself in new forms and goes through differing dispensations.  Essentially and materially it remains one, whether before, or under, or after the law.  It is always a covenant of grace.
  2. The second remarkable characteristic of the covenant of grace is that in all of its dispensations it has an organic character.  In history the covenant is never concluded with one discrete individual, but always with a man and his family or generation, with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israel, and with the church and its seed.  The promise never comes to a single believer alone, but in him his house or family also.
  3. A third and final characteristic of the covenant of grace which goes along with the second point above, is that it realizes itself in a way which fully honors man’s rational and moral nature.  It is based on the counsel of God, yes, and nothing may be subtracted from that fact.  Behind the covenant of grace lies the sovereign and omnipotent will of God.  But God’s will is the will of the Creator of heaven and earth, who cannot repudiate his own work in creation or providence, and who cannot treat the human being he has created as though it were a stock or stone.  It is the will of a merciful and kind Father, who never forces things with brute violence, but successfully counters all our resistance by the spiritual might of love.

Links: https://amzn.to/34v0v0f, https://bit.ly/31g5M77 

I want to clarify that dispensations above is more synonymous with administrations than the way dispensationalists use that terminology. Each covenant with a patriarch is an administration of the Covenant of Grace. So it is its own thing, but also tied to the greater whole. While the Covenant of Grace was established with Adam after the fall, it is reestablished again and again throughout the OT in God’s covenants with the patriarchs. The most commonly used example is through God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17:

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

This is definitely a gracious covenant that required very little from Abraham and his people and includes a sign of the covenant that we see translated differently into the New Testament, which I will be addressing in the Means of Grace post later today.

But what about the Mosaic Covenant?

While there isn’t really any disputes about the Covenant of Grace as a concept, there is some disagreement within reformed circles as to whether or not the Mosaic covenant falls into the Covenant of Grace. A well loved and big proponent of it not being part of the Covenant of Grace is Michael Horton, who argues that the “do this and live” nature of the Moral law handed down through the 10 Commandments is law and not gospel, and therefore falls into the Covenant of Works and not the Covenant of Grace. I will let him speak for himself here:

What then are we to say about Moses’ status in the church today? Reformed theology has traditionally insisted that the moral law (that is, the Ten Commandments) remains in force, while the ceremonial and civil laws of the old covenant are now obsolete along with that covenant itself. No other nation was brought into a covenant relation with God as a typological witness to His coming kingdom. While the Sinai covenant is itself a covenant of works, where Israel promises to do everything it says on pain of death, we inherit God’s promises in a covenant of grace. And precisely because Christ has fulfilled the covenant of works for us, we can inherit all of the everlasting promises in a covenant of grace. Only the heirs of that covenant, after all, are able to begin in this life to say with the Psalmist, “How I love your law, O Lord!”

Link: https://bit.ly/355ebvd

On the other hand, we have Ligon Duncan, who argues differently in an excellent sermon refuting theonomy, dispensationalism, and Lordship Salvation all in one shot, which I will link below.

Now Covenant Theologians have described the covenant with Moses differently over the years, and there has been some confusion over this issue even amongst Reformed Theologians.  But in general, while Reformed Theologians acknowledge that there are aspects of the Covenant of Moses or the Covenant of Law, which reflect some of the language and ideas of the Covenant of Works, nevertheless, the Covenant of Law, or the Covenant of Moses, or the Mosaic Economy, is squarely within the stream of the Covenant of Grace.  It is not an alternate option to the Covenant of Works given to us by God in the Old Testament   It is part of the Covenant of Grace.  It is not saying, “Well, okay, if you don’t get saved by faith as under Abraham, you can try law under Moses.”  That is not the point.

Link: https://bit.ly/37c4pKp

I can see both sides of the conversation and I think a lot of each side ends up getting strawmanned by each other because people generally lack nuance when they read it, but I think the important thing is to see the unity that we all agree that the moral law is still something we need to do, but because we cannot do it perfectly, the point of the Covenant of Grace is that Jesus fulfills the law on our behalf.

