Friday, October 06, 2017

Drama of Redemption Part 6 (modified)

This series is largely based on R. C. Sproul’s audio series The Drama of Redemption, available from his website.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Covenant of Works?

Another term for the Covenant of Creation (between God and Adam and Eve) is the Covenant of Works. And it is true that what is required from Adam and Eve to enjoy eternal life are works. The problem (for some) is that all the covenants that follow are (according to Covenant Theology) under a single umbrella known as the Covenant of Grace. 1 Therein lies the problem: if we have a Covenant of Works and a Covenant of Grace, it sends the message that the Covenant of Works is “graceless.” May it never be. Grace abounds in the Covenant of Works, for God was not obligated to enter into any covenant with Adam and Eve. He was within his rights to create them and tell them: “Good luck, you’re on your own, I'm off to Boca.” But God graciously condescended into entering into a covenant with his creatures. Nevertheless, because of this, the term “Covenant of Creation” is preferred.

It should also be noted that:
  1. The Covenant of Creation was between God and Adam and his descendants. That means everyone. There is no Jew, no Gentile, no Greek, no man, no woman, no Christian. Just people.
  2. The covenant, though broken, was not annulled. While future covenants are with “chosen” people, such as Jews, everyone is held accountable to God by this first covenant with all mankind. Some people are covenant breakers, and some are covenant keepers (but only because Christ kept it for us), but in any case there is no opting out. Sucks to be people.

1 Those who know me also know that I don't actually agree with this. I am more aligned with New Covenant Theology, which in my biased view is the Goldilocks position between the extremes of dispensationalism (which overemphasizes discontinuity) and Covenant Theology (which overemphasizes continuity). But since I'm shadowing Sproul in this series, I may come across more Covenantal than I really am. (Can't we all just love Jesus and forget about these labels?) If you are actually interested, or for obtaining fodder for the purpose of mocking, see this post for more on my views.

2 Nor is the umbrella Covenant of Grace workless. At the time of this post there is some controversy surrounding the teaching of John Piper on justification. Although I'm not a Piper fan boy (I've never been able to finish any of his books--to me his writing is of the "never say with ten words what can be said with 1000" school of style.) Still, from a cursory examination, I think people are being uncharitable to Piper. In a mini  Lordship Salvation way I think Piper is, perhaps not skillfully, simply arguing that a faith that doesn't produce works is not a true faith. Then again, I haven't looked very deeply into this. Here is a (rather poorly written) critique of Piper (the analogy to gym membership simply doesn't work) to get you started, if controversies are your thing.

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