First Baptist Church, Cobden IL
Sunday, October 21, 2018
200 South Walker St. Cobden, IL 62920

Study in the Scriptures: Matt Hartline

                 A Study in the Scriptures 
                      -with Pastor Matt


The Adamic Covenant/the Covenant of Works

Coming out of last month’s study of the Everlasting Covenant, we now come to the Adamic Covenant/the Covenant of Works. In the previous two studies (Intro to Covenant Theology and the Everlasting Covenant), we have been able to cover them in just one study. This study and those that follow will take a little bit more time. Therefore, this particular study of the Adamic Covenant will be entitled: The Covenant of Works: Part 1.

            Before a definition is given to this particular covenant, remember the general definition of "covenant" that has already been given: "A divine covenant with man is a divinely-sanctioned commitment or relationship. In this sense, covenants came from God to man. They are not contracts between equal business partners. They are not up for negotiation. They are imposed by God upon man, and are for the advancing and bettering of his state" (Barcellos). Like our studies that have come before we will be looking at the nature of this covenant, where it is addressed in the confession (2LBCF), and where it is found in Scripture. Part 1 will serve as an introduction to the Covenant by way of its definition and where it is found in the Confession. Subsequent parts will deal with the nature of the covenant and its Scriptural basis (therefore, as a reference, keep all previous studies close by!)


            Richard Barcellos defines the Covenant of Works as "that divinely sanctioned commitment or relationship God imposed upon Adam in the garden of Eden. Adam was a sinless representative of mankind (i.e., a public person), and an image bearing son of God. The Covenant God made with him was for the bettering of man's state, conditional upon Adam's obedience, with a penalty for disobedience." Take notice of five essential things in regards to this covenant: 1) sovereign, divine imposition; 2) representation by Adam (i.e., federal headship), a sinless image-bearing son of God; 3) a conditional element (i.e., obedience); 4) a penalty for disobedience (i.e., death); and 5) a promise of reward (i.e., eschatological potential). With that working definition and keeping in our minds as we were through this, where is this covenant addressed in the confession?


The 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (2LBCF)

            The Covenant of works is found and spoken of throughout the Confession. We find it in chapters 4, 6, 7, and 19. They read as follows:

Of Creation - 4:2

After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change. (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Genesis 1:26; Romans 2:14, 15; Genesis 3:6)

Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof - 6:1

Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honour; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory. (Genesis 2:16, 17; Genesis 3:12,13; 2 Corinthians 11:3)

Of God's Covenant - 7:1

The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant. (Luke 17:10; Job 35:7,8)

Of the Law of God - 19:1

God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience written in his heart, and a particular precept of not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it. (Genesis 1:27; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:10, 12)

Now with a definition and Confessional background to the Covenant of Works we will, in Part 2 get into the nature of this covenant, its applications for mankind, and its Scriptural basis. I encourage you this month to take the definition given, go through the Confession, and see where the Covenant of Works is spoken of in the above paragraphs. I also want to encourage you to look up the Scripture texts given at the end of each paragraph in the Confession. I look forward to Part 2 of our study on the Covenant of Works! God bless. 

For the supremacy of Christ in all things,

Brother Matt