Importance

The Covenant of Grace is how the Covenant of Works is fulfilled. It establishes how Jesus’ sacrifice atones for our sin and gives us the Gospel throughout the Old Testament. The Covenant of Grace is also how Irenaeus was able to show that the God of the Old Testament is actually the God of the New Testament, in that it shows a continuity with how God interacts with his people. As it is written in Hebrews 13:8:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Resources on the Covenant of Grace:

Where the confessions and catechisms reference covenant theology:

  • Westminster Confession Ch 7
  • Westminster Larger Catechism Q & A 30-36
  • Savoy Declaration Ch 7
  • Second Helvetic Confession Ch 10
  • Canons of Dort Head 2, Paragraph 2 & Paragraph 4
  • 1689 London Baptist Confessions Ch 7

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Covenant Theology: Covenant of Works [Reformation Month 2020]

Covenant Theology: Covenant of Works [Reformation Month 2020]

What is the Covenant of Works?

The Covenant of Works is the covenant between God and Adam “before the fall, in which God promised them blessedness contingent upon their obedience to His command. After the fall, the fact that God continued to promise redemption to creatures who had violated the covenant of works, that ongoing promise of redemption is defined as the covenant of grace.” (RC Sproul)

Link: https://bit.ly/2FrA9Qh 

A gracious covenant?

I grew up largely theologically illiterate, so any sense of understanding covenants I had was very twisted. I had often conflated the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace, but they are not the same, though the Covenant of Works is the foundation for the Covenant of Grace. The Covenant of Works says, “do this and live,” where in the Covenant of Grace, Jesus says, “I have done, so live in me.” RC Sproul also elaborates on this very well in the link above:

Technically, from one perspective, all covenants that God makes with creatures are gracious in the sense that He is not obligated to make any promises to His creatures. But the distinction between the covenant of works and grace is getting at something that is of vital importance, as it has to do with the Gospel. The covenant of grace indicates God’s promise to save us even when we fail to keep the obligations imposed in creation. This is seen most importantly in the work of Jesus as the new Adam. Again and again the New Testament makes the distinction and contrast between the failure and calamities wrought upon humanity through the disobedience of the original Adam and the benefits that flow through the work of the obedience of Jesus, who is the new Adam. Though there is a clear distinction between the new Adam and the old Adam, the point of continuity between them is that both were called to submit to perfect obedience to God.

Importance

The Covenant of Works is what governed man’s state before God. God promised righteousness for obedience and sin led to death and expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The Covenant of Works is necessary for covenant theology because it is the covenant that Christ fulfilled. It is the basis of the Covenant of Grace. The whole point is that righteousness is tied to life, so when Jesus fulfilled that covenant, he shares it with the elect in the Covenant of Grace. Dr. Sproul explains it well here:

Beyond the negative fulfillment of the covenant of works, in taking the punishment due those who disobey it, Jesus offers the positive dimension that is vital to our redemption. He wins the blessing of the covenant of works on all of the progeny of Adam who put their trust in Jesus. Where Adam was the covenant breaker, Jesus is the covenant keeper. Where Adam failed to gain the blessedness of the tree of life, Christ wins that blessedness by His obedience, which blessedness He provides for those who put their trust in Him. In this work of fulfilling the covenant for us in our stead, theology speaks of the “active obedience” of Christ. That is, Christ’s redeeming work includes not only His death, but His life. His life of perfect obedience becomes the sole ground of our justification. It is His perfect righteousness, gained via His perfect obedience, that is imputed to all who put their trust in Him. Therefore, Christ’s work of active obedience is absolutely essential to the justification of anyone. Without Christ’s active obedience to the covenant of works, there is no reason for imputation, there is no ground for justification. If we take away the covenant of works, we take away the active obedience of Jesus. If we take away the active obedience of Jesus, we take away the imputation of His righteousness to us. If we take away the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us, we take away justification by faith alone. If we take away justification by faith alone, we take away the Gospel, and we are left in our sins.

