Is there a biblical basis for the Covenant of Grace?
Although the term “Covenant of Grace” is not a biblical designation, the concept, emphasizing the unity and coherence of God's covenanted promise to redeem a people for the sake of his name, is most certainly biblical. The existence of one unified Covenant of Grace is indicated by the nature of God's first gospel-promise in Genesis 3:15, which promises a coming Redeemer that will be born of the woman's seed. The rest of the bible unfolds and makes ever more clear and specific the way in which this promise will come to fruition; and each successive covenant that God makes with his people is another step taken toward the fulfillment of that original covenant promise. The covenants in history, therefore, do not replace or abrogate the first covenant made with Adam after the Fall, but build upon and preserve it. If, as Paul so adamantly argued, the Covenant made on Mount Sinai could not abrogate the Abrahamic Promise (Gal. 3:15-24), then how could any later covenant abrogate the first gospel promise made to Adam?
Although someone might balk at the gospel promise of Genesis 3:15's being called a covenant, its nature as a sovereignly administered bond of promised grace, ratified over the shedding of sacrificial blood (Gen. 3:21), is clearly cast in covenantal terms. Furthermore, the first time the term “covenant” appears in the bible, in the days of Noah, God tells Noah, “I will establish,” or “confirm” (not “cut,” or “inaugurate”), “my covenant with you”; which indicates the Noah was aware of a covenant already in force when God came to him, which could be nothing other than the promise given to Adam.
We must take care not to minimize the specific, historical covenants that God cut with men at different times, including the Noahic, Abrahamic, Sinaitic, Davidic, and the New Covenant which brings all others to fulfillment; but neither must we miss the organic connection and unity between them all, as they unfold God's unified plan of redemption one step at a time, until the promised Christ finally comes and brings them all to perfect fruition.
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