Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

February 3, 2007

Christian Mind paper: Part IV. Scriptural su…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 2:05 am

Christian Mind paper: Part IV.

Scriptural support for the covenant of redemption is not difficult to produce nor is it difficult to assert that the evidence thus marshaled does in fact constitute solid indicators that such a covenant took place.1 First, Scripture is replete with the predestinarian electing by the Father of sinners. Beginning as early as Genesis 3:15 God pronounces a curse on the seed of the serpent (which eons later we discover the referent to be humans2) thus immediately splitting all of Adam’s progeny into two distinct groups. In Genesis 4:26 we see that God carves out of history those who, by calling on his name, are his covenantal servants.3 God’s graphically displays his election and reprobation via the Noahic oracle in Genesis 9:25-274. Further narrowing continues through the genealogies of Shem, Eber and climaxing in Peleg in Genesis 10:25 where God outright states that he is dividing the earth up along these family lines5. This leads to the election Abraham and the subsequent election of Issac over against Ishmael, and of Jacob over against Esau. New Testament corroborates this electing process, most notably in Acts 13:48. The covenant of redemption asserts that God elects these as gifts to be an inheritance for his Son who agrees to earn these gifts. Scriptural support for this is found in John 6:38-40 as well in Psalm 2:6-9. Indeed, these verses are difficult if the covenant of redemption is denied.

Jesus Christ the God-Man pledged to fulfill the covenant of works in order to make the covenant of grace possible. In other words, he promised to become a man, taking on his flesh and his nature. Essentially, as the second Adam, he would assume posse peccare and posse non peccare. He also promised to obey the law – both the natural law that resides in all men and the specific law given to Israel. Finally, he promised to go to the cross as propitiation for the sins of those elect. In this way, Christ’s active obedience to the law, his perfect righteousness, might be given as an act of grace to those elect whose active disobedience as covenant breakers has, as well, been forgiven. The chair passage for this in Scripture is the high priestly prayer of Jesus to the Father in John 17. In this passage no fewer than nine times Jesus refers to those whom God has given him. In John 17:4 he explicitly refers to his having accomplished the work that he was assigned; and in John 17:12 he refers to successfully guarding those for whom he was responsible – an allusion to Adam’s failure to guard the garden, a charge he was given in Genesis 2:15.

The covenant of redemption spells out a pledge made by the Holy Spirit as well. It is here that we can most easily begin to see the value of the covenant of redemption as a lens into our systematic theology. Our entire doctrine of the Holy Spirit falls into place when one considers that nearly all the Spirit does is directly tied to his inter-trinitarian pledge. Drawing from Berkhof’s Systematic Theology we see four primary tasks that the Spirit must perform. The first task is entirely in relation to the man Jesus Christ. The Spirit must bring him into existence as a man via the virgin Mary. He also must anoint him (Mt. 3:17 ) with the result that Jesus has the Spirit without measure (John 3:34).6 Second, the Holy Spirit inspires the writing of Scripture (2 Peter 1:21). Third, the Holy Spirit is the immediate agent of the regeneration (John 3:6-8) and the sanctification of the elect (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Fourth, he builds, guides and teaches the church (John 16:13,14; Ephesians 1:13, 2:20-22; ).7

1Steven Baugh, “The Covenant of Redemption in Galatians 3:20”, WTJ 66,1 (2004), 49-70. Dr. Baugh tackles the tough Gal 3:20 and defends his thesis that even this verse supports the Covenant of redemption.

2See John 8:42-45.

3It is especially important to note that being elect into God’s covenant in no way obviates the sinful nature of the elect. All the elect have this in common: they all trust in the promise of God to fulfill all that as covenant Lord he has spoken.

4In addition to displaying his reprobation and election, he foretells the bringing in of the gentiles represented by Japheth into the covenantal family of God fulfilled in Acts 11:1-18.

5It is important to remember that this election is a spiritual operation and the physical ancestry that one may trace is not truly in view.

6The idea that the Spirit is the director of the drama is very apt when one considers his role as the third person of the covenant of redemption.

7Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1932), 98.



  1. I didn’t spot Dr. Baugh’s article in the Westminster Theological Journal until the last minute – too late to really absorb it or include it in the paper. Gal 3:20 says, “Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.” The fact is that this verse has confounded Bible students forever. And Dr. Baugh sees it as a covenant of redemption verse! The point then is that the covenant of redemption is in the Bible, almost as a pearl buried in the earth. It ain’t going to jump out at you but it is there.

    Comment by Bruce S — February 3, 2007 @ 6:39 am

  2. Could you summarize Baugh’s article? I’m stumped now.


    Comment by Michael — February 6, 2007 @ 9:41 am

  3. I’d love to but I can’t. I’ll pull it from the shelves next time I’m in the library and Xerox it.

    Comment by Bruce S — February 6, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

  4. I’d love to read it.


    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 12, 2007 @ 1:41 am

  5. Sorry I didn’t see #3 earlier. Could you put up the thing on the right side that tracks “recent comments”?

    Give the people what they want! Hahahahaha…

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 12, 2007 @ 1:42 am

  6. I would if I knew how. I am not convinced that every feature of wordpress is available on every “theme-presentation”. I will consult with my pool of experts.

    Comment by Bruce S. — February 12, 2007 @ 7:01 pm

  7. I’m so glad you switched to WordPress though. This is so much easier.

    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 13, 2007 @ 4:50 am

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