 

Resources on the Covenant of Redemption:

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Covenant Theology: Covenant of Redemption [Reformation Month 2020]

Covenant Theology: Covenant of Redemption [Reformation Month 2020]

I chose to cover this part first because it was technically the first covenant, depending on how you see it. This is one covenant that O. Palmer Robertson doesn’t see as a covenant (which I will explain in a bit), so I am leaning more on Louis Berkhof’s systematic theology for more information on it. The excerpt I am utilizing can be found for free to read on Monergism’s website (linked below) and I’ll include a link for the whole thing. Berkhof’s systematic theology is my husband’s absolute favorite, so if you’re looking for one, this can be a great one. I have the kindle version, so I can’t give page numbers for where I’m reading It’s worth noting that Dr. Joel Beeke also came out with a systematic theology recently, but with it being so new, neither of us has read it. That said, it could make a great gift for the reformed theology nerds in your life (or yourself).

Links: https://amzn.to/3KPN8aL, https://amzn.to/34z8BFi, http://bit.ly/berkofCOR

What is the Covenant of Redemption?

Louis Berkhof defines the Covenant of Redemption as “the agreement that was made between the Father, giving the Son as Head and Redeemer of the elect, and the Son, voluntarily taking the place of those whom the Father had given Him.” It is also referred to as the pactum salutis, which is Latin for the agreement of salvation and is said to have taken place before the foundations of the world.

Disputation

There are many reformed theologians that do not acknowledge the Covenant of Redemption as its own covenant. Some believe it is part of the Covenant of Grace, some believe that the scriptural precedent for it taking place is shoddy at best, and still others believe it doesn’t fall into the category of a covenant because it’s just between the members of the trinity and they consider a covenant to be between God and man.

Berkof actually sees the Covenant of Redemption as part of the Covenant of Grace and he explains it this way:

The counsel of redemption is the eternal prototype of the historical covenant of grace. This accounts for the fact that many combine the two into a single covenant. The former is eternal, that is, from eternity, and the latter, temporal in the sense that it is realized in time. The former is a compact between the Father and the Son as the Surety and Head of the elect, while the latter is a compact between the triune God and the elect sinner in the Surety.

I could be sympathetic to this idea, but I, like Dr. Duncan, see the Covenant of Grace as a separate entity involving God and man and being established with Adam in the promise of the seed of the woman and having a common thread throughout scripture, which I will get into more in a few days.

Interestingly, Berkhof’s systematic has an excellent defense of the scriptural precedent of the Covenant of Redemption:

  1. Scripture clearly points to the fact that the plan of redemption was included in the eternal decree or counsel of God, Eph. 1:4 ff.; 3:11; II Thess. 2:13; II Tim. 1:9; Jas. 2:5; I Pet. 1:2, etc. Now we find that in the economy of redemption there is, in a sense, a division of labor: the Father is the originator, the Son the executor, and the Holy Spirit the applier. This can only be the result of a voluntary agreement among the persons of the Trinity, so that their internal relations assume the form of a covenant life. In fact, it is exactly in the trinitarian life that we find the archetype of the historical covenants, a covenant in the proper and fullest sense of the word, the parties meeting on a footing of equality, a true suntheke.

 

  1. There are passages of Scripture which not only point to the fact that the plan of God for the salvation of sinners was eternal, Eph. 1:4; 3:9,11, but also indicate that it was of the nature of a covenant. Christ speaks of promises made to Him before his advent, and repeatedly refers to a commission which He had received from the Father, John 5:30,43; 6:38-40; 17:4-12. And in Rom. 5:12-21 and I Cor. 15:22 He is clearly regarded as a representative head, that is, as the head of a covenant.

