Westminster Larger Catechism Study

WLC – Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?

Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

The Westminster Confession states that Christ was both God and man. This is a bit beyond our human understanding, but it is clear that just as God formed Adam from the dust of the earth, he through the work of the Holy Spirit arranged for Christ to have a human body.

WCF 8:2. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.

Following on from Question 30 we continue to get clarity on who God’s elect are:

Whom did Christ represent in the covenant of grace? He represented “all the elect.”

Why is it wrong to say that Christ represented the whole human race? (a) Christ’s own words contradict such a view of the matter, as we see, for example, in John 17:9 “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou halt given me; for they are thine.” Here Christ speaks of a certain body of people as given to him by God the Father; he prayed for them, but he did not pray for the population of the world in general. (b) If Christ in the covenant of Grace represented the whole human race, then the whole human race will be saved. But the Bible teaches that only part of the human race will be saved. So if we say that Christ represented everybody, then we will have to say that Christ does not really save anybody, but only gives everybody “a chance” to be saved, and it is “up to each person to take it or leave it.” That is a very conunon belief today, but the Bible is against it. Christ did not suffer and die to give everybody, or anybody, a “chance” to he saved; he suffered and died to accomplish the salvation of the elect.

When was the covenant of grace made? It was made in eternity, before the creation of the world, between God the Father and God the Son. Read Ephesians 1:4. The covenant of grace was made before the covenant of works, but it was revealed to mankind after the covenant of works had been broken.

It’s a long quote but here is the Ephesians text in context…

Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Eph 1:7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Eph 1:8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Eph 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

Eph 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Eph 1:12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Eph 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

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