IV. The work of the Father
In examining the Father's work, we will consider separately (A) the commands that function as the covenant's conditions, (B) the promises of the covenant, and (C) the warranty of the covenant. The Father in electing the Lord Jesus to be Surety, Mediator, and Savior, presents Him to the elect and gives them to Him so that He may merit and accomplish salvation for them. To this end He presented several conditions to Him and commanded Him to fulfill them. “The Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting” (John 12:49-50a); “This commandment have I received of My Father” (John 10:18).
(A) These commands, being the conditions, include among others the following:
First, that the Son would assume the nature of the sinner, but without sin. “A body hast Thou prepared Me” (Heb. 10:5).
Secondly, that He having assumed the identical nature of elect sinners, would become their Substitute. This meant that He would remove their sins from them and take their sins for His account. To accomplish this, He, being a divine Person and thus above the law, would place Himself under the law, a law which demanded the punishment of transgressors and perfect obedience to gain a right to eternal life. “God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).
Thirdly, that on their behalf He would bear all the punishment which their sins had merited. He would suffer, die, and rise from the dead. “No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father” (John 10:18); “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23).
Fourthly, that on their behalf He would have to fulfill all righteousness in order to make them righteous. “So by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom 5:19); “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. ... He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:19, 21).
And fifthly, that He would make the elect partakers of this merited salvation by declaring the gospel to them, regenerating them, granting them faith, preserving them, raising them from the dead, and taking them into heaven. The execution of this great work would rest upon Christ's shoulders. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). This is a general presentation of some of the conditions of the covenant.
(B) God added promises to these conditions which are given in reference to both the Surety and the elect.
First, the Father promised that God’s good pleasure would prosper through Him. “When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand” (Isa 53:10).
Secondly, the Father promised that He would be King over all the elect, not merely Jews, but also Gentiles. “Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession” (Ps 2:6,8); “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. ... All nations shall serve Him” (Ps 72:8,11).
Thirdly, the Father promised that He would have power over all creatures in order to govern them for the benefit of His elect. “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matt 28:18); “For He hath put all things under His feet” (1 Cor 15:27).
Fourthly, the Father promised that He would be glorified in a way which would be observed and acknowledged by the creatures. “When He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3); “I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne” (Rev. 3:21).
Fifthly, the Father promised that He would be Judge of heaven and earth. “And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man” (John 5:27); “Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained” (Acts 17:31).
Sixthly, the Father promised to Him that the elect would receive all the benefits of the covenant of grace through Him: forgiveness of sin, reconciliation, adoption, peace, sanctification, and eternal glory. “... It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32); “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom 8:32).
(C) God confirmed these promises to the Son by means of both sacraments and oaths.
(1) He confirmed this to Him by oath. “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps 110:4); “Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David [Christ]” (Ps 89:35).
(2) He sealed this to Him by means of the Old and New Testament sacraments.
(3) God assured Him of this by means of extraordinary and immediate revelations and declarations. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). This declaration is repeated in Matthew 17:5. God was not only pleased with His Person, but also with His qualifications as Surety and Mediator, and in His work of redemption. This then is the work of the Father as the one Party of the Covenant.