 

  1. Wherever we have the essential elements of a covenant, namely, contracting parties, a promise or promises, and a condition, there we have a covenant. In Ps. 2:7-9 the parties are mentioned and a promise is indicated. The Messianic character of this passage is guaranteed by Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5. Again, in Ps. 40:7-9, also attested as Messianic by the New Testament (Heb. 10:5-7), the Messiah expresses His readiness to do the Father’s will in becoming a sacrifice for sin. Christ repeatedly speaks of a task which the Father has entrusted to Him, John 6:38,39; 10:18; 17:4. The statement in Luke 22:29 is particularly significant: “I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father appointed unto me.” The verb used here is diatithemi, the word from which diatheke is derived, which means to appoint by will, testament or covenant. Moreover, in John 17:5 Christ claims a reward, and in John 17:6,9,24 (cf. also Phil. 2:9-11) He refers to His people and His future glory as a reward given Him by the Father.

 

  1. There are two Old Testament passages which connect up the idea of the covenant immediately with the Messiah, namely, Ps. 89:3, which is based on II Sam. 7:12-14, and is proved to be a Messianic passage by Heb. 1:5; and Isa. 42:6, where the person referred to is the Servant of the Lord. The connection clearly shows that this Servant is not merely Israel. Moreover, there are passages in which the Messiah speaks of God as His God, thus using covenant language, namely, Ps. 22:1, 2, and Ps. 40:8.

 

To address the third objection of the use of covenant, I think that is more of a semantical difference than a scriptural one, though interestingly, O. Palmer Robertson refers to the Covenant of Redemption as an “administration” of the Covenant of Grace and calls the Covenant of Grace the Covenant of Redemption, on the grounds that a covenant is between God and man.

That said, it is worth noting that the Westminster Standards only recognize two covenants: the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace. Keach’s catechism also only recognizes two covenants. The reason for that is likely due to not wanting to get too deep into minutiae and a desire to be moderately ecumenical so that more reformers would affirm it. To be truly reformed in covenant theology, you need at least 2 main overarching covenants. In the words of Dr. Duncan, “once you have a bicovenantal structure, you are committed to penal substitutionary atonement,” which I hope to discuss soonish through the lens of a theological errors week on atonement heresies.

Importance

Even if you don’t believe the covenant of redemption is a covenant, the concept of having a “counsel of redemption” or whatever terminology suits what you’re thinking of, there is still a scriptural precedent for God planning Jesus’ sacrifice ahead of time. Everything that has ever happened and everything that will ever happen is all part of God’s Plan A. Not only is Jesus’ sacrifice not a Plan B, but the church itself isn’t a Plan B. This was a huge game changer for me, as someone who grew up dispensational, I had always been taught that at the fall, God decided to send Jesus, but when Jews rejected him, the church became his backup plan. I know this is not something that all dispensationalists believe, but it is something that many do believe and teach. But to deny that God in eternity past planned Jesus’ sacrifice is already separating ourselves from the truth of the doctrines of grace.

Resources on the Covenant of Redemption:

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Covenant Theology: What is Covenant Theology? [Reformation Month 2020]

Covenant Theology: What is Covenant Theology? [Reformation Month 2020]

Most of the content that I will be covering this week will be coming from Dr. J. Ligon Duncan’s Covenant Theology lectures from Reformed Theological Seminary. They are completely free on iTunesU and also on RTS’ website and I’ll link to that below. A lot of what Dr. Duncan covered in his lectures comes from O. Palmer Robertson’s Christ of the Covenants, which I will also link below. These works are very thorough and are excellent assets for if you want to learn more, you can just consider this a primer on covenant theology. I will warn that Robertson’s book is very intellectual and I am honestly not sure that I would recommend it to someone who is newer to reformed theology because it might be too much in the beginning while you’re trying to learn other stuff. That said, preparing for these posts has given me the opportunity to listen to Dr. Duncan’s lectures for the second time and I think that if you are newer to reformed theology, I would probably stick to the first section for the beginning and then move on to the more advanced content when you feel more comfortable.

