I. Introduction and Definition
A. Relationship between the Pactum Salutis and the Covenant of Grace (CoG)
B. The CoG is the covenant in which God elects His people, secures their salvation, and applies that salvation to them.
1. Since Fall, man has labored under double burden; subject to both the curse and the terms of the Covenant of Works (CoW)
2. In the CoP, the Triune God eternally has made provision for this need.
a. The Father had given the Son a people
b. For that people, the Son would pay the curse and fulfill the terms of the CoG.
c. The Spirit would apply both the forgiveness and the righteousness won by the Son to the people given Him by the Father.
3. This eternal CoP was manifested and moved forward through specific covenants that God made with individual men or groups of men in history.
II. Overall Structure of the CoG
A. Contains both the pre-temporal, intra-Trinitarian CoP and the outworking of that Counsel in history. Both part of one covenant; neither makes sense without the other.
B. Differ in how covenantal reward is dispensed.
1. The rewards of the CoG are all of those things necessary to move men from being ‘sinners’ to being ‘righteous’; the ‘every spiritual blessing’ of Ephesians 1.3; the ‘Golden Chain’ of Romans 8.29-30.
2. In the CoP, rewards given in accordance with merit.
a. Very ‘contractual’
b. Federal/covenantal administration of the CoG
3. In the historical outworking of the CoG, given without regard to merit. Given, not earned.
a. More like a ‘testament’ than a strict ‘covenant’
b. Testamentary administration of the CoG
C. CoG is both a covenant and a testament
1. Nuanced and rich meaning of διαθηκη
a. Francis Turretin: ‘it [διαθηκη] peculiarly denotes a testamentary disposition with a federal agreement.’ (Institutes, II.170)
b. An expansive view of the CoG
2. διαθηκη is not ‘ambiguous’; it is ‘complex’. Fits the expansive CoG described in the Scriptures.
3. Brings clarity to debated occurrences of διαθηκη; e.g. Matthew 26.28; I Corinthians 11.25.
III. Parties to the COG
A. Two primary options
1. God and the elect; or Christ and the elect
2. God the Father and God the Son
B. Bearing on conditionality of the COG
C. Best option – the parties are God the Father and Jesus Christ, with all of the elect being in Christ.
1. WLC #31
2. Christ and Adam; Romans 5, I Corinthians 15
3. Ephesians 1.3-4
4. Psalm 89.3-4
D. Role and importance of Christ as Mediator
IV. Are There Conditions in the COG?
A. Some nuancing – both conditional and unconditional
1. In COP, with Christ as the Head of the elect, is conditional.
a. There were conditions placed upon Christ;
b. Romans 5.18; Philippians 3.8-9
2. In the historical outworking of the COP, is unconditional.
a. Christ freely bestows the blessings of the covenant.
b. Blessings bestowed not ‘because of merit’, but ‘in spite of demerit’.
B. An important caveat – in the historical outworking of the COG, there is a very specific kind of conditionality. See Turretin, Institutes, II.185
1. Antecedent conditions.
a. These have a causal force; when they are performed, they necessarily compel a specific result.
b. The result depends on the condition.
c. Since the condition comes before the reward, it is an ‘antecedent’ condition.
2. Consequent conditions.
a. These are means to ends.
b. These come after a party has determined to do something.
c. These do not find their purpose in what they procure, but in their role in bringing to pass something that had been determined beforehand.
3. Even in the historical outworking of the COG, there is a ‘consequent conditionality’.
4. Most especially, the blessings of the covenant are given to those who possess faith.
a. John 3.16
b. John 3.36
c. Romans 10.9
d. Hebrews 11.6
5. Faith is a means; an instrument.
a. Ephesians 2.8
b. Ezekiel 36.24-28
6. All of this is the work of the Holy Spirit within the COG; see WLC #32
7. This specific form of consequent conditionality leads to greater certainty within the COG; e.g. Romans 4.16.
C. A complex answer
1. COG is conditional in regard to Christ’s work in the COP; unconditional in regard to the elect within the historical outworking of the COP.
2. Within Christ’s unconditional giving of the blessings of the covenant to the elect, there is a conditionality of order.