Posts Tagged ‘Covenant of Works’

Hermann Venema: Definition of Covenant; Covenant of Works

August 8, 2010

A covenant is a voluntary agreement on the part of two or three persons to enter into friendship on certain conditions, or to renew it when broken, and is usually accompanied for the purpose of confirmation by the observance of ceremonies of various kinds.

The covenant of works it is said consisted in the agreement entered into between God and man, according to which the latter by rendering perfect and uninterrupted obedience to the divine commands in his own strength would have secured for himself.

Hermann Venema, Institutes of Theology, trans., Alex W. Brown (Andover: Draper Brothers, 1853), 445-446.


This Terrible Glass

July 16, 2010

If we possessed in this life of a perfect faith in Christ, and so of perfect holiness, then I grant the believers should not need this terrible glass of the law, and of the covenant of works. But because unbelief still resteth in this our nature, and the relics of that inherent contagion still abide in us, and for that so long as we live here, neither our faith nor holiness can be perfected; therefore, to waken more and more our unbelief and inherent sin in us, and more and more to increase faith and holiness, we have ever need of this terrible glass, as a continual severe schoolmaster, which, ever casting many fears before us, may drive us to the faith of Christ, and to sanctimony of life.

Robert Rollock, “Treatise of Effectual Calling,” In Select Works of Robert Rollock, 2 vols., ed. William Gunn (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage, 2008), 48-49.

Sweet Harmony in The Sinaitic Covenant

June 17, 2009

F_TurretinBy convincing man of his sin and weakness, it forced him to seek a remedy in Christ by faith (as we have already said). Again, these two conditions are proposed because they are necessary to the salvation for the sinner: perfect obedience in Christ to fulfill the righteousness of the law, without which the justice of God did not permit life to be given to us; faith however in us that the perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ might be applied to us and become ours by imputation. Thus what was demanded of us in the covenant of works is fulfilled by Christ in the covenant of grace. Nor is it absurd that in this way justification takes place by works and by faith – by works of Christ and by our faith. And thus in sweet harmony the law and the gospel meet together in this covenant. The law is not administered without the gospel, nor the gospel without the law. So that it is as it were a legal-gospel and an evangelical-law; a gospel full of obedience and a law full of faith. So the gospel does not destroy the law, but establishes it (Rom 3:31) by giving us Christ, who perfectly fulfilled it. And the law is not against the gospel, since it refers and leads us to it as its end.

Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Topic 12, Q. 12, XXII