Monday, July 13, 2015

Part 4: A Study of The Covenant of Redemption, by Patrick Gillespie

Concerning the full answer whereof, I refer the Reader to what is written by Mr. Rutherford5 upon that question: For my part it satisfies me, that I see vestiges in the Scripture. (1.) That after the last Judgment, there shall be no use of such exercise and acts of Christ's Mediatory offices, as King, Priest, and Prophet to his Church as we are now under in this last Economy and dispensation of the Covenant of Grace; because there shall be no sin then, nor any enemy unsubdued; Christ having perfected his people, and presented them without spot to God, Eph. 5.27. and having subdued all his foes, and broken all opposition to his Kingdom, and the elect people being brought out of danger, so as they need no Temple or Ordinances, Rev. 21.4,22; 1Cor. 15.25. (2.) That Christ Mediator shall unquestionably cease from, and leave off such acts and exercise of his Mediatory-office, as his body the Church hath no need of; he shall be no Mediator of Reconciliation then, because there shall be no sin then; no Mediator to apply his death, or to intercede for sinners, for there shall be no sinners; he shall be no Mediatory King then to beat down his foes and opposers of his offices; for there shall be none, when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power, 1 Cor. 15.24. that is, all Magistracy and Government that now is, either in Church or State. (3.) It is manifest that after the last Judgment, there shall be a change of the Economic government, and that Christ shall render the kingdom Economic or dispensatory, to his father: but after what manner this change of government shall be, I do not so clearly understand: whether it shall be only by Christ's rendering an account to his Father of his deputed and delegated charge, having now saved all the elect, and subdued all rebels; or if it shall be by laying down his Commission, no more to rule in the former way of government; or whether the government shall be so changed, as the Father, Son, and Spirit, shall immediately govern the glorious Church, which seems to be insinuated, Rev. 21.22,23, And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the City had no need of the Sun, neither of the Moon to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 1 Cor. 15.28, that God may be all in all. (4.) That Christ shall not then leave off to reign as Mediator, even when the fore-mentioned change is made; yet he remains the substantial glorified head of his mystical glorified body for ever, who shall appear eternally for us, as a pledge of the satisfaction once given, whose presence is a speaking token of the standing Confederacy and Peace betwixt God and us, in whose righteousness we stand clothed before God; in whose transactions and acting in the work of Redemption, God is eternally well-pleased, and by whose Covenant we stand and reign with him eternally and indefectibly in a confirmed state: else, [1.] To what end shall Christ stand glorified in our nature in heaven for ever? [2.] Why is the Lamb's throne in heaven eternal? Rev. 22.3. [3.] Else what means the Lamb's servants in heaven for ever? Rev. 22.3. and the new Song that is to the Lamb in heaven for ever, Rev. 5.12. and 7.10. [4.] Else what meaneth the Lamb's being in the midst of the glorified company, his leading them, being a temple, and a light unto them? Rev. 7.17. and 21.22,23. Sure the Lord Mediator as a glorified head of his glorious body in heaven, acteth as Mediator, though not as he acteth now; and though we cannot well determine what sort of leading, and what dispensation of influences from him are there (and no wonder if his union with us and headship over us even here, be a mystery, the knowledge whereof is referred to his coming again, John 14.20, At that day ye shall know that I am in my father, and you in me, and I in you): yet the Lamb's throne there, and his leading the redeemed, and being a light and temple to them, proves his peculiar headship to them. [5.] The blessings purchased by this Covenant of Suretiship, are partakers of eternity; they are eternal blessings: the Redemption obtained by the Mediator, is eternal Redemption, Heb. 9.12. and eternal Inheritance, Heb. 9.15. and eternal life, Titus 1.2. eternal Salvation, Heb. 5.9. and eternal Glory, 1 Pet. 5.20. You see then, that eternity is a property of the Covenant of Redemption, and that many things belonging to it are partakers of eternity: In a word, it is a Covenant which was transacted from eternity, before the foundation of the world was laid; it is as old as the Ancient of days; so that we cannot reckon the beginning thereof, Prov. 8.23, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was: and which shall endure throughout eternity; for the righteousness of this Covenant, even the Surety-righteousness of Christ the Redeemer, shall be worn in glory for evermore, by all the redeemed people; and through the force and virtue of the blood thereof, shall the glorious Church stand and reign for ever, Rev. 19.8, And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints. And 5.9, And they sung a new song, saying, thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.

4. Another Property of the Covenant of Redemption, is equality: They who distinguish Covenants into equal and unequal Covenants; by equal Covenants they understand such wherein there is equality in the parties or conditions, when the parties stand in equal terms, and do agree upon equal or like conditions.