Links: https://amzn.to/3hUQf4v, https://bit.ly/3hz5ON7, https://bit.ly/33HvAL8 

I will give full disclosure to the newbies who may not know me, I am going to be covering this from a paedobaptist perspective. This means that I (and my church, and most of historic reformed Christianity) affirm infant baptism. I am going to cover the differences between credobaptist covenant theology and paedobaptist covenant theology the best I can on Friday, but there is enough overlap between the two that the other days will be coming from a baseline paedo perspective. That said, I am not trying to “turn” credos to become paedobaptists, though I obviously wouldn’t be mad if that happened lol. While I am always open to you asking me questions, if you are in a reformed church and have questions, remember that you can and should also ask your pastor for their thoughts, as well. This group can be great for online fellowship and learning, but it’s no replacement for the church and you should always read things you see online alongside scripture so you can discern the truth.

What is it?

Dr. Ligon Duncan defined covenant theology as the gospel set in the context of God’s eternal plan of communion with his people and an outworking in the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. It is both a hermeneutic and a blending of biblical theology and systematic theology. It is also the Bible’s way of explaining several important themes:

  1. The atonement
  2. Assurance
  3. The sacraments
  4. The way of setting forth and explaining the continuity of redemptive history
  5. The dynamic of God’s sovereignty and our responsibility in living the Christian life (law and gospel)

Covenant theology is an important paradigm to use as we read scripture because it helps us see the Old Testament as a Christian book. Dr. JI Packer said in the intro to The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man (written by Herman Witsius in 1990), “the gospel of God is not properly understood until it is viewed within a covenantal frame.” 

Link: https://bit.ly/2SyR0na, https://amzn.to/3Cx8MNJ

Biblical Theology & Systematic Theology

So, I have defined biblical theology and systematic theology in the reformation month glossary, but I do want to unpack this part a little bit so that it makes better sense. Biblical theology reads forward through scripture and understands how God operates chronologically across time. Systematic theology looks at the entire Bible to see what it says about a given topic. Systematic theology also takes what the Bible says on one topic and relates it to other topics.

The way this works together is covenant theology involves:

  • Exegesis
  • Taking a biblical theological survey over how a topic is treated throughout the entire Bible
  • Taking a look at historical theology and how the church has historically treated the text
  • Summarizing a topic
  • Relating it to other scripture
  • And bringing it all together

History and Definition of Covenants:

Many people think that covenant theology developed as a response to dispensationalism, but it actually predates dispensationalism by almost 300 years. While it was codified by Ulrich Zwingli during the reformation, Irenaeus outlined covenant theology in a very similar way to the way Robertson does and used the concept of the covenant to argue against Gnosticism in book 4 of Against Heresies. O. Palmer Robertson’s definition of a covenant is almost identical to how Irenaeus describes it, “a bond in blood sovereignly administered.”

Link: https://bit.ly/3iMVt06

Monergism’s website explains covenant theology as:

“Covenant Theology organizes biblical revelation around three unified but distinct covenants: the Covenant of Redemption, between the persons of the Trinity in eternity past, in which the Father promises to give a people to the Son as his inheritance, and the Son undertakes to redeem them; the Covenant of Works, which God enjoined upon Adam in the Garden, solemnly promising him eternal life if he passed the probationary test in the Garden of Eden (also, many covenant theologians see the covenant given on Mount Sinai as being in some sense a republication of the Covenant of Works); and finally, the Covenant of Grace, which God first entered into with Adam immediately after the Fall, when he promised to send a Seed of the woman, who would defeat the tempting serpent (Gen. 3:15). In the Covenant of Grace, God promises a champion to fulfill the broken Covenant of Works as a federal representative of his people, and so to earn its blessings on their behalf. All the later covenants of the bible, such as those which God confirmed to Noah, Abraham, David, and the New Covenant which promises to fulfill these prior covenants in the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, are all organically connected, essentially being different administrations of the one eternal Covenant of Grace, which build upon each other and are all brought to completion in the New Covenant which Christ inaugurated with his shed blood.”

Link: https://bit.ly/34JKVdk

Over the rest of the week, we will be taking a look at the Covenant of Redemption, the Covenant of Works, the Covenant of Grace, and then this will all culminate in how covenant theology shapes the way we see the sacraments as the means of grace.

