Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Characteristics of the Covenant

What is the nature of the covenant God makes with those who believe in the Gospel? According to John Flavel:
  1. It is an everlasting covenant, or a perpetual covenant, a covenant of eternity... For Christ being the principal matter and substance of the covenant, there must be in it an everlasting righteousness, everlasting kindness, everlasting forgiveness, and in consequence to all of these, everlasting consolation, in which all the riches and bounty of free grace shine forth in all their splendor.
  2. It is a covenant ordered in all things... Everything being here disposed and placed in the most comely order, both persons and things here keep their proper place: god the Father keeps the place of the most wise contriver and bountiful donor of the invaluable mercies of the covenant: and Christ keeps the proper place both of the purchaser and the surety of the covenant and all the mercies in it; and believers keep their place, as the unworthy receivers of all the gratuitous mercies and rich benefits thereof... Oh it is a ravishing sight to behold the habitude and respect of the mercies in the covenant, to the sins and wants of all that are in it! Here are found full and suitable supplies to the wants of all God's people. here you may see pardon in the covenant, for guilt in the soul; joy in the covenant, for sorrow in the heart; strength in the covenant, for all the defects and weakness in the creature. 
  3. It is a sure covenant, or a covenant safely laid up and kept... Everything is as its foundation is. Now, God's covenant being founded in his unchangeable counsel and purpose, wherein there can be no lubricity, and Christ being the surety of it, it must needs be, as the text calls it, a sure covenant, wherein the faithfulness of God is as illustriously displayed, as his bounty and wisdom are in the two properties of it. And such a covenant as this, so everlastingly, aptly disposed, and sure, must needs deserve precious respect and high esteem from every believing soul. 
--John Flavel, The Balm of the Covenant Applied to Afflicted Saints, in Works of Flavel, Volume 6, pg 89-90.

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