No Covenant betwixt God and mere Man, can properly and strictly be called an equal Covenant; neither the Covenant of works made with man in his integrity, nor the Covenant of Grace made with fallen man; for beside the infinite distance and inequality of the parties, there is no proportion betwixt the terms and conditions given and required in these Covenants: And upon strict examination, there are but few equal Covenants betwixt man and man; for it is rare to find the condition and affairs of Parties entering in Covenant in such and equal poise, as that the inequality of their condition, and the moment and exigent of their affairs, does not influence the terms and conditions of their Covenants, so as to render them unequal.

But sure the Covenant betwixt Jehovah and Christ, is an equal Covenant:

1. This Covenant was betwixt parties equal; I do not say that the Man Christ, or Christ Mediator was equal with God; for in this respect there was an inferiority and subordination unto which Christ humbled himself, by giving his actual consent in this Covenant unto the designation of him to be the Person that should do the work of our Redemption; but considering Christ as the eternal Son of God, and antecedently to his actual consent to humble himself; yea, and after that consent too, considering Christ the second Person as the natural Son of God, the parties transacting this Covenant (though not quatenus, as they were considered in this Covenant-transaction) were equal in Power, Greatness, Wisdom, Honour, &c. as hath been before shewed from Phil. 2.6, Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. John 10.29,30, My Father which gave them me, is greater than all.—I and my Father are one.

2. This Covenant was betwixt equal parties, when they stood in equal terms, and were at a perfect freedom to choose or refuse, to give consent to this Covenant or refuse it, as pleased either party; there may be sometimes equality betwixt parties covenanting; yet the inequality of the condition and freedom at the time of transacting, may render the Covenant betwixt them unequal; as when the one party is not at freedom, is concluded by some pressure or necessity that is not upon the other party; hence often the terms are unequal: but in the Covenant of Suretiship (whatsoever inequality and subordination was subsequent, by the tenor of this Covenant) at the time when it was transacted from eternity, the parties stood both on equal terms, and were at perfect freedom to transact or not, as pleased either (as I have already proved); there was nothing in the condition of either party (abstracting from the purpose of the parties own will, and the design that acted them, which was common to both) that could conclude either party to enter into such a Covenant (If I may call a transaction that had no beginning, by the name of entering a Covenant in regard of our manner of conceiving thereof); for this Covenant was not only consented to by Christ, a person equal with God; but by him being in the form of God, Phil. 2.6,7, that is, while he stood in equal terms with God, and was under no necessity to be found in the form of a servant, till he humbled himself, and made himself of no reputation, &c.

3. The design that acted both parties in this transaction, was equal; for it was one and the same, a design of love acted both the Father and the Son; the carrying on a purpose of Grace and design of love which God had laid upon his elect people, acted Jehovah in sending Christ to do this work of Redemption, and in making him Surety for his people; and the same design also acted Christ in his consenting to take our Law-place, and in his coming accordingly to act our part, John 3.16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. With Gal. 2.20,—I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Even this Love-design which took up the delight and the thoughts of both the parties equally, and wherewith both parties were solacing themselves in the works without themselves; when as yet there was no world, nor Inhabitants thereof created, Prov. 8.31.Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men.

4. This Covenant of Suretiship was made upon equal or like conditions and terms; there was an equality betwixt the stipulation and restipulation; the conditions promised to Christ, and these required from him by this Covenant; not that worthless man was a wager for God to work for; for he was far below the price that love put upon him. But understand it thus, (1.) There was an equality of Justice betwixt the conditions on the one part and the other; punitive Justice could exact no more of man, by the curse of the broken Covenant, than that which Christ suffered as his Surety, Gal. 3.13, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us; and remunerative Justice could give no less to his perfect obedience unto the Law of works, than the righteousness and life which he purchased, Rom. 8.4. That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us. (2.) There was an equality of proportion or merit betwixt the conditions required from, and performed by Christ, by virtue of this Covenant, and the conditions promised and performed unto Christ by this Covenant. Not a merit and satisfaction upon Christ's part de congruo (as the Schoolmen speak)6 whereby the friendship and love of the party injured doth accept of that which is not equivalent to the offence, which Vortius calleth God's Divine acceptilation(which properly had no place here, though the friendship and love betwixt God and Christ, be such as renders any thing done by him, acceptable); but a merit and satisfaction de condigno, there being a just and equal proportion betwixt the fault committed, and the satisfaction given, and betwixt the reward promised and given to Christ, and the obedience required from and performed by him, John 17.4,5, I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self. Phil. 2.7,8, But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself.—Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, etc.

5. The advantage redounding to both parties by this Covenant is equal; I mean, the glory and honour of this transaction; for no other profit and goodness can redound unto the all-sufficient good, Job 35.7, If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Psalm 16.2,3,—My goodness extendeth not unto thee: But to the Saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. I say of the Covenant of Suretiship, that though the profit is ours, and extendeth only to the redeemed people; yet the advantage of honour and glory, doth equally reach both the parties transactingin their own order; for thereby there is a peculiar honour of our Redemption and Salvation to God, the Author thereof, who gave Christ, and sent him to work this Redemption; and a peculiar honour to Christ Mediator, to the Lamb the grand Instrument that wrought it, and whose soul travailed in it. So that the honour accruing hereby is not peculiar to any one of the parties, but parted betwixt them, John 5.23, That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. Rev. 7.10,And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation unto our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

5. Another Property of the Covenant of Redemption, is order: that which is said of the Covenant of Reconciliation, that it'sordered in all things; is eminently true of the Covenant of Redemption: It is well-ordered Covenant; and how can it be made otherwise, since he that made it is the God of order, 1 Cor. 14.33. and God only wise, 1 Tim. 1.17. who knew well how to contrive the comely order which he designed.

The order of this Covenant doth chiefly consist in these two things.
(1.) In God's beautiful contriving and ordering the methods and ways of our Redemption and Salvation.
(2.) In his comely ordering and adapting these Methods of Redemption to answer the ends and intents, which were purposed and proposed in this transaction.

Under the first of these, I comprehend,
(1.) His ordering and sending of a Saviour and Redeemer to fallen man.
(2.) His ordering the things that the Person designed should do and suffer for purchasing this Redemption.
(3.) His ordering the means whereby the purchased Redemption should be applied to the Redeemed people.
(4.) His ordering the efficacy of means towards the ends purposed by him, that there might be no misgiving in the matter.

Under the second, I comprehend God's ordering,
(1.) That the satisfaction of Divine Justice shall be, by a Surety.
(2.) That the satisfaction of the Surety shall meet with, and fully come up to the demands of the Law and Covenant of works, by his obeying the command, and bearing the curse.
(3.) That the Surety's satisfaction shall stand for the broken man's; he taking our Law-place upon him, and acting our part.
(4.) That Justice shall be so satisfied, as mercy be also entreated; that the means and methods of Redemption, may answer the intent of God, to glorify these two attributes, Justice and Mercy, in Man's Redemption. I do not say that the beautiful order of this Covenant consisted in these things only; but in these, and the like; which will appear further, when we come to speak of the subject-matter of this Covenant, and the things that were therein concluded.

6. Another Property of the Covenant of Redemption, is stability; God's Covenant with Christ is an immutable, inviolable transaction; and all the things therein concluded are firm and unalterable, nothing thereof can fail; for,

1. It is transacted in the unchangeable counsel of God's will, where all the decrees and conclusions are unalterable, Heb. 6.17,Wherein God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise, the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath. Isa. 14.27, For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it?

2. It must be an inviolable Covenant, being transacted betwixt two parties who have all imaginable Properties that can ensure their dealings and transactions, and render them firm: For it is,
(1.) Betwixt God unchangeable, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning, James 1.17. I am the Lord, I change not, Mal. 3.6. And Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever, Heb. 13.8.
(2.) It is betwixt God the strength of Israel, who is not as the son of man, that he should repent, 1 Sam. 15.29. who hath sworn to Christ, and will not repent, Heb. 7.21. and Christ Jesus, in whom all the promises of God are yea, and amen, 2 Cor. 1.20.
(3.) It is betwixt the true God, Jer. 10.10. the God of truth, Deut. 32.4. and Jesus Christ, who is the truth itself, John 14.6. (4.) It is betwixt the faithful God which keepeth Covenant, Deut. 7.9. who abideth faithful, and cannot deny himself, 2 Tim. 2.13. and Jesus Christ the faithful witness, Rev. 1.6.

3. This must be a sure and inviolable Covenant, being a sworn confirmed Covenant; for God hath not only sworn and confirmed his Covenant with us, but he hath also confirmed this Covenant with an oath, and sworn to Christ, Psalm 89.35,Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. Heb. 7.21, For those Priests were made without an oath, but this with an oath, by him that said unto him, The Lord sware, and will not repent; thou art a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. Now the Argument used by the Apostle, from the confirmation of a Covenant, to the stability thereof, holds good and firm of this Covenant also, (though it be not the thing principally intended there), Gal. 3.15. Though it be but a man's Covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth thereunto.

4. Stability and Inviolableness most eminently agree to that Covenant; for which, and because of which the Covenant of Reconciliation made with us is firm, sure, and inviolable. Now 'tis manifest, that the stability of that Covenant springs out of this; and the inviolableness of the one, is given by the Holy Ghost, for the ground and cause of the stability of the other; See Psalm 89.33-36, Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the Sun before me. Isa. 55.3,4, I will make an everlasting Covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

5. Rutherford,  Treatise of the Covenant, p. 2. c. 12. p. 363.
6. Durand. lib. 3. dist. 21. quest. 2. 

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