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Preservation of the Saints

Preservation of the Saints

I want to start this off by saying that perseverance or preservation of the saints is not the same thing as eternal security or once saved, always saved. Matt Slick has a really great explanation about the differences between the 3 and I will link that below for you so you could see more from it. I also wanted to note that I waited until today to add resources that cover Calvinism as a whole to a post. The reason for that is I didn’t want to get ahead of myself by putting these resources up potentially too early. I’m going to have it divided up into podcasts, books, and articles. There are more resources and Bible verses to support Calvinism than what I have put in these posts, but I hope these have facilitated some good study!

Link: https://bit.ly/3jMtlfc 

What is it?

So, the P in TULIP actually has two different meanings that are used interchangeably, perseverance of the saints (most common) and preservation of the saints. You can see here that I tend to use preservation, I like it because it reads more that God is preserving/keeping you; whereas, perseverance gives more of an indication that there’s action on our part. That said, both are perfectly valid ways to read the P and I think both are needed. Preservation of the saints is the doctrine that if we are truly one of the elect, we cannot lose our salvation and that “he who started a good work in you will see it through to the day of completion” (Philippians 1:6).

But doesn’t this just give us license to sin?

There’s 2 main routes that are taken in objections to preservation of the saints. The more scriptural argument against preservation of the saints is largely based on a passage in Hebrews (5:20-6:11) that warns against falling against the faith (it’s not the only one that talks about it, this is just the most glaring). This passage is actually a great lesson in paying attention to the context of what’s written. It is written to condemn and warn about apostasy, which still happens, even if God already knows who the elect are. We have to understand going in that there’s two things working simultaneously together in this passage. The first is that God knows things we don’t know and has ordained things we can’t know until they’ve already happened. And like yesterday’s post dealing with the effectual call, we cannot know who the elect are, but we can encourage those that are part of the visible church to stay strong in the faith and have courage (and call them to repentance and remind them not to fall away). If you actually continue into verse 12, the writer says that they don’t want us to become lazy, “but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (ESV). 

Later on in Hebrews (ch 7), the writer also acknowledges the permanent state of those who are in Christ, saying:

Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

This is also a good time to give a reminder that the epistles are letters that were read all in one sitting and not broken up into chapters and verses, so when the church was hearing this, they did hear the full context, which is a call to piety and obedience, even as Christians.

The less scriptural objection, but so much more damning, is the pushback that if preservation is true, we do not need to obey because God will continue to give grace. To that, I say in the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 6, by no means.

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

I want to be super clear on this point because I have gotten pushback on multiple posts of mine calling me an antinomian because people did not give me the opportunity to elaborate my points when I say that obedience is not salvific. It is not. Our obedience will not bring us salvation, only God will do that. And God has more grace than we could ever exhaust for when we do inevitably sin. But this does not mean that we do not need to obey and it does not mean that we should not obey. The last week of this month, we’ll be taking a look at the law gospel distinction and how it plays a role in our lives, so I don’t want to leave you with an incomplete picture of the reality of the Christian life.

So to the person who genuinely asks why a Christian’s life should look different after becoming regenerate, I have a question that I want to ask back with as much grace as I could possibly have. Why would a Christian want to sin?

Scriptural Support for Preservation of the Saints:

  • Matthew 7
  • Hebrews 1:3, 7:25
  • Philippians 1:6, 29
  • John 6:28-29, 38-40; 10:27-29
  • Colossians 1:17
  • Nehemiah 9:6
  • 1 Corinthians 8:6
  • Ephesians 4:6
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • 1 John 2:19

John Calvin Speaks About it in the Institutes:

  • Book 3, Chapter 2, Section 40
  • Book 3, Chapter 14, Section 6-9

More Resources to Learn:

 

Resources on Calvinism:

Podcasts:

Books:+

Articles:

 

+ These include affiliate links that we may make a small